Capcom surprised Western fans this year when they announced that Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate would be coming to the Nintendo Wii U and Nintendo 3DS. Serving as basically an HD port and localization of Monster Hunter 3G, Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate promises many new levels, locations, and monsters never before seen in the West.
Even though this series has been around since the PS2 era, there are many who have never heard of Monster Hunter or even given it a try. So for those unfamiliar with the series, here are five of the many reasons why Monster Hunter is great and you should consider checking it out.
- The Demon Souls Before Demons' Souls
Years before the horrifying, rage-quit inducing Demons' Souls invaded living rooms, there was Monster Hunter. Most of its ferocious monsters range from 6 feet up to the size of a house. In the campaign, you face them one-on-one with your inventory at times limited to a few potions, a trap, and a burnt steak.
Enemies have no health bar, so you may not even know if you are winning or losing. First encounters with new monsters can also lead to a quick and embarrassing deaths.
The first lesson of Monster Hunter is you're already dead. But just like Demon Souls, there are patterns and weaknesses to every enemy. After facing the destructive wyvern Rathalos, you begin to notice that if he spins, he will not stop until he faces you or your companion. Learning these habits is where the tactics come in. In no time you learn which monsters are weak to flash bombs, which are weakest to shock traps, and which are just plain stupid.
While intimidating, the feeling of accomplishment after felling a beast makes the experience worthwhile.
- Diverse Elements
Many unique creatures can be found in Monster Hunter. From the loud-mouth, beaver-tailed Qurupeco to the half pterodactyl, half T-Rex Tigrex to the pink, farting Congalala, there is no shortage of monsters to fight. As you hunt each one, you are rewarded carves. With each carved item, a new weapon is unlocked as well as a new armor set. Each weapon has its high and low points.
While one weapon may grant great damage potential, another may inflict a negative status such as poison or paralysis. Even elemental damage can be part of a weapon's attributes.
Speaking of weapons, there are over ten weapon types to choose from. They range from swords to hammers, to lances to guns. Each has an advantage if used properly. Armor sets have what are called skill points that add buffs your character. If your skill points reach a total of 10, the skill is in effect. Reach 15 or 20 points and the skill increase to a second or third degree. That Diablos whose scream stuns your hunter will no longer be effective with the earplugs skill allowing you to either dodge the enraged beast or lay a few critical hits.
- Hidden Story
The main campaign of all Monster Hunter games usually comes down to protecting a village from monsters via quests. But as new quests and locales open up, subtle stories begin to show.
Throughout the world of Monster Hunter are little goblins called Shakalaka. Though they are little more than an annoyance in quests, Monster Hunter Tri gives you a lost Shakalaka child as a companion. As the game progresses, he opens up, explaining how he is on a rite of passage to create a mask (they rarely show their face) worthy of a warrior. He continues on telling of the lore and legends of the Shakalaka that foreshadow future events.
Other histories are hinted once the tougher volcano areas open up. Instead of mining ore, you may come across a rusted weapon. Bring it to the smith and when it's restored, its description tells of the wars and battles it was used in hundreds of years ago. Combine this with the exploration of ruins and old castles, and Monster Hunter begins to stretch beyond simply killing monsters.
Perhaps the greatest part of Monster Hunter is the multiplayer. When entering the Guild Hall, you have the option to do any quest with up to three friends. They can use any weapon and bring any item just like a single player quest. By having more players, more fun and creative tactics come into play. One of the most trolling tactics is when three hunters distract a Rathian as the gunner fires sleep shots. Once asleep, all four characters place barrel bombs around the monster's breakable parts. They then use the impact of a hammer to detonate all of the bombs which can cause multiple breaks.
Theoretically, more players should make a quest easier, but this is where balancing comes into play. For every extra player in your quest, the monsters' health increases. While this may sound unfair, the adjustment makes the overall experience more enjoyable with friends.
- "G" Editions
Last but not least, are the G editions of the Monster Hunter games. While often renamed for the West (such as MH3U), G editions are much like expansion packs. For example, Monster Hunter Freedom Unite includes not just Monster Hunter Freedom 2, but over 200 extra quests, new monsters (meaning new weapons and armor), and the ability to have a talking cat as a companion (don't ask).
If you own the previous game, you can simply transfer your old save file without losing any progress.
Monster Hunter is one of those hidden gems that somehow has a hard time getting attention. It's a wonder how this happens when it has such rich content and high replay value. If you have not played Monster Hunter, want a game that last literally months, and has fun multiplayer, Monster Hunter will be a treasured addition to your collection.