Wild Hearts Review

Wild Hearts Review: Better Than Monster Hunter?

Lacklustre storytelling, yet a deceptively addictive combat system.

Wild Hearts
For the Monster Hunter fanatic, Wild Hearts will play out as a cute little side-show which makes some cool detours from the standardised formula.

There are very few surprises and fewer disappointments, it’s just what it says on the tin: Enormous encounters in exotic locations (Or grinding boss battles with your buddies). However, there's something missing when you compare it to Capcom and FromSoftware's titanic Monster Hunter series.

If you're simply just waiting for the latest Monster Hunter, Wild Hearts is a good little distraction to keep your fingers in the genre.
Fun Mechanics
New Monsters
Exciting Battle Building
Interesting Weapons
Took The L
Too Tame
Occassionally Ugly
Missing Polish
Editor's Rating

Princess Mononoke, whose cursed boar god corrupts all it touches until it’s slain by the hero, might come to mind when seeing Wild Hearts’ nature-infused beasts wreaking havoc on their environs. And there’s no doubt that was the goal as both are set during Japan’s Muromachi Period.

However, unlike the Ghibli film, Wild Hearts has no reverence for these creatures, so instead of Nago the Guardian, they’re unnamed local pests.

But Monster Hunter calls its creatures by their species, without individuality, so what’s the difference? Well, instead of battling a Great Jagras, a prowling reptile who you see swallow a man-sized animal whole, your first great fight in Wild Hearts is the slaying of a Ragetail. Which, for lack of a better phrase, is just a big rat.

Surely there is more to Wild Hearts than this? Let’s find out! 👇

Wild Hearts Review Contents:

Scroll down to read our full Wild Hearts review or click the links below to skip sections. When you’re done, don’t forget to hit us up in the comments with your thoughts!

Wild Hearts Vs Monster Hunter

Wild Hearts Vs Monster Hunter

The comparison to Monster Hunter is unavoidable, and that may be a big draw for many players. After all, WH for Wild Hearts is just MH for Monster Hunter, yet upside down.

But how does Wild Hearts compare to Capcom’s beloved series?

Well, not unfavourably.

The delicious core gameplay loop of monster slaying & equipment upgrading is entirely intact. Cooking is practically unchanged, and squad hunts return (though now limited to three players). Even better are the welcome quality-of-life changes that have been made: Among others, they’ve added wooden dummies for weapon testing, and removed the tedious sharpening.

Hungry Monster Hunter fans will find the new monsters, locales, and designs generally satiating, but not wholly. A full-priced, new release, having stiff competition neck-and-neck with the experience of the five-year-old Monster Hunter World, and the visuals of Monster Hunter Rise’s Switch-constrained visuals aren’t impressive. But that said, the biggest formula changes– the increased mobility, and its magic-building system– are exciting, fresh and even more fun than Rise’s Wirebugs.

In conclusion, Wild Hearts makes for a worthy side-grade that’ll tide you over until the next Monster Hunter. But you might be wishing that comes sooner.

Wild Hearts Gameplay Graphics

Graphics & Sound

As for sound, Wild Heart’s symphonic score begins elegant and subdued, slowly warming during a boss fight, until it peaks with frantic, operatic themes during the final enraged phase of a battle. The score is wonderful, but above all else, the monsters are the star of the show and should inspire awe by looks alone.

After all, it makes defeating them all the sweeter and, well, let’s just say that Wild Hearts manages this occasionally.

The general philosophy behind their creature design is nothing revolutionary: take an animal and add an element to it (and make them big). Like a Lavaback is a burning baboon and a Fumebeak is a corrupted crow, and so on. None of them are particularly awful, but the small selection and multiple recolours (the Pearlbeak is just an ice crow) mean the serviceable designs quickly become boring.

Wild Hearts Review
Release Date
February 16, 2023
Koei Temco
Action Adventure
PC, PS5 & Xbox

With the graphics, the locations fare better. Places like an overgrown village, an ancient forest raining cherry blossoms, and a cliffside field of kerria flowers make for memorable and epic settings for a showdown. But as lovely as the locations sound on paper (and in the promotional images), the technical aspects of the rendering hold it back.

Textures are often painful low resolution, shadows are inconsistent, and visual glitches are common– During one of the first scenes, your hunter wakes from a fitful dream and their overcoat is comically bisecting their thighs. Some stunning sequences are fights that are robbed of gravitas by these awkward errors, pulling what would be beautiful and stunning moments towards being almost average.

Wild Hearts Combat & Mechanics

Controls & Mechanics

If you’re not familiar with the genre, then you have some awkward controls to learn and some expectations to set. Heck, I would go as far as saying that you should read up on some Wild Heart tips and tricks before you get started.

Though you might be hoping for some hack-n-slash action where you’re flying around, causing impressive chaos with a few button presses, that comes later. Until you learn the ropes, you’ll be lumbering around, dodge rolling and getting in a few slices like it’s a Dark Souls backstabbing boss fight– That’s the main draw: back-to-back boss fights.

After a juicy kill, you make the Sporetail’s hide into a tasteful coat, and accent your bow with its fang. That’s the usual cycle for these games, but the new building system complicates things in an entertaining way.

