Published on February 13th, 2015 | by Dougie Wythe0
Why Monster Hunter Is A Must Have 3DS Title
With the dawn of a new Monster Hunter title finally emerging on our shores, it’s that time once again for all us Monster Hunter fans to sing its praises from the rooftops, give it the attention and appreciation it deserves and try to convince others to join the hunt! Monster Hunter creates two kinds of players; those who play for a few hours and decide they don’t like it and those who are like me; play for 400 hours with friends, give my utter dedication and have many a late night for “just one more hunt”. The best thing about this is that none of this is hyperbole. It’s all true and accurate for all my fellow hunters and I’m so glad that I gave Monster Hunter a chance as it’s my all-time favourite game that hundreds of hours in, I’m still playing and still excited for another hundred or two hours to come. So here are my top reasons why this weird Japanese game is an absolute must have for all you 3DS and Wii U owners.
What will be clearly evident from the outset of Monster Hunter is the lack of story. Lack of in game world engagement and any given reason as to why you should care. This is certainly no RPG or JRPG. There’s no huge plight of the world for you to fix, no real villain that must be thwarted, nor a true motivation that the game gives you. Yet, if you ask anyone that has become enveloped in the Monster Hunter world, they’ll certainly have many a story to regale and giddily tell you. Don’t just take my word for it though, like all good hunters, I have this story to tell you.
When I was roughly 100 hours in, I had seen and conquered nearly all of the high rank monsters. My friend, whom was only 40 hours in, had not, and I decided to drag him on the quest “When the Levy Breaks” to fight the colossal and hard hitting Duramboros. With a hammer for a tail, clocking in at 2400m long and weighing God knows how much, it certainly is a monster to be careful of. So whilst we were trying our best against this moving mountain, chipping away at its ankles, tail and horns, it began to spin. To any veterans, you’d know that it’s going to use its huge weight and clubbed tail to build momentum, throw itself skyward and come crashing down with all its might. Shame my fellow hunter’s last words were “where’d it go?” before the earth rattled as the mossy beast crushed and killed him. I laughed, he was speechless, Duramboros quickly became one of my favourite monsters and it’s a story that I love to tell. I’m perfectly fine with lacking a villain or in world motivation, considering most hunts usually end with a tale of bravery or stupidity to spread.
It’s safe to say that ever single Monster in Monster Hunter is a boss. Each has a challenge, some gimmicks and strategies, all of which are unique and engaging. You may see some semblances of other monsters in other beasts but they all have their own personalities. The Rathian and the Rathalos may seem to be merely genders of the same wyvern, but with a new lick of paint, but they differ so vastly. The Rathian has a nasty poison in her tail and does she ever love to you use it, draining your health bit by bit. Whist the Rathalos may have the same poisonous ability, he’s more fond of fire balls and rushing you down with brute force as you have to deal with being on fire. Same looking monsters, different precautions to take. The variety goes even deeper as you reach the subspecies of monsters, but I’ll leave that for you to find out.
I may have started off with two mighty sounding monsters, but they really are small fish of the Monster Hunter universe. Soon, you’ll be fighting a beast that dwarfs these wyverns, like the unrelenting desert fury; the Diablos. Want something bigger and angrier? How about the Uragaan, who lives to crush you under its rock hard chin. Before long, you’ll be fighting the true big bads of the game; Jhen Mohran, Alatreon, Deviljho. These really do feel like the boss fights to end a game of non-stop boss fights; they’re fearsome like nothing else, rewarding and incredibly challenging to fight no matter your gear.
With each quest, comes rewards. With each monster, comes what you can carve from its body. With these rewards and parts, comes greater equipment. Each offer new buffs, debuffs and attributes. The truly amazing thing about this is the physical progress that you can see. Rather than grinding on weaker monsters to level up to then fight the next monster, you go gather materials to have potions and items to give you an edge in battle. You go craft a new weapon, or upgrade a previous one, making it more potent or exploiting a new weakness with a different element.
