Thursday, 18 August 2011

First Impressions: Monster Hunter Tri

Donkey Kong Country Returns, the game I reviewed a few days ago, isn't the only title I certainly shouldn't have missed out on when it was first released back in 2010. There is in fact another Wii game I arrived late on the scene in picking up quite recently, and that game is the epic Monster Hunter Tri, the third game in the monster hunting series to appear on a home console (unless you count the Japan-exclusive Monster Hunter G). In its native homeland the Monster Hunter franchise is extremely popular, but not so much here in the UK or in any other English-speaking countries for that matter. Well, Capcom eventually wanted to change that fact and teamed up with Nintendo to bring the series to the Wii with Monster Hunter's third iteration (excluding G). As it turned out, Nintendo's campaigns to promote the game actually worked, and Monster Hunter Tri sold a lot more than the previous games in the series. Despite this, I didn't pick up the game until recently, and in case you haven't figured out from the title of this post, today I'll be sharing my first impressions of this beast-smashing epic. So far, I love this title to bits, and in about five-hundred words of positive reactions, here's why...

The famous jingle that plays when cooking monster meat is catchy, and quite frankly hilarious. SO TASTY!!!
Despite Monster Hunter's ridiculous unpopularity, I actually happen to own a copy of the original game on PS2 which I loved back in the day. There really wasn't anything more joyous than battering beasts into submission with gargantuan swords, then carving up their remains and using these body parts and insides to create new weaponry and armour. Well, with Monster Hunter Tri it turns out that not a lot has changed since the original title. In fact, the Monster Hunter franchise essentially feels a lot like the Pokemon franchise, meaning that each title in the series takes place in a new location but uses the same engine and concept, expanding on the gameplay and visuals just a teensy bit with each installment. This isn't a problem however, as Monster Hunter Tri is still brilliant and is vastly superior when compared to the original PS2 game. For those who aren't in the know, the main meat of Monster Hunter is based around hunting huge dinosaur-like beasts and fulfilling other tasks across a variety of locations to boost your custom character's ego and ultimately finish each and every quest. The tasks you partake in range from hunting a number of smaller and more common beasts, to delivering items in fetch quests and battering massive monsters in the larger-scale quests. Outside of the various hunting grounds you'll be running around the hub world, which is in this case a small fishing village, purchasing items to help you out on quests, dining to boost your stats if you need a helping hand and doing various other things to help out the village. The Monster Hunter games are solely focused on questing and crafting armor and weaponry so there's pretty much no story whatsoever. However, in Tri there is some form of plot going on in the single player mode, based around the attacks your fishing village has been receiving from the massive, vicious sea monster known as Lagiacrus. In order to repel this monster, it's up to you to keep on hunting, gaining materials to craft new items that will in turn increase your stats and eventually grant you the ability to fight Lagiacrus with suitable equipment. And trust me, it's going to take a lot of work.

The deafening roar of large beasts can stun your character if you're not careful.
The joys of Monster Hunter Tri refuse to end just at single player though, as the series has offered brilliant multiplayer experiences in the past with this installment being no different. The online mode is essentially a completely different adventure, offering many new quests to participate in alongside up to three other hunters, as well as a completely different hub world and the opportunity to take part in online-exclusive events. These 'Event Quests' change from week to week, and while new ones aren't added any longer (this game is almost a year old now, after all) they're still great fun. Hunting with other players is practically lag-free, which is an impressive feat since a number of huge beasts can be found on a single map area at once on odd occasions. Capcom and Nintendo also ditched the annoying Friend Code system for Tri, allowing players to add each other simply by searching their name and sending a friend request. Wii Speak mic chat is also supported when playing with friends, as is the ability to plug in a USB keyboard to chat. It's safe to say that Monster Hunter Tri offers what is quite possibly the most robust and easy to use online multiplayer of any Wii title, which is no small feat.

As this is a First Impressions post, I won't go into too much detail over how brilliant this game is, instead saving all that lovely stuff for the inevitable review. Until then, all I can really say is to buy this game and enjoy the excellent beast-smashing experience that is on offer with Monster Hunter Tri. On a quick side note, progress on my blog's re-design is running very smoothly if anyone's wondering. I've basically just got to put together the graphics and sort out what size everything should be, eventually resulting in an infinitely more awesome site. Look forward to it!


Tom said...

Nice to see you're enjoying it :) I agree with you on the BBQ thing. SO TASTY!!!!! It's pretty much the only reason I use the BBQ Spit xD

Anonymous said...

You've captured the spirit of the game well, though I'm surprised for a game that's very much combat-focused you haven't mentioned much about the game's wooden combat yet...can I look forward to that on your next post? :)

Noodle said...

Yeah, I tend to leave a lot of stuff out in First Impressions posts in favour of saving that stuff for the review, as I mentioned at the end of the post. I will certainly be reviewing this game and writing about the combat, as you say, soon enough. For now I've got a Skyward Sword Preview to work on!