I wouldn’t be shocked if you haven’t heard of Wild Hearts. There hasn’t been a ton of hype for the new Monster Hunter adjacent game from Omega Force and Koei Tecmo. Those are the folks behind Dynasty Warriors and its mudslide of spinoffs, if you weren’t aware. Though the creators also have a much less prolific history of making MonHun clones in the form of the Toukiden games — originally released for the PSP and Vita.
Now, like Capcom before them, the developer is shifting its monster slaying games back to consoles. And, wow, does Wild Hearts ever look a lot like Monster Hunter World. Damage numbers drip off of creatures (here called kemono) while the combatants slowly plink away with heavy cannons and much more exotic weapons. The major differentiator shown in the marketing for Wild Hearts is a strange set of hunters’ tools that almost make me think of Fortnite: fast-constructing scaffolds and hammers and the like that provide advantages in battle.
Really, though, the scale and speed of combat feel like the closest anyone has gotten to MHW since… Well, since MHW. Even more so than the more recently released Monster Hunter Rise which, being a Nintendo Switch game at launch, obviously brought things down a notch. Does that mean Wild Hearts will actually be fun to play? I don’t know, but this most recent gameplay footage certainly grabbed my attention. And not just because MHW is one of my favorite games of all time. The latest trailer just looks great. Just take a look for yourself!
Besides those Looney Tunes-y hunting tools, there are a couple of other interesting diversions from the Monster Hunter series. Instead of carving creatures’ corpses to collect their crafting materials, for instance, one player appears to deal a cinematic finishing blow (which seems perfect for sharing on social media if I had to take a guess). It also looks like you can resurrect downed players within a specific window. Such as one might do in games like Apex Legends or, once again, Fortnite. Both of which seem like decent ways to make the game just the tiniest bit more approachable than MHW.
I’m honestly not sure how I feel about those changes as a bit of a Monster Hunter diehard myself. However, the combat itself looks unique and weighty. I’m especially taken with the grappling hook-like Claw Blade at the start, but the transforming Karakuri Staff also looks like a ton of fun to wield. Not to mention flying around on little pinwheels and dodging through monster blasts seem like pretty slick ways to move around what appears to be a slightly transforming battlefield.
I find myself hoping that A) Wild Hearts shapes up to be as good as it looks and B) more people find out about it and give it a shot. Beast battling is always more fun in multiplayer, in my experience, and I could really go for something a bit meatier to hold me over until the true console successor to MHW. That being said, the game is a whopping $70 at launch. This is increasingly the norm for AAA console titles on PS5 and Xbox Series X|S. Yet it seems like a particularly tall order for a brand-new multiplayer property that one probably wants to get two or three friends jumping into at the same time.
We don’t have to wait long to find out if it’s worth the money, though. Wild Hearts is launching on PlayStation 5, Xbox consoles, and PC on Feb. 17, 2023. Though Steam currently has it listed as launching on February 16. Either way, that’s just about two weeks from now!