Monster Hunter Tri is Capcom’s third console instalment of the famous Japanese series of games and is its highest-selling third party game for the Nintendo Wii.
As the title suggests, it puts you in control of a customisable character that is tasked with hunting down the biggest and meanest monsters in all the land. It’s essentially a fantasy game with RPG and hack ‘n’ slash elements to it and is, by far, one of the best looking games I’ve seen to date on the Nintendo console.
As with most games that work along these lines, there is quite an in-depth story and introductory learning curve, which you have to go through before the game gets really interesting. This is good in some ways, as you get to become quite a good player before you are thrown a real challenge. However, for those who just want to pick up and play, you may find you get bored before the game gets really interesting.
It’s really one you need to stick with, though, as through all its faults it is still great fun to play and one of the most in-depth games you are likely to see on the console.
Once you’ve designed your character and you’ve seen the intro to the game, you meet all the main NPCs and are tasked with completing some favours for the town in order to get things up and running smoothly again in the wake of another earthquake, which has frequently been occurring in the area.
This collection of training quests will help to introduce you to the controls of the game and the different mechanics used for each scenario you are likely to face, such as moving around the land or sea, interacting with different characters and fighting monsters of varying sizes, both on land and underwater.
There are several stores where you can upgrade your current weapons and armour, purchase new ones and buy and sell items, and each of them has their own strengths and weaknesses.
Your character will start off with simple rag type clothing and you’ll have to purchase and then upgrade armour if you are to have any form of defence from the monsters throughout the gaming world. These are all sold separately and each have their own attributes, which can be upgraded, from chest plates made of leather to the strongest metal helmets. It’s all there and all adds to your armour defence. Plus, as you add each individual armour to your collection, they are worn by your character as well.
As you play through this introductory portion of the game, more and more areas of the gameplay world are unlocked and a vast amount of terrain becomes available for you to explore. Moving around the world takes a bit of getting used to for those who play third- person games on the Xbox or PS3, but, once you get used to it, then it becomes second nature and the ability to change the camera angles using the directional pad makes navigating the world that much easier.
As with most games, there are some parts that could be improved on and the main areas where this game doesn’t quite work is when you are fighting more mobile enemies. As there is no targeting system for melee attacks, you sometimes find that when you go to attack them you will slash your weapon either side and miss completely, which, in turn, leaves you open to counter-attacks if you’re not quick enough to hold your shield up and drains unnecessary stamina.
When it comes to attacking, the Wii-mote’s motion sensor comes into play and when it connects it does bring a bit more fun to the game. As you swing the controller around your weapon of choice on screen swings, and you start stringing together basic combos nicely. Alternatively, you can just mash the A button to string together a combo and on some weapons you can charge up an attack and unleash a devastating combo in whichever direction you’re facing.
A problem you’ll have early on in the game is lack of space in your item pouch to store everything you find and this can be frustrating when some quests require you to collect items to complete them. You end up discarding your least valuable items just to get these quest items in. However, as you get used to the format of the game with regards to quests, you will soon get to grips with storing or selling unused items before each quest and you should be ok from then onwards.
This is very much a game for those who have a lot of time to dedicate to it and, despite its rather repetitive style of play, it’s actually really addictive and you’ll be keen to see what new monsters will appear next as there is generally a nice cut-scene introducing them. And with the combination of land and sea battles, it’s always challenging and fun to take part in most of the quests.
Normally, a quest will have a main aim and one or two sub quests beneath it, which you can get bonuses for should you complete them, but are not necessary. You are also given a certain time limit (early on it’s generally 50 minutes or so), which is plenty of time to complete the quest.
Then there are the occasional urgent quests that pop up and they can play integral parts to the main story with more cut-scenes dropped in, showing off the beautifully animated landscapes and some of the larger monsters.
One of the main annoyances I have with this game is the lack of voice acting. It didn’t all need to be voiced, but in a game like this where there is so much to take in, it would have been a bit more interesting if there were some more vocal moments in the game as opposed to the repetitive mumbles characters make generically while you read seemingly endless text scrolling on screen.
Still, I don’t mean to sound too negative about what is ultimately a triumph in gaming for the Wii and one you should definitely give a go if you are remotely into RPG gaming.
I’ve also heard that the next Zelda game isn’t being released until it is on par with Monster Hunter Tri graphically. If that’s the case, we could be in for a treat as this is a fantastic looking game by Wii standards and with some addictive and fun gameplay you can over look its annoyances because you will have a lot of fun playing through this story and facing bigger and tougher monsters as you level up.
If it wasn’t for the lack of lock-on ability when in melee combat amongst other minor game problems, then I’d rate this a solid 4 stars. However, taking everything into account, I have to rate it 3.
Monster Hunter Tri is out now and available from the Den Of Geek Store.