In our Wild Hearts review, we take a closer look at EA Originals’ first large-scale game in the monster-hunting genre.
I’ve been playing the PC version of Wild Hearts for quite some time. The game, which caught our attention as its first major work published under the EA Originals label, is a Monster Hunter-style monster hunting game.
Wild Hearts Review – PC
During the preliminary review, I gave various information about the game, now it’s time to review the game in detail. Let’s see if Wild Hearts, produced by Koei Tecmo and Omega Force, is good enough to rival the Monster Hunter series, the first game of the genre, or will it be a disappointment.
Wild Hearts takes place in an alternate universe very close to our world, in Japan, which is not Japan. This is a world where monsters roam, a profession called monster hunting is common, and there are people who quickly build structures by controlling the boards. There is a great civil war throughout the country, shoguns, samurai and even various sultans are mentioned during the story, and in such a world we are looking for a place for ourselves as monster hunters.
The game has a story and it’s not a bad story. We see the events revolving around an abandoned town named Minoto that nobody cares about. We meet with different characters such as a samurai trying to forget his past failures by drinking, a cute and skillful blacksmith, a little ninja who has tripped us in a way I don’t understand, a princess sent by her family to rule this town but actually given up on her in a way. Most of the characters communicate with us more than Monster Hunter. They’re not the type to run around in cutscenes and then disappear, we communicate, take assignments, and learn their stories.
The characters are good but you might ask if we really care about the story of this game, to be honest no. I admit they did a better job with the story than the Monster Hunter games and the first Nioh, but we’re here to hunt monsters, not trip from a 9-year-old brat wearing a ninja mask. Still, I liked to see that they paid a little more attention to the story and focused more on the important characters.
It’s Possible to Hunt Monsters in Attack On Titan Style
I would like to enter the details of Wild Hearts with equipment, which is one of the most important features of games in this genre. After all, our ultimate goal is to hunt monsters and for that we need equipment.
We have 8 different weapon options for hunting. It may seem small at first glance, but… it feels less when playing. I admit, it may seem like a bit of greed to want more weapons in a newly released series, each with different gameplay, but I also think that you may not be able to find anything that suits your style among the weapons. Even in the game alone, there are 2 – 3 guns of ideas and applications. Maybe it will be added as DLC.
I said that the number of weapons was low, but this does not mean that the weapons are bad, on the contrary, each of them has its own style and changes the gameplay drastically. Bow, Karakuri Katana, Bladed Wagasa (Umbrella), Cannon, Claw Blade, Nodachi, Hammer and Karakuri Staff each have a unique balance of speed and damage. Moreover, their performance changes depending on how you develop them.
During my time playing the PC version, I tried all the weapons to a certain level and realized that I was more inclined to use three of them. The first of these is the Karakuri Staff, which can change shape among combos and can be seen in various different types, from small knives to a ninja star, from a stick to a huge sword. My second favorite is the Claw Blade, where you hook the opponent and go around with hit-and-run tactics like a hunter from Attack on Titan and damage. Finally, there is Bladed Wagasa, where you can turn the gameplay into Bloodborne style, parrying and responding at the right time, I can’t tell you the joy of parrying a big attack at the right time and then attacking back. Unfortunately, the performance problems in the PC version hampered the experience a bit, so I preferred to shoot calmly from afar instead.
The weapons in the game have a detailed development tree and you are completely free to test here! Upgrades are done in a certain way, by offering appropriate monster materials, and it is possible to add abilities from the previous development to the empowered weapon. But if you don’t like the weapon you made and you want the materials dropped from the monsters back, it is possible to get all the materials back only for money! Money is easy to collect and there is no requirement to do special attacks on the head of the monster to get it like horns. A great convenience.
The game is good in equipment and development, but troublesome in collecting materials. If you are not in the habit of jotting down your needs in the notebook (ie you are not a very old player), you need to constantly check the material list. Monster Hunter has brought a wishlist system, it tells you what you need up-to-date, there is an example, so why didn’t you add it?
Mechanisms You Know As Karakuri
Let’s talk about the “Karakuri” system, which is where Wild Hearts differs from other games. Karakuri actually means mechanism in Japanese, and it truly lives up to its name. With different kinds of karakuri, you build mechanisms that will be useful to you on the battlefield and outside of the battle. I mentioned a little during the preliminary review, apart from the “Basic” and “Fusion” types we used during the war, there are the “Dragon” types used for transportation and tasks that will make life easier.
During the battle, you will use the Basic mechanisms, which do simple tasks such as stacking three boxes in a row and jumping on top of the enemy, escaping from the incoming attack with a spring system or propeller lantern. It is a system that really changes the course of the war and allows you to apply different tactics.
