In the action role-playing game Wild Hearts, you hunt down enormous monsters called Kemono to collect their parts and assemble stronger weapons and armor. The not-too-hidden task is to take on a dominant player in a videogame genre, a task that seems unreachable if that player goes by the name “Monster Hunter.”
The job to create an EA Originals product that goes beyond being a bland clone of the one that has been occupying the throne for so long has been accepted by Koei Tecmo and Omega Force. Wild Hearts was released for PlayStation 5, Windows, and Xbox Series X/S in February 2023.
The hunter that players take on must set out on missions to find the enormous beasts known as Kemono on the planet of Azuma. In Azuma, players can freely explore some sizable locations rather than an open world. There are eight distinct sorts of weapons in the game, including wagasa and katana. Through the Karakuri mechanism, players can also create items to help in battle in addition to using weapons to destroy their foes. Players can construct objects like crates that can be used as springboards for strong assaults or a torch that can be used to set foes ablaze.
These components can be put together to create more powerful machines, such as a bulwark that blocks an enemy’s passage. To aid transversal, players can also build Karakuri. Karakuri construction uses thread, which is obtained by simply fighting adversaries. A player can hunt increasingly difficult monsters as they advance in the game by unlocking new weapons and equipment.
Weapons and Armor
Before anything else, it is appropriate to look at the tools at our disposal: weapons and armor. In Wild Hearts, the player can select from eight different weapons, each of which can be customized to a great extent. In fact, when you open the weapon that was forged to improve it, you are presented with a massive evolution tree full of links, and it is the hunter’s responsibility to select the branches that best meet his requirements. By continuing to gather the necessary components, you can construct your weapon without being constrained by the limitations set by the Monster Hunter system. Each point on the branch contains an evolution with both fixed and transferable skills.
It can happen that once you get to a fork in the road, you might find an intriguing transferable ability on a weapon that is higher up the weapon tree than the one you are currently using. In this case, the player might have to forgo a few damage points to grab the ability and return to using more powerful weapons while keeping the desired skill with him.
Another notable distinction with Monster Hunter is armor paths. The majority of armor has abilities that go beyond defense. They are usually related to one of two alignments which are disabled if the character’s alignment isn’t on the right course. The fact that many components have inherent value that causes the indicator to move in one direction or the other may initially appear to be a limitation, but good customization also enters the picture here because, with a few additional pieces, you may upgrade the equipment to the required alignment. Since many weapons are also conditioned by this feature, it is always important to research the best course of action before mastering any particular skill.
The Karakuri are creations that the player can use inside the game worlds, and they are perhaps Wild Hearts’ flagship. Some will be available right away, while others will need to be unlocked using the points gained via hunts. They come in three varieties – quick, combination, and Karakuri of the dragon – and it is advisable to get to know them better because they unquestionably form the foundation of the game as a whole.
There are six quick Karakuri (spring-loaded platform, harpooned rope, chest, torch, glider, and celestial anchor), and by spending thread, which can be gathered in the play areas, they can be placed on the ground to obtain various effects by interacting with them. For example, the torch will set weapons on fire. The chest will allow you to climb to perform a jump attack. But that’s not all. Each of the weapons will gain different advantages from using the fundamental Karakuri in the right ways.
Each basic Karakuri can hold up to three components, and by aligning two towers of three components side by side, you may create a combined Karakuri. This is essential for having a tactical edge during hunts. For instance, you can create a wall to utilize as the foundation for a jump attack by stacking two towers of three boxes side by side. You can also create a real cannon to defend yourself against charges from weaker monsters by stacking two columns of celestial anchor, torch, and celestial anchor side by side.
The constructs are undoubtedly useful in warfare, as well as for climbing walls or moving rapidly. But there is something more useful than a simple spring platform: the Karakuri of the Dragon. The dragon’s Karakuri is permanent and can be dispersed over the area to always have them ready. For a rapid study of the map, it is a significant advantage over the standard Karakuri. There are numerous places of interest on the maps that when activated by stones that may be found in various locations, will fill the resource bars needed to build things like tents, zip lines, automatic resource-gathering stations, and so on.
The fighting in Wild Hearts is frantic and nearly totally oriented on mobility, as is seen from the potential of using the Karakuri to construct quick-moving platforms and traps, and this inescapably results in a significant imbalance of the weaponry. Light weapons like the bow, the hooked sword, and the katana are far more common than slightly more stationary weapons like the cannon, hammer, or broadsword, all the way up to the Wagasa, the armored umbrella, the game’s ultimate tank weapon. The disparity of weapons is also present in the Kemono that the player will encounter.
Even while Wild Hearts doesn’t exactly follow an evenly distributed curve of increasing difficulty, the solo play presents a fairly variable experience. Things become easier when creatures are faced by a team of three players, the maximum number permitted. Fortunately, hunts do not take an excessively lengthy time. The development team predicted that it would take players roughly 30 hours to finish the game’s narrative campaign.
The “co-protagonists” of the game, the beasts, have gotten a very stunning design and characterization. Animalistic and naturalistic components are combined to create chimeras with incredibly realistic representations. It’s unfortunate that there aren’t as many of them and that some, despite having distinct names, only differ from one another by changing their color or making very minor stylistic changes based on the element they represent.
This development studio’s first test, by making the genre a little more approachable, attempts to fix everything that is wrong with Monster Hunter. Besides balancing, there are some other flaws though, such as camera and optimization, which are quite important and may make the game less enjoyable until potential fixes.
The glaring graphical and frame rate issues that PC gamers encounter – and the flaws that are still pretty noticeable on consoles – are already being fixed with several patches. For the time being, the camera issue still has the biggest impact on a hunt. All the flaws that can affect an open environment appear when you find yourself up against a wall or amid numerous natural components like roots or rubble. While it is true that you can focus on the monster, it is also true that failing to see what is nearby will result in your character’s guaranteed death in a game that is rich in natural factors and heavily reliant on evading.
Of course, the graphic design could have been improved, but aside from this and the cameras, which continue to be significant issues, it does not seem to be any other flaws that affect the fun that Wild Hearts offers, thus giving Monster Hunter a legitimate rival. Wild Hearts vs. Monster Hunter will be probably a delicious competition in the months and years to come unlike any other since FIFA vs. PES.