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Monster Hunter Tri (Wii) Review

Review for Monster Hunter Tri on Wii - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

Just a few weeks ago, the big Nintendo game of the moment involved capturing monsters. Things have taken a twist for the brutal in the short time since Pokémon HeartGold/SoulSilver was released, however. Nintendo doesn't want you to raise creatures anymore, it wants you to maim them in Wii's greatest hardcore hope yet, Monster Hunter Tri. It's the first release of the Capcom-developed series on a Nintendo system, and potentially the first to truly break out in the West due to some monstrous marketing efforts from Nintendo themselves.

Monster Hunter has traditionally appeared on Sony platforms, receiving rather large success on PlayStation Portable in particular. It's one of those series, though, that hasn't yet fully crossed over into mainstream appeal in Western territories, but Nintendo seem bull-headed about breaking that barrier now that they have got their claws into the latest mainline entry into the franchise, and exclusively too. There's no reason why it should not be a success. It's an action RPG with a huge amount of depth, a superb online mode and there are also those selling points of the title: a few dozen vicious beasts for you to slay in some of the most terrifying, exhilerating, occasionally stressful and, ultimately, hugely rewarding battles ever seen in a game.

The crux of the gameplay relies upon you taking up quests, mainly for the purpose of gathering copious amounts of items to improve your character, thus enabling you to kick the faces off of ever more powerful foes. Accept a quest and you will be transported to a base camp from which you can set out through a variety of environments - plain grasslands, volcanic rocks, icy tundras, a dip under the sea - to accomplish your goals. These quests usually have a time limit of 50 minutes and can involve anything from picking mushrooms to going toe-to-talon with a flying nasty straight out of your nightmares.

Don't get ahead of yourself, however; Monster Hunter Tri requires a lot of patience before you can get the best out of it. You will not be tackling the mythical dragons at first, you will be paying your dues as you slowly but surely learn the intricacies of battle, gradually being educated in the ways of Monster Hunter combat. Go all out against larger enemies and they will, until you are some kind of armoured-to-the-tips-of-your-fingers super-being, decimate you. Monster Hunter is all about strategy, careful and timely use of both items and attacks, and not being afraid to retreat, regroup and try again. Each quest only allows you to faint thrice before failing you - and while it might be hilarious to watch cats cart you back to base on a makeshift stretcher, you'll soon find out that you'll need to keep your wits about you to avoid this scene if you have any hope of serious progression. A stamina bar also prevents you from tearing up around the areas at all times, forcing you to use evasions and your speed only when it's imperative. You can always extend your stamina meter temporarily with a nice steak or other item to give yourself a little extra advantage, though.

Screenshot for Monster Hunter Tri on Wii - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

Battle length varies greatly. Small monsters, such as the tiny raptor Jaggi, can be dispatched in seconds. Jaggi's fiercer big brother, Great Jaggi, might initially take five to ten minutes. By the time you're facing larger boss characters, you're looking at 40 minutes of careful planning to bring down a single fearsome creature. Monster Hunter Tri does not let you off easily. It challenges you every step of the way, and allows you to find your own style of play by offering a wide spectrum of tool to utilise. Through trial and error, everybody will form a strategy that works for them. The more monsters and quests you take down, the greater your options; you'll unlock new weapon types to use, traps to lay, more resistant armour. Most satisfying are the items that you forge yourself from items found in the field or carved from the carcass of your latest conquest. If running around wearing the hide of a purple raptor while clutching a sword and shield wrapped in the tough skin of the Komodo dragon-alike Ludroth is wrong, there is no way I ever, ever want to be right.

If Monster Hunter Tri is sounding a bit daunting at this point - and rightfully so - fear not. The single player mode is geared excellently towards first time players, teaching you the ropes and making sure you know what you're doing. The story's base is a small village affected by the menace of sea monster Lagiacrus, a threat that you have been summoned to silence. The villagers will pitch tasks at you to rebuild their partially destroyed home, and by the time you've spent a few hours helping them out you'll soon be in the swing of things. Only then are you granted the ability to take on quests, though don't expect that much-important sense of strategy to kick in fully until you've had a few significant encounters. The single player in its own right is hugely substantial, taking around seven or eight hours just to get started, but it has a secondary purpose in preparing you for the big bad world of Monster Hunter online.

