Wild Hearts may turn out to be the surprise hit of 2023, bringing an insane premise to life in the most spectacular ways. Bringing the action-based combat of the Monster Hunter series to a boiling point, alongside the building aspects of Fortnite together in a melting pot, the result is quite special.
Jumping into a battle against a Kemono, one of the large and terrifying beasts that roam these islands, players will have a multitude of options available at their disposal to try and take them down. Will they stick by their trusted weapon, hoping to deliver the killing blow with their blade? Or will they use the powers bestowed upon them to inflict an almost supernatural level of pain?
A Battle For The Ages
After creating a character and setting the scene with your origin story, I found myself spread into a vast, colorful world with a few tutorials to guide me on my way. After some time, however, the first battle against a Kemono springs up, the fearsome Ragetail. A unique aspect of Wild Hearts is the blending of real animals and organic fibers, leading to monsters that are not only familiar but also rather terrifying.
While the Ragetail may serve as fodder for the first battle to test your mettle in combat, even the most seasoned of Monster Hunter veterans will not be prepared for the piece that sets Wild Hearts into its path: the Building aspect. Using a special power granted to the player, they’ll be able to build small structures on the battlefield to aid them in battle.
Crafting a wall to block an enemy’s attack, or a large mallet to knock enemies out of the air is quick and intuitive, if not a little frustrating at times. While the majority of attempts will turn out perfectly, there is a chance that the enemy will bypass your defensive or offensive attempt, and will still find their way to you swiftly and easily.
A Melding Of Organic And Natural Horror
Beyond the building aspect of the game, what was most apparent during my time with Wild Hearts is the design of the monsters that you fight. Labeled as Kemono, these forces of nature are a nasty mix of tried and true animal designs, fuzed with the forces of nature. This makes each battle more terrifying than others, since they are animals that players are likely familiar with.
The Kingtusk, pictured above, is a giant boar creature that towers above the player and is the first true test of strength. While the previous two Kemono that I had encountered were quite fun to battle against, the Kingtusk was the first to give me a proper hard time. However, as I have spent countless hours in Monster Hunter, the idea of building objects out of threads of the Earth was still quite new.
In the middle of the battle, I found myself getting my butt handed to me repeatedly until the game prompted me to build a new and special item that could help block the Kingtusks charge attacks. This completely changed the tide of battle, and gave me the edge that I needed to put this pig on the barbeque.
Final Thoughts On This Exciting New Franchise
Now that I am beginning to master the art of building whilst in the middle of combat, the urge to creep back into the world of Wild Hearts is growing harder to deny. Not only are the battles faster and more furious, featuring Nioh-esque combat, but the aspect of building objects while fighting creatures is quite intriguing.
I find the urge to return to Monster Hunter, my original muse, dwindling. Even with its recent addition to Xbox Game Pass, it’s hard to deny that Wild Hearts isn’t garnering more of my attention for the time being. While there are a fair number of monsters to fight off against, and plenty of exciting things awaiting me, we’ll have to see how the end-game fairs and holds my attention in the long haul.
However, for the time being, I can attest that Wild Hearts is a great addition to the genre, and offers plenty of excitement for those hoping to try something new. While it may not be as brutally difficult to master as its inspiration, the flow of combat and the intriguing building system have me hooked. Plus, not needing to sharpen my weapon every 3 minutes feels like a blessing and a half.
Wild Hearts will be available on February 13 for PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X|S, and PC.