Back in mid-2010 when Monster Hunter Tri came out on the Wii, I was conflicted about whether or not I wanted to buy it. Iíd been intending to try the series Ė it and Dragon Quest these two series that were popular in Japan and not so in the West, I was curious about, and were getting new acclaimed instalments around the same time as one another. But I didnít take too fondly to Dragon Quest IX and subsequently decided against Monster Hunter. I chickened out at the last minute at the idea of its hardcore difficulty (my being someone who generally plays games on the easy setting), and at the idea that I can just lose a 50-minute fight and not accomplish anything (this is why I stopped playing Advance Wars).
But Iíve still been curious about the series. I thought maybe Iíd consider Monster Hunter 4 when that comes out, but seeing as I prefer console games, and Iíd like an excuse to use my WiiU, I decided by and by that I should try 3 Ultimate. And liable as I was to chickening out again, the timing was right, and I ended up picking it up, not knowing what I was getting myself into. I popped it in for the first time about 8pm Saturday night, intending just to play for a couple hours at most, and then watch a movie and go to bed. At about 4am I forced myself to quit. I love this game. (Incidentally, Iíd just got done playing the very Dragon Quest-like Ni No Kuni, and loved that as well. I suppose this is weird Japanese popular games series 2010 games redux year. Iíll work on that title.)
I havenít been this addicted to a videogame since Skyrim. I played Monster Hunter most of last weekend, when I could in the evenings this week, and now that itís the long weekend I want nothing more than to play it some more. ÖAlthough my stupid brotherís playing Lego City Undercover at the moment Ė needless to say my WiiU, which I havenít had anything to play on for the past two months, has gotten more game-time this week than Iím sure it has in all the time since I bought it on launch day.
Anywho, the community for Monster Hunter is awesome and super-supportive. Whenever Iíd comment on some article about how Iím a little intimidated about the game, Iíd get replies from series fans encouraging me to give it a go. And now in the game people have been really helpful in initiating me into it. I met my first Monster Hunter friend day one! Also most people use text and keyboard as opposed to the mic (or donít mind people using keyboard), which is more my thing. So I like that.
But anyhow, I wanted to do my part now in addressing some of my anxieties about the game and encouraging other people to play. The game is not that difficult. Donít get me wrong, it takes practice, and it can be very hard, but online, it all depends on whoís with you. With three other high-level players, an intimidating monster can be a walk in the park; I can pretty much just focus on staying alive, while they do most of the work. With only 3 in a party, and all on the same level as you, a tough boss fight can be a lot harder, and I have lost a fight after 50 minutes, but so what? Iíve now fought that same monster half a dozen times and itís not gotten boring. When youíre playing Monster Hunter, an hour feels like no time at all; itís so fun, and I feel like Iím constantly learning new things about the game and tightening my grasp on what all it has to offer.
The game is not inaccessibly challenging, but my god can those monsters be scary, and so much fun to fight. My first fight against a big monster, a badgery-looking bear, with only my soon to be first Monster Hunter friend, was something darn special. Now Iíve still only unlocked the second difficulty level/set of quests and I suspect the game will become much, much more challenging still. But itís a challenge Iím looking forward to, and expect Iíll be ready for. Catching up on single-player quests has been a walk in the park after the big monsters in the multi-player. And I havenít mentioned all the other stuff: Iíve figured out how to use my farm to get me plenty of the ingredients I need to make health potions, so I no longer have to forage for them; Iíve just forged a badass new electric sword (stubbornly insisting on only using the Longswords with the samurai aesthetic)Ö I could go on forever with this stuff.
But in sum: this is a ludicrously addictive and enjoyable game, like nothing Iíve played before. If you have a WiiU, I canít recommend any game more highly for the system. If youíre on the fence like I was: without hesitation I say go for it!
Now I wonder how many months before I stop playing this finally. I really wanna try Lego City UndercoverÖ