So.. you want to hunt monsters?…
Monster Hunter plays exactly how it sounds, you spend a whole lot of time hunting down monsters. You can choose to either catch a weakened monster using a trap and tranquilizers or kill it and butcher it’s body. Catching the monster alive, gives you a bunch more resources and is therefore beneficial. Resources gathered from monsters are used for making everything in the world of monster hunter, from armor and weapons to fishing rods and bug nets. The sweet taste of victory is quickly replaced by blood thirst, an urge to move on a new hunt and more powerful monsters. Progression is mainly measured by your hunter rank, interestingly enough, rank doesn’t give you any stats or advantages, it only give you the opportunity to fight even stronger monsters. The game is on it third main iteration so far, and in classic
Capcom fashion, there are many expansions on the main franchise.
Monster Hunter is infamous for it’s difficulty. Even before the modern day Demon Souls, Monster Hunter was extremely unforgiving. No matter how much gear you have, or how long you’ve played, if you mess up that level one monster will kill you and your friends will laugh at you. This extreme learning cliff makes some people shy away from the series, but once you pick it up and gain some skill it’s a little hard to get away.
The first Monster Hunter was released in 2004 on the Sony Playstation 2 after a surprise reveal in 2003’s E3 conference. Monster Hunter was created by the team that made Resident Evil Outbreak, and had decent online support on the PS2. In fact the servers stood open until 2007. The game received decent reviews from IGN.com with a 7 out of 10. While the reception in America was lukewarm, Japan received Monster Hunter with open arms. This first generation opened the flood gates for many iterations and sequels.
Monster Hunter G was the first expansion to Monster Hunter. MHG added several new features still prevalent in monster hunter games today, the G Hunter Rank, different variations on monsters, and felyne Chefs. G-Rank quests offer the best rewards and far more challenging battles. This still rings true in current Monster Hunter games. Monster Hunter G never got a NA release on the PS2 but eventually reached us in the form of Monster Hunter Freedom on the PSP.
In 2006, Monster Hunter received it’s first true sequel in Monster Hunter 2. It introduced several a day and night system to the game along with new monsters . With new monsters came new Items, Armor, and Weapons. This game was never released on the North American PS2. Monster Hunter Freedom 2 ,an altered version of MH2, came to NA with some different monsters and the addition of several new weapons. Longsword, Gunlance, Hunting Horn, and Bow. Freedom 2 was rated “Great” by IGN giving the game an 8.8 . After some time Capcom released a new version called Monster Hunter Freedom 2 Unite, where feyline companion joins you on your quests.
Fast Forward 4 years, and it 2010 and Monster Hunter Tri is released for the Wii, along with the Pro Controller. Capcom originally intended to release the game on the PS3 but high development costs caused them to release the game on the Wii. The release of a Monster Hunter Game on the Wii allowed Nintendo to take a hardcore gaming angle, promising they were still there for the hardcore gamer in all of us. Monster Hunter Tri was the first game to include under water battles, which didn’t receive a very kind reception from fans. Originally Monster Hunter Tri removed several weapons classes, but they were eventually put back into the game with Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate. Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate was an expansion to Monster Hunter Tri, several wepon classes were added back to the game and it includes Cross Play between the Wii U and the 3DS.
Monster Hunter has come a long way from the PS2 and is set for release in Japan in September of this year. So far the game has been announced to lots of new features and monsters. Monster Hunter 4 will be more story driven then its predecessors. One of the most anticipated new weapons in the bug staff. A support weapon that draws certain effects from enemies as you hit them in different regions of the body.
From the announcements made, Monster Hunter 4 sounds like it will be a great addition to the franchise.