Monster Hunter: World keeps expanding its roster of giant beasts with a variety of pickle-lizards and golden dragons. This week, the game added another new monster: The blue flame-covered Lunastra. Hunting Lunastra means signing up for a difficult fight full of explosions and snarls. It's tough, but it's a great addition to the game.
It's tempting to think of Lunastra as a reskin of another monster, the elder dragon Teostra. Teostra is a massive, flame-coated lion-dog, and Lunastra is a close relative. But while they're similar, Lunastra has some nasty tricks.
The biggest is their magical fire, which is both gorgeous to watch and dangerous to underestimate. Lunastra has a habit of breathing fire all over the battlefield or letting loose a massive explosion that engulfs the area. These attacks hit for a ton of damage but also leave fire on the ground, which saps health at an alarming rate.
Fighting Lunastra highlights some of my favourite things about Monster Hunter: World. You need to prepare your gear wisely and watch your positioning. The fight is hectic, and it's easy to get distracted and stand in a bad spot. You can mitigate this with some smart item use: Fireproof mantles are particularly useful in this case. A smart hunter is still in for a tough fight, but Lunastra hunts reward forethought.
The questline surrounding Lunastra can be tricky to complete as a solo hunter. The final mission involves hunting both Teostra and Lunastra, which is tall task. While other monsters get into turf wars when they cross paths, these two actually cooperate and perform a powerful team attack, causing two explosions back to back that will almost certainly knock out overeager hunters.
Like most hunts, it's best to work with a team.
Thankfully, the rewards are well worth the effort. Completing the questline grants the Temporal Mantle, an awesome cloak that allows the player to automatically dodge most attacks for a period of time. It's one of the coolest items in the game.
The new Lunastra armour and weapons also seem pretty great, although the material requirements to craft them can be step. The beta set has Peak Performance, which increases your attack at full health, while the armour itself comes with a ton of modification slots.
The weapons also have skills, which is a first for the game. For instance, if you craft the best Lunastra weapons, you will have Guts, but if you craft a version using Xeno'jiva parts, you'll have the useful Razor Sharp skill. Crafting Lunastra gear gives the player a chance to really customise their skill loadout.
Monster Hunter: World's new monsters have been consistently great. Deviljho remains one of my favourite hunts in the game, and the Kulve Taroth siege is a really fun gear grind. Lunastra is a tough fight that kicked my arse plenty, but if you keep at it there are some awesome rewards.