Monster Hunter Tri Review

Go get your bowgun – the game’s afoot. VGD takes a swing at the most in-depth and uncompromising Wii release yet.

By Edwin Evans-Thirlwell, April 23, 2010

Capcom’s Leo Tan told us that the tutorials had been buffed up when we spoke to him in February. He wasn’t fibbing. Where jumping into Monster Hunter Freedom was much like trying to ice skate up a sand dune, Tri’s first few hours and challenges unfold at a gentlemanly plod. The village chief and his son are in near-constant contact with hints and tips throughout the opening quests, initial breeds of monster are feeble and separate resource subsystems like the farm (where you can place orders for mushrooms, leaf crops and bugs) are introduced bit by bit.

There’s even a plot of sorts to keep the more drama-oriented player engaged, involving mysterious earthquakes and the bothersome activities of the Lagiacrus, an aquatic dragon. Time advances in the village only when you sleep (cue that adorable bed animation) or when you hunt, so feel free to potter around and soak up the exceptionally localised dialogue.

Monster Hunter just wouldn't be Monster Hunter without the meat-roasting jingle.

Monster Hunter just wouldn't be Monster Hunter without the meat-roasting jingle.

The new interest in tutorials is as much a boon to veteran hunters as to greenhorns, as certain aspects of resource management have been revamped. While it’s still possible to fish while hunting, you can no longer cast a line in town: that pleasure falls to the local fishing fleet, who trawl stretches of water as directed and share out the haul on return. Fish are no longer just for roasting, eating or turning into various kinds of home-made explosive, either: they can be sold to the village chief’s son for resource points, which you’ll need to expand the farm, sow crops, buy meals at the cat-operated (yeah, really) restaurant and fund fishing expeditions in the first place.

If piscine populations prove elusive, you can always earn resource points by trotting off into the surrounding area to clobber things. Points can’t be earned from quests themselves, though, which is an occasional faff later in the game when you’re obliged to insta-kill deer for a while in order to cultivate some fresh mushrooms. Mind you, if that sounds like a faff, you probably shouldn’t bother with Tri at all. Good timing and a sense of your physical limits aside, extracting the necessaries from all the resource pools available invariably makes the difference between another head on the mantelpiece and a ruptured kidney.

The monsters, as ever, are the stars of the show, whether small or large, humble or mighty, winged or finned. There are parasitic caterpillars, big-billed pterodactyls who can mimic the mating cries of giant fanged newts, bipedal sauri with nosefuls of solid granite, tunnelling fish, farting simians, flying sabre-toothed tigers and an enormous spiny conga eel with eerie yellow eyes – each of which has its own habitat, detachable body parts, a distinct set of behaviours when roused/wounded/angered and a roster of lethal natural abilities. Nowadays they can eat each other to restore health too, which is not something you want a Rathlos doing after you’ve spent a good 15 minutes repeatedly luring it into pitfall traps.

The weapon roster has been trimmed back to Freedom’s original five setups – lance and shield, hammer, great sword, sword and shield and bowgun – plus a token but deeply satisfying oddity in the form of the identity-confused switchaxe, and the return midway-through of the long sword (essentially a lighter, faster great sword). I’m not sorry to see the thrashy dual blades go, but the loss of the gunlance – a riotous meld of grenade launcher and spear – and the hunting horn – a bloody great club which also happens to play stat-buffing melodies – is upsetting. The latter two were perhaps a little muddled in their functions, harder to place within the arsenal, but nobody was forcing us to use them, damnit, and they were fun.

A face only a Tigrex could love.

A face only a Tigrex could love.

There’s no bow and arrow any more either, which means no brilliant hold-the-button shot modifiers, but Capcom has somewhat compensated for this by elaborating the construction and use of bowguns. These are now broken into three parts, the stock (which affects things like recoil), barrel (which affects things like accuracy) and frame (which determines base values, what ammo it can take and how much). You can still buy a Ready Meal specimen from the village shop, but the more-than-usually meticulous players who tend to favour ranged combat will, of course, want to devise their own combinations.

19 Responses to “Monster Hunter Tri Review”

  1. Setanga says:

    More proper game descriptions, less assumptions about the platform’s owners, fracker. The difficulty thing can be said about all current platforms going by what’s popular these days anyway. Also, the game’s worth at least 9/10. Learn how to play.

    • And which other Western-released Wii game would you call remotely in the same league as Monster Hunter Tri, difficulty-wise? :)

      Not that my comments on the difficulty threshold were directed exclusively at Wii owners, anyway. Try re-reading the first page.

  2. Xela says:

    Lol @ the graphics remarks. Oh no, Wii haz no gewd gamez. Oh no, Wii got a gewd game, why isn’t on teh 360 to have teh high rez, those sell outs wanted teh Wii install base damn them, damn! What are you, 12?

    Maybe you should buy yourself a decent PC then, because it shames both of the so called HD systems. That or stfu and go back to playing your Modern Warfare 2 at 600p sub-HD resolutions, bozo.

