Rich Stanton, for the Guardian:
"The first time you encounter most monsters, they’ll batter you from pillar to post for daring to intrude on their stomping grounds. As you struggle against this you’ll learn their moves, make mental notes of a few tells, and realise you should have brought antidotes, or sonic bombs, or maybe even a different weapon. Soon, imperceptibly at first, the scales begin to tip. Soon it’s you chasing down the monster, tooled-up with the perfect gear and with the kind of experience that only comes from hard-fought victories, relentlessly attacking and dodging every offensive onslaught by reflex.
What you have done is mastered that monster. And then you move on to the next, which you’d better believe is bigger, spikier, and eats five of that first one for breakfast every morning. The point is that mastering a beautifully-crafted AI creature like this is not grinding. Yes, you fight the same monster multiple times, and if you want to make every item possible from a monster’s organic treasure trove you’ll need to fight it a lot. But though your kit may become more tailored, or your armour a little better, the improvement in your hunting ability is almost nothing to do with statistics – it’s about you. This is a skill-based system built around repetition, rather than a series of stat increases built around repetition, and the gulf between these is the difference between hundreds of average action-RPGs and one of the greatest in history."