Hard to Master – A Monster Hunter Tri-Report

September 7, 2010

I didn´t have to play the chance to play Monster Hunter Tri that much, so it´s only now that I can finally deliver on another “status-update”. Remember when in my last report I said I played the game for 120 hours? Well, make that well over 160 hours now. Personally, it´s hard to imagine that there´ll ever be another game that I´m going to play as much. Well, maybe another Monster Hunter-game, haha. 160 hours…if I take the previous longest game I´ve played, that is more than three complete runs of Skies of Arcadia Legends, which took me about 53 hours on my first attempt. And to make sure: 160 fun hours, no boring grinding or whatever one would like to imagine when seeing that big number. A number that´s nothing compared to real master hunters.

My next prey was supposed to be the devilish, nasty monster Deviljho, and I have to admit that I haven´t beaten him, yet. Only got to try him once as part of an event-quest, and just when my group was close to getting him, another group member died and thus auto-aborted the mission. But that wasn´t anything to be angry about, since I actually didn´t think we´d do that well on my first ever Deviljho. Will get him next time.

Due to annoying connection problems (error code 11669, sometimes it works, sometimes not), I was forced to focus on the offline-part of the game. And yeah, I finally beat every monster by myself. Finally got to see one of the last two remaining new monsters, Ceadeus, which was surprisingly easy. I ran out of time the first time, because I didn´t find out fast enough what to do in the final area, but the game lets you start your next try in this final area, no need to replay the first part again. And neither does Ceadeus attack much, nor do his attacks a lot of damage. Made him flee after several hits with the installed weapons – next time I´ll go kill him.

As for the online part, I´m Hunter Rank 44 now. That means I´m close to getting access to the final batch of missions, which also means, closer to a real “Kill Deviljho”-mission. Moreover, it means I´ll be seeing Alatreon soon, the final unknown monster. I know its name from other players´ armor-names, but haven´t seen it, yet. Really excited to get to see this final boss-monster. However, playing the high level-missions made me realize that I still have a long way to go. Just yesterday I fought a Diablos together with other hunters, and just then did I figure that I would have to learn how and when to use my shield. Neither is it always wise to use it, nor is it wise to run from an attack that most likely will hit me. So it is the shield that I will try and learn more about. In terms of weapons, I love my Almighty Dahaka, which is great for paralyzing enemies. What kind of sucks is my current armor, which has to be built from the ground once you reach “+”-levels. But except for the super annoying Diablos, I´m doing fine with my weak armor. I´m a hit and run-fighter after all. Which might change, should I be successful to learn the usage of my shield.

So what am I going to do from here on out? I might have the title of an Elite Hunter, but I don´t feel like calling me that. There´s still la long way to go before I can do that rightfully. Reaching higher HRs, slowly improving my armor and finally slashing Deviljho, that is what I will have done before writing another Monster Hunter Tri-report. And maybe I´ll have seen Alatreon at that point, but who knows. The hunt is still in process…

Elite Hunter – A Monster Hunter Tri-report

May 26, 2010

This is unbelievably for myself, but it really did happen: I have played Monster Hunter Tri for 120 hours now. There is no other action-adventure-like video game that I´ve ever played for this massive amount of time. Maybe if I add up all my playthroughs of Ocarina of Time, but even that is highly doubtful. And just to be clear: 120 hours of fun. This is not a play-time that resulted from filler or boring, tedious tasks. It is a hundred percent fun-time. Oh well, it´s less fun when you die, but that´s part of becoming an elite hunter – which I became.

At this point I´m about to grant MH3 the title of “Game with the best learning curve”. I remember when I was at hunter rank 8 and thought “wow, you´re starting to get it”. Then, when I reached HR16, I looked at other HR8-players and thought of them as beginners. When I reached HR21, I felt like I was finally there. And thought of HR16-players as beginners. And now I´m HR34 and I don´t look at other players at beginners – rather, I´m looking at myself, asking “when will I stop being a beginner?”. Even though I got the elite hunter-rank when I reached HR31, tough challenges keep coming. And I´m out there to overcome them all. I know I will.