Nintendo have allowed Capcom a liberty or two with Monster Hunter Tri's online modes. The most crucial is the lack of friend codes, meaning you can play with anybody you like and add them to your in-game friends list with a simple message requesting their eternal loyalty. Capcom have also worked hard to include Wii Speak support for the Western release, though if that doesn't tickle your fancy you can easily take part in text chat with an on-screen keyboard (or a USB keyboard if you want to make the investment). Disappointingly, you can't use the pointer to type your messages, though. These things might seem completely standard to the HD systems, but the fact is that this represents a huge leap forward for online support on Wii. The fact that it's all free makes it even better.

Screenshot for Monster Hunter Tri on Wii - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

Gameplay is much the same online as in the single player, even sharing the same quests and allowing you to do all the things you would offline such as buying and forging things, only with the added benefit of being able to team up with up to three other players to fulfil said quests. Strategy becomes more important than ever online, plus you have to learn to maximise your abilities through teamwork; the faint limit of the single player is still present, except there are just three chances for the team as a whole. The online versions of the quests also tend to be tougher, thus meaning more reward potential, and special event quests will be available regularly. Get bored of questing and you can all merrily shop, drink, eat and arm wrestle together at the cities' taverns and stalls. It's all server-based, with servers being divided according to skill level and then divided further still into separate cities and city gates so that there's plenty of room for everybody to have a private game. Even running with hundreds or thousands of people online at a time it's absolutely flawless. There hasn't been an occasion that I've noticed lag yet.

In addition to the story mode and online, there's also an Arena mode to play offline. This allows you to team up with other people on one Wii system, taking on boss characters in a gladiatorial setting. The aim, more than anything, is to test out your skills with different equipment sets and try to beat monsters in the quickest amount of time, your score being stored on a leaderboard. It's useful for practice and for messing around with things you might not necessarily have cared to yet in other modes.

Capcom were allowed the opportunity to design their own controller, the Classic Controller Pro, especially for use with Monster Hunter Tri (though of course it works with other Classic Controller-supporting games, too). The Wii Remote and Nunchuk are a decent standard control option that do the job well enough, but they pale in comparison to the Classic Controller Pro. Simply put, it makes the original Classic Controller obselete, and the very second you begin to use the Pro controller Monster Hunter Tri improves fivefold. The refinements - extra grip afforded by the handles, the shoulder buttons being adjusted into a PlayStation-style layout and the movement of the connecting cable from the bottom to the top of pad - make it one of the most comfortable pads ever created. It should have always been this way.

The right stick makes for better camera control than the Remote's D-pad, the close-together face buttons superior to the way commands are spread over the buttons of the Remote/Nunchuk 'Freestyle' set-up, meaning you can chain vertical and horizontal attacks, evasive maneuvers, and item usage with ease. Avoid the second Classic Controller set-up, however, which has the right stick used for attacking; it just doesn't work very well. The Remote is still used in whichever control option you go with, as you can pick it up and point at items for more information, or register monsters in your log book, when you are in the menu screens. It's fiddly in the heat of battle, but a cool feature nonetheless. The only thing that could be considered frustrating about the controls is the lack of lock-on to aid battle, but this is overcome easily and swiftly forgotten with a little practice.

Screenshot for Monster Hunter Tri on Wii - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

Whoever is responsible for the localisation should be given credit, as Monster Hunter Tri shines in this department as much as any. While there appear to be character limitations, resulting in some of the items names being a tad confusing, the descriptions and dialogue are spot on. They're a perfect mix of informative and humorous, to the point that you're probably taking on much more information than you realise. In a game with as much to it as this, that's a massive help. Unfortunately, the absolutely tiny text will require some squinting to make out at all times, which detracts from things.

The most impressive thing about Monster Hunter Tri is the sense that you really are in a world. There is a huge amount to do, and not even all of it involves fighting. You could quite happily spend time fishing, catching bugs or mining without killing a thing, and even within the fighting there is variety. You have to adapt to different conditions according to environment, such as slower movement underwater or the necessity of hot drinks in cold areas to stop your health slipping away, and because every monster is so different you must be constantly on the ball to deal with their approaches. Against the non-common, screen-filling beasts, you're always up for an intense fight that requires all your concentration if you don't want to end up as a pile of bones.

