|System: Wii||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Capcom||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Capcom||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Apr. 20, 2010||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-4||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Teen||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
Monster Hunter may be a hit in Japan, but it seems US reactions to the series have been a little slow to warm up. Although Monster Hunter on the PSP and PS2 did have technical issues, the series was still praised by critics for its old-school approach to the action RPG genre. Despite consumers' initially cool reaction, the Monster Hunter series still garnered a cult-like following stateside. However, with the release of Monster Hunter Tri, it seems the Monster Hunter series is ready for prime time. The same Monster Hunter formula is present in this title, but with reworked controls, a larger world to explore, and a more user-friendly tutorial system Monster Hunter Tri is certainly the best entry in the series to date.
The game starts rather simply with a character creation tool. You can choose to be a male or female, and you can select a variety of hairstyles, face types, and accessories for your character. Once you have created your monster hunter, you will arrive at a small town where you will be the newest recruit on the monster hunting team. The island has been suffering from terrible earthquakes lately, and most of the residents believe that a monster is responsible for the damage. However, you won't be going after this monster for quite some time.
Instead, you will spend your time in the game going on quests and exploring the world of Monster Hunter. The game is set up as a sprawling, open-world adventure. You can come and go as you please, and as long as you complete the initial tutorial stages, you can explore the world and take on quests to your heart's content. This unguided approach really gives Monster Hunter Tri a feeling of freedom that is seldom felt outside of the MMORPG genre.
In addition to roaming around and killing monsters for various quests, you will need to invest a lot of time into your character. At the beginning of the game, the amount of development needed can almost seem overwhelming. From developing your attack tree to building the perfect weapons, armor, and tools, there is so much to do initially that it can be a little overwhelming. However, the game's open world and self-guided direction gives you plenty of time to get your personal armory together.
As engrossing as the single-player aspect of Monster Hunter Tri is, the multiplayer is where the true replay value lies. The multiplayer experience here is more than simply going on story-mode quests with extra people. The multiplayer modes open up an entirely new area (known as "The City") filled with different lands and quests targeted towards different players. When I first started the multiplayer mode, I was able to enter a "Rookie" room for those who have low-level weapons and experience. This rookie area was filled with easy collection quests, and lots of helpful players who helped me find items and complete quests. However, after hanging out in the rookie area for awhile, you can go to more challenging rooms where players are more competitive, and you'll have to go in brandishing some serious metal if you want to get through the tough quests and challenges.
Although I am a huge fan of the single-player experience in Monster Hunter Tri, the multiplayer really is what makes this game worth your time. The experience of hopping between servers, making friends, and going on quests makes the multiplayer experience feel very close to a console MMORPG, and the level of immersion is almost immediate. It is entirely possible to sink more than 100 hours into just the multiplayer component of the game, and that's without any additional special events or quests.