Brave hunters, take up arms again for a new challenge of hunting giant monsters. No, we are not talking about Monster Hunter but of a brave new title that aims to keep the undisputed lord of the company company hunter-like. Koei Tecmo e Omega Force have taken the hard road of creating a worthy hunting video game, inspired by the already established titles of the genre and wanting to introduce their own variations in the gameplay. So it was born Wild Hearts, an action RPG really aiming high. Will they have succeeded in their intent? Let’s find out in this one Wild Hearts review.
Our Wild Hearts review: let the hunt begin
The story of Wild Hearts is set in a fantasy world inspired by feudal Japan. The protagonist of this story is a wandering hunter (fully customizable) who ends up in the Azuma region, a prosperous and luxuriant land inhabited by dangerous Kemono. It’s about animals and creatures affected by a mysterious energy that altered their size and abilities and made them extremely dangerous. Our hero will soon come across one of these creatures and miraculously emerge alive. Having recovered, he will meet a mysterious individual with a masked face ready to help him in his path and in what it represents to be a Kemono hunter.
To do this, he will have at his disposal, in addition to a vast set of weapons and armor, an ancient power that will allow him to use the misteriosi karakuri. These are structures generated from nothing and used since ancient times by the hunters of this region.
Thus begins a journey aimed at doing good and helping the people and villages that will need it. The first meetings will take him to Minato, the capital of the region constantly threatened by the advance of the Kemono. This adventure will lead us to discover the nature of creatures, the power that alter them and our future as hunters.
Hunter-like plus “Fortnite” builds
As anticipated, Wild Hearts is an action video game with RPG mechanics and third-person camera. Taking control of our hunter we will have to explore the regions that include Azuma and that we differ for different biomes, flora and fauna. The game is mainly divided into two phases, one for exploration and one for hunting.
During the exploration stage we will be able to know the settings and resources that characterize each region. We will need elements and resources to build and improve our equipment which includes both weapons and armor divided into 5 pieces. During the exploration we will also get to know the NPCs who will advance the story and offer materials and equipment useful for hunting, as well as asking us from time to time to perform certain tasks.
Surely the central and most exciting part is the Kemono hunt. These beautiful creatures are characterized not only by an intriguing design, but also by a series of unique abilities and attacks for each species that will make the gameplay more frenetic than ever. Added to this is the particular Karakuri mechanics. These are particular gadgets and small constructions that we can make using the Filothe form of energy that inhabits this world and that we will use to dodge, defend ourselves, enhance attacks and much more.
The beauty of Kemono and hunting
Both the main missions (which will keep you busy for about 30 hours) and the secondary ones aim to kill one or more Kemono. The hunting phases are always the same and do not differ too much from the competition. At first we will have to locate our prey in the surrounding area. there will be no tracks to follow but we will exploit a Karakuri designed to identify them. Some Karakuri, so called of the dragonthey can in fact be used outside of battle and will provide benefits such as an extra resting (and respawn) place, a source of life and so on.
During the actual hunt we will use ours weapons available. Between bow, Katana, Thinking Mace and many other weapons to discover we will really be spoiled for choice. Each weapon also has its own really large skill-tree that we will use to upgrade them according to our style of play.
The news of the Karakuri
Also the Karakuri will be discovered as we go forward in the story and represent the real novelty of Wild Hearts. Through their construction we will be able to create obstacles for enemies and useful buffs for ourselves. The first Karakuri we discover, for example, will allow us to build a simple square box in front of us.
The box will represent an obstacle for the smaller Kemono while for us it will represent a valid support for jumping and attacking the enemy from above. Another Karakuri-torcia will allow us to use the fire power with our weapons while another will throw us in the direction we are headed to attack quickly or dodge with equal dexterity.
There are many types all to explore and adapt to our style of play. Some of them can also be combined to create even more powerful and devastating Karakuri. A truly innovative and interesting “construction” system.
Excellent graphic rendering with some “but”
From a technical point of view, Wild Hearts uses Koei Tecmo’s proprietary Katana Engine, optimized to work best on next-generation consoles. For this Wild Hearts review, we relied on the PlayStation 5. Here the game ran excellently maintaining a stable frame rate level even in very busy situations. We preferred them “Resolution” quality settings which, contrary to “Performance” prefers the graphic quality to the rendering of the FPS.
The main flaws of Wild Hearts concern the management of the camera, really too chaotic even for a Hunter-like especially in narrow spaces or in the presence of obstacles. In these situations we also encountered several bugs and graphical glitches which, for example, irreparably stuck our hero between two rocks, waiting for death from above.
On the other hand, the soundtrack of clear Japanese inspiration is gooda, as well as the settings and a really well done dubbing for the genre. We also mention one perfect localization in Italian of both texts and dialogues. Unfortunately the protagonist does not utter a word during the dialogues, using balloons of answers whose usefulness we have yet to understand.
The Wild Hearts review in a nutshell
If it is unable to unseat Monster Hunter in the hunter-like podium, Wild Hearts has all the credentials to sit next to it. An addictive and fun gameplay make it a good game and the new additions are an interesting stimulus. We also really liked the story which, although it never played a central role in this genre, but it served us to identify ourselves in the role of hunter.
Some camera management defects and graphic glitches can be filed (hopefully) later while possible future contents could make the world of Wild Hearts even bigger and more interesting.