Monster Hunter Tri for Nintendo´s Wii-system is out for about two weeks now. As a newcomer to the franchise, I didn´t know if I´d like the combat-mechanics (no lock-on) or the purely mission-based gameplay-style without any deeper story. Now, I´ve played 51 hours…and I won´t stop playing anytime soon.
Maybe the reason why I like MH3 that much is because it shows what games are actually capable of. When you look around, all your typical hype-games are around 10 hours now. Latest example would be Alan Wake. Years of hype, 10 hours of playing. That just sucks in itself. And before you get started on the whole “but I´d rather have a tight, fun 10 hour game than a 30 hour-game with lots of filler”. Well, MH3 is, so far, a 50 hour-game of tight, fun times. And it´s so much more of an accomplishment to create a game that long, while being that much fun.
So what did I do in these 51 hours? You may have guessed that, but as a Zelda-fanatic, my weapon of choice was the sword´n shield. It´s considered a beginners weapon, but once I climbed up the ladder towards the higher star-ranking quests, I hardly met other s´n s-users anymore, so, assuming that people choose those big, high-damage dealing weapons like great sword, long sword or hammer, it makes the s´n s both a beginner´s and an expert´s weapon, as you have to land a lot more hits on a monster. But that´s who I am: A sword´n shield-user.
After the initial tutorial-like missions in offline-mode, like collecting mushrooms or Kelbi-horns, I finally looked into online-mode after I killed my first Great Jaggi offline. Don´t misunderstand that, MH3 is great fun offline, too. But it´s the online-mode that makes it a complete game. I have to say that I never saw a community of an online-game that was so enjoyable. You hardly meet idiots online. Sure, sometimes there´s a silly one that takes more than just one potion and ration (hello, my friend, four peope = one potion and ration for each one!), but in general, MH3-players are great guys (and girls?). While there is a friend-list, I often simply join unknown people and it works out, too. There´s a great sense of supporting each other. Sure, at Hunter Rank 14 I´m well beyond collecting 14 unique mushrooms or killing a single Great Jaggi. But if I meet a beginner online, I don´t hesitate to help him on these quests. Why wouldn´t I, I was where he/she was, too. Where the game really shines, though, is when you go on a mission that´s challenging you, accompanied by three people around your own level of skills. Beating your first Barroth at HR9, or tackling a Rathian later on, is just great stuff. And people are forgiving. As long as you don´t do stupid stuff like collecting stuff from a cut-off tail while the monster is still in the same area, even failing a mission won´t upset anyone. It´ll be taken as additional experience, so mistakes can be avoided the next time. And when you actually succeed, it´s that much more good-feeling.
I´l conclude this report now, as I plan to write more about Monster Hunter Tri at a later time. Just one thing I wanted to throw out there: Never before did a game make me feel like a beginner after 51 hours of play-time, and never before did that feel so good.