I've never played a role-playing game before, so I was worried I might not enjoy this game. How wrong I was proved once I played it for several hours! I've been converted to the role-playing genre from playing this game.
The hub world in the game is Moga village, which has been attacked by a monster. You arrive in the village, and are immediatley hired to track down the Lagiacrus that destroyed the village (final monster in the game). In moga village you are able to forge and upgrade weapons and armour, buy and sell items at the market place, farm vegetables to recover health, go to your bed (which automatically saves the game), and finally sign up for quests at the Hunter's Guild.
The game comprises completing hunting quests, which are given to you by the 'hunting guild'. There are main quests, and sub-quests. If you complete all the sub quests first, then the main quest you get maximum reward (money, items etc). Some main and sub-quests require you to obtain an item, like a monster's horn. You then place the items in a red box, and when all the items are in the box you complete that quest/sub quest. Before you embark on a quest, you may have to forage in Moga Woods for items, such as bugs, herbs and so on. In one quest, you are required to stun a 'deer-like' animal, which requires combining a bomb casing with a flash bug, to give you a flash bomb. After each quest, you can 'level-up', which means you can forge new weapons and armour if you have the raw materials (taken from monster kills) and money. You can also upgrade your weapons and armour, which is sometimes better than forging new weapons and armour. There is an arena mode which allows you to practice slaying monsters before you go into combat for real, always good to be prepared!
It must be pointed out, this game has a very steep learning curve. You wont be able to master the basics in just 2-3 hours, it will take longer to get things rolling along and pick up some pace. You've been warned.
When you collect resources from Moga Woods and get kills, you can then convert them into resource points. Resource points allow you to grow herbs and mushrooms in a plot of land that is eventually given to you (after completing some initial basic quests). You can then harvest the herbs and so on after a while. The herbs can be used to increase your health.
When you have completed some initial tasks, and have levelled up to some basic armour and weaponry, you are able to access the Quest Guild, and take on more substantial quests. There are about 45 main monsters to defeat, but don't think that's not much, as there will be plenty foraging, farming etc to keep you busy inbetween quests.
The game can be played with either the Wiimote and nunchuck combination, or the Wii Classic controller pro. The classic controller pro provides a more comfortable control option, as you will be playing for extended periods of time, and the Wiimote and nunchuck are very physical so you get tired quicker. The game provides full tutorials when you start the game, and there's a monster hunters notebook which describes all you need to know to control and proceed in the game. The in-game control description menus are comprehensive enough so that you don't need to read the manual, or at least I found that to be the case!
There's not a lot to say about the music, it's atmospheric enough, but not very varied, sometimes there's no music playing atall, but this doesn't detract from the game atall. The graphics are very good, but to be honest I thought they would be slightly better given all the hype about them in the run up to the games launch. Anyway, the graphics are good enough to make the game a treat for your eyes.
There is a local multiplayer option (split screen) that allows you to team up with friends or family and hunt in packs. Hunting in packs allows you to take on monsters in a whole new way. You can develop strategies for attacking and it makes it more manageable too. There is of course online multiplayer, where you can simply 'walk' up to another player and join a quest without the need for friend codes! Wii speak is also compatible with Monster Hunter, and is much easier than typing commands. You can talk to other players in a 'conference style' chat to issue commands, tell others to back away and develop your own team strategies, most satisfying and the best online gameplay I've seen for the Wii (with exception of Mario Kart Wii and Animal Crossing: Let's go to the City). Also, there are no online fees, unlike in Japan! There are also online quest events, which are weekly online only quests, which are seperate from the main quests, so this will extend the longevity of the game.
If you're a role-playing fan, you've probably already bought this, so I don't need to convince you that it is good. As I said above, I wasn't into role-playing games before I heard of Monster Hunter, but now I'm right into it! It goes to show, that If you were like me, you could be absorbed by this game. I would recommend this game, if you have any sort of role-playing ability in you, it's not just a game for hardcore gamer's, so you should be able to get into this game.
Graphics: 8.5/10 Superb visuals add to the atmosphere of the game, although I was a little disappointed given the hype about them before the game was launced.
Sound: 8/10 The music adds to the atmosphere, but there's not a lot of it. The sound effects are top notch, you can even customise your character's grunts and roars!
Gameplay: 9.5/10 The gameplay is supreme, levelling-up of armour and weapons, collecting items, combining them, good combat system (if a little slugish at time) and very addictive too.
Fun: 10/10 Monster Hunter 3 is fun, fun, fun!
Overall: 9/10 If you're a role-playing fan then you don't need convincing, if you're not but aren't a 'casual gamer', then I recommend this game, it is very rewarding.