The visuals, easily the best 'realistic' ones on Wii, take you in completely, with beautiful lands stretching off below the cliffs and superb subtle lighting effects; the fire torch sometimes appears to enhance nothing, but put it out and reignite it a few times and you will soon appreciate the faint orange glow that it gives off. The monsters are the most impressive part, though. Every inch of them covered in detailed textures and they act just as you would imagine. Their animation is perfect, with muscles flexing beneath skin, and in combination with the semi-realistic cries and the way that they interact with each other - carnivores preying on herbivores and the like - it feels as if you're in the middle of one of the most dangerous ecosystems ever conceived. This feeling is only heightened when coming up against boss characters, each accompanied by their own flourishes of orchestrated music. The first appearance of Lagiacrus will put the fear of God in you, and it's not the only instance of such a feeling. One of the best things is that there are no health bars or statistics spraying around the screen aside your own, which stay firmly out of the way at the top. The health status of your enemies is hinted at through the way they move; limping if they are close to death, for example. This makes for an extremely immersive experience, though regular loading times as you switch between areas do take away from this slightly.

Anybody that has ever complained about a lack of games on Wii needs to immediately look in Monster Hunter Tri's direction, where they will find, if they are willing to put the time into it, one of the best, most time-consuming games you will find on any system. This is a highlight of Wii's catalogue, and both the massive single player and online mode should keep people playing for a long, long time. Happy hunting.

Screenshot for Monster Hunter Tri on Wii- on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

Gameplay

There's so much depth to the customisation that everybody will surely find a set of equipment that suits their way of playing. The fights against the big beasts are, naturally, the strongest point, requiring your utmost attention and sometimes driving you into a very real sense of panic. The feeling of overcoming a difficult quest is unmatchable. Wii Remote/Nunchuk and Classic Controller Pro set-ups are both good, though it is the latter that gets the very best out of the game.

Graphics

Glorious. The environments are fantastic, the effects subtle but beautiful and the monsters are awe-striking, animated perfectly so that you can always tell roughly what their status is despite their lack of health bars. Small text lets the side down.

Sound

Lots of quality cries, roars and screeches. The music only really kicks in as you enter certain areas or come up against a boss monster, but the strains of the orchestra are always welcomed and effective.

Value

It's unlikely that the average person will ever fully complete this game to the point of collecting everything in it. There are potentially hundreds of hours of gameplay on offer here thanks to a large single player, a great online mode, and the 'time attack' Arena.

Cubed3 Rating

9/10
Rated 9 out of 10

Exceptional - Gold Award

About this score
Rated 9 out of 10

Nintendo were right to put their full muscle behind Monster Hunter Tri, as Capcom have delivered to Wii an utterly unmissable experience. It's quite possibly the most hardcore title on the system, and it's hugely addictive and rewarding to boot, should you give it the proper time of day and allow it to sink in. Be warned - if you have your Wii connected to the Internet, your social life could very well take a hit even bigger than some of Monster Hunter's enemies pretty soon...

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26.04.2010

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Developer

Capcom

Publisher

Nintendo

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  9/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  10/10 (24 Votes)

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Reader comments - add yours today Comments on this Review

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Senior ModeratorCubed3 Member

Brilliant review Mike! I have to agree with everything said! I'm about 10 hours down and only just hitting the three star missions - the reason being that I can't resist collecting the full set of Jaggi armour/weaponry. The game doesn't force you to change weapons/sets either, you can upgrade the one you currently have if you so chose, but chances are you will want to sport your latest kill on the fashionable high street Smilie

I think I'm going to play some more, for the next few years.....

Great review, one of the best things about the game is the difficulty. Online is perfect too, can't wait to spend hundreds of more hour on it. XD

I'm about 8 hours in and I have only done 2 quests. You must be blazing through the game, Echoes.

Anyway, I really love the concept of the game and sometimes I just watch the monsters feeding or running around before jumping in and carving their bones out. Right now I'm trying all the weapons (except the bowgun) to see what I like playing with.

