Monday, April 22, 2013
I’m one of the many people who got drawn into the series when Tri came about, sinking hundreds of hours into the game. It had such a lasting effect on me that I eventually went out and picked up a copy of Monster Hunter Freedom Unite for the PSP, sank hundreds of hours into that, imported a copy of Monster Hunter Portable 3rd, sank hundreds of hours into that, then picked up a Wii U and Monster Hunter Tri Ultimate.
And, yes, I’ve put hundreds of hours into that!
But what exactly is it about the series that’s so engrossing? There are few games that really compare in how obsessed I get, and it’s hard to say what exactly I find so alluring. It’s really not just one factor, there’s a lot about the game that I really enjoy.
One of the main things that Monster Hunter delivers is challenge. When I play a game -- especially a game with action/real time combat -- I like a challenge. Having that sort of experience really gets me into figuring out all sorts of quirks present in the gameplay. Monster Hunter provides that, where players are met with a wall they need to climb. At first, it’ll be rough and the player might barely scrape by, but as time goes on, you’ll keep playing and noticing different elements, adapting new strategies, and you eventually overcome that wall.
For instance, the Barroth was a common wall people had when they first came to Monster Hunter Tri. It’s a dinosaur that’s pretty reminiscent of a pachycephalosaurus, but switch the domed skull with a snow plow and give it the ability to use mud as armor and projectiles. Prior to this monster, you’d see a number of raptors, birds, and leviathans. Somewhat threatening, but nothing that posed a huge challenge. They’d growl, try to slap you, tackle you, or maybe have some cool tricks up their sleeves, like clapping explosions or summoning minions to help them out. However, when you get to the Barroth, you’ll meet a number of new elements.
First off, when he sees you, he lets out a deafening roar that flinches you and forces you to cover your ears. No monster before it had anything like that, and it could come as quite a shock. Second, if you beat up a monster enough, it gets mad and hits harder and moves faster. However, when you enrage a Barroth, he lets loose another deafening cry, and starts hitting like a truck. He’ll cover you in mud, ram you with his thick skull, and give you a ton of grief.
My first attempt was pretty rough, where I consumed a large amount of healing items and barely scraped by, having taken 40 or so of the allotted 50 minute time limit. Nonetheless, I would return to the fight and pick up on various quirks. He’d charge at you and end with a swing of the tail, so not only do you need to get out of the way of the charging skull, you’d also need to keep an eye out for that tail. Maybe roll out of the charge’s path, then wait for the tail swing, and launch an attack.
This is one of Monster Hunter’s greatest strengths as a game. It offers great challenge, and allows for the player to become more skillful and grow as a hunter. Furthermore, this growth is reliant on the player’s own skill. There are a lot of games where certain difficulties can be overcome with things like overleveling, stocking up tons of healing items, and other methods. In Monster Hunter, you’re always limited on your healing items. Additionally, the only way you can really level up is to get better equipment, and to get better equipment, you have to defeat stronger monsters.
In the end, it’s all about how you, as a player, can improve yourself.
|The armor made from the Barroth, after a victory|
Another great aspect about the game that comes after the monster slaying is the equipment forging. It is incredibly satisfying to take down the monster that was your nightmare, and turn it into a stylish armor set, or to even incorporate the parts into your weapon to make it an even stronger one. This is another fun aspect that expresses growth as a player, since your new equipment is often the reward for overcoming the challenges presented in the game.
The designs of the monsters and the designs of the equipment are another great part of the game. You can pick up a pair of minichainsaws and use them as dualswords, you can forge a hammer made out of a giant stone fist, and you can even catch a fish to wield as a greatsword.
To complement your weapon choice, you can dress up in all sorts of wonderfully designed armor sets, from reliable leather to the classical dragonforged set, or from the funktastic Techno Space Viking to the set reminiscent of Ezio and the Assassins. There are a ton of fantastic designs in this armor, as well as in the monsters themselves. It’s not hard to be completely engrossed in picking out what looks cool or what looks great to show off to your friends, and is another shining component of Monster Hunter.
These are just two of the elements of the game that I really enjoy, but there are many more. If you’re a fan of action games, especially of the Capcom sort, I highly encourage you to check out the series. If you’re already an avid fan, then I hope to see you in the hunt.
- By Alex Han, of the Teamwork Podcast
Stay tuned, folks… More Monster Hunter testimonials coming soon!
(And if you want to submit a testimonial of your own, hit me up!)