Wild Hearts, the new hunting game by Koei Tecmo under the EA Originals label, has been playable since February 17th. MeinMMO editor Benedict Grothaus has been playing every day since the release. And that, although – or because it demands more and more of him.
The release of Wild Hearts didn’t exactly go smoothly. Many players complained about performance problems, especially on the PC, and the price of up to 80 euros didn’t really seem justified.
Nevertheless, Wild Hearts is an absolutely great game that I play at least briefly every day, usually even all the time after work. According to Origin, I’ve now spent 42 hours in the game.
The pictures in the Lichtsteine guide by colleague Christos Tsogos, for example, come from me and I also recorded most of the gameplay from which our video team builds the great videos. But the videos are good too:
But I spent most of my time playing games, hunting one of the many different monsters or looking at new weapons and upgrading them. The upgrades were also necessary at some point, because the monsters get really tough.
So hard, in fact, that a boss killed me dozens of times before I was finally able to defeat him. Despite the frustrating experience, I’ll stick with it. Why?
Wild Hearts is getting harder and harder – But I’m getting better and better
When I was invited to the Wild Hearts preview event before the release, I spent 10 hours doing the first quests and hunting monsters. Actually, I don’t play hunting games like Monster Hunter, only Dauntless was able to inspire me for a while back then.
From the point of view of an action RPG fan who likes to play soulslikes, however, I was immediately drawn to Wild Hearts. I compared it to Elden Ring and even claimed that you don’t die that often in Wild Hearts.
Now I’m not so sure anymore. Some of the bosses are really tough and I need both a knowledge of the weapons and the correct use of the karakuri, the game’s building system, to defeat monsters.
But that’s exactly what keeps me playing. After 36 hours I’m still not in the endgame and I’m sure it will be even trickier later. But my fighting spirit is awakened. I want more, I want to get better, and I want to hunt bigger monsters.
There is a lot to do without overwhelming me
“By the way” I collect materials for all sorts of things, as is probably customary for the genre. New weapons and armor, upgrades and food that give advantages in battle. But what I find even more exciting is the construction system.
I can unlock more and more buildings via a talent tree, which I put in my storage. Devices then collect ores, food or materials for me, so that I no longer have to constantly run through the world.
I am free to learn and improve. Do I want to be able to cook better? Or should my buildings become stronger in battle? I even learn some new constructs only in the fight against a certain monster as “brainstorm”.
It all sounds complicated, but all the trees are largely linear and you can’t “get lost”. At first, the huge board looks completely overwhelming, but I quickly figure out what I want and where I should develop.
When it comes to weapons, the system is even cooler:
- certain weapons have advantages against certain opponents or special effects
- the basic weapons can be produced for few materials, only the upgrades are “expensive”
- however, all upgrades can be taken back and the materials are returned
- this allows me to create other types of weapons or upgrades without having to farm again – great for always being well prepared or trying something new
I like it when I can develop myself and Wild Hearts fully meets this need. No matter what I do – somehow it improves me and if I want, I can farm targeted upgrades. Really good.
Wild Hearts would be a blast as an AA game
While I love Wild Hearts so much, the game has one major problem. It just doesn’t go over well enough.
Wild Hearts is a game under the EA Originals banner, which the publisher uses to support indie games. You can see that in Wild Hearts: the ideas are great, the gameplay is excellent, the story is better than what I’ve heard from Monster Hunter.
Normally, however, indie games and AA productions are not sold for between 70 and 80 euros, but for 20 to 40 – if they are expensive. I can’t tell you how much influence EA and Koei Tecmo each had on this, but that’s exactly the point of the criticism here.
24,000 players on Steam is ok for an indie game but bad for a AAA product even if there are 3 other platforms. Twitch’s 23rd most viewed game would be okay for a small production, but a prestige project needs more to reflect its success.
I don’t know how high the expectations of EA and Koei Tecmo were for the game – nor how many sales there were actually. But based on the data I have, I can say: there’s more to it than that.
Wild Hearts has great potential that has been curtailed by a number of factors. Above all, the rather bad PC launch must not be in a game for 70 or 80 euros. After all, the first patch was available just a few days after the release:
Wild Hearts brings long-awaited patch to improve performance on PC – players say it’s gotten worse
It’s a pity that the release in particular is going so badly. That doesn’t mean Wild Hearts is a bad game because of that. For me it will certainly be my favorite game for at least a few weeks – even if it doesn’t sound like it sometimes.
If the developers stay on the ball here, keep polishing and deliver the free updates properly in the future, I can see myself coming back again and again in the years to come. But I probably won’t be able to play every day by mid-March at the latest:
Diablo 4: Open Beta starts in March – all information about the test