Dont think ill be playing through this, didnt enjoy the monster hunters on PSP and definitely dont have the time to play it

Senior ModeratorStaff Member

My brother's loving it to bits, and aside from the arguable lack of content compared with Freedom Unite on PSP (it has more monsters), he says it's far more enjoyable. It's really not my kind of game, but I'm incredibly impressed with Capcom for creating this, and on Wii.

It's quite possibly the most hardcore title on the system

As well as being hugely casual Smilie It's one of those games that appeals to any demographic around certain ages really.

( Edited 27.04.2010 09:03 by SuperLink )

Twitter | C3 Writer/Moderator | Backloggery

I want this so much, but I need more money! Ahh!

I can't afford it at the moment. But I will be getting it at some point.

Senior ModeratorStaff Member

I don't know if i'll be getting it, as i prolly won't have enough time to dedicate to such a game for the next weeks. I hope it will remain on sale until the summer holidays, cuz' Wii games don't seem to get restocked easily in most stores.

Cubed3 Limited Staff :: Review and Feature Writer
Senior ModeratorCubed3 Member

I'm about 8 hours in and I have only done 2 quests. You must be blazing through the game, Echoes.

Not really, taking it easy, a lot of the earlier quests can be completed really quickly. I feel like I've barely been questing, just forging awesome items Smilie

I'm at the point where I can take down two Great Jaggi relatively easy (with cha cha by my side), going to do the Quropequo mission once I've got the complete Jaggi set. I may mess around with some different weapons as well, really want to forge me a switch axe Smilie

( Edited 27.04.2010 13:40 by Echoes221 )

Staff Member

Will most likely get when Zavvi have a sale on. Smilie


Couldn't read the text in the trailer, so instant no buy if this is the same in the actual game.

And how is this:

a convincing monster? If this is how you think a monster would behave, you're thinking pretty lowly of monsters in general. :/

Beautiful game though.

( Edited 27.04.2010 15:25 by Bastardman )

Senior ModeratorStaff Member

Bastardman said:
a convincing monster? If this is how you think a monster would behave, you're thinking pretty lowly of monsters in general. :/

I don't understand what's particularly wrong with it?

Twitter | C3 Writer/Moderator | Backloggery

Look at how incredibly dumb it acts?

Charging at the place where you were standing 3 seconds ago, then facing the opposite direction you are for a while. Sorry but that's not convincing in my book.

( Edited 27.04.2010 15:28 by Bastardman )

Senior ModeratorStaff Member

Bastardman said:
Look at how incredibly dumb it acts?

AI would have a part to do with that. Keep in mind:

- It's not a very dominative monster in the game's universe
- It was initially hunting and the player was only a distraction
- It was also protecting its young (hence why it wasn't always focusing on the player and kept running away)
- It attacks with its tail on purpose, and if you are familiar with the game's lore there is likely a very good reason for this.

I don't even like the series but I usually have to admit the monsters act in quite a believable way.

Twitter | C3 Writer/Moderator | Backloggery

Well they are animated quite believable, but getting slashed at would make you stop trying to get a meal and fight for survival. That doesn't include attacking with your tail when the player isn't near you.

It's totally not convincing seeing a human who moves slow being able to sidestep an attack THAT easily.

Bastardman said:
Couldn't read the text in the trailer, so instant no buy if this is the same in the actual game.

And how is this:


a convincing monster? If this is how you think a monster would behave, you're thinking pretty lowly of monsters in general. :/

Beautiful game though.

ewww those now loading screens seem so annoying! They could have put like doors up instead, that load the new area, like in metroid...or maybe freeze the game for a few seconds like halo.

( Edited 27.04.2010 16:20 by Simon  )

Avoid Games Like the Plague, productivity++
Senior ModeratorStaff Member

There are so many aspects of Monster Hunter that really put me off - the long loading and slow character movement, for example. However, the more I've played this Wii version, the more it's started to grow on me. There are definitely elements that remind me of Zelda, and whilst I've never been able to get into the PSP versions I've tried, I'm most certainly toying with the idea of taking a risk with MH3.

