Monster Hunter‘s trick—and it’s a persuasive one—is to deliver us back to a time when giant lizards trod the Earth, while keeping our current enviable status as masters of the food chain intact.
In Jurassic Park, when the dinosaurs escaped their pens, humans became frail prey, cowering in toilets, whispering prayers under trucks. Monster Hunter‘s vision of the Jurassic-flung human is wildly different.
In its reality, we are fearless predators, able to fell a T. rex with little more than a pair of leather sandals, a sword, and a satchel full of health-restoring berries.
For most of its history, the Monster Hunter series has played out this vision on handheld devices, allowing clutches of strangers—Japanese, mostly—to gather in public places and team up to make quick work of the megafauna that roam its bucolic scenes.
The series’ evergreen popularity in Japan, where handhelds are ubiquitous and where playing video games with strangers on the train, in shopping centres, and at the school canteen is more socially acceptable, has been closely tied to the technology.
The move to consoles (and, at some point, Windows PC) with Monster Hunter: World is a daring one, then. Yet what is lost in portability is obviously made up for in spectacle.
In its new, roomy home on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC Monster Hunter has space to flex and sprawl.
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