Friday, April 29, 2011

Why I love Monster Hunter

Yeah, I know I'm terrible.

AHEM, anyways. I love MH. I used to hate it when I started playing MH Freedom Unite. I had no idea what to do. Fortunately, I am enough of an avid gamer to actually read some stuff online before I drop it. I give games a good chance (unless it's an MMO, where the first 30 mins will dictate if I will keep playing or not, because I won't waste too much time on it if it's not fun throughout the experience). After understanding what I could do in Pokke Village and beyond, I was in for a joyride. It's a great game, and with MHP3's release in Japan last December, I just had to play the demo. However, I did wait out for an English patch, and now I'm playing it again.

1. Difficulty
It's hard. It's BALLS HARD. That's why I like it. It's a niche game. No other game will make you scratch your head or bash it on a nice solid surface out of frustration, or give you so much gratification for killing some of the most bad-arse monsters the world has ever seen. Like many games, it takes time, but you need to devote some time on this game anyways that it's not a big deal.

2. Gameplay
First off, I will say these three words: NO. LOCK. ON. Yes. There is no lock on function. The game relies on one thing only, and that is the player wielding the controller/handheld. Accuracy with the analog stick is a skill you need to develop. It's one of the reasons this game has a high skill cap. Also, your character moves with regards to the laws of physics. You can't expect to swing a greatsword so quickly like you would, let's say, a fly swatter. It just doesn't work. You can't instantly get up on a ledge, your character puts a bit of effort climbing on them. Of course, a good thing is that there is no fall damage, because there's a lot of high falls thru areas in the game.

3. The World
Lush forests, barren deserts, creepy swamps. It's got them all. The environments have been well-done, an even on the PSP's limited graphics capability, it still makes you want to stop and admire it. Well, as long as you don't have Tigrex on your arse.

4. Choices... LOTS OF IT.
Like any other RPG, you get a lot of choices as a player. First off, weapon selection. In MHFU you get 11 different weapons, including a greatsword, sword and shield, gunlance, and bowguns. MHP3 introduces the Switch Axe onto the Portable/Freedom series (it was first released on MH Tri for the Wii). On top of that, you also need to upgrade these properly, depending on what you are facing. That adds more strategy. Will I try to defeat monsters with pure, undirected raw damage,  exploit an elemental weakness, or attempt to target a susceptible body part in order to increase my advantage?

Either way, out of all the action RPG's on the PSP (Phantasy Star, God Eater), this is definitely the best. No wonder the game had over 8 million players even before the release of MHFU in the west (though MHP2G already had a solid playerbase). It's like the World of Warcraft of Japan, except less trolling (unless you're outside of Japan).

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