I feel like a sheep, blinding following the herd, despite my reservations... Smilie

It's easily become the quickest selling in the MH series over here in the UK, by the way, entering at No.5 in the All Format UK Top 40 this week. Good going! The last PSP game, which received a LOT of advertising, only reached something like No.26, if I recall correctly...

Adam Riley < Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited >
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Senior ModeratorStaff Member

jesusraz said:
It's easily become the quickest selling in the MH series over here in the UK, by the way, entering at No.5 in the All Format UK Top 40 this week. Good going! The last PSP game, which received a LOT of advertising, only reached something like No.26, if I recall correctly...

Wow, beating even the PSP versions, that's fantastic! I really didn't expect that. It seems to gain huge amounts of popularity with every single game.
How much advertising has it received? To be honest I haven't seen any aside from on the internet.

Twitter | C3 Writer/Moderator | Backloggery
Senior ModeratorStaff Member

SuperLink said:
Wow, beating even the PSP versions, that's fantastic! I really didn't expect that. It seems to gain huge amounts of popularity with every single game.
How much advertising has it received? To be honest I haven't seen any aside from on the internet.

I think it's helped that Nintendo has held nationwide events this time round to give Capcom a helping hand. MH3 was miles behind the PSP MH games in Japan, but it beat the sales of both MH and MH2 on PS2 there.

Here in the West, MH simply hasn't had a strong presence at all, with MH Portable G 2 (is it called MH Freedom here?) being the first game Capcom has really tried to market properly. I don't think it helped that the PSP has been dead in the US and Europe for ages now (even Crisis Core: FFVII struggled to make any significant impact here).

I think that's why Nintendo has jumped on-board the project, simply because the potential is there to make it seem like MH is something you can mainly find on a Nintendo-branded system. WE all know it's mainly a Sony brand game, but the majority of the public will be none-the-wiser.

It's the same situation as with Dragon Quest IX on DS. Even though Sony and Square Enix pushed DQVIII on PS2 considerably, it still didn't fare too well, which is why when S-E published DQ Swords and DQM: Joker here, they tanked as the brand recognition is still really low. Even the DQIV and DQV DS remakes struggled despite plenty of online hype. So what does Nintendo do? Offer to step in and push DQIX...I can see that becoming the best-selling in the series here in the West as well.

Adam Riley < Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited >
Word of Adam | Voice123 Profile | AdamC3 on Twitter

I've seen loads of Monster Hunter 3 ads on TV, especially on the music channels. It's reached no.5 and it hasn't even been out for a week. XD

Senior ModeratorStaff Member

L said:
I've seen loads of Monster Hunter 3 ads on TV, especially on the music channels. It's reached no.5 and it hasn't even been out for a week. XD

People always get that idea...but the majority of a game's sales come in that first weekend of release, unless it's a 'casual game' where users aren't aware of the game's release date and pick it up when they can.

Glad to hear confirmation of the frequency of adverts, thanks Smilie I don't bother watching too much TV nowadays, so had no idea...

Adam Riley < Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited >
Word of Adam | Voice123 Profile | AdamC3 on Twitter

73,099 in Europe which is a lot better than PSP's Monster Hunter Freedom Unite which only managed 25,622 in Europe.

Senior ModeratorStaff Member

L said:
73,099 in Europe which is a lot better than PSP's Monster Hunter Freedom Unite which only managed 25,622 in Europe.

Huh? Are those opening weekend sales figures for the UK release? If so, where did they come from? Smilie

Adam Riley < Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited >
Word of Adam | Voice123 Profile | AdamC3 on Twitter
Staff Member

Certainly is impressive how much advertising is being shown for this game; rarely does a commercial break go by that I don't see this one mentioned.


jesusraz said:Huh? Are those opening weekend sales figures for the UK release? If so, where did they come from? Smilie

No it's for all of Europe: Others = Europe
Also here are the total sales for America as well. It's doing pretty good.Smilie

Senior ModeratorStaff Member

No no no no no...Please do NOT use VGChartz' made up numbers. You may not be familiar with the background of the guy that started that website, but all those numbers are 'guesses.' You and I could come up with random numbers and if we told enough people in a confident enough manner, then no doubt people would believe US as well! Smilie

Adam Riley < Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited >
Word of Adam | Voice123 Profile | AdamC3 on Twitter

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