Huge monsters in spectacular boss fights - that sounds like a lot of action. "Wild Hearts" looks like a poor copy of a video game that has been around for several years. ntv.de has tested what Electronic Arts' new monster hunter game can do.
A good copy is better than an expensive invention. At least as far as the template is concerned, the action game "Wild Hearts" from Electronic Arts cannot refrain from having copied something from the Capcom title "Monster Hunter". The similarities are striking, but in terms of combat system and monster design, the EA variant sets its own highlights.
"Wild Hearts" is a hunting game in which the player has to track and kill huge beasts. The setting is a fantasy interpretation of feudal Japan, where beasts infused with the power of nature called kemono roam about. You can go stalking online with two other hunters in multiplayer, primarily in duels you use karakuri - quickly assembled mechanisms that provide protection or influence movement in the area.
The story of the game is quite simple. As a hunter, you regularly rush after the next larger and more dangerous monster. You don't need the big trick, because the duels with the Kemono are in the foreground and should increase the fun factor - and it works.
Because when it came to creation, EA, together with KOEI TECMO, managed to create a really great ensemble of fascinating creatures. The idea behind it: Huge animals have merged with nature and can thus directly influence their environment. This ranges from plant-covered giant squirrels to lava-spitting gorillas to mountain-sized rock grizzlies.
The player can kill a total of 21 different types of these fantastic creatures - the degree of difficulty is quite crisp. A solo hunt can last between 10 and 45 minutes. A giant attack often eats away half, if not nearly all, of your health bar. It means: dodge, parry and learn the attack patterns of the creatures in order to then be able to strike yourself.
The karakuri are an important element that clearly delimits the duels with the giants of "Monster Hunter". In no time at all you assemble crates in battles that you can use as a jumping tower to carry out stronger attacks. Several boxes next to each other can be combined to form a protective wall. Small catapults allow you to quickly dodge the attacks of the beasts, torches give weapons a flame attack and a propeller takes you high into the air. These basic karakuri can also be fused. In the right combination, they result in additional elements that can affect the battle.
The Karakuri are also indispensable outside of the boss fights. The world of "Wild Hearts" is enormous: jungle, mountains, beaches - you have to travel long distances to track down the monsters. Tents are used to build storage points, forges are used to improve weapons and armor. With catapults and cable winches, you can overcome abysses and climb steep walls. There's a karakuri for pretty much every occasion.
There are also a lot of resources in the game that can be collected. These are plants and rocks that are scattered throughout the world, as well as the components of the major and minor kemono. This can be used to modify and improve the eight different weapon types in particular. As a hunter, you also have to diligently hunt down Kemono in order to forge armor.
Not everything went smoothly in the test: the camera work in the fights in particular was borderline in places. Despite focusing on the opponent, you quickly lose your bearings, overlook chasms or get stuck on a rock face because the viewing angle no longer captures the third-person perspective.
The narrative structure in "Wild Hearts" is not for gamers who like a deep story and variety. During conversations there are three to four camera angles, every change to the cutscene is dubbed with short fades to black. Overall, this seems very clumsy. The game relies on action and dynamic combat - it works. Who needs a story anyway.
The multiplayer, on the other hand, ran without any problems in the test. Two fellow combatants were quickly found to take part in the hunt. This doesn't necessarily make the Kemono easier to defeat. The approach changes a bit, the hunters can revive each other.
If "Wild Hearts" were a title for the old generation of consoles, then graphically it would really be a round thing. But since the game is only available for PC, PS5 and Xbox X/S, one could have expected more. Don't get me wrong: The graphic design of the world is successful, but the level of detail should actually be higher. In a game like "Monsterhunter" it was - and that was released in 2018. Of the two graphics modes, "Performance" with the higher frame rate makes a better impression than the one with the presumably higher resolution.
But it seems that EA is targeting exactly this target group. The monster hunter genre isn't exactly overflowing with game titles. The developers have clearly used the blueprint of "Monster Hunter" and incorporated clever ideas into the combat system. In combination with the creative Kemono, really good and challenging bossfights are created - that's quite entertaining.