The idea of a non-3DS Monster Hunter game was both exciting and scary. When Capcom first announced the upcoming title, it was unclear just how much the game would stick to the original formula that Monster Hunter fans have grown so accustomed to over the years. Despite the community’s fears, Monster Hunter: World is shaping up to be one of the best Monster Hunter games we’ve ever played. So let’s take a closer look in our Monster Hunter: World preview!

Change for the Better

Diving into Monster Hunter: World, I wasn’t sure what to expect. This was the first time I’d experienced a Monster Hunter game that wasn’t on the 3DS, and while I was sure the core experience would still be there, I wasn’t really sure how to take all the changes that they had made. The large open-world maps were intriguing, but having grown so used to small snippets of areas, I wasn’t sure how well it would translate.

The good news is, all of the changes that they’ve made to the formula work well within the game and they feel right at home within the core formula. The game also plays extremely well on the PlayStation 4, where we got to try out the beta, and we’re excited for what we’ll see in the full release later this month. Overall the changes that they’ve made to the game’s typical setup give you more options than ever to hunt down the monsters that you’re seeking, and it adds a lot of depth that even veteran players will find enjoyable to dig into.

A Living, Breathing World

One of the biggest things that we’ve seen touted about Monster Hunter: World throughout the course of the past few months is how the world is a living, breathing place that engrosses the player as they hunt for their targets. While many games before have tried to bring this same feeling to their worlds, Monster Hunter: World succeeds where many have failed, creating a world that truly feels alive as you explore it.

The areas that you explore are filled with creatures and plant life that continue on as you pass, some ignoring you, while others move to attack you for encroaching upon their territory. It’s a beautiful place to explore, and as you dive deeper into the world, you’re sure to start noticing small things beneath the surface that really help it to feel alive and breathing.

A New World of Potential

Monster Hunter: World is set to release this January 26 on Xbox One and PlayStation 4. When the game releases it will give players the chance to dive into one of the biggest evolutions that an established series has ever undergone, and we’re sure that Monster Hunter fans around the world will agree with us when we say that it is outstanding. Based on what we’ve seen so far—and what we’ve experience ourselves in the beta—we believe Monster Hunter: World is going to offer one of the biggest experiences of the year.

Make sure to check back at our site closer to the release of Monster Hunter: World for even more in-depth content surrounding the game, including strategy guides, how-tos, and more.