I love Monster Hunter. Some people hate it. I don’t blame them, I used to dislike it too. The general concept behind Monster Hunter is straight forward and if there were ever a name of a game that described itself, it’s this one. Monster Hunter is a game where the main goal is to hunt large exotic monsters. Every quest is a boss fight.
In Monster Hunter you can hunt on your own or you can choose to play online with three other hunters. This is where the game shines. Being successful hinges on teamwork like most other squad based online games. Preparation before the hunt is key. You have to buy the right supplies or if you have the resources, craft them yourself. When you go on the hunt you have 60 minutes to complete it, which is usually more time than you need. With that extra time you can explore the world, scavenge for herbs and minerals that you need for crafting.
The combat in Monster Hunter is realistic, in the sense that you won’t be successful in your hunts if you plan on button smashing. You can’t just attack, you need to be defensive, dodge and to move around so you avoid getting hit. The game features 12 different weapon types that range from your typical longsword to a bow. You also have less orthodox weapons like an axe that switches into a sword, or a lance that’s also a gun. If you choose to fight with a great sword, don’t expect to be able to attack quickly. Your attacks will be slow and you’ll have to be meticulous.
The game becomes a routine, which some might think is a bad thing, but I find it relaxing. Besides hunting you are put in charge of a small farm and a fishing fleet. You can craft new items, weapons or armor. To craft new weapons or armor you have to hunt down or capture monsters which can become repetitive, especially if you need five of a certain item. If you don’t feel like hunting you can explore the different parts of the world you’ve unlocked.
The monsters you fight are vicious, unforgiving, varied and come in different sizes. Each monster has their own personality and characteristics, each is inspired by a real life animal. Some monsters put up great fights, while others are just annoying to deal with. Each monster acts and reacts differently. The first few times you fight a particular monster chances are you’ll get hit a lot. Eventually you start to learn how a monster acts, you start to see a pattern and you’ll start to instinctively dodge attacks.
Since its release in March of last year Monster Hunter on the Wii U and 3DS is one of the few games I still play consistently. I take breaks that can last up to a month but I always end up coming back to it. If you’re interested a demo is available to download, but expect it to be a little challenging since the demo does little to explain the game or combat mechanics. You’ll probably find the combat slow and frustrating. I don’t think the demo is particularly good as it doesn’t represent the game that well, but at least it’s available. And lastly, you can also find a lot of great videos of gamers fighting monsters on Youtube. Lastly, the online Monster Hunter community is one of the nicest, diverse and welcoming. Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate comes out early next year – And the game can’t come soon enough.