Thursday, February 12, 2015

I'm On Board With the Monster Hunter 4U Hype Train: Here's Why

I'm fully on board the hype train for the upcoming title, Monster Hunter 4U for the Nintendo 3ds.  I might have a different reason that most, but let's begin with some bullet points about why it's a good game, before I tell you why I'm particularly interested in the franchise.

The points that most reviews focus on:

  • A game focused on killing bosses.  By yourself and/or with friends.
  • Finally has online multiplayer on 3DS.
  • 14 different weapon types.
  • Each weapon type plays COMPLETELY differently than each other in combat.
  • A more coherent story than previous titles.
  • A more approachable new player experience with better tutorials and weapon combo screens to view.
  • You can enjoy the game in short spurts... or delve into the hardcore realm and spend hundreds, even thousands, of hours.
  • THERE ARE 75 BOSSES IN THIS GAME.  I remember when Molten Core in WoW launched with what... 10?
  • The amount of polish in the game is staggering.  The bosses have amazing animations, the combat is deep, and the amount of gear you can get/make is unbelievable.
  • You can now do attacks in mid-air and even jump on the monsters backs and ride/stab them for a bit.
  • The combat is complicated.  It can feel clunky and slow to players that haven't learned the ropes yet.  Once you find the weapon that suits your playstyle... it's a whole different ballpark.
  • The game can feel grindy or even have boring quests.
  • The long boss fights (often taking 20-30 min) can turn people off, but the better you get at the game combined with the gear you receive from the kills can reduce this down to 2-5 minute kills.

The part of the game that I focus on, and why I'm pumped:

How long have I been asking for a pure co-operative player vs. environment experience!?  A game that I can enjoy with my friends anywhere I am.  A game that has a community that's focused on working together to down some dauntingly amazing bosses...

I was introduced to the Monster Hunter by some close friends and it held my attention for being a cult hit in Japan... but I wasn't fully on board yet.  The game being limited to Nintendo was my first hurdle, then the most recent version of the game only had online multiplayer support on the Wii U version.  Monster Hunter 3U also had horrendous camera control.  The 3DS Circle Pad Pro accessory really negated this complaint, but I'd much rather have some sort of right joystick built into the system for camera control.

Nintendo really hasn't had a game that I can just immerse myself into.  Sure they have fun titles like Zelda and Super Smash Brothers, but I guess I want something nerdier.  I want to geek out and get into the minutiae of the mechanics of a game but still have a great time with my friends that play much more casually.

This new version of the game, and the new 3DS have changed all of that.  My two major complaints about not being able to enjoy Monster Hunter previously were these:

  • I had no idea what I was doing.
  • The camera control was horrible using the d-pad/touchscreen.
  • Only local multiplayer.  (I'm an online presence!  I want to play with my gaming friends all over the country!)
All of these concerns have been fixed by Monster Hunter 4U.

They added much better weapon tutorials and guiding within the game.  The new 3DS has the new little nub joystick that can control the camera for Monster Hunter.  AND FINALLY ONLINE MULTIPLAYER.

I did go above and beyond and looked at GaijinHunter's amazing weapon tutorial videos, but it's something I highly recommend.  I played through the demo over and over again trying new weapons to see if I'd like new things, never even realizing some of the capabilities and combos that the weapons could perform.  If you have just ten minutes here and there, you should really check them out if you're interested in the game.

To get back to my main point without nerding out about game mechanics too much...

This is finally the PvE co-op experience I've been CRAVING!

A game that you can play with three other friends, conquering giant bosses, and working together with a helpful community in order to accomplish the harder goals within the game.  A game where a hardcore player like me can delve hours upon hours into, improving my character, and gaining mastery over my combat... then join my more casual friends to just "smash some monster heads" and I'll still love every second.

Maybe it's the smaller community because Monster Hunter isn't super well known.  Maybe it IS the fact that it's not on many different systems yet and the exposure to the player base seems low.  Maybe it's these points that help the small community vibe thrive and seem engaging.

This is the game that I got a 3DS for.  This is the gaming experience that I've been looking for.  This is a system seller through and through for me.  There is no price you can set for having those unforgettable "holy shit" moments with your good friends, and in this case even strangers.

Monster Hunter 4U is FILLED with "holy shit..." moments.

Just look at the sheer amount of armor sets in this game...  Each armor set changes every 3-4 seconds... and this video is 19 minutes long!?

Get this game.  Join me.  Let's go smash some dragon heads and then prance on their corpses.

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