Those with functional features such as building a wall at the monster running towards us, taking down the flying monster by throwing fireworks or hitting its head with a hammer blow are in the Fusion category. For Fusion, you need to place multiple karakuri quickly and accurately, and its setup is seriously similar to Fortnite. Setting up mechanisms that combine different types of karakuri, especially traps, when an intense attack is being made on you reminds me of when I first tried Fortnite. This is more fun, but it has its own problems, which I’ll touch on in a moment.
Vehicles that will enable us to travel fast (zipline, car-like wheels, boat), special places for our little helpers who collect fish and supplies for us, blacksmiths and similar field equipment are gathered in the Dragon category. For these, we need to activate and develop the areas called Dragon Pit. As it opens, you do not have a chance to fill the entire map with ziplines or to set up camps that provide fast travel everywhere. I think the balance is not perfect here, we spend a lot of time running until we learn the map completely, it would be nice if it was a little more balanced.
I liked the Karakuri system in general, it is a nice innovation that the game brought to the genre, but there is a problem that bothers me a lot. Sometimes it gets ridiculously difficult to set up karakuri in the Fusion category. Let me give the simplest example, we need to put a torch between two springs to set up a bomb, the game is planned to automatically overlap when the menu opens, and you do it quickly, if you are not fast, the monster will kick in.
Sometimes the tactic works perfectly, sometimes it doesn’t! Although I am absolutely sure that I am pressing the right keys at the right time, I can encounter two springs and a torch on top of each other, or all of them lined up side by side. Sometimes we waste the board because of ping, sometimes fps drops, other times because of misreading the keys I press quickly. Imagine how difficult 6 piece karakuri can be in a quick fight.
We already remove the materials we use to install these equipments from the rocks and trees around, and they do not always appear in front of us. Another option is to jump on the monster and get it from its weak spot, which is not a sure solution because of the monster’s activity and the camera. The best solution the game can bring to this is to install it from the quick menu or to reduce the speed of the monsters a little. While playing alone, you can’t say “I’m building a mechanism for a second” to monsters that hit you from wall to wall like play dough.
Kemono: Monsters That Bend Nature
I can say that Wild Hearts has done a good job on the main concept of monsters. The designs of the monsters are beautiful, they reshape the environment according to the element they have, the roots throw you into a corner while you watch the scenery. Moreover, the fights are very entertaining thanks to both weapons and karakuri. We have a couple of problems with monsters called Kemono, let’s talk about them.
First of all, these monsters are extremely fast and powerful. Okay, we’re fighting a supernatural beast and it’s perfectly normal to be fast, but I wish the camera could adapt to that. Even if you lock onto the monster, the camera goes to different places, if the monster jumps into the air or flies, you’re already done, the cameraman leaves the job. The biggest problem here is that the camera is too close to our character. When it comes to kemono, it goes back a bit, but it doesn’t help at all. Especially when you get on top of a monster and it starts running at that time, the camera zooms in on you and shakes like crazy.
The monsters are fast, powerful, and follow you. I’m not talking about chasing you, you can’t escape attacks. The monster is up on its two feet and it’s going to collapse on you, you’re quickly running sideways, away from the area where it can hit because it makes sense, doesn’t it? Since the camera is focused on you, not the monster, you can’t see the exact location. The rearing beast, which is normally four-legged, turns to you with the agility of a two-legged human and falls on you again. The game asks you to dodge or use karakuri at the “last second”. There is no material for Karakuri, you can’t see the animal’s attack because of the camera, then there is nothing to do, you will get crushed with 50% chance.
There are around 20 monsters and different versions of them in the game. There are times when we cut the ice of the same one and then beat the stronger version of it, saying, “Look, he’s angry, but”. Variety isn’t bad actually, I don’t see the number of monsters as a minus. It is known that new monsters will come with the content to be added after the game is released. Monster fights are usually very enjoyable, I’m a little distant from Sporetail, who is walking around with rats that release hypnotic gas, it can be a life-busting fight when playing alone.
Kemenos have a habit that undermines the atmosphere, I cannot pass without mentioning it. One of my favorite things about the Monster Hunter series is the field battle, when two monsters meet and fight each other for control of the field, we are free to watch from afar or go to the aid of whatever side we want. Not in this game! Seeing the monster coming, he leaves by saying “let’s run away”. If I say they don’t do it because of their nature, the story of the game is already based on field warfare. Rarely have I seen the little ones fighting the big kemenos, but that’s not always the case as everyone who sees me rushes at me.
Sorry, You Have Lowered Your FPS
I’ve told good and bad things about the game, my overall impression is pretty good actually, but I haven’t mentioned the worst part of the game yet. They forgot to optimize! Moreover, I even updated my computer to be able to say this with peace of mind. Let’s talk now!
