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Wild Hearts Is More Than Just A Monster Hunter Clone

I can’t help but think of Monster Hunter and the numerous clones that have emerged since the franchise’s explosion in popularity as Wild Hearts’ release date approaches. At this time, the Monster Hunter series has existed in our gaming culture for close to 20 years. Its unique gameplay and features have established a new genre that is separate from similar games that were launched around the same time as it did.

Be sure to check out our preview for Wild Hearts

Due to the Monster Hunter game series’ success, other game developers have started to use its game model, giving rise to what some have dubbed Monster Hunter clones. Players who love the distinctive and nostalgic atmosphere of the first Monster Hunter game have grown to love these games.

So what makes these Monster Hunter clones so appealing? Let’s take a closer look at the key elements that are present.

What Is A “Monster Hunter Clone”?

To understand what a Monster Hunter clone is, we must examine its gameplay similarities to the original Monster Hunter. One of the defining traits of these clones is their combat system, which typically includes the following elements:

Giant Monsters

While not the most original aspect of Monster Hunter clones, it is undoubtedly one of the most notable. These games feature massive enemies, with multiple attack points and parts that players can aim for, break, or exploit. This design allows players to find the best attack strategies and combinations by identifying the optimal points to attack and searching for offensive combinations that work best on a specific body part.

It’s important to note that other games also feature similar enemy designs, but Monster Hunter clones have made this a fundamental aspect of their game. This approach adds a level of realism to the game, as opposed to simply treating large enemies as big targets. For example, games like Phantasy Star Nova, which can be considered a precursor to Monster Hunter, still include the same giant monster slaying element found in current Monster Hunter clones.

Comprehensive Customization

Customization is another key element that adds to the realism of the Monster Hunter game series. This draws from western RPG elements, including a comprehensive item loot/drop system. In Monster Hunter clones, players not only take down giant monsters, but also obtain loot from them, which is linked to the parts and points they have attacked, broken, or extracted. These items can be used to customize a variety of things in the game, but most importantly, they are used to craft and upgrade equipment needed to defeat other beasts.

The comprehensive customization in Monster Hunter clones is what drives its replay value and keeps players coming back, either because they love it or they hate it. This also encourages players to be strategic in their approach to defeating enemies, rather than simply resorting to hack-and-slash tactics. In fact, while the giant monster slaying aspect is the most popularized, it is the customization element that is most important in defining a game as a Monster Hunter clone. This is what truly sets it apart as a unique genre.

Multiplayer

Active multiplayer is another feature commonly found in Monster Hunter clones, especially in recent years. While it may not be directly related to the original Monster Hunter games on the PS2, players have the option to call upon NPCs to fill in player slots, but the real fun comes from cooperative play.

With each player using their own customized equipment, groups can work together in specific areas and even in story missions, which greatly improves game progression and enhances the customization system. There is also a sense of fairness as each player participates equally in combat and shares the same amount of items and bonuses.

The majority of these multiplayer options are offered online, but for handheld versions, ad-hoc or local network connectivity options are also available, making it easy for players to team up and play the co-op game mode they prefer. Freedom Wars, for example, adds a unique twist to traditional co-op play with various PVP multiplayer modes when players are not busy fighting Abductors and rescuing researchers.

The Appeal of Monster Hunter Clones

Over the years, the success of the Monster Hunter clone games has shifted from being just a different version of Monster Hunter to having its own unique appeal. The initial popularity of these games was due to their similarities to Monster Hunter, including the platform engine and gameplay elements such as giant monster slaying, comprehensive customization, and multiplayer options.

However, as time has passed, these games have evolved and developed their own distinct flavour, no longer relying on the success of Monster Hunter. The continued popularity of these games is now driven by a different, more dynamic form of gaming appeal.

The appeal of Monster Hunter lies in its technical nature. The gameplay is not just about hacking and slashing, it requires a certain level of skill and understanding of the game’s mechanics to overcome even the simplest of enemies. In contrast, Monster Hunter clones tend to modify and simplify the technical aspect to improve the game’s overall pacing and increase interactivity in the battle environment.

A defining characteristic of the original Monster Hunter games was the absence of a jumping mechanic in the game. This unique aspect set it apart from other action games and required players to navigate battles by only walking around the battlefield. This lack of a jump option may have seemed strange to new players at first, but during the mid-2000s, it became a feature that distinguished the main games from the clones.

You see, Monster Hunter clones took a different approach by introducing the ability to jump and sometimes even the option to dash in the air. An example of this is Ragnarok Odyssey, which enhances the battle system by allowing players to dash through the air and attack key points on massive targets.

Another aspect of environment interactivity that is featured in several Monster Hunter clones is the use of long-lasting and widespread effects. A prime example of this is the PSE Weather System in Phantasy Star Online 2. In this game, players are exposed to various environmental effects based on the current weather conditions in the quest area of a specific planet. This could range from elemental boosts to increased mob spawn rates, adding another level of depth and excitement to the game experience.

Each Monster Hunter clone may have a different approach in its game concepts and designs, but they all share the goal of enhancing the interactive dynamic environment features. This doesn’t mean that Monster Hunter falls short in this aspect, rather, it just means that each Monster Hunter clone offers a unique twist on the familiar formula.

Wild Hearts’ Formula

Then that begs the question, can Wild Hearts improve on the Monster Hunter Formula? From what we’ve seen so far, one obvious difference is the fact that Wild Hearts is open-world. Unlike Monster Hunter, which has a central hub for preparation and segmented areas for hunting, Wild Hearts has taken the open-world approach like Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.

This provides players with the freedom to do as they please and in doing so, will be more inclined to explore and become immersed in the world at their own pace. The unique blend of elements in Azuma would make for a thrilling open-world experience and set Wild Hearts apart from the typical Monster Hunter structure.

One way for Wild Hearts to stand out and differentiate itself from the Monster Hunter series is to have a more emphasised story. While the gameplay is important, having a captivating and engaging storyline as the main focus rather than features and mechanics, as is typical in Monster Hunter games, can help set Wild Hearts apart.

Additionally, by downplaying the emphasis on multiplayer, Wild Hearts can allow the individual narrative to shine through even better. By offering a more in-depth and immersive story, Wild Hearts has the potential to be a truly unique and standout title in the gaming world.

Another distinguishing factor that Wild Hearts has is the building mechanic and how it is not only incorporated into how you traverse the world of Azuma but also into the game’s combat. In this day and age, it’s extremely hard not to compare it to Fortnite in that sense. Building walls to stop Kemonos from ramming into you and creating platforms for you to perform aerial strike downs, this mechanic is unique to Wild Hearts alone. This could be further developed if the game had more complex and fighting game-esque combos were introduced, creating a higher skill ceiling for those who may want to.

Overall I see a lot of potential in Wild Hearts revolutionising the hunting genre and being more than just another Monster Hunter clone. Yes, there are a lot of similarities but we’ve also seen ways that the game differs itself from other Monster Hunter games and clones in a way that’s not too out of place and still fits the genre as a whole. Now the question is whether or not it will fall flat or hit the ground running.

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  1. Xbox Game Pass February 2023 Adds Atomic Heart, SD Gundam Battle Alliance & More | KAKUCHOPUREI.COM

    February 9, 2023 at 12:29 am

    […] In case you were wondering what type of monsters you’ll be hunting, head over to our demo preview. Is the game similar to the famous Monster Hunter franchise? Our writer, Lewis provides a closer look of the key elements between the two games. […]

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