In battle, you use your magic buildings to set up boxes to block attacks, springs to fling over to your target’s weak point, and traps to ensnare them. Off the battlefield, the building system is used to tame the vicious vistas. Set up tents and campfires for fast travel, craft stations or zip lines. Seeing your sites grow alongside your exploits gives a charming and rare sense of permanence to the areas (and you can do some decorating too, which is nice).

All things considered, Wild Hearts makes up for where it lacks here.

Wild Hearts Gameplay Dynamics

Gameplay & Dynamics

Stereotypically, Wild Hearts should make you feel like a heroic dragon slayer.

Someone whose enemy dwarfs them in brute strength, but who succeeds through preparation, ingenuity and skill. And at the end of some battles, you do feel triumphant, but it’s muddied by some strange choices.

Your first weapon is a katana, and should be your knightly sword, but feels sticky and awkward. Sure, the drawn-out swings feel weighty and powerful, but seeing your hunter hold their pose after each swing isn’t exactly Kurosawa cool when a hog takes advantage of your posturing to flatten you.

Early on, all the slow weapons are pretty painful– You can’t run and attack, or even stand still and attack (your hunter lunges or backsteps with every attack), so just cutting down a tree is a test of skill.

Thankfully, this improves when you unlock more of the battle-crafting recipes (Jumping off boxes to land explosive blows to the beast’s back feels acrobatic and awesome). And the weapon variety is surprisingly unique and interesting– the bow can be primed for a power shot, or the bladed Wagasa can be used to dodge and dance around stampeding enemies.

Once you’ve got a tight grip on the slippery controls, you can pull off some spectacular manoeuvres– The battle-building system is often the highlight of the fights, with blockades, traps, springs and other tools available to outwit your raging opponents. Setting a barricade to stun a charging Icetusk will make your squad cheer, but since your building is limited by your resources, setting up these great moments might mean leaving mid-battle to go mining or tree felling.

Odd moments like this or having the monster ignore or glitch clip through your buildings deflates the fight’s dramatic tension. And when you finally win, the beast writhes half-dead and in pain until you press the button to “Finish Off”– Which might be heroic when it’s a spectacular and victorious final blow on a city-destroying colossus, but is a little ugly when it’s a cheeky tanuki or a sugar glider.

Wild Hearts Review

Wild Hearts Review Verdict

Wild Hearts’ selection of mythical creatures is– with few exceptions, like the Earthbreaker, an ursine colossus, who feels truly heroic to defeat– focused on mammals, and the less imposing one’s at that. It’s likely an attempt to distance itself from Monster Hunter’s dragon & reptile heavyweight roster, but the effect is less Princess Mononoke, and more Billy the Exterminator with a pint.

After all, who wants to visit ancient Japan to fight a rat?

A veteran Monster Hunter player will find Wild Hearts to be a pleasant detour from the usual formula, without changing so much that it’s a different game. But the monster-hunting genre isn’t for everyone. The controls can be ungainly, the story lacking, and the gameplay loop repetitive. And unless you love Fortnite’s battle-building and massive mammals, Wild Hearts won’t convince you otherwise. There are no big surprises, but no big disappointments either, it’s just what it says on the tin: Enormous encounters in exotic locations (Or grinding boss battles with your buddies).

Thoughts on Wild Hearts? Join the comments below. In the meantime, check out some of our other game reviews and product roundups.

Content Disclaimer: This Wild Hearts Review has been independently written by Branden Zavaleta on PS5. GamePro has not been commissioned by Koei Temco or Omega Force, nor have we received any royalties for this article. This includes financial reimbursement or free advertising.

Should you click on any link to Amazon and make a purchase, we may receive a small commission. But that’s just how we keep this website alive! Feel free to hit us up in the comments with any questions you have about Wild Hearts and we’ll hit you back!

Wild Hearts FAQs

Questions about Wild Hearts? Check out some of the most frequently asked questions we receive about Wild Hearts and its gameplay:

How many monsters in Wild Hearts?

In total, there are 21 monsters or Kemono in Wild Hearts. Sporting twisted takes on everyday wildlife, Wild Hearts sports various monsters and bosses from a simple rat to a burning baboon or Lavaback. Each monster offers a variety of different attacks that you must navigate to ensure that you avoid imminent death.

Is Wild Hearts multiplayer?

Yes, Wild Hearts is a multiplayer game. To access multiplayer, simple enable online play in your settings and jump straight into some Kemono slaying action with other hunters. You can play online by both connecting with your friends or joining forces with a bunch on unknown slayers.

But remember, teamwork will be critical to survival.

Is Wild Hearts open world?

Wild Hearts is a semi-open world game which allows you to explore the realm expansively and set up various Karakuris to gain a strategic advantage. Broken up into 5 different regions, plus a town called Minato village, Wild Hearts will unlock new regions as you progress through the game. This is why the game is classifies as a semi-open world game as not all regions are available at first.

Is Wild Hearts crossplay?

The good news for gamers with friends on other platforms, Wild Hearts is crossplay enabled. This means that you can take down monsters with all of your friends across PC, PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X/S.

To enable cross-platform gameplay, head on over to the settings and under the ”Overall” tab you will see an option to enable or disable crossplay.

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