Sometimes the game looks very impressive, other times it’s not bad, I’m pretty happy with what I came across visually. The environments are beautiful, the character models are great, the monsters pattern is a complete visual show especially when they switch to rage mode. It seems like I can play this game easily with my 2060 graphics card, at least in theory. When we return to reality, the game offers an unstable fps and as a result, I have passed the slow motion moments in battles, I have trouble even running in flat environment. Consistency in FPS values is zero, the game is not easily playable.
Playing with the graphics settings didn’t work at all, there is a supersampling feature in the game, you can play 60fps in a graphic quality like the windshield of the vehicle caught in the muddy rain. Isn’t it a great blessing? Not. But then it came to my mind, I set the FPS value to 30 from the game settings and my problem was largely solved. I played the game at 1080p resolution 30 FPS on a slightly above average PC. I tried to see how it would be in 2K resolution, it worked at 30 FPS without any problems there. Meanwhile, my friend, who was reviewing it on Xbox, was talking about falling from 60 from time to time.
I was thinking about renewing the video card for a while, thinking maybe this is a good opportunity, I updated my card to 3070 and increased the FPS value again. First of all, I tried it in 2K resolution, the result is bad, the same hangs continue. I shot it to 1080p resolution and there is no change. The problem isn’t that my card isn’t strong, it’s that the game isn’t using the card. I tried the graphics settings from the lowest to the highest, the maximum FPS boost I got was 12. Finally, I decided to fix 30 FPS and play in 2K resolution, at least so that we can see the beauty.
We cannot adjust the resolution settings and some critical graphics settings in-game, one of them being full screen transition. I tried to play a fight like Deathstalker with my friend, which has already become more difficult because of the camera, I don’t remember such a grind. There’s a snowstorm around, the Deathstalker is doing ice-based attacks, and I accidentally left the game as Borderless while I was trying something. The game won’t let me go fullscreen in any way, even disabled the alt-enter combination. We fought with 20 FPS under snow – 25 indoors, 10 FPS while Deathstalker was attacking, of course we lost.
I was sure that the problems would be solved thanks to an update and NVIDIA drivers and DLSS to be added on the day of the game’s release, I’m writing this post the day after its release, still no change. I wish you would delay the release of the game for 1-2 weeks and solve the problems instead of releasing the game like this. You know, I don’t want to deduct points for problems that can be fixed, but I suffered that pain, if I don’t tell anyone else, it will be on me.
My hunting friend (Sabri Erkan Sabancı), who plays the game on Xbox Series X, was telling me that the performance of the game was very smooth and that he had minor problems from time to time, and I was playing at 30 FPS with an updated PC. A few days before its release, I had the opportunity to try the PlayStation 5 version and I wanted to see the performance with my own eyes. The game runs on the console, I can’t say anything beyond that. I did all those fights that I couldn’t do with Bladed Wagasa and got angry so easily on PlayStation 5 that we thought if it was easier to fend off with the update to the game. Is this game unplayable at 30 FPS, it’s fine, I played for 40 hours. But after seeing that fluency and comfort on PlayStation 5, I couldn’t open the PC version again. Waiting for drivers.
Let me briefly touch on the sound and music of the game. Sound and music are very good, they are used in accordance with the atmosphere. For example, I don’t want to hear dolphin sounds for a while because of the kemeno that makes dolphin sounds. So well used. The atmosphere is very nice. They have already paid attention to the story and the team in the voiceovers. It was strange to compress Japanese words into the vehicle in English voiceovers and to do this in the subtitles. I wouldn’t, but whatever.
Wild Hearts Review: Conclusion
In our Wild Hearts review, we took a closer look to the game. Wild Hearts is a pretty good game. It is a game that adds new mechanics instead of copying Monster Hunter games exactly and reinterpreting existing mechanics with their own touches. If you ask if it will rival Monster Hunter World or Rise right now, there are points that need to be polished and small touches (like the minimap) are still needed, but they have made a very good start on this path. If the Omega Force – Koei Tecmo team continues this series with the support of EA, we can witness a serious struggle.
So, do I suggest you play the game on the PC side, where I’ve reviewed the game and even updated the video card to better examine it? If you don’t have a problem playing at 30 FPS until the necessary updates and DLSS support come, yes. It has already been said that these updates are on the way, they will be coming soon. I would have preferred it to be ready the day it came out, but whatever.
If you have PlayStation 5 or Xbox Series, do not make the mistake of playing on PC. The game has cross-platform support and you can play with players from any platform. No need to be nervous for no reason. In addition, those who will play on the console side can add 10 to the score I gave.
I like this game very much, I think it is a good alternative to Monster Hunter, it will be a good competitor in the future. But I can’t recommend it to everyone because of the PC version that has been making me want to hit my head against the walls for the last 2 weeks, and frankly, the 70-dollar price tag, which is higher than the fps value I get in the game, does not do justice to it as it stands. If you have a Gamepass, be sure to play the 10-hour trial version with EA Play. You will test whether it is a game for you and PC performance. You can make your decision accordingly.