Can My Kid Play is a series of helpful guides for parents that dive further into the ratings and content of video games. We do not pass judgement, instead providing insight and information so parents can make their own informed decisions.
What is Monster Hunter: World?
Monster Hunter: World is a third-person action-RPG where players customize their hunter and set off on a new world to hunt gigantic monsters, such as dragons, dinosaurs, and toothy fish-creatures. Hunters can swap between 14 different weapon styles, each with their own signature playstyle and moves, and upgrade their weapons and armor by using parts earned from hunting and capturing monsters. The game supports up to four players hunting monsters together in online co-op.
What platforms is it available on?
Monster Hunter: World released in 2018 on PC (Steam), PlayStation 4, and Xbox One. A major expansion pack, Iceborne, recently released in September 2019, and is available for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, and coming later to PC. Monster Hunter: World does not feature cross-platform play, meaning friends will need to play on the same system to play online together.
Note that Monster Hunter: World is not available on Nintendo Switch. There is another Monster Hunter game available on Switch, Monster Hunter Generations Ultimate, but it’s an HD port of Monster Hunter Generations, originally released for handheld gaming device Nintendo 3DS in 2016.
What is the ESRB Rating?
Monster Hunter: World is rated T for Teen with the following descriptors: Blood, Mild Language, Use of Alcohol, and Violence.
What is the overall tone of the story?
Although players spend much of their time battling giant monsters, the tone of the campaign is one of discovery, knowledge, and research. Hunters are tasked with exploring each new region of the New World and invariably hunting and fighting all its native inhabitants, in the hopes of tracking down rare and powerful beasts known as Elder Dragons.
The New World has a seemingly unlimited supply of creatures to hunt. Hunts are generally seen as culling herds or protecting the colony rather than exterminating species. Quests occasionally give the option to capture creatures rather than kill them.
What is the level of violence?
Fighting giant monsters is the primary task, and though blood is listed as an ESRB descriptor, Monster Hunter: World is not a gory game. The violence level is closer to a comic book film, or a PG-13 Godzilla or Pacific Rim to be more thematically appropriate. Swords slash, hammers bash, and teeth chomp, but hunters and monsters alike get smacked around rather than bloodied and torn apart.
The Blood descriptor primarily comes from one of the regions, the Rotten Vale, which is one big elephant graveyard for monsters, full of bone piles and blood pools.
Visually the monsters don’t show much wear and tear during a fight with a few notable exceptions. Many monsters have severable body parts, such as horns or a tail, though they’re never accompanied by blood or gore. When heavily damaged, monsters will indicate they’re near death by limping and whining as they attempt to retreat back to their home turf.
Hunters won’t get very far without carving out monster parts they need after the hunt. The actual carving is done as abstractly as possible, with hunters kneeling down with a knife, then popping back up with the part.
What is the level of alcohol and/or drug use?
Hunters have the option to drink at the canteen in town. Eating a meal before a hunt boosts the hunter’s stats. Additional ingredients, including alcohol, can be earned by completing optional quests.
What is the level of adult language?
Language is generally mild, with characters spouting the occasional “damn” or “pissed off” during story cutscenes.
What is the level of sexual content or themes?
There is no sexual content at all in the story. The player character can be male or female, as can any hunter, with the only difference being the voice lines and the way each armor set looks. Armor is heavily stylized fantasy armor, ranging from full-body plate mail to midriff-exposed spiky bikinis for women.
What is the level of online interactivity?
Monster Hunter: World can be played entirely in single player, but is notable for allowing up to four players to join forces and hunt monsters together. As a purely cooperative game, players can easily interact via the pre-built phrases, or often not need to interact at all as they hunt together. Friends can join together by forming friends-only squad sessions.
What else do parents need to know about Monster Hunter: World?
Unlike most video games, Monster Hunter: World cannot be paused. This can be a major issue as many hunts can take between 30-60 minutes to complete, and time is a factor in every hunt. “Just one more mission” can be a lengthy undertaking, and quitting out early results in almost no rewards.
Monster Hunter: World is also a very long and complex game, with an almost unending supply of monsters to hunt and gear to upgrade. The main story alone easily takes over 50 hours, and more than likely much longer with all the side quests and missions to gain better gear. Each weapon style features advanced combos, and every monster requires experience and observation, as well as quick reflexes and weapon knowledge, to successfully take down. The result can be frustratingly challenging but also very rewarding.