Mountains of items, tedious missions scarier than monsters


3 out of 5 stars

In a land where dinosaurs walk the earth alongside humans, it’s the job of you, the monster hunter, to protect the weak in “Monster Hunter Tri.” After an excellent introduction video featuring massive sea and land beasts fighting over a herbivore, the game loaded to a surprisingly complicated menu system. That unfortunate surprise and many others greeted me as I played through this title.

This game is not for people who want the instant thrill of tracking down skyscraper-sized raptors, because after around nine hours of game play, I have yet to be assigned a mission to capture or kill a creature larger than a small truck. Several times I caught myself asking where the monsters were in “Monster Hunter.” I spent time collecting antlers from deer, mushrooms from a cave and even bugs from the part of the game that was the farthest from the home base. It’s a game that centers on collecting hundreds of items, which without the Internet, I wouldn’t have known what they are used for. My bank and bags are filled to the brim with items because I don’t know when they are going to be useful.

To me, combat in the game seems more geared to multiplayer content, which the game does have built-in. As a Wii game, anyone with this title can play with people from around the world to capture the largest of beasts. In the U.S., the online multiplayer play is free. With six types of weapons available and hundreds of different upgrades, you will eventually find a use for every item you can find in the game. Different amounts of source materials are required for every upgrade, as well as some cash that you generate from performing missions.

I found the fighting system a bit clunky. There is no locking mechanism in this game, so all the sword or bow strikes need to be aimed by the player, which can result in a lot of missed hits. You cannot attack without first drawing your weapon, and you cannot use items without putting your weapon away, meaning during combat you have to wait for the weapon animation before you can take a potion to heal yourself. There is even an animation for taking the potion. All of this leaves you vulnerable to attack, but with multiple players you could make sure the monster is watching some moves in particular while others are healing themselves.

I watched several videos on YouTube that showed teams battling truly awesome-looking monsters, and that alone leads me to believe that maybe the wait and all of the missions where you have to gather mushrooms for the village may be worth it just to see some of these titanic beasts go down. This is a title not for the faint of heart, but those with a lot of time to spare may find this to be an excellent title.