Wild Hearts is brilliant in so many ways – as an innovation on the monster hunting genre, in its beautiful mythologically-inspired feudal Japanese setting, and in just how good it feels to play moment-to-moment. Perhaps most of all, it succeeds in realising the ideology at its core, through gameplay. Adaptation and growth is the cycle at the heart of Wild Hearts. As your Hunter places each Karakuri, they embody the innovation of humanity adapting to the natural world. In every clash with the Kemono, humanity meets the ferocity of nature head-on, to survive and prosper. Wild Hearts has undeniably proven its right to survive, and carved out a place in the high echelons of the monster-hunting genre.
The visual spectacle, creative setting and mechanical intrigue of Steelrising are never quite able to justify its shortcomings in challenge and consistency. It’s an inspiring experience that I had a good time with more often than not, but it certainly pales if you’re already familiar with the paragons of the genre. That said, rubbing elbows with French revolutionaries made for an entertaining interlude between bouts of robot vs. robot combat, and I can’t deny how glad I was to experience that.
The unique ideas that worked in Monster Hunter Rise have been finely honed, and the end-game now has the content it was sorely lacking. With a rock-solid foundation and a roadmap of promising post-launch additions on the horizon, Sunbreak is quite simply an excellent Monster Hunter expansion.
I won’t pretend I wasn’t disappointed by Stranger of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origin. It had the potential to tell a fantastic story, and it absolutely failed to tell it well. The game itself still managed to charm and entertain me however, even if it meant accepting that it would never coalesce into the great game I thought it could be.