You don’t fill up an experience bar to get a higher defence or upgrade your single handed skill. Your skill thrives and expands the more and more you play the game. Sure your equipment will improve as you progress. But as a player, you could have the best equipment in the game, dishing out the highest damage, have the most potent healing items. That won’t mean anything after a day of hunting if you the player aren’t a good hunter and don’t know what you’re doing. Knowing when to attack, the limits of your weapon, when to back off; all invaluable tools that the player learns from playing. No need for an in game tutorial, it’s a real lesson and real experience, no bar.
When you finally best that monster that kicked you around all day, you’ll feel so proud for what you’ve accomplished. It truly is a feeling no one can take away. Taking down a Dire Moralis is very akin to finally beating Ruby Weapon in Final Fantasy VII, or Ornstein and Smough from Dark Souls. Pure elation as you’ve taken down a walking nightmare and lived to tell the tale, wear the armour and gain the ultimate bragging rights.
Unique hunts every time
Most people that have played some form of MMO or RPG, whether it’s Destiny, Skyrim or WoW, you’ll know that there’s a degree of grinding in all of these. For those rare drops, ultra-rare weapons, raising a stat or for the run of a particular mission or raid. I won’t lie, this is evident in Monster Hunter. Yet, each and every hunt feels so unique and different as you’re trying to get those rare monster parts. Fighting the mighty Rathalos in the same mission five times consecutively yet have it feel different each and every time is something to keep you on your toes and engaged. You could go from fighting a particularly huge Rathalos that seems somewhat docile and has little interest in fighting you, to fighting the smallest Rathalos you’ve ever seen with the worst temper, oh and surprise, it brought a Deviljho to ruin your day, your hunt and crush you. Or perhaps your dodging was really on point and you have a flawless hunt, perhaps you get destroyed the second the monster sees you or perhaps you discover a new weakpoint and strategy to exploit. To this day I’m still finding new things, and that’s saying a lot for a game I’ve run out of new monsters to fight a long time ago.
Everyone will pick up certain little strategies that can be implemented. Whether it’s fishing out the Gobul with a frog to get some early hits in, cracking the Lagiacrus’ back crystals to stop its electricity or silencing the Qurupeco from singing to call in other monsters as support. All of this is picked up naturally from gameplay or from word of mouth, one hunter to another. What’s truly special is when you develop your own strategies, in a group, a pair or solo. This extends from the weapons used, the armour crafted and the player themselves. I’ve watched many hunters and played with a fair few, but each person has their own strategy and style. A fellow hunter of mine exclusively wears the Savage Deviljho armour, play the game and find out how impressive that is, and uses the Greatsword. I can always rely on him to be the group’s agro, getting the monster’s attention then grounding it with colossal hits from an even bigger weapon. Then I could turn to someone else, wearing the same armour and weapon, but play a more reserved great swordsman. Waiting patiently for a moment to strike, using bait and traps to lure the monster into fully powered hit. Again, this can differ from person to person, monster to monster, hunt to hunt. My hunting group changes armour and weapons very infrequently, only when the situation calls for it. Yet, a newer edition to our group changes gems, (specific buffs or debuffs to add into your armour and weapons) depending on the monster, completely changing her resistances for the upcoming battle. Everyone plays differently but yields success; something I truly love about Monster Hunter.
I understand that this seems like one big long biased love letter. Well, yes. It is. I’ve barely even scratched the surface as to why I love this game so much and haven’t even began to explain why I’m so giddy for the upcoming release of Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate! This is a very big franchise and beloved series in Japan, with Monster Hunter 4 coming out late 2013 and it’s only just being ported to us in early 2015. It sells incredibly well and there’s a damn good reason for it. I implore you to give Monster Hunter a chance, whether it’s the demos on the WiiU and 3DS or keeping an eye out on youtube to see what you’re missing. I can’t support this series enough, nor can I recommend it enough.