Why Dragon's Dogma 2 has me so excited about Monster Hunter Wilds

Why Dragon's Dogma 2 has me so excited about Monster Hunter Wilds
Images via Capcom

Written by 

Lloyd Coombes

Published 

29th Mar 2024 11:08

There's something to be said about the attention span of gamers. No sooner has one huge release dropped than we're eyeing up what's next, and while I am having a wonderful time with Dragon's Dogma 2, I can't help but get a little giddy about Capcom's next big RPG, Monster Hunter Wilds.

Dragon's Dogma 2 has launched to impressive reviews, with an 87 rating on Metacritic right now, and a 4.5/5 rating from our very own Harry in our critique. There are comparisons being made to Breath of the Wild and Elden Ring, arguably two of the best games of all time, and even just while writing this I want to turn the PC off and pick up the pad.

And when Monster Hunter Wilds arrives, I may just do that.

UPDATE Dusk Golem has denied the 'leaks' are from them, claiming they've " never said anything like that to anyone.” Take the following with an even heftier fistful of salt.

Time to Hunt

Monster Hunter Wilds key art
Click to enlarge

Aside from Destiny, Monster Hunter is one of the series I've put the most time into - something that's definitely trickier to do these days with a young child at home. Despite only getting really into it with Monster Hunter World, it's the game I bounce back to on my Steam Deck when I have 30 minutes to kill.

Between World and Rise, and their respective expansions, I've racked up plenty of hours swinging weapons at big beasts, and that's something I've certainly enjoyed in Dragon's Dogma 2.

The difference in the latter, open-world RPG, is that combat isn't the focus. It's still fun but lacks the nuance of a Monster Hunter game, instead placing more emphasis on questing and exploration.

And yet, with rumours suggesting that Monster Hunter Wilds could see the series embrace a fully open world, it really could be the Monster Hunter game fans have dreamt of for yours.

A truly New World

Monster Hunter World
Click to enlarge

You'll need to take these reports with a pinch of salt, but AesthethicGamer aka Dusk Golem does have a pretty solid track record with Capcom titles [Update - as a reminder, these comments now are reportedly not from Dusk Golem].

The now-debunked report suggested this could be "the biggest game [Capcom] ever attempted", but it's worth remembering Monster Hunter World was a huge step already. That game introduced biomes without loading screens between areas and dragged the series into the modern era with vastly improved visuals. Even Rise, in some ways a step back from the more living, breathing ecosystem of World, didn't have loading screens between sections.

The prospect of Capcom leaning wholly into an open world is an exciting one, if not without some concerns. Part of what I love about Monster Hunter is the way each Hunt is self-contained, for example. In fact, it's the lack of an open world that makes me love it more because I spend less time scouring for my prey and more time just doing the fun stuff.

That report also claimed that the fully open world was planned from "day one" and that "the entire game revolves around it, from story to endgame". I'd be a little concerned with such reports if we weren't coming off the back of Dragon's Dogma 2, a game that despite some technical blemishes offers a fantastic sense of exploration and location.

Imagine the Dragon's Dogma gameplay loop of staggering into a dimly-lit cave, only to encounter a Rathalos that you'll need a full team to take down. Exciting, right?

I can see my house from here

Mounting an Anjanath in Monster Hunter World
Click to enlarge

When it comes to tackling mythological beasts, Dragon's Dogma 2 offers a fun, if a little clunky, climbing system that sees your Arisen clamber onto all manner of monsters to try to bring them down.

While I'd love to see a version of this in Monster Hunter Wilds, you could argue the series has been doing it better already. Monster Hunter 4 made mounting a usable skill, but it felt perfectly at home in World - especially as I gravitated toward the Insect Glaive which meant hopping about acrobatically and landing on monsters with ease.

Still, the sheer scale of the climbing opportunities in Dragon's Dogma 2 could lead to some bigger monsters. According to that dubious report, "the big Godzilla monster" is back, which I'd assume means Zorah Magdaros.

That could be great, but there's a big gap in size between a skyscraper-sized beast and the series' regular 'large' monsters. Give me a supersized Anjanath to bridge the gap, letting me climb it and bring it down.

Dragon's Dogma 2 also isn't shy about having creatures and characters tackle each other whether you're there or not, and that could lead to even more dynamic Turf Wars in Monster Hunter Wilds.

Performance Pitfalls

Dragon's Dogma 2's Open World
Click to enlarge

While I still think the microtransaction furore of last week is likely a little overblown, it's worth noting that Dragon's Dogma 2 is running on the RE Engine which is also responsible for the likes of Street Fighter 6, Resident Evil 4 Remake, and much more. It's a great-looking engine, but it's certainly struggled with some of Dragon's Dogma 2's complex systems that are CPU-intensive thanks to the number of characters in its world.

I'd be lying if I said that doesn't have me slightly concerned, but I'm equally hopeful that Capcom's commitment to a robust patch schedule, and Monster Hunter's track record of having fewer NPCs will help ease those concerns. There's also, at the very least, the best part of a year to keep working on the RE Engine and fine-tuning it.

We may not have to wait long to hear more about Monster Hunter Wilds, with Capcom promising news this Summer as the series celebrates its 20th anniversary. Nevertheless, while I’m excited to dive into Dragon’s Dogma 2, I can’t help but think about what’s coming next.

Lloyd is GGRecon's Editor-in-Chief, having previously worked at Dexerto and Gfinity, and occasionally appears in The Daily Star newspaper. A big fan of loot-based games including Destiny 2 and Diablo 4, when he's not working you'll find him at the gym or trying to play Magic The Gathering.