  3. Boobie says:

    I just find it suspect when reviews of such heavily involved, unique games, are thrown out so quickly after release, with no custom screenshots of videos to speak of, at least from professional outlets like Kikizo that should have capture equipment for all systems. It makes me think they barely played it and just base the review on little playtime and some google-based research of what fans think, with a dose of sarcastic remarks about the platform chosen in this case. The text of the review doesn’t make me feel that the reviewer actually played it for any length of time, at least to defeat the lagiacrus which is really the end of the tutorial phase and the first true challenge as it’s where the main storyline ends.

    • I’ve played this for about 20-odd hours, have got the little goblin bloke with me but have not, as yet, managed to kill old Laggy, though I have beaten higher ranked monsters online (with the help of more experienced acquaintances, of course!). The brute wyverns are bastards, especially the one with the big chin, but then I was trying to take it down from the front with a pretty pathetic bowgun so you reap what you sow, I guess.

      Doubtless some will have played this for longer – it’s been out for almost a year in Japan already – but I’m quite comfortable with my conclusions, thanks.

  4. Badumtish says:

    The controls with the remote + nunchuck are excellent, I have a CCPro but only use it for Tatsunoko vs CAPCOM. The inventory isn’t used on the fly so that it’s on 2 doesn’t matter at all, and you don’t tend to use items in the heat of action, you first get safe, so being on 1 is again more than workable. You don’t both use items and do another action at the same time with that hand in any case. The rest controls make up for such minor set backs with intuitive shortcuts, like tilting the remote left or right and then pressing the minus button to do the longsword’s slash-then-dodge-to-that-direction move. Or tilting right then pressing A for the sword & shield’s shield bashing moves, as the shield is on the hunter’s right hand. Anyway, this is the best MH yet with beautiful visuals, great controls, FINALLY new monsters and armors and locations, and many control improvements for ALL the weapons and the monster AI and behaviour and hitboxes and balance. 10/10!

    • I find the combinations much easier to perform and more precise on a button, but yes, the remote and nunchuk solution is adequate. Fair point re. the inventory not being an on-the-fly thing, but again, it’s just so much less awkward with the classic controller or Pro.

  5. Four different comments, one IP.

    Pick which one you want to keep, Badumtish/Setanga/Boobie/Xela, and I’ll delete the rest. Feedback is always welcome, but a basic level of courtesy is expected.

  6. Xela says:

    We’re friends and connect from the same university connection, bozo.

  7. Badumtish says:

    Badumtish! With what we’re gone and you can carry on fooling your viewership, we don’t visit the site regularly, just checked it out via metacritic since it was a new review added and MH reviews from clueless authors are always entertaining. Thanks for the entertainment, as little as it lasted :)

  8. *clap clap*

    Fantastic work chap(s). Surely the most thorough hatchet job ever recorded. My eyebrows are scorched.

    I’ll leave your comments – and your IP – active for posterity. Have a nice night now.

    EDIT. Actually, I’ll retract the rancor a little. Spamming an IP is dickish behaviour (as you may have guessed, I’m not the slightest bit convinced you’re separate people), but you clearly know the game well and have made informative comments. So please carry on :)

  9. LowEnergyCycle says:

    Some people are just snotty pricks.

    I thought this review was informative and well-written, and I very much enjoyed reading it. After comparing with a few other reviews, it’s certainly convinced me to buy my first Monster Hunter game.

    So there. Bloody students… ;)

    • Kind of you to say so, mate, thanks :) Hope you enjoy the game. There’s a pretty reasonably priced official bundle which includes a PRO controller, I believe.

      It’s always a shame when people take the mickey with IPs, but at least Xela/Badumtish/whoever actually had some points to make (unlike some of the posters in our God of War 3 review thread, for instance).

  10. Kihto says:

    Nice review, I already have the game and hope many others will get it. hoping your review will encourage them to buy it, personally i think this game should get a 9-10 though but this was a good read.

    For any American players who want someone to add, my IGN is right where my name is. i’m not that good since i am still learning switch axe on CCPro(it was easier on wiimote-nunchuck) but i’m getting better

  11. Brush says:

    May well pick it up, with the controller.

    There’s also a bundle with Wiispeak – i’m wondering if this is any good? (my Wii is a bit neglected of late so Wiispeak has passed me by).

    …Can you save little text phrases to bring up like you could in PSO on dreamcast? if so…bringing up text saying ‘leg it!’ might suffice.

  12. beranmee says:

    I bought MHT before reading this review. There are things that i agree with and things that I don’t, but you’ll find that in most reviews you read.
    With regards to the graphics i found that once my wii was connected using an AV Component cable things improved.
    For Wii owners who are on the fence i’d recommend taking the plunge, if you put the effort in you’ll find that Monster Hunter is a very rewarding game.
    For those who are upset that it didn’t hit the 360/PS3, you’ll have to wait for Monster Hunter Frontier.

  13. sarah says:

    Nice review!

  14. Jailen says:

    HHIS I shdoul have thought of that!


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