Any long time fan of the Monster Hunter series can tell you that if it’s one thing that the franchise does incredibly well, it’s their crossover special event quests. These are where the hunters of the Research commission join forces with various characters from other well established video game IPs. This includes everything from hanging out with a moogle; to tackling a Behemoth from Final Fantasy XIV in a MMO raid style battle to the death; to joining everyone’s favorite bath loving witcher, Geralt of Rivia, as he investigates and hunts down a fearsome Leshen that somehow managed to cross dimensions into the realm of the fifth fleet. As such, it comes as no surprise that Capcom would create a special event for its upcoming film simply titled “Monster Hunter”, directed by Paul W. S. Anderson and starring Milla Jovovich and Tony Jaa.
The film has already been released in China to mixed reviews and no small amount of controversy regarding a Chinese slur disguised as a joke in the film, which has since been removed from further showings. All of that aside, the movie is set to release in the states (where I currently live) until December 18th, although it is unclear how it will be released due to Covid-19 concerns. Regardless, anyone attempting to play the event quest in Monster Hunter: World will surely leave with more questions than answers without having the source material to give the hunts any context. That said let’s have a look at quests anyway.
As it was with the Witcher even quest, players will not use their custom hunter including all of their items and equipment. Instead players will assume the role of the film’s main protagonist, Artemis, via a very well made avatar of Mila Jovovich. The first assignment simply titled “A new world” begins with our captain of the rangers-turned-hunter appearing out of a portal at a campsite in the Ancient forest, one of the larger zones in Monster Hunter: World. Somewhat confused, she wonders where “those two” went. Having not seen the movie to know for sure who she meant, I would hazard a guess that she is referring to perhaps Tony Jaa’s character and maybe a palico for good measure. Seemingly unafraid of her new environment, she quickly finds a supply chest and the player is free to select their weapon of choice. By default Artemis is equipped with some dual blades, but just for laughs I decided to equip her with the switch axe, which is both my weapon of choice and as tall as Artemis herself which provided me with a hearty chuckle.
Moments later the admiral of the fifth fleet flies overhead, presumably on his way to a hunt of his own. Recognizing him from what I imagine is the events of the film she sets off after him, commenting on the familiar creatures and area around her, suggesting that she’s seen them before during the events of the film. Before she manages to reach the admiral, however she is stopped by a fearsome black diablos hell bent on having Alice… Errr Artemis for dinner. The fight itself is no different than any other encounter with a Black Diablos, albeit at a reduced difficulty. I say this because after 300 hours in this game I can safely say that only the most seasoned hunters could bring down a Black Diablos in under five minutes. After the battle, the admiral appears and commends our fledgling hunter on a job well done. However he is speaking in his native language and Artemis is unable to understand him. This causes confusion as in her world where they have met (again likely during the film) the admiral apparently speaks English.
Before they can sort out the details of this dialect dysfunction however, a giant Rathalos flies overhead and off into the distance. The admiral indicates that this Rathalos was the target of his hunt and sets off in pursuit. Meanwhile Artemis both recognizes that particular Rathalos and still wants to get to the bottom of why the admiral cannot understand her tags, along with the admiral thus ending the first mission.
The second and final assignment, “To our world”, continues the adventures of “Arti and the Beef” as they chase down the Rathalos. Landing at a campsite again in the Ancient Forest, Artemis uses notes that she had taken during the time with the admiral as an “English to Hunter” dictionary of sorts, to determine that the admiral wants to split up to cover more ground. As they go their separate ways, Artemis deduces that since the admiral is speaking a foreign language and also that she and her hunter buddies had previously killed this Rathalos in her time but it is now very much alive, that she must indeed be in the distant past.
Artemis then departs the camp and finds our giant “Lord of the Skies” in very short order. What follows is yet another watered down hunt with the Rathalos displaying an above average squishiness that results in a pretty quick fight. However, our resident rookie is unable to deliver the final blow to the Rathalos and it flies off to terrorize her in the future. Afterwards the admiral appears yet again to say better luck next time and bids Artemis return to camp with him before they both get caught up in a mysterious thunderstorm that has appeared on the horizon.
Artemis immediately recognizes this mysterious maelstrom as her ticket back to her own time and possibly still monster infested place and glances longingly at it before handing the admiral her happy hunter thesaurus and telling him to learn the language, “Be Nice”, and also to forget everything he’s seen. The look on his face as he watches the huntress in training walk toward the terrifying storm suggests that he’ll have absolutely no problem forgetting as he has no idea what the hell was going on in the first place.
All told both quests took about 15-20 minutes to complete and were relatively well put together. While the quests were competent, the lack of any context due to not having seen the movie yet is likely to confuse western audiences (as well as myself) rather than inspire them to actually go see the film. The lackluster hunts ensured that there is no real challenge to be found here. While this may seem as being overly critical of a set of quests specifically designed to promote a movie, and therefore shouldn’t be that flashy by design when you look back at previous events such as the Witcher hunts, you can see that they really could have made this promotion way more than just a quick hit featuring characters and monsters that have all been seen before.
But hey you can make Milla Jovovich swing an axe around that’s bigger than she is and that’s not nothing. Happy hunting everyone!