No problem now

In my previous report I wrote how Barioth and Diablos were my next goal. I can but laugh at these two now. Well, Diablos can be annoying at times, but he´s not the deadly thread anymore he once was. And Barioth? When I first met him, I thought “wow, you´ll never be able to fight this wild, fast beast”. And now I´ve beat him many, many times and it´s a fun hunt instead of stressful, unnerving one. And that´s not all. I´ve also overcome the two highest-ranked monsters available for me to choose: Uragaan and Agnaktor. Uragaan ist one heavy tank of a monster. As a sword and shield-user I can only attack its feet and a small part of its tail. But that´s okay. I´ve learned his attack patterns, his movement, and I know when to retreat. He´s got a lot of health, but will eventually die. And then there´s Agnaktor, who´s higher ranked than Uragaan, but actually a lot easier to deal with, at least in my opinion. But fighting him is pure fun. Especially as a Zelda-fan. For anyone not familiar with MH3: Agnaktor is like Volvagia on speed. Glowing of hot lava, shooting a lava beam at you and digging himself into the ground, only to rise up into the air. As with any monster, you have to pay attention, but he´s really not that hard.

It´s Volvagia! No, Agnaktor!

For all the time I spent playing MH3, I exclusively used the sword and shield. That´s what I am, a sword and shield-user. But I´ve learned to add certain actions into my play-style to be more effecient. I know that I´m not the one that does huge damage to the monsters. But I´m fast. I´m agile. I can do some quick damage here and there, and be out of the monster´s reach before it launches its attack. I use an Azu Dahaki, so I also try to paralyze monsters. And when I do, I back away, giving my fellow hunters the necessary space for their high damage-attacks. But I´m not just waiting while they´re going for the core damage. My nickname is “Tail Cutter”, and that´s my business. Using the un-sheath attack, I jump at any monster´s tail, trying to chop it off. And I´m pretty successful with that. Sword an shield-users are pretty rare in the high ranks of MH3, but I really grew to love my role, where I can function as an overseeing hunter, doing what´s needed, instead of just going for the damage. And whenever I have one, I bring a healing horn with me to heal fellow hunters. I´m sure that all weapons offer very fun, individual possibilities. But to me, sword and shield is the way to go.

The future prey - Deviljho

Now that I´ve no problem defeating Agnaktor and Uragaan anymore, one might want to say “now you´re not a beginner anymore, right?” But then I would have to disagree. Because just last time, when I fought a high level-Qurupeco, something happened. A monster I´ve never seen before appeared before me and my group. It was the biggest non-Jhen Morahn monster I´ve ever seen. And it scared me. No monster managed to scare me before, not the furious dragon Rathalos, not the annoying underwater monster Gobul, and not even Diablos with his devil-like horns. But this giant reptile, without any special features, did scare me. And I´m looking forward to the day when I´ll have to engage a real fight against it. I feel like this is the next challenge. The next step in my hunter-adventure. It´s the hunt for Deviljho.

Still Hunting – A Monster Hunter Tri-report

May 13, 2010

No other game has you playing for so long and still feeling like you´re only at the beginning of the game – that´s the quint essence of Monster Hunter Tri. After almost 80 hours of hunting, I am used to many monsters´ fighting-style. I know how to move according to their moves. I don´t forget to bring a basic equipment to each quest. And my armor and weapon is better. But it feels as if the real challenges are only coming now. And oh boy, they ARE challenging.

Offline-mode is where I rest, where I think about what I want to do next. I have to kill Lagiacrus, the cover art-monster. It wouldn´t be my first Lagiacrus, I killed several online, and the offline-versions of monsters are a lot easier to defeat. But I left that quest be and chose to spend my time online. And it was a great time. Only recently did I start to kill Rathalos – the definitive air dragon monster. My former armor, the Ludroth-armor, was really weak against this tough guy. He´d stop me with one of his monstrous screams, and if I was unlucky – which I was several times – he´d charge at me before I could move out of the way and one-hit-ko´ed me. Very frustrating, but maybe a sign that I simply had no choice but to get better armor. That really happened after I tried Uragaan. Haha, no chance. I attempted him with two guys from my friendlist, but after dying twice I wrote them “can you make it or is it okay to fail?”, and they answered “just fail”. Ha, that´s both nice and mean at the same time. But thanks to this attempt I´ve now made up my mind to create myself a full set of Rathalos-armor, and I already have one piece.

