Tuesday, November 20, 2012

What's Better than Monster Hunter?

By ladyvader99 

I was 19 and I saw it from across the room. It took my breath away.

In this past six months, I have gotten a tattoo on my inner right forearm of a Monster Hunter “forbidden hunter” seal. In the manga, a monster hunter is given this mark to allow them to hunt the most dangerous and the rarest of beasts. Seeing as I have over 3000 hours logged into the Monster Hunter franchise, I deemed myself worthy. There are a total of 10 entries in the Monster Hunter series, spanning over a variety of platforms, with only 4 released here in the United States. The most current installment, Monster Hunter Portable 3, is currently Capcom’s fastest selling game ever.

I was 19 (maybe 20…the years blend!) when I came across Monster Hunter for PlayStation 2. The game play was simple; you are a wandering young person who undertakes the task of relieving a small village of the monsters that plague it in exchange for room and board. These range from small, docile herbivores to HUGE dragons. The game forces you to use every bit of cunning and strategy you possess and the sense of accomplishment when you take down that first Rathalos is immensely satisfying. Every creature you take down allows you to carve material off of it to make superior armor and weaponry, thereby making you stronger and able to withstand attacks from stronger, more hostile and intelligent creatures. There is no “end” to the game, so you can literally play forever.

I got the most fun out of Monster Hunter when my now husband, two best friends and I bought Monster Hunter Freedom for PSP. A Saturday did not pass where we four were not huddled around our PSPs for hours of marathon gaming, A/C adaptors plugged into the wall so our PSPs wouldn’t die mid-quest. Monsters are typically more intelligent and the quest objectives for each are harder when you play online with someone via ad hoc or alone so they represented a bigger challenge. I love the creature design, the landscapes are PHENOMENAL, and it’s truly incredible how they always keep you guessing, even after you think you’ve got a creature’s movement pattern down.

Because Monster Hunter is my favorite game of ALL TIME, whenever I attend a convention, I zoom around the dealer’s room, searching for a statuette, a key chain, or plush of SOMETHING. Japan gets amazing Monster Hunter merchandise and I long to own everything I can! So far, I’ve been able to accumulate a Felyne statue (a cat that assists you in quests and hunter “duties”), plush of a Gigi whelp (white tadpole looking thing with teeth…adorable!), some posters, and a tiny Felyne key chain.

Monster Hunter is definitely not a game for those who want to hack and slash their way through it. This kind of approach will frustrate you since you will die very quickly and quite a lot. Monster Hunter is like the girl you want to take home to your mom. Approach with love, trust and commitment because before you know it, you’ll be 10 hours in and that’s it. You’re in love.

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