Community Discussion: Blog by AboveUp | Hunting Monsters Like A Neko (Neko Means Tiger)Destructoid
Hunting Monsters Like A Neko (Neko Means Tiger) - Destructoid

Game database:   #ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ         ALL     Xbox One     PS4     360     PS3     WiiU     Wii     PC     3DS     DS     PS Vita     PSP     iOS     Android

click to hide banner header
The following blog is set for One Fall! Introducing first, he is the Hylian Champion! Winner of the Seven-Year Slam, making the Hylian Ring safer, one Powerbomb of Courage at a time!


Started gaming on an Atari 2600, grew into the gamer I am now with Nintendo, playing on an NES and SNES. Became more aware of the wider scope of gaming through the Playstation and Xbox. Now I'm loving the PC gaming life.

My favorite games include A Link to the Past, Terranigma, Guilty Gear X2, Viewtiful Joe, Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, and DotA 2.

Huge comic book reader, and currently keeping up with Saga and Hawkeye.

My favorites are The Sandman Vol 4, Batman - Court of Owls, and V for Vendetta.

Lover of wrestling, although not so much of the infamous Attitude Era. Much of more a CM Punk, Daniel Bryan, and Dolph Ziggler kinda guy.

Life-long reader of books of the fictional and non-fictional variety. Love Terry Pratchett, Neil Gaiman, Robin Hobb, Kurt Vonnegut, Chuck Wendig and Haruki Murakami.

My biggest dream is that one day Quintet returns and makes a current generation Terranigma.

Player Profile
Steam ID:AboveUp
Follow me:
AboveUp's sites
Following (22)  

I finally have my Hunter's License Card! Okay, it might not really be the card I've wanted since the early 2000s, but it's close enough. My Hunter Rank right now is only a lowly 1, but that's sure to change in the coming months. Since buying it about two weeks ago, Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate managed to sink its teeth in me and isn't letting go. I've already spent over 70 hours on the game, and I'm nowhere near done with it yet.

Sounds crazy, but I almost didn't buy the game thanks to the bad first impression the demo gave me. Not just the demo on the 3DS either, that was the third demo of a game in this franchise that I've had a hard time with over the course of the last 10 years or so.

The first demo I played was for the original game. Devil May Cry 3 came with a demo disc for it, and I tried that demo for about 10 minutes before going back to slashing some more demons to pieces with Dante. Looking back, a game like Monster Hunter is a bad fit with Devil May Cry, in a lot of ways both games are on the opposite side of the action genre. Monster Hunter is slow and delibirate, mostly about preperation, commiting to your actions, and endlessly farming as you slowly improve both your equipment and your ability to use it. Devil May Cry's a fast-paced, style/score-focused series where it's less about planning and more about quick and precise movement. Packing Monster Hunter with Devil May Cry made me expect a game like it, so when I was slowly swinging a greatsword around in a large empty map, I got bored without giving it a fair chance.

The second demo was on the PSP. I think it was Monster Hunter Freedom, or Tri, I'm not sure what game it was at the time. Before downloading it, I'd seen my Japanese roommate play the game on her PSP online with friends. She was far into the game and understood everything it was throwing at her, so watching her play opened my eyes a bit as to what the series was about. It reminded me of playing Phantasy Star Online with friends, when the game became less about progressing through new areas and beating bosses, and more about the post-game farming for items. I was sold on the idea, but still wanted to try out the demo first. The demo pitted me against a monster without telling me how anything worked. I got frustrated with it and decided against buying the full version.

In comes the Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate demo on the 3DS. Same thing happened again, giant monster straight from the start. No clue what anything is or does. After two attemps at killing the Lagombi, I gave up.

A couple of days later I was looking up YouTube videos of games I was interested in buying. Just to see how they actually play, so I'd have a better idea of what I actually want to buy. Or with games that I was going to buy anyway, which ones I'd get first. After watching a one hour Let's Play of Animal Crossing: New Leaf,†forever losing my right to say I don't get how people watch Let's Plays of Minecraft (it's so relaxing, seriously), I remembered that Capcom Unity had some videos up of Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate on their account because two people from my favorite podcast, Lasertime, are involved in making those. Watching them play the game online to help others gave me the same feeling I had when I watched my old roommate play the game. Plus they were giving so many tips to people that made a lot of the baisc concepts and nuances comprehensible to me.

After watching a few of their videos I decided to try the demo again. This time I knew what was going on. Not only did I kill the Lagombi, I killed him with every weapon available in the demo. Now I was sure, Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate was going to be the next game I'd pick up. Especially if anyting I heard about the length was true, It'd be the perfect game to get early on.

