Hunting monsters is as bad ass as it is beautiful.
Even in a sea of other great titles, Monster Hunter Tri is one of the best and most addictive games on the Wii. Capcom stepped up their game when they released this entry in the monster slaying franchise, in both presentation and gameplay. The game absorbs players both familiar with and new to the franchise and puts them in an experience unlike any other on the system.
Let’s start with undoubtedly the most important factor of the game: the monsters. Each creature, from the harmless herbivores to the behemoth bosses, is beautifully designed and rendered. Each species has its own behavioral patterns and attacks hunters must observe and memorize firsthand. During the development stages of the game I’m sure someone shouted, “Health bars are for the weak!” because you will never find one in this game. Instead, you have to watch how a monster reacts and moves to gauge its level of health. Hunters have to prepare not only for the monsters they face, but also for the environment in which they fight. Going to the desert? Take a cool drink. Planning to fight underwater? Might want to wear a different set of armor. Even if you’re fighting the same boss, no battle is the same.
Monster Hunter Tri looks beautiful, but also handles like a dream. Granted, I played most of the game with the Classic Controller Pro that came bundled with it, but that’s the best way to experience Tri. The controls are natural and easy to grasp; even with so many actions to execute at any given time (e.g., walking and running; dodging and swinging weapons), I rarely looked down at my controlled with a confused look.
Monster Hunter Tri also includes an amazing weapon and armor system. Upgrading to the next armor set often takes a while, but each step up is worth it. Not only are the pieces beautifully designed, each upgraded armor set also makes your hunter significantly more powerful than the last did. The weapon upgrading system is just as rewarding. Though you start the game with only a few weapon choices, the possibilities multiply with each monster you fell. After playing for only a few hours, players unlock many different types of weapons, along with new weapons altogether.
I touched on it before, but it bears repeating: the game’s epic boss battles define Monster Hunter Tri. As soon as these terrible creatures reveal themselves and the appropriate music starts, the intimidating implications are clear. Monsters soon grow bigger, scarier and smarter, making each battle more epic than the last; Great Jaggis are like piglets when compared to later bosses. The progression of difficulty in these fights never feels forced, and Monster Hunter Tri does a solid job of preparing hunters for the next great challenge.
Capcom's massive franchise is ultimately a great fit for the Wii, capitalizing on the abilities of the system to create a high-quality presentation with great single and multiplayer modes. Monster Hunter Tri is not just a fantastic entry to the overall series, but also one of the best games on the Wii.
Check out the podcast segment featuring Josh, James Dawson, and Neal talking about the game.