I’ve never played a Monster Hunter game before (or written anything for a blog, so be nice), but from what I know they completely dominate in Japan. I saw the newest 3DS version and figured I’d give it a go. I’m still doing some of the introductory stuff, but I’ve played for a few hours.
First, I’ll go with the graphics. When handheld games go for the realistic 3D look, it normally doesn’t go too well. I’d much rather have something in crisp 2D than N64-era 3D, but Monster Hunter does it pretty well. The story so far is decent. There’s a surprising amount of comedy and sarcasm in the opening hours. The plot (“Our village is under attack by some random, huge monster”) is nothing to get up in arms about, but I expect it to flesh out more soon.
Now to the meat of the game – the combat. You’ve got your standard HUD: HP/stamina bars in the top left, mini map, items. The camera stays in a fixed vertical position and centers behind you when you hit L. I haven’t had any problems with the camera except when swimming. It either tilts an inch or way too far. Stamina serves many purposes, whether it be sprinting, dodging, or other weapon-based abilities. So far I’ve tried the hammer, dual swords, gunlance, and switch axe. The hammer is slow but can KO enemies if you hit them in the head enough times. Dual swords are light and fast, but leave you unable to block. Gunlances are, well, lances with a built in gun, so that’s pretty awesome. Bulky, though. The switch-axe is my favorite of the two-hand weapons, so far. While being used as an axe it’s more or less a standard heavy weapon. Switch to sword mode and you’ve got a slower, lumbering power weapon ready to bust some heads.
Weapons use stamina in different ways. Dual swords can activate Demon Mode, which drains stamina over time but lets you hit harder. Charge up a hammer strike with stamina to slam a monster’s face in.
The customization seems almost endless. Weapons and armor can be bought, forged, or upgraded with a multitude of monster parts. Need some fire resistant armor? Go kill some fire monsters until you get enough wings/tails/hides. Every item you buy changes your in-game avatar, too. After only buying the cheapest upgrade from my starter gear, your character looks way more badass.
Anyone else playing MH3U? What are your thoughts?