Build a better hunter by hands-on practice with wild hearts

The easy path draws from Wild Hearts – the upcoming hunting game from publishers EA and Koei Tecmo and Omega Force developer Capcom’s Monster Hunter. Wild Hearts is a game about exploring large areas, alone or with two other players, to take down giant monsters that move around the map as you battle them. And the developers aren’t completely dodging that comparison – but they’re hungry to do something more than recreate Monster Hunter.

Speaking to Koei Tecmo directors Kotaro Hirata and Takuto Edagawa through an interpreter, they acknowledged the relationship, saying, “When you’re making a hunting game, Monster Hunter is a very presence. big in the genre, so we can’t say we drew on it for strong inspiration, but it’s not like we didn’t know it was there when we were making our game. “

Now playing: WILD HEART | 7 minutes play

The comparison is appropriate since the games share many similarities, but developer Omega Force has explored the genre before with a few games in the Toukiden series. In those games, like in Monster Hunter and Wild Hearts, you hunt giant monsters to harvest them as materials that can be used to upgrade your gear. Despite its lineage in that genre, Omega Force is quick to say that Wild Hearts is not an extension of that world. “Unfortunately, there is no overlap. This is a brand new IP for us. We know that some of our fans were hoping it would have some overlap with Toukiden, but it doesn’t,” said Hirata and Edagawa. Wild Hearts and Toukiden exist in two separate universes, but Wild Hearts has allowed Omega Force to continue what it left off in the genre in a big, well-funded way, while also exploring a crafting system. impression called Karakuri makes it different.

Wild Hearts has been in development for four years and represents an unlikely partnership between EA and Koei Tecmo. The former is an American publisher known mainly for sports games and the latter is a Japanese publisher that has succeeded with Dynasty Warriors, the historical action series. Wild Hearts is being published under EA’s Originals label, which has spawned hits like Unravel and 2021’s It Takes Two. Though EA Originals has so far done a good job of capturing the word “original” ” and releasing games you wouldn’t normally expect to come from EA, was still surprised to see Wild Hearts’ announcement.

Playing it is also surprising in some ways, and not surprising at all in others. We were given access to an early build that allowed us to play through the prologue and the first few major skirmishes. The unsurprising parts will be familiar to those who have played hunting games like Monster Hunter in recent years. Motion feels similar, as does the basic combat of the instructions. The layout of the world, the large and dense, distinctly isolated areas that could be approached from the central city, each with a few different creatures, also felt familiar. The process of taking down one of the giant creatures, called Kemono in Wild Hearts, has a tempo I’ve never experienced before, but there’s a lot that gives the game its own identity, mostly is the Karakuri system.

No subtitles provided

Exhibition room

Karakuri is the crafting system, and in the Wild Hearts novels, it’s a type of spell that instantly creates impressive pieces of engineering that you can use in fascinating ways. The first Karakuri you unlock is the ability to create a box that you can climb on to propel you into the air. You can quickly create multiple stacked boxes, vying for the top spot, and leapfrogging. This is useful for exploring the environment, but it’s really fun when you’re fighting Kemono. You can stack boxes to get ahead of your opponents and launch a devastating attack downwards, use it to quickly jump into the air to dodge zone effect attacks, or even create barrier to slow down the rampaging Kemono. Building these gears is quick, reminiscent of a seasoned Fortnite builder, and even in my short time playing the game, I unlocked a collection of cool gear that’s useful both in and out of combat. .

During my second Kemono encounter, I unlocked what I would best describe as a healing pad that I use to quickly shoot me away from oncoming attacks, or shoot me towards Kemono to deal extra damage. After that fight, I unlocked giant string arrows that I could attach to the ground to shoot away to create ziplines to make traveling around the world faster and easier. Later footage of the game also shows walls being used in combat, devices that allow you to glide from great heights, and more. Another cool thing about Karakuri is that they stay permanently in your world, as well as Karakuri placed by other players who join your game, which can be used by everyone.

Talking to Hirata and Edagawa, crafting was the original idea that the team wanted to integrate into Wild Hearts, and early versions require you to prepare equipment before going out into the world, or find them on the road. Go and take them with you. However, over many iterations, they found that crafting gear quickly in the middle of a battle was much more enjoyable. Optimistically, the Karakuri system is the tool that will separate Wild Hearts from comparable hunting games, and I was impressed with how quickly I was able to integrate the gear into combat.

Karakuri on the right can be placed by any player and used by any player.
Karakuri on the right can be placed by any player and used by any player.

The other major distinguishing factor of Wild Hearts is Kemono’s design. Omega Force’s goal with its creatures is that they are a combination of animals and nature. The Kemonos that have been shared, like the few I have fought with, have clearly familiar animal roots, but are covered in things like tree roots and moss. “When we set out to design a hunting game, we wanted to have such an impact on the field of play, where the monster would eat away at the nature around them to create their shape and really destroy it. the battlefield,” said Hirata and Edagawa. Kemono looks as if they’re curled up in the woods and confused by a giant overgrown rock, which makes them all the more intimidating when you wake them up and they start running in your direction.

During the battle with Kemono, I used a standard kitana and also unlocked an umbrella weapon that, when used properly, allows me to stay in the air for a short period of time to hover and dodge attacks. different attacks. There are six other weapons available in the game, each with their own combo system and complete move animation.

When you defeat a Kemono, before the actual battle is over, you have a chance to deliver the final blow with a fancy animation. Doing this ends the battle and also instantly rewards you with all the loot. No need to stand on dead bodies and collect your winnings manually. Hirata and Edagawa see this as a distinguishing element of Wild Hearts, saying, “We wanted to differentiate ourselves from other hunting games and so one of the ways we did that is if you’re placing a bet. his life as a player trying to defeat this monster, we want the items to automatically come to you at the end of the game.”

No subtitles provided

Exhibition room

Some other little details that we’ve learned from playing the game and talking with Hirata and Edagawa, is that Wild Hearts will have an English dub (our demo is in Japanese), suitable players. The author will be able to drop himself in between battles, and the main story campaign will take around 30 hours to complete, but there will be plenty of side quests to tackle, as well as post-game content that will prolong the gameplay. play. Omega Force also promises full cross-play support and teases some light farming mechanics.

Wild Hearts will feel familiar to fans of hunting games like Monster Hunter, but I was impressed with this game from Omega Force and EA. It doesn’t look like or particularly play like any other game a developer or publisher normally releases (apart from Toukiden) and I’m excited to experiment more with the Karakuri system. It’s the craftsman that will help Wild Hearts stand out from the crowd, and I enjoy the process of shuffling a stack of boxes I’ve built, jumping off the top and delivering a powerful blow to the rampaging Kemono. I imagine I’ll do it even more with different Karakuri devices on February 17th next year.

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