Wild Hearts review: A hunt that’s bad for the heart

Koei Tecmo, EA
Koei Tecmo, EA /

After putting quite a bit of time into Monster Hunter Rise and World, Nioh, Dynasty Warriors and playing Toukiden on the Vita, I was really excited for Wild Hearts. The issue is this is an infuriating game. It’s very pretty, and the monsters look awesome. I had fun with the Wild Hearts during my time with it, but it lacked a lof the extra features that I’ve come to expect from a game like this.

Let’s start with the look of this game. Aesthetically, it’s gorgeous. The character creator allows for some fairly in-depth customization. The environments look absolutely stunning and are quite fun to traverse. The climbing and exploring are reminiscent of Breath of the Wild. Each monster, whether in its base form or transformed state, looks intimidating, and you get a feeling of awe just looking at them. Even things like the water and sky, which a lot of games can’t seem to get right, look fantastic in Wild Hearts.

Unfortunately, the combat, which is arguably the most important thing in a game like Wild Hearts, falls short. It feels clunky. It’s similar to Monster Hunter but less responsive when you need to switch between offense and defense.

You have a roll or slide (dependent on which weapon you chose) to compliment the Karakuri which are your primary defense. Karakuri are used to build anything from a box you can use for jump attacks on the monster to a wall it runs into causing the monster to go down. This gimmick frequently feels like the only way to stop the monster from attacking long enough to get some damage in. However, it leaves you wide open if you hit the right stick accidentally or just don’t build quickly enough.

This game needs balanced for single-player. The time it takes to matchmake and the fact you can’t start matchmaking until you are already face to face with the monster means you will frequently be low on supplies or have lost a life before your comrade will even show up to help.

The game is also lacking in gear. The tree is minuscule even in comparison to Like a Dragon Ishin. Most armor feels like it barely takes the edge off of a hit, and weapons and their abilities seem to only give the most minor of damage increases, or assistance with fights.

Wild Hearts is a fun time especially if you have a friend or two to jump in with, but be prepared to rage like it’s your challenge run of Dark Souls. If you’re looking for the power fantasy of Monster Hunter you’re not going to find it here either.

Wild Hearts (PS5) Score: 6/10

The lack of gear and infuriating combat mechanics leave much to be desired from what could have been a gorgeous and fun game about monster slaying.