Now that I own the game and am about 70 hours into it, I'm still amazed at how different my experience with the game is now compared to when I tried those demos. They're a horrible representation of what Monster Hunter is like for new players. Sure, the game is about hunting large monsters, hell it's in the title, but there's a lot more going in that is not shown in the demo. At the same time, I can understand why those elements are all missing. Usually a demo is a short experience that tries to give a quick experience to give you an idea of what you'll be doing in the game. Monster Hunter's a very slow-paced franchise where the reward is the slow but sure sense of progression it gives you.

When I started playing, I paid attention to how far into the game the demo's content actually is. The Lagombi didn't appear until somewhere between 6-8 hours into the game. Which isn't too surprising considering the tutorial is already close to a good 5 hours or so. It takes hours before you see your first giant monster, the Lagiacrus, and it takes even longer before you get to fight one, in the form of a Great Jaggi. Before that, you have to learn to collect materials from the wild, carve materials from monsters you've killed, combine items, craft weapons and armor, how the different weapons work, how to sharpen your sword, dealing with the way your stamina permanently decreases over time, food buffs, cultivating herbs, mushrooms, and bugs on your farm, getting items from your fleet, using your storage box, armor skills... There's a lot to learn, and the game takes its time setting you on the path towards learning them. It only gives you just enough to go buy to learn the rest of it by yourself.

I can understand why the demo works the way it does. Monster Hunter is a deep franchise, one that doesn't make any sacrifices to appeal to a larger audiences because it understands that there is an audience out there for it already. In more than one way, Monster Hunter is unforgiving and requires the player to commit to it on more than one level. All of the weapons in the game are slow, often a lot slower than the monsters can move. If you swing your sword, You won't be able to move or dodge for a while. You can't change your equipment during a Quest either, so if you're halfway through your items when you realize that maybe the armor you're wearing is terrible for this fight, then tough luck, you're stuck wearing it for until the Quest ends.

It takes hours before you even get to your first proper monster hunt, and it takes even longer before the game consistently throws challenging monster hunting quests at you. If you want to improve your weapons or armor, you'll have to carve certain monsters repeatedly to get all the materials for them. Everything in this game takes a lot of time and effort to get to. And that also includes fighting the monsters, the game gives you close to an hour to finish up your Quest, and in a lot of cases it will take between 15 to 30 minutes. That said, you can easily play the game in half hour chunks if you feel like it, since all the Quests are chosen from a menu and can be repeated whenever you feel like it.

Translating the actual fun of something like this is nearly impossible to do in a demo. The real enjoyment of Monster Hunter is the slow but consistent progression, as you slowly work your way through larger and tougher monsters. Often returning to previous monsters for materials, realizing how much easier they've become now, even if you haven't improved your armor or weapons since the last time you fought.

Sure, they could have made the demo stupidly long like the fantastic Bravely Default demo, and maybe add in the ability to continue from where you left off like the Etrian Odyssey IV demo, but I still don't think that would have been a great solution. Bravely Default worked because the content was seperate from the real game, and Etrian Odyssey IV's demo was very straightforward, just like the game itself is at first.

Monster Hunter knows that it has an audience out there for it, and doesn't go out of its way to appeal to a broader audience. Because of that, the demo suffers, at least in the eyes of new players. Presented to Monster Hunter veterans, the demo is perfect. It lets you test out all the new weapons, but also shows off how the game works on this hardware. If you already know what you're getting yourself into, that's enough to decide if this iteration of Monster Hunter has added or changed enough to get into it all over again. Normally a demo is designed to give new players a taste of what to come, but the Monster Hunter doesn't bother explaining anything to them. It's a franchise that you either works for you, or it doesn't.

That's actually the best thing about Monster Hunter since it allows the devs to delve further into what fans of the franchise enjoy about playing it without sacrificing anything for a different, larger audience. In turn, that brings the fans deeper into the franchise because it feels like the game respects you as a player in the same way games like Dark Souls or Spelunky respect you.

To make up for the game being hard to get into initially, fans of the series working at Capcom Unity do live streams and videos of the game as an external way to make it easier to get into the series. While they're doing this, they promote the idea of spending time helping other people online, while most of their own stream is spent on playing quests with people from the chat room to help them hunt the monsters they're having trouble with. It helps set the tone for a lot of people, so the community stays active and friendly for a longer time.

This blog has been brought to you by ConorElsea.com. The anime images are from a currently ongoing series called Hunter x Hunter, which isn't connected to Monster Hunter in any way at all.
Photo Photo Photo

Is this blog awesome? Vote it up!

Those who have come:

Comments not appearing? Anti-virus apps like Avast or some browser extensions can cause this.
Easy fix: Add   [*].disqus.com   to your software's white list. Tada! Happy comments time again.

Did you know? You can now get daily or weekly email notifications when humans reply to your comments.

Back to Top

All content is yours to recycle through our Creative Commons License permitting non-commercial sharing requiring attribution. Our communities are obsessed with videoGames, movies, anime, and toys.

Living the dream since March 16, 2006

Advertising on destructoid is available: Please contact them to learn more