Monday, April 29, 2013

The Monster Hunter Testimonials, Day Three!  


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After the short break with the last update, we're now getting back to the MonHun... And in case you missed it, I'm running these because one of our long-time readers (Hi Alv!) requested that I take some time to get into the essence of the series, and really get under its skin to explain its appeal, similar to the way our own@GC_Danny dissected his love of the modern classic, Deadly Premonition

I thought this was a fantastic idea, so I decided to go one step further. Rather than Simply sharing my own feelings (which I will do a little later on) I got a host of Monster Hunter fans to help me illustrate what makes it such a singular experience. 


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To me, the real hook of Monster Hunter lies in its presentation.

As someone who balks at the idea of having to play hours and hours of a game before fully comprehending it, I was initially very turned off by the very premise of the series. Never before has a game lacking any real narrative caught my interest enough to want to invest that kind of time, so why would Monster Hunter be any different?

In the end, curiosity and some kick-ass monster designs won me over, and I ended up with a copy of Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate for the Nintendo 3DS.

Now, I can’t profess to having played enough to say I honestly know exactly what I’m doing, but what I can say is this: I’m completely obsessed.

Stepping into the world of Monster Hunter for the first time, I was overwhelmed by the cohesive aesthetic of the game and minute attention to detail put into everything from environmental designs to dialogue. While many cautioned me of the notoriously slow first few hours of the game, I found myself content just venturing out into the unknown, exploring terrain, harvesting items, and witnessing the diverse wildlife that populated the early game’s grassy fields.

Of course, the thrill of tracking down one of the game’s many majestic beasts and engaging in the lethal dance that ensues is inarguably the highlight of Monster Hunter. But were it not for the always-amusing interactions with NPCs (they weren’t lying when they said the Guild Sweetheart was a riot!), medieval wilderness aesthetic, and endlessly-charming touches such as the ability to cuddle your farm’s pig, I can safely say I wouldn’t have been nearly as eager to join the hunt.

Monster Hunter excels in creating a world that you just can’t wait to get back to, and I, for one, know it’s a world I will happily spend a hundred hours in.

-- by Anne Lee, @apricotsushi

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One aspect about Monster Hunter that I love is its ability to bring people together. In a time where couch co-op is rare, it is refreshing to see a game that centers on cooperative gameplay.

Each hunter, depending on their playstyle, can do their part.



The Great Sword user can deal the damage, the Bow Gunner can apply crippling statuses, and the Long Sword user can cut the tail while the Sword and Shield wielder can lay bombs and traps. I was the first of my friends to play the game, but because of its cooperative nature, I have been able to attract 6 others to the franchise.

While some critics decry the franchise for its lack of guidance, I see it as a boon to the community. This game’s following is fantastic: multiple podcasts, online wikis, google groups, and chats all work together to better the players and welcome newcomers.

Hunting with friends and family exhilarates me more than any other game I have played. It should not be missed.

-- by @RetroRedemption, http://retroredemption.tumblr.com/

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Like a few, Monster Hunter Tri was my 1st foray into the MH world  - and by the time I stopped playing that version a month or so ago, I'd racked up almost 1,000 hours of gameplay time! Also like most, I didn't really know what I was doing at first. Similar to others - my friend @Leneux on twitter to name just one -  I came into MH with a background of having spent many, many hours on PSO, which was of course multi-platform but GameCube, was my console of choice back then.

So what makes the Monster Hunter so franchise special or unique? This is a tough one to answer.

It's not the story. Although the single player does have one, it was all done after about 60 hours for me in Tri, and that's not what kept me playing. As series producer Ryozo Tsujimoto has said himself, you create your own stories when you play online.


For 4 player online (or local) gaming, there is nothing else quite like MH. The monsters reacting slightly differently each time means no two fights are the same. It's about the camaraderie and the sometimes unlikely victory, grasped from the jaws of defeat - or equally, defeat when you thought you'd most certainly succeed!

It’s about the different play styles that your teammates will bring with their individual weapon classes. Learning how to become an effective team, no matter which three of them you're playing with at that time. 
It’s about that moment of elation, when you finally capture your first-ever Deviljho, or kill your first Alatreon with (literally) moments to spare.

It’s about cutting off a monster's tail or breaking one of its body parts and getting you that same moment of satisfaction every time, and then finding that same item in the rewards because you broke it off the beast, and then finishing that armour set or weapon that you've been wanting for so, so long... And then you see the next weapon in the tree and somehow you want it even more, even though it seems like it's going to take you forever to farm all the materials for it.

It’s also about the fact that a small group of people who you’ve only met online have become some of your best friends (@Discobeaver , @Kainelor , @Huntervp and Painjunkie666 to name just a few) even though we all live in completely different parts of the country and rarely get all together in person. 

These are the kind of things that make MH different. 

It may not be perfect - the 1st 4-5 hours of each game in particular need some reworking if they ever want it to be as popular as likes of WOW or COD - but it fills a hole in my gaming life that nothing else can or ever will.

--by Jeremy Fowler, @j_monster

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I think, in many ways, Monster Hunter fills the primal need to hunt that has largely been suppressed in modern society. The game, to me, is as much about hunting as it is about its titular monsters. Learning how to track and find your prey, learning its behaviour and how it moves, and knowing when it's wounded enough to capture, these are all valuable hunting skills.

But where the game really shines is in establishing the mentor-student relationship. Having someone who knows what they're doing come along and teach you the ropes, in the field: that's Monster Hunter.


Just as you (probably) wouldn't attempt to learn how to hunt game for the first time without instruction, equipment, and a person to guide you, the same holds true in Monster Hunter. The game itself provides only the most oblique hints in snippets of dialog with villagers as to what to do. It almost expects you to have outside help, perhaps betraying its roots as a handheld game with local multiplayer only. When you sit together in the same room, it's natural to help each other out and for experienced hunters to help out newcomers.

That spirit of helping out those less experienced is definitely passed on from one 'generation' to the next. Just as a number of people helped me out when I got started, I feel compelled to help as many new hunters as I can now that I'm the one with experience.

My motives are not just altruistic: to be honest, I want to see Monster Hunter 4 come out in North America, so the more sales of 3 Ultimate we can generate, the more chance we have, right?

In the end, it's that camaraderie and cooperative play that really makes Monster Hunter so enjoyable and rewarding. There's no stronger bond than shared experience, and Monster Hunter gives that to the player in abundance

-- by Eugene Huo

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...And there's still more on the way. The coverage shall continue! 

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