Developed by Koei Tecmo and Omega Force, Wild Hearts is an exciting new entry in the hunting game genre that gets the fundamentals right and proves it can stand toe-to-toe with some of the genre’s long-standing greats. Previously, Omega Force’s work with Toukiden demonstrated that the studio could create a decent hunting experience, but a spark was missing to make the series truly special. With Wild Hearts, Omega Force has found that spark, and offers something new and compelling to the beast-hunting genre in the form of Karakuri.
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Despite being a solid contender in the hunting genre, Wild Hearts still has a few shortcomings as it tries to carve out a niche in a space that has been dominated and refined by Monster Hunter. Wild Hearts can’t seem to piece together interesting characters or tell a story that isn’t just a precursor to fighting Kemono. It is also lacking the same level of depth in non-monster hunting content while also being a technical mess on consoles and PC. Still, Wild Hearts delivers such a great experience at its core that trudging through its worst moments is worthwhile to experience the thrill of the hunt over and over again.
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Wild Hearts starts with the basic premise of a hunter washed ashore on the fantasy land of Azuma, a feudal Japanese-inspired setting where ferocious Kemono have overrun the world. In the wake of the Kemono catastrophe, humans have gone into seclusion within the hub city of Minato, where the main character finds himself the champion of the people. A small cast of supporting characters accompanies the hunter, including a grumpy old samurai named Ujishigei, a bubbly blacksmith named Natsume, a level-headed scholar named Suzuran, and a handful of minor characters that tend to pop in and out as the story requires them to.
The story in Wild Hearts is nothing special, moving at a brisk pace and offering brief…