My heart is open to the possibility of Monster Hunter: World, and now it is up to that game to show me that it can love me back. The creature-looting adventure is doing a lot of great things to accomplish exactly that, but it has a flaw that prevents it from fitting into my life.
Monster Hunter’s flaw is a two-party problem: you can’t pause and the game often prohibits you from teaming up with your friends for story missions. In isolation, neither of these are that offensive. Sure, I always like the capability to pause. And yes, I think I should have the choice to play every mission with friends no matter what. But when you combine both, I start to question how I’m spending my time.
I understand why I can’t pause. Monster Hunter: World is an online experience. The world can’t stop because your friends can jump in at any time … except when the game won’t let them.
That’s what happened to my hunter squad over the weekend. I set up a squad for a story mission, and luckily we were all able to pay together. That was lucky because me and one of the other players just happened to be on the same story mission. Had one of us been behind, Monster Hunter would have forced us to catch up before joining in.
But as soon as that mission ended, I started up the next one and no one else was able to join. Apparently, I had to watch the cutscenes first. Instead of waiting around for another chance to go through the story together, we all disbanded and stopped playing for the night.
The next day, I started up the mission again in offline mode. The game would’t let me bring anyone else in with me, so I didn’t feel the need to get reconnected. And yet with no online connection and the game prohibiting multiplayer, I still didn’t have the option to pause.
I have a young toddler, and it turns out that “I can’t pause this game I’m playing offline with nobody” isn’t a great excuse when your partner needs help with something. At the same time, I hated the idea of leaving my character somewhere vulnerable with the chance of losing progress.
And this is why I’m not sure it can fit into my life. If I can’t pause, at least let me play with my friends so I can get something out of losing some freedom in my life. As is, these exclusionary multiplayer options don’t make any sense.