Finding random players to do mission in the Hunter Rank 23-range where I´m at proved to be difficult. Either I find complete beginners with a low rank, or complete experters with HR30 or higher. But somehow I always find some, and the friends I made early in the game keep returning for doing some quests. Today, I helped a friend that was HR5 to reach HR8. Did some Royal Ludroths and I have to admit, it was great fun to return to these early quests. That Royal Ludroth couldn´t stay alive much longer than two minutes with all of use slashing into his enormous body. Not even mentioning how fast his tail fell off. And when I played offline a little later, I randomly killed a Great Jaggi and Rathian while running around in Moga Forest – and it felt great to dominate these former boss-monsters just like that, just because I was in the mood to hunt them, not because of some mission I had to do.

All these near 80 hours I played as a sword and shield-user. But just from watching other players I realize how very different the other weapons are. And it makes me, once again, realize how little I have seen of this truly magnificent game. The Great Sword with it´s power, but slow slashes. The long sword that´s faster, but still limits your movement. The lance that is best used in close-combat. The hammer that cannot cut but is great for damaging monsters´ heads. And the morph-axe that I have no idea about. And then there´s the bow-gun that completely changes everything. That is the kind of expansive content that Monster Hunter Tri offers.

My current goals are to defeat a Barioth and to master fighting Diablos. While the former is a real hassle to fight, fast, strong and never standing still, the latter has got the most terrifying scream of all monsters I met so far. But now that I have my new piece of armor I feel more confident. And I know, one day he won´t stand a chance against me anymore – and I´ll have to overcome the overwhelming power of another monster.

May the Hunt Begin!

April 19, 2010

Finally, Monster Hunter Tri for Nintendo Wii will be released this friday in Europe and a bit earlier in the US. I have to admit that I originally decided not to buy it on first day, seeing how the new semester is about to start, as well as some tests that don´t lie  that far into future. But just a few hours ago, I changed my mind and pre-ordered the Monster Hunter Tri Limited Edition, featuring a Classic Controller Pro and WiiSpeak, and seemingly some figurine.

I have seen quite some videos of Monster Hunter Tri, and there are some gameplay decisions that I´m very skeptical about. Most prominent one being the fact that you slash a giant sword into a monster´s body and have to repeat it many, many times, even though just from the looks one hit should be enough. And it doesn´t help that herbivores seemingly are killed much faster. It´s the lack of consistency here that makes me worried. Then there´s the time limit for each mission. I guess the positive aspect here is that you won´t run into a situation where you´re fighting something for hours, just to find out that it´s simply impossible to do, yet.

Except for these worries, MH3 features lots of things I always wanted from a video game. The whole adventure-aspect of the game. You´re just a “normal” guy (or girl) and step out into an unfamiliar world, finding and fighting powerful dragon-like monsters. You can choose from many different weapons, from a classic sword and shield, to a hammer, and even long-range weapons exist. You don´t have to rely on silly grinding like most JRPGs do, but on your own skills. Learn tactics, learn the monsters´ behaviors. The world was created to feel very natural. And on top of this, you can play the game with up to three friends online, or one friend offline. It´s an adventure. A pure adventure.

What seems to be missing is a proper, typical story for single player-mode, but from what I heard MH3´s single player-mode is a bit more fleshed out than previous MH-games´, and even if playing offline, MH3 is a game to talk about with your friends, be it in real-life or on discussion boards. The mission-based structure of the game also makes me think that even without a lot of time, you can greatly play the game. Oh, and I just watched a video of a sword and shield-user (which I will be playing as) who made the exact same sounds while attacking or being hit as Link from the Zelda-series. If that´s not a good sign!