Monster Hunter is a franchise of limited popularity in the Western world, it demands a great deal of time, perseverance, and devotion. Ill say this right off the bat, Monster Hunter tri is an incredible game, but beware, it is not a game for folks that want to play for a few minutes then leave. It has an incredibly difficult learning curve (but much less so than previous MH titles), and its that difficulty that makes MH3 so rewarding and frustrating at the same time.
For the first few hours, gamers won’t find much in terms of action and adventure. MH3 is a VERY deep game, it has strategies with branching strategies that can only be achieved by using OTHER strategies. The first few hours will be spent going through text box after text box, collecting remedial items, and learning the aforementioned strategies. This game is as complex as they come, and i will openly refuse to recommend it to those who want a simple type of fun, as this game will not deliver it.
After the initial slosh through the long tutorial (which is cleverly disguised in a plan story mode), you’ll be set out into the world to fight monsters, collect bounties, and simply harvest necessary items. Eventually you gain the ability to create your own armor and weapons based from the items you’ve collected. Defeating monsters grants you the ability to “carve” them, IE collect items from the monster. Items are unique to specific monsters, and several are necessary to complete a piece of armor/weapon. Its a chore at times, but the brilliant system replaces the archaic leveling up of ancient RPGs. As you progress in the game, you’ll gain access to new lands, deadly monsters, and different items, all of which can be used to build newer, stronger weapons/armor.
Everything you build has a distinct appearance or similarity to the monster it originated from. Much more than color is used to identify a weapon/armor to its original monster. Physical traits, edges, fangs, textures, and in game attributes are all often used to bring a weapon together with its original source. For example, a monster has a heavy poison attack, the weapon created from its materials will have its own poison attacks, or the armor may be resistant to poisonous attacks.
It the weapon/armor crafting/upgrading system that grants MH3 such an addictive quality. As soon as you find a new monster, you start to wonder how its weapon will look or handle, or how the armor will be. Although it takes a long time to amass the required materials or money to craft a certain weapon, the ending feels so worth it.
There are several “large monsters” (18 in total), each with its own style, attack patterns, weaknesses, strengths, materials, and appearance. Since each one is unique and different, and there are so many different monsters, it hard to get bored.
Which brings me to my next topic, the actual battle system. The core combat in MH3 is very much like a simple 3D brawler. There is no camera lock on, several combos, full camera control, and dodging. A good deal of criticism directed toward this game was about the camera system. At first it was difficult and frustrating to use and handle, since constant movement of the camera was necessary to fight and kill a monster. After practice, the game rubs off on you, and you begin to handle the camera before certain events, such as evading or running away. Items are an absolute must, since the enemies are strong, and have much, much more hit points than any warrior. Items to raise attack/def, health, stamina, efficiency, and weapon sharpness (after repeated use, a blade weapon looses sharpness and deals less damage). Most of these items can be made by combining materials found in worlds, others can be bought, or other given to you.
Monster Hunter Tri has some of the very best graphics and art design found on Wii. It’s right up there with Red Steel 2, Super Mario Galaxy, Metroid Prime 3, and Dead Space Extraction in terms of graphical fidelity. Everything from character models to armor and monsters is incredibly detailed (so much so that some of the details are “clustered” together in the Wii’s limited 480p presentation), locations are beautifully redendered, designed, and animated in such as way that each area is it own unique and living world. Monsters are given an incredible amount of polish, from design to animation as well.
Monster Hunter Tri is one of the few MH games to include online play, and Capcom has done an incredible job with the online infrastructure in the game. Like everything else about it, Monster Hunter Tri has a complex online system that links servers to lobbies to “cities” of only 4 players. After the hard learning curve, youll find buddies, shops, exclusive quests, and items that can only be gained in the online mode. Players can join and play with any group of people without friend codes, gameplay is almost always lag free, and keyboard and WiiSpeak chat is included. To use the keyboard, the game provides a simple on screen variation if you don’t have a USB keyboard; otherwise it’s as easy as typing and posting. To use WiiSpeak, at least 2 people must have the devise, and have it enabled, and then each must be a “friend”. Keep in mind this is not Nintendo’s infamous “friend codes”, instead its merely sending a friend request, and having the recipient accept it.
——–On Wii Speak——–
Having played Monster Hunter Tri online, ive found (on several occasions) that those using WiiSpeak MUST turn down music and SFX volume in order to use it effectivly. See, the music/SFX are easily consumed by the “echo cycle” described below, so turning down the in-game volume yields great results. If BOTH parties have said settings, WiiSpeak works well enough. The voice quality is still low, there is still the second lag, and you still can’t communicate with more than 1 person at a time without your voice turning into a confusion of random bable, but it works.
The microphone is intended to receive the voices of several people, and in that effect it attempts to receive a wide range of noises, including those from your TV speakers. What this does is create long echoes. Noise sent from one Wii Speak is received by the other, is produced by the others TV set, and is received by Wii Speak 2 and set back to Wii Speak 1. This vicious cycle never ends.
The bundled Classic Controller Pro is Nintendo’s upgrade to its existing Classic Controller. It was developed with the help and insight of the actual MH3 development team, and is sold for $10 more in this box set. The new additions include nice grips, redesigned shoulder buttons, control sticks, and cord. The new extras do help round out the controller, but obvious problems persist.
The controller is still wired to a Wii remote in order to function. In a generation where wireless is standard, it is a nuisance and shame that Nintendo, once a pioneer in wireless controller, has limited its controller to a wire. Its not a huge deal as it doesn’t affect gameplay or control in any way, but it is something worth considering for those interesting in “re-buying” a CC.
The Classic Controller launched without a rumble feature, and now the CC Pro has done the same. Since the CC is tethered to a WiiMote, and gathers its power from it, a lack of rumble is sure to safe battery life. It does take away from some of the experience however. Although it is true that Sony launched the Play Station 3 without a rumble controller, they have since released the DualShock 3 to remedy it.
Since it has no battery source of its own, or any internal mechanics to support a rumble feature, the CC Pro is very light. The plastic used is sturdy, so it doesn’t feel cheap or breakable, but it does feel flimsy.
The CC Pro has a gloss on top of the controller, similar to the Wii remote, but the entire bottom of it lacks any of the gloss, OR a matte finish like the newer Wiimotes of Xbox 360 controllers.
The CC Pro is being sold standalone for $20, and it becomes obvious why it lacks a sense of luxury, but it’s disappointing that Nintendo would go through all the trouble of redesigning a controller only to do it poorly. The low price means that it isn’t a serious investment, but the additions don’t really warrant another purchase for those already stock full of original CCs. New comers are very welcome though.
I find that the Wii Mote control scheme may turn off players, but it is responsive and works great. There are no awkward gestures of button holdings, and since most of the game doesn’t offer you full 360 degree camera control (horizontal yes, but vertical control is limited to set intervals), an analog stick is really not required.
Monster Hunter Tri is a difficult game, one that takes a great length of time to understand, and an even greater time to master. It’s a game that demands time, attention, and focus; casual gamers beware, this is NOT a pick up and play title. It is, however, very satisfying to spend hours to forge a weapon, or finally defeat a monster after an hour long battle. Despite its faults, it manages to go on beyond its pieces and become a masterpiece.
Rating: 5 / 5