Archive for April, 2013

Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on April 20, 2013 by Danny_Noe

ImageI commonly enjoy posting reviews on this blog relating to board games. I feel that the video game world has their fair share of video game reviewers and they certainly don’t need me to step in to tell you which games are good and which are trash.

This one, however is one of my few exceptions. 

Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate crept into my radar like a nuclear bomb. By the time that it was out, I had read as much as I could about it and was so pumped, I needed it immediately. It’s rare these days to have a game that looks so fun that it makes me feel like a kid getting his first gaming console. 

Let me put this into a perspective that you’ll understand. When Skyrim came out, I saw the previews, thought it looked fun and exciting, but not enough to invest me. Bioshock Infinite was the same way, and this may be due to the fact that I’ve played some previous titles (Oblivion and Bioshock 1) that left me feeling very underwhelmed. So maybe this being the first game I’ve played out of the Monster Hunter franchise, I can look at it with unbiased eyes and begin it without a cynical expectation. 

Whatever the case may be, I began playing MH3U for hours and got addicted to every aspect of the game. I even started using my twitter account to post my experience with the game. Granted, roughly three people actually follow it, two of those being my cousins, and one of those cousins probably being the only one to read this, but I don’t care. I’m excited to share with people how much I love this game. It’s something so rare and unique feeling that it just begs to be praised.

That being said, there are some faults with the game, unfortunately. Now, I could go on a big tirade about what I love about the game and what I hate; so that’s what I’m going to do. Enjoy!

 

THE STORY (SPOILERS(?))

This is the easy part to write, because there is no story. Well, okay to be fair that’s not entirely true. 

The quaint little village of Moga is suffering from severe earthquakes and everybody is afraid. That’s where you step in; a stalwart monster hunter fresh off the boat and ready to gain your hunting wings. The village chieftain suspects that the earthquakes are being caused by some sort of underwater monster by the name of Lagiacrus (Like “Legend of Legaia” with a “crus” on the end). So it’s your job as a monster hunter to work your way up the ranks, completing quest after quest until you’re strong enough to battle this beast.

This story is practically non-existent really, and what’s great about it is the entire thing is revolved around the main game mechanic. You aren’t some amnesia stricken whiner who needs to go collect four crystals from Ganondorf so he can be reunited with his father. 

You’re a monster hunter.

You hunt monsters.

The story compliments this by revolving it around a big monster that you have to train up to hunt. 

Pure genius.

In a game that’s meat lies within a quest system, they were smart enough to leave the complex JRPG stories out of it and let you simply experience the game and allow you to create you’re own narrative. I’m not saying that JRPG’s have terrible storylines, I’m just saying that some games don’t need them. And this is one of them. 

THE GAME

The basic mechanic of this game is;

1. Do a mission

2. Collect items from that mission

3. Use those items to get better things

4. Better things allow you to do harder missions

5. see 1.

And that’s pretty much it. It doesn’t sound like much, but where this mechanic shines best is taking down those massive monstrosities. From your first Great Jaggia to that damned Brachydios, this game has an amazing set of monsters for you to slay. And it’s not done by random battling. It’s not done with mashing buttons at random. It’s done by finding the monster’s tells, using your character’s weapon and dodging wisely, jumping in for a hit when he’s open, and avoiding his crazy attacks. 

There’s no leveling system in this. One could argue that the new weapons and armor make you stronger to take on harder monsters and that itself can be a leveling system, but what I mean is that you aren’t just given some sort of random number that says you’re better now and should go fight something harder. The way you gain new armor and weapons is by collecting monster parts and forging them, and the way you get monster parts is by going out there and busting your ass to slay the monsters. Any of the experience in the game is strictly player experience, not avatar experience. Your character isn’t getting better at fighting monsters, you yourself are getting better. You are taking your time to study what each monster does. You are figuring out which items to bring along a quest with you to help you out. You are figuring out which weapon and armor you should forge to help you the most. I can’t even begin to tell how many times I would hear of a new monster and then immediately bust out the hunter’s guide and read up on him, checking his star ranking, his habits, and his environment.

This is one of those games that having a strategy guide to isn’t cheating. Hell, it’s almost homework. There are times where you really need to knuckle down and do your homework on this game. Granted a lot of fun can be had by just exploring and finding new things, but sometimes you might be stuck and need to figure out how to obtain sap plants for an item you need to combine. That’s where the handy dandy internet shines and helps you out. You create your own objectives and actually feel like you’re getting more attuned to the game. It’s one of the rarest things I’ve seen in video games these days and takes me back to the 8-bit era, where a game like Mega Man and Castlevania made you become a better experienced player by studying the game and putting the work in. 

Aside from having this awesome game mechanic, the harvesting mechanic is equally loved by me. This may come off as boring to some other gamers, but I think it’s a wonderful contrast. After spending 30+ minutes trying to slay an aggressively frustrating beast, it’s fun to relax on a harvest tour quest and gather items that I need for potions, and traps, and stuff. Even though fishing is simple and easy, it calms my nerves to just sit back and see how many goldenfish I can catch. 

 

THE THINGS THAT SUCK

This is a short list, but they’re some glaring issues that I come across in the game.

First, the camera controls underwater can be a complete hassle, especially when fighting an underwater monster. I haven’t gotten one yet, but the add-on to the 3ds that gives you another analog stick looks like it would help with camera movement, but it still feels like it would be a pain in the ass.

Secondly, there are many invisible walls in the game, which aren’t that big of a deal when you’re wandering around, but when one of those monsters come after you and you have your attention focused on them, you forget where those invisible walls are, so when you try to run away you get stuck, leaving you open for a free hit from whatever is trying to eat you.  

Third, the hit detection can sometimes feel a bit wonky. Sometimes my dodge works against a tail whip, and sometimes it doesn’t. It’s hard for me to tell how this works. Maybe I’m just doing something wrong, but it just feels like the game wants to cheat you sometimes. Also, given the varying sizes and caution you take when approaching a monster, sometimes you can’t tell how close you are and just straight up miss. This wouldn’t be a problem if the 3D looked a bit better, but the graphics aren’t that smooth, so it’s a strain on the eyes. They do give you an option to keep the 3D off, which I do like, I just wish it had a bit more polish on it so I can use the dang thing.

ALL IN ALL

I love this game. If this game were a woman, we’d be married. It just keeps offering you more and more. I haven’t even tried out multiplayer, either. All of this love is stemming from just me slaying the monsters alone. That’s how much fun this game is. Get it. Get it now. Treat yourself.