Monster Hunter makes Cabela’s Hunting look bad

Imagine being able to run over majestic fields and mountains, swimming through deeps seas, venturing through deserts and frozen plains and hunting down colossal monsters, all from the comfort of your home. Well, Monster Hunter Tri gives you the ability to do that and so much more.

Monster Hunter Tri is an action role-playing game developed by Capcom for the Nintendo Wii. But of course, like all games, it is much more than just the genre. Monster Hunter is an in depth game where the players take on the role of a hunter, a hunter of monsters of course. Players hunt down anything from large dragons to agile sea monsters.

The Monster Hunter franchise was started in 2004 with the first Monster Hunter for the Playstation 2. Since then, Capcom has released 11 other Monster Hunter games for various gaming systems. The latest, of course, being Monster Hunter Tri.

The game starts out depicting a quaint little fishing village with some very nicely done computer graphics. It goes on to show this village interacting, before an earthquake shakes the village. After the earthquake, panicking villagers surround the village chief. As it turns out, you are a new hunter for the village. Apparently there is a sea monster called the Lagiacrus that has been attacking the village’s fishing fleet lately and the village chief wants you to train hard enough to where you can fight it. And he wants you to find out what is causing the tremors as of late.

That is really about the extent of the storyline in Monster Hunter Tri. Monster Hunter games are not really something that one plays for the story line. The emphasis for this game franchise lies in the game play.

Hunting in Monster Hunter is not like your typical hunting. Sure, you track down your target, you can learn where certain monster will be at what times and what their patterns are. But this kind of hunting involves big huge swords, powerful bowguns, lances, and large war hammers. Its not your typical hunting, its more like one-on-one combat with a giant wyvern or sea creature.

There are seven kinds of weapons that the player can use in this game. That includes the fast and agile sword and shield, the defensive, powerful, but slow great sword, the versatile and strategic switchaxe, the defensive and long ranged lance, the power and fast long sword, the brute force hammer, and the long range bowgun. Each weapon plays completely different than the other. And not only that, but there are hundreds of different weapons that the players can either buy or craft by gathering the correct materials from the different areas they can explore.

Monster Hunter also has a wide range of armor that players can buy and craft. Different armor provides different defense, attributes, strengths, and weaknesses.

The whole weapon and armor crafting system is hard to grasp for beginners to the Monster Hunter series, and can actually be a bit of a deterrent if one is not patient enough to figure the system out. But it actually works really well, better than crafting systems in a lot of other role-playing games, even if it is a bit overwhelming at first.

The next thing to talk about is the actual hunting system. To actually hunt the big monsters one has to accept the quest to hunt one from the Hunters Guild. Of course, players cannot just jump in and take down the Lagiacrus. The have to move up in the ranks with the quests until they are good enough to fight the bigger monsters. One does not even fight a very powerful monster until the second grade of quests where they can choose to fight the Great Jaggi, a rather large velociraptor like creature. After completing a quest the player has the option to go back and replay the quest again to earn more money and find more materials for crafting.

The movement system itself takes a long while to get used to. At first, players may find themselves getting very frustrated with the movement system. While moving, the character does not stop instantly when the player lets off the analog stick. The character will take a step or two more to stop, like one would in real life. And the new swimming system can be very hard to get used to because the players have to not only move forward, but up and down. Even though the movement system takes a while to get used to, after using it long enough it become natural and very easy to use.

The combat system can also take a while to get used to. Depending on how one is moving, the character might attack differently. The player has to learn to use the different attack buttons to their advantage depending on the situation. Like with the sword and shield the player can run forward and attack to perform a jumping attack. While useful when closing in on an enemy, it is less useful when fighting up close. One could accidentally do the jumping attack and jump right past the enemy if they are not used to attacking correctly according to the situation.

Finally, we move to the monster fighting system. Each monster fights differently that others. So players can catch on to how that certain monster fights and plan accordingly. Like a certain monsters might have a pattern of shaking its tail before spewing fire at the player. So if the player catches on to this they can avoid the attack. Of course, the problem can be at time, after fighting a monster over and over again, it could become a little bit redundant if the monster becomes too easy to fight. But sometimes a larger monster will run away when it is about to die to heal itself, so this adds a bit more variety into the mix. Also, you never know if another decides to pay a visit and help out its fellow monster.

When put together, Monster Hunter makes a very strong and beautiful game. The single player itself is enough to buy the game. But the single player is not all that you get. You also get the multiplayer action.

First is the arena. In the arena you can team up with another person on the same console and play on the same TV to take down different monsters in an arena-like setting. Although, you can not explore the world like in the single player mode. The multiplayer exploration is reserved for the online gameplay.

The online gameplay is a completely different monster. It has a new town, new characters, and new settings. It also has brand new quests that one can play with others online. One can join up with their friends for some monster slaying fun, or they can search online to find random hunters to gang up with. One can have a party of up to four people to go on quests with. So, killing monsters can be a group experience.

Overall, Monster Hunter Tri is a great game. I personally give the game a 10 out of 10 based on game play alone. The graphics might not be up to par with the Xbox 360 or the Playstation 3, but for a Wii game it has very good graphics. There are times when would I look out over the landscape after getting to the top of a mountain and be amazed at how good the game looks, especially for a Wii game. At times hardcore gamers are quick to judge Wii games as simple and easy. But Monster Hunter Tri is far from that. It is definitely aimed at the more hardcore gamer. Sure a more casual gamer could play it as well, but it would take more work for them to learn how to play it.

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