Monster Hunter 3 Tri . . . or is it just called Monster Hunter 3? Maybe it’s Monster Hunter Tri. Regardless, Monster Hunter Three Eyes releases for the Nintendo Wii on April 20th. This is actually kind of a big deal because the series has previously been exclusive to Sony platforms (particularly the PSP). It hasn’t had a problem selling on those platforms either seeing as the franchise has done exceptionally well in Japan. For example, Monster Hunter Portable 2nd G was the highest selling game in Japan in 2008, beating out Wii Fit. And yes, all the games have strange naming conventions. I have no idea what 2nd G even means.
For those of you who’ve played with the recent PSP releases (which given our demographic might be a whopping zero of you) it is worth noting that the game plays exactly the same, but looks and controls better. The game allows control schemes with the wiimote + nunchuck or even the classic controller, but I was able to manage the camera very well with the nunchuck setup. There were zero problems here and it was a nice change of pace from having to let go of the thumb stick to adjust the camera with the d-pad on whatever PSP version it is that I played. Having to stop moving in order to pan the camera around to see the monster I was trying to kill was a huge problem with the series for me, but it’s gone now with this nicely adapted Wii version. The game also features more monsters, including the mysterious ones of the deep. Yes, now you can swim even if you’re wearing full armor and should by all rights sink straight to the bottom.
For those of you unfamiliar with the series: think of it as a less massive MMO. You can pick a class and equip all sorts of armor and weaponry. Tracking down some armor and weapon materials may involve killing all sorts of monsters, but your day job consists of taking actual quests to hunt monsters in the game world. And that’s really Monster Hunter in a nutshell. The only real issue I’ve had with the game’s mechanics is that every quest has a time limit. Every single one. I’ve never understood why they’ve imposed this sort of challenge that keeps you from relaxing with the game but if it’s your cup of tea you’ll find few third party games better on the Wii. My demo build of the title was very polished, leaving me with no complaints other than the same sort of mild contempt I’ve had for the series for a few months now.
The game features free online play (despite the successful Japanese version costing a monthly fee) and is compatible with Wii Speak. The game seems to be kind of a grind, just like its predecessors, but if you’re like me then sometimes, for no apparent reason whatsoever, you’re kind of in the mood for that.