Normally, I’m not a fan of action role-playing games, because they frustrate me. There is always heavy reading of text, backtracking portions, and getting stuck in areas until you do a certain cryptic something. Talk about not fun. Although, Monster Hunter Tri does have all the things I mentioned, thankfully it pulls it all off in a way that kept me from storming out of the room in frustration and I’ll explain how.
Being that this was my first time playing a game in the Monster Hunter series, I had a lot of learning to do. Monster Hunter Tri does have a large amount of reading, but most of it was worth reading. I’m not a fan of heavy reading in the game for the sake of a story. I dislike games that have so much reading that it makes it hard to discern what’s important and what’s not. That’s just me. Luckily, the story in Monster Hunter Tri is that you are a new hunter in a town that is being attacked by a really dangerous monster. It’s as simple as that. That’s why I did not mind the reading in Monster Hunter Tri. Most of the reading done was to learn how to play the game and understand what to do. I’m okay with that. It was straight-forward and to the point. And being new to the series, Monster Hunter Tri was very welcoming in getting me to understand how to play.
The game takes place in one village where you do everything. You obtain quests, manage your weapons, manage your items, buy stuff, sell stuff and upgrade stuff all in one location. Monster Hunter Tri has backtracking where you return to the same place more than once. However, the quests keep it fresh, and the variety of monsters definitely do as well. All the areas to kill monsters are relatively quick to get to and returning back to your village is literally a button press away. This saves time from traveling and gives more time for playing the game. I detest games that force you to walk the same grueling long distances. Especially games that have walking long distances as a form of punishment for failing. There is a lot of loading screens when moving to different areas, but they last no longer than 2 secs.
I’ll fill you all in on a little secret about me. I suck at role-playing games. I get stuck in all of them. I like a challenge, but not challenges that force me to look at a walkthrough. For example, in The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Adventures (GCN), how was I supposed to know to I had to walk north five times in a row on a repeating map to move on to the next area. That is why I like puzzle and fighting games. I know exactly what has to be done, but the challenge is if I am able to do it. That is how I feel about Monster Hunter Tri. You obtain quests that tell you exactly what to do, the challenge is if you can do it.
In Monster Hunter Tri, you go to obtain a quest from the village and then you prepare yourself to embark on said quest. You can purchase/upgrade/equip your armor and weapon, and gather the items you will use. When the quest begins you usually have 50 minutes to finish the quest, and some have 1 or 2 optional side quests that can be completed. Quests range from hunting down a certain monster to simply gathering mushrooms. The challenge comes into play when you are required to take down some of the tougher monsters. Learning the buttons and learning about the monsters is what will lead to success in Monster Hunter Tri. It’s also about timing your attacks. There are a variety of weapons for players to choose from. Some are slower/faster, shorter/longer range, weaker/stronger, and you have bowguns as well, which use pellets or you can stick with the weak unlimited ammo. All the weapons go much deeper than just those basic differences I listed, but figuring out how to use a certain weapon and what works better with which monster is what makes it fun.
Item management is also key in Monster Hunter Tri. There are the standard items that regain your health and keep up your stamina. But there is also an overwhelming amount of other items that do all sorts of things that assist you on your quest. When you set out for a quest, there is no turning back. So, prepare yourself with all that you can. And you have to consider everything. It’s about survival when you’re out in the wild world of Monster Hunter Tri, e.g. carry plenty of whetstones to sharpen your weapons, because they will get dull from excessive monster killing. As you defeat monsters and complete quests you are rewarded with items, unlocking of armors and money. The items can be used for your next quest or to upgrade weapons and armors. Completing side quests also get you more of the stuff I listed.
Along the way in your Monster Hunter Tri career you get a little friend named Cha-Cha. This partner helps you with all sorts of abilities and strategies as you face monsters. It’s like having a CPU-controlled partner. He comes in very handy for the uber tough portions of the game. It is nice to feel like you have a friend helping you without being online, but… you should go online. If you don’t have access, find a way!
The controls in Monster Hunter Tri works really well with a Classic Controller or the new Classic Controller Pro. I never played a game like it before, so it took some time to get used to the controls without struggling before everything action. It was a slight learning curve, but I soon got accustomed to it. The left thumbstick moved my character whilst the right thumbstick controlled the camera. I found the camera awkward at first, but I changed the camera type to ‘Type 2’ and it has been nearly perfect from there. The only complaint I have for the controls was while using a bowgun. You can tap the ‘R’ button to go into a first person mode to shoot, but you’re not able to walk. That’s fine, but you can also hold ‘R’ to have the cross-hairs out in 3rd person while strafing with the left thumbstick. You can aim around while strafing, but only with the D-pad. Can you all picture how that would not work very well? Aiming should have been with the right thumbstick instead of the D-pad. Other than that, the controls are fine.
Monster Hunter Tri supports Wii Speak, a USB keyboard, and for the first time I have seen the use of the Classic controller and pointer at the same time. Chatting online is super simple with the use of the Wii Speak and/or USB keyboard. Most Wii online games feel like a totally awkward and disconnected experience, but Monster Hunter Tri has great online support. You can quest with up to four different people, and conquer quests and obtain items that are only available online. My experience has been with nice and helpful people, but that’s just my stroke of luck. I am sure there is an unfortunate amount of knuckleheads as well. The pointer is used to point at a monster to record its data for future reference.
Monster Hunter Tri is a game that has truly made me dust off my Wii for a future with months of play time. There is a constant amount of quests to complete and items to obtain. I can say that the game can go on for hours that go into the triple digits. The game is challenging, but never unfairly. Completing tough quests is absolutely satisfying and you will feel good with the sense of accomplishment Monster Hunter Tri offers. The game is also quite beautiful. I don’t like mentioning graphics very much, because I feel they really do not matter unless they hinder gameplay, but it looks great. Definitely a game to buy, because renting would be a waste of money. Renting the game would just make you buy the game, so cut out the middleman! Capcom, you have succeeded in opening up my mind to other role-playing games. Congratulations.
Title: Monster Hunter Tri
Developer: Capcom Production Studio 1
Platform Reviewed: Wii
Release Date: Available Now
Review Copy Info: A copy of this title was provided by the publisher to DualShockers Inc. for reviewing purposes