Monster Hunter Tri
I’ve been busy the past week or so. Busy playing Monster Hunter Tri that is .
He’s trying too hard with that Scottish accent.
So I decided to give the Monster Hunter series a go, what with all the hype around it, and being an actual game on the Wii. And it has online multiplayer!
The premise of the game is basically hunt monsters. That’s it, what can go wrong. The preview videos show these epic battles with giant beasts in awesome HighRes as they splash and flail around trying to ward off their attackers. Some new features they boast are “swimming environments/encounters” and “online mulitplayer”. Sounds awesome doesn’t it. You also get the option of using a controller (in fact one was specifically designed for this game) instead of using the lame Wii-mote; and Wii-speak can be used online for voice communication.
Visit the Monster Hunter YouTube Channel for some gameplay footage.
Then comes the reality. Let’s break these down in to chunks.
My first gripe is the controls of the game. They are very – restrictive – which creates a sort of artificial difficulty to the game. For example, when you use an item like a potion you have to put away your weapon, which you have to stand still to do, you then use the potion, which the character has to stand still, open it, gulp it, and then flex his muscles before you can regain control. Great, but when you have a 10 ton dinosaur charging at you it’s kind of game over.
On top of that is the weapon system itself. They are broken down in the various options such as BowGun, Switch-Blade, Long Sword etc. However almost all the weapons are ridiculously huge and heavy. This again limits your movement and run speeds making for “clunky” controls. The “guns” in this game also impose these restrictions, and again you have to aim and stand still to shoot. Why can’t I have the option of a “run and gun” weapon where I have higher mobility and range?
The game is broken in to various maps. In offline mode you start in a village which has all your supplies and item box. This gets upgraded over time. You can exit the village out into a map where you can hunt monsters or gather some resources casually. This map is broken in to 12 areas, and when you exit from one to the other a loading screens appears. So the world is by no means consistent. That’s quite cool at first, you have this giant map to explore but it gets boring very fast once you realise just how small it actually is.
There are other maps to explore, but you can only access them through the mission system. You can explore a dessert, tundra, rain forest and volcanic area in these missions and these maps harbour different resources to ones found on the starting map. However, what I haven’t mentioned is missions have a set time limit – usually 50 minutes. So you can’t just fannny around for hours in these “not the home map” lands. What would have been better is being able to travel to these maps without having to go via a quest.
The equipment system is quite frustrating as well. You gather resources from monsters – usually “large” boss mosnters and can upgrade your weapons and craft new armour. Sounds fine. However in order to change your equipment you have to map in to your house, open the item chest, and THEN you can switch your armour. Why can’t I do it in the village, why do I have to go through another loading screen. This also means you can’t change armour when your out on a mission or hunting. Again, this creates this “artificial” difficulty since, for example, you can’t switch to your fire resistant armour in the middle of a battle.
Now let’s tackle this online feature. It actually works, you really can play with other people.
Yep just got to make a “few” selections – select a server, then a “sub server”, then a city gate. Each city gate holds up to 4 players. So you’ve slowly wittled your way down from over 1000 players to finding a select few. This then puts you in a city, much similar to the offline village, with these other players you have found. Great let’s go out and kill stuff.
Hold your horses, no. We can’t just have you playing this game. In order to play with these people you have to pick a quest. This quest appears on a board. The players then have to accept the quest. You then all have to stand at a “gate” and select “ready”. The party leader (The guy who picked the quest) can then start the quest once everyone is ready. If they are not ready and he starts you can’t join in. If you want to join people mid-way in to a quest you can’t. Come on, what is this, the 1990s? Let’s not make this easy to use now. Nothing like an intuative easy to use online player matching system eh?
Okay at last, your actually in the map playing with other people. The hard work is over. Look a group of dinosaur creatures. Hey why is the hammer guy attacking thin air. Wait what? Something over the other end of the map just died. Great – everyone seems to have a “different” version of the current map. That’s not a problem. Oh wait, he’s just swung his axe up in the air, why the hell am I flying through the air? Yep, friendly fire, in a game where it’s already difficult to see players’ true location. It’s not so bad when you’re fighting a boss monster though, friendly fire still happens, but at least everyone knows the exact location of the boss creature.
Oh and adding friends to your friend list is very unintuitive. In order to do so you don’t simply select the person you want to add and everything works. Nope, you have to send them a message asking them before they can accept and be added. Hello, you have a “Friend List” menu, why the hell would anyone think to add players to this list using the “Send Message” menu.
Yep I think I’ve vented enough on this. But strangely enough I can’t stop playing. This game is absolutely terrible when you look at modern games. And the game mechanics, controls, menus, everything are all absolutely horrendous. At least the online multiplayer is free. If they charged for this abysmal service I would be even more unhappy and would probably not be playing this game. So why am I still playing?
Honestly I don’t know. It could be the difficulty factor. Trying to learn each new boss monster that pops up and getting my ass handed to be on a plate. Then going back in with more healing items and kicking his sorry ass (Notice how I didn’t learn from my previous ass kicking? ). It could be the item scavenging and collecting system. But then I’ve never been a fan of that in MMOs – I prefer the crafting sides to these games. Is it the sense of reward when you know “Yes that boss is so easy now, why did I find him so hard before?”.
I’m currently on the 4* quests in offline mode, and 2* quests in online mode. (Quest difficulty, areas accessible and monsters encountered are different for each quest * difficulty, going all the way up to 6*). The bulk of this game is online mode. Offline mode will only take you so far before you need to head online to get the better equipment. And I guess online mode can be fun if you get a good group going and can blast through some quests, assuming you don’t get disconnected. Having more powerful players with better equipment than you really makes some boss fights trivial. Although I still get absolutely humped by that Barroth creature, he’s a bitch.
So, could I recommend this game to anyone. Not really no, not without explaining the extreme limitations of this game. It is 2010, games are more accessible and easy to play. This one is not. If I can jump in to Just Cause 2, blow up an entire town and perform loads of cool stunts all without even having to think twice about my actions, why would I want to play a game that punishes me for “not learning how to play”. Also I’m aware a lot of the issues I brought up are “part of the game”, that doesn’t mean I have to like them.
If anyone wants to play with me online you can find me as BieToxic Code: 1NETNZ. I’m not used to crap low res blurred graphics, so I read “e” as an “o” – dunno how I got it right the second time though. By the time I noticed I was quite far in to the game and couldn’t be bothered restarting.
I believe there is a friend code system, so I’ll add it to this post if I can A.) find it and B.) remember to note it down. I usually have my keyboard attached, but no Wii-speak. Currently I’m playing around 10pm GMT for a few hours, but I’m not sure how long I’ll keep this up. Maybe I’ll suddenly decide next week I’m bored of this and stop playing – we’ll see.