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Monster Hunter Tri Review - A Game That's Both Massive and Addictive
Despite being around for the last six years, the Monster Hunter franchise has not seen the biggest amount of exposure in North America. It’s not a foreign series by any means, and it has its fan base, but Monster Hunter’s main success has been prominent mostly in Japan. Monster Hunter Tri sees the action-RPG series’ debut on Nintendo’s Wii. Does the game fall flat as a result of the series’ predominantly Japanese roots? Or is this massive game a strong title in the Wii’s library?
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Monster Hunter Tri Review - Story
The plot in Monster Hunter Tri runs very thin and merely serves as a means to get the ball rolling and to get you hunting, scavenging, and upgrading. You arrive at a tranquil village that has just experienced a massive tremor. The village elder enlists your character’s hunting ways and asks you to help him and the rest of the villagers in seeking out whatever foul creature is causing the quakes. And that’s the all there is to the story. You’ll help out the villagers by meeting their needs and take on quests assigned to you by The Guild as you try to seek out the game's massive monsters.
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Gameplay - Customization and Flow of the Game
For those who may be unfamiliar with the premise of Monster Hunter, the following pretty much sums up the way the game flows: you hunt gargantuan beasts and slay or capture them, make armor out of their scales or hide, and constantly upgrade your weaponry. To call this gameplay design simple would be erroneous, however, because for as simplistic or linear as the aforementioned details sound, there’s actually a lot of deep, engaging, and addictive gameplay within the confines of Monster Hunter Tri.
Right at the start of the game you’ll get a feel for the massive customization the game has to offer. Rather than being forced to play as a generic hunter, you’ll create your very own character by choosing hair, facial features, gender, and other options. This is just the beginning, however. As you play through quests and go on scavenging missions you’ll see that literally everything is at your disposal. You collect herbs and mushrooms to make your own health potions, slay smaller creatures to collect that much-needed fang or bone for your collection, and literally pick apart at the entire in-game world as you seek out items to boost your stats and upgrade your weapons and armor.
You’ll take your custom hunter on the various quests bestowed upon you by The Guild, and these quests are fun and time-consuming. Each quests comes with a 50-minute time limit, and you’ll find that as you encounter larger, stronger beasts, you’ll take a lot longer to get the job done. Still, despite all the pressure, you’ll find that there’s nothing more satisfying than slaying that giant Rathian after being warned that you’re down to your last five minutes.
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Gameplay - Underwater Quests and Learning Curve
Monster Hunter Tri introduces underwater hunts to the series, and these add a nice change of pace to the game’s hunting quests. You’ll need to employ different tactics if you want to take down a massive creature while underwater, and you’re going to have to learn when to time a dodge, when to swim up to the surface for air, and when to deliver a swing of your weapon while factoring in the underwater physics of the game.
There’s definitely a learning curve that accompanies Monster Hunter Tri. You’ll have to get used to how the game flows, you’ll need to prepare properly by constantly scavenging for health items, and you’ll be forced to deal with the game’s few questionable quirks. One of the more frustrating aspects of Monster Hunter Tri’s gameplay is the character animations, which cost you valuable seconds and can sometimes cost you your life. You’ll feel desperation and frustration when you use that necessary potion to increase your health, only to see your hunter flexing his muscles as a monster runs towards you. There are also some issues with the game’s camera controls, and these are most prominent when you’re backed into a corner.
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Review of Monster Hunter Tri - Online Multiplayer
Aside from the rewarding yet highly challenging single-player mode, Monster Hunter Tri offers one of the most enthralling online multiplayer components on the Wii. You’ll be able to take on a different string of quests through the game’s online feature, and you can team up with other hunters to do so. This is where the game truly shines, and you will definitely spend countless hours teaming up with both friends and random players as you take on online quests and special weekly event quests. Even after spending a lot of time playing with others, Monster Hunter Tri’s online mode will easily have you playing “just one more quest.”
Like the gameplay itself, Monster Hunter Tri’s online mode takes some getting used to and comes with a slight learning curve of its own. Communicating with people online and setting up quests isn’t easy at first, but once you get the hang of it, you’ll find that it’s actually quite simple. The game features USB keyboard support, so if you need to communicate with other players, you can do so. It’s definitely a lot easier than struggling with the controller and onscreen keyboard combo. Additionally, the game is compatible with Wii Speak. And although the sound quality isn’t always great, it’s really cool to be able to talk to your friends and devise a strategy without having to type everything in while controlling your hunter.
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Review of Monster Hunter Tri - Graphics and Sound
Monster Hunter Tri is easily one of the best-looking games on the Wii. Lighting effects are gorgeous, locales all feature crisp, clear detail, the water in oceans and lakes shimmers beautifully, and the monsters themselves are a stunning sight to behold. You’ll likely be in awe the first time you encounter the gigantic Barroth or be amazed by the Royal Ludroth’s fearsome yet kingly look. Capcom really managed to push the Wii to its technical limits, and this is evident in both the in-game visuals and CG cut-scenes.
The game’s score also has its merits, though the graphics do manage to outshine the music and sounds. You’ll hear a number of themes whenever you take on a massive monster. Some of these themes are more gripping than others, but they all sound good for the most part. The monsters’ savage cries, on the other hand, are all very impressive, and hearing these creatures call out for help from their species mates just adds more tension to your hunts.
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Monster Hunter Tri is not only a massive game, but an addictive one as well. You’re bound to spend hours upon hours taking on the game’s online and offline modes, hunting and capturing the game’s many beasts, upgrading your weapons and armor, and collecting materials. It’s very likely that you’ll surpass the 40-hour mark only to realize that you’re still not done with the game’s single-player mode. In terms of the online multiplayer, this game is just as addictive as some MMOs out there, and you’ll discover just how true this statement is when you find yourself questing alongside your fellow hunters for hours without an end in sight.
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Review of Monster Hunter Tri - Overall Rating
Monster Hunter Tri is for all intents and purposes one of the strongest packages to come along on the Wii in a long time. Its mass customization gameplay, challenging single-player mode, and highly addictive online multiplayer will keep you hooked for a very long time. And although there are a few bumps in the road, they’re very easy to overlook when you see the big picture. Monster Hunter Tri on the Wii is not just a solid game; it’s an impressively great one.