Niantic is something of a dab hand at developing genuinely compelling augmented reality games, as made clear by the ever-popular Pokémon Go. Only now, to help broaden its horizons, the studio has decided to partner up with Capcom to bring a new type of AR venture to the canvas; a pocket-sized Monster Hunter game, no less. And if all goes according to plan, then the fresh IP, aptly titled Monster Hunter Now, will launch on Android and iOS in September of this year.
There is, of course, the question over which of the two has the better gameplay and AR technology overall, to which, we can't really say for certain, given the latest project still being in its infancy. But, for the sake of giving you a breakdown of the two, and to help sway you towards a possible pre-order, we'll go ahead and disassemble the key components. Monster Hunter Now Vs Pokémon Go — which one is better, mechanically, aurally, and visually?
For the sake of adding context, both Pokémon Go and Monster Hunter Now stem from Niantic, a mobile developer that's helped conceive game-changing augmented reality titles including Harry Potter: Wizards Unite, and Catan: World Explorers. Knowing this, and how the app developer utilizes award-winning AR technology, is a reassurance that, regardless of its partnerships, its games are pretty much always on par with one another. So, if you happened to think Monster Hunter Now was just a cheap rip-off of Pokémon Go, then rest assured that, in spite of what you may have heard, both are by the same studio and use the same in-house AR technology.
Of course, having already lay the foundations for a compelling AR experience, it's fair to say that Niantic will no doubt rely upon this groundwork for its forthcoming venture. It'll also work to “connect many fan communities globally”, according to game producer Ryozo Tsuijmoto. Bottom line is, whether or not you did have any doubts in the immediate aftermath of its formal announcement, Monster Hunter Now is in safe hands.
But How Does AR Work?
Monster Hunter Now, much like Pokémon Go, uses advanced geographical data to map your location and, in turn, transform the key points in your surroundings into virtual nodes and mini-games to play while on the move. These games, which usually consist of swiping, tapping, and hitting various QTEs, are randomly generated, meaning you are encouraged to explore beyond your own home and embark on adventures around your own neighborhood and beyond.
As with any AR game, exploration is key. And, like in Pokémon Go, the primary objective in Monster Hunter Now is to branch out and examine various terrains and points of interest as displayed on your map. An example of this would be finding a leafy Pokémon in a grassy area, or a flying one at a higher altitude, like a hilltop or a tower, for example. Well, the same rule applies in Niantic's latest chapter — so expect to get your shoes dirty as you traipse around the world in search of pelts and gear.
And the Gameplay?
Safe to say that Niantic isn't a fan of convoluted mechanics or clustered UI. On the contrary, both Pokémon Go and Monster Hunter Now utilize a basic swiping maneuver that makes up for most, if not all of the combat sequences. The only difference in the latter is, well, you need to combine different weapons together to help achieve different combos. Other than that, though, Niantic “have intentionally avoided using virtual buttons, so attacking is simple, intuitive, and engaging.”
Like the OG Monster Hunter flicks, players are invited to gather resources either found in certain points of interest, or on slain monsters. These key areas, really, are a whole lot like PokéStop nodes—areas in which you can stock up on provisions and further enhance your arsenal before heading back out to tackle bigger foes.
There is a feature that Monster Hunter Now employs, which is something called a paintball. Activating this on an enemy when out on the move simply draws it back to a temporary hub—your back pocket, in ways, and allows for you to battle it when you're back home and have a little more availability. Quite useful, given the fact that not all battles are entirely time-forgiving.
What About the Paywalls?
There is one thing that lets Pokémon Go down, which is its built-in microtransactions — otherwise known as PokéCoins. This in-game currency, while not essential to acquire better loot, can and often does spoil an otherwise family-friendly and somewhat wholesome experience. If you can look past its pay-to-win schemes, however, then you'll find that Pokémon Go does offer a lot more than what meets the eye.
Right now, we can't say for certain whether or not Monster Hunter Now will feature the same set-up. Having said that, this is Niantic we're talking about — a studio known for embedding paywalls within its content. So, on that note, we can't really favor one over the other. Or at least, not until Monster Hunter Now goes live and lifts the veil on all its details, warts and all.
When all's said and done, it doesn't matter if you're a fan of either of the two iconic franchises, so long as you're willing and able to get out and explore what lies beyond your front door. And while it does help to have some level of interest in either of the franchises' respective lore, it isn't crucial, and it certainly won't prevent you from getting all there is to absorb out of Niantic's top-shelf AR technology, either. So, Pokémon Go or Monster Hunter Now? Honestly, either choice will surely tick all the boxes and keep you on your toes. Question is, would you much rather capture Pokémon, or hunt colossal beasts out in your backyard?
You can get your hands on Pokémon Go on Android and iOS right now. For Monster Hunter Now, you'll have to hang around until later this year. If all goes according to plan, the both Niantic and Capcom should have it front and center at some point this September.
So, what's your take? Will you be picking up a copy of Monster Hunter Now when it releases later this year? Let us know your thoughts over on our socials here.