Play Time: 45min
I've heard people talk excitedly about the Monster Hunter series (although I think usually about PSP versions), so I thought this might be cool to check out. Also, Issam wanted to buy a classic controller so he could play Ogre Battle 64 on my Wii, and this game comes with one. ;)
I played for about 45min last night - and although I understand that this isn't enough time to get a real, fully-rounded view of anything (technically I'm still hovering in the tutorial zone), I have some initial impressions that I wanted to capture.
So far in the game, I have created my character (who wears underwear until you buy armor)and arrived in this village which has just been hit by an earthquake. I think they've hired me to kill a specific monster, but for right now I'm just supposed to help out in general by killing things and gathering resources. I bought some armor, learned how to brutally massacre dinosaurs who are just minding their own business and eating grass, harvest meat from them, harvest other things (fungus, herbs), learned about my stamina meter and how it works, and something about cooking meat for myself. Also I've been introduced to a whole slew of tools, and places to store things, and narrative things. I can buy armor and weapons, or something about finding materials and having someone make me something.
What I Liked:
Neat opening cinematic. It's a little long... but it's cool. Here, have a look! It's a violent, action-filled world!
Graphics. Probably every review ever points it out, but this game is definitely graphically amazing for the Wii. Also, in general, I like the designs for everything that's 3D. The world is definitely neat looking.
Character customization. I think it's pretty much the same as other games, but I still like it. ;) This definitely seems like a game that calls for it. I liked the amount of control I was given - just enough options for things, pretty much a full range of colors for things. Also I thought it was cool that I could change my character's voice. I did find it odd that my character started off just wearing underwear though.
Creatures and wandering. What a neat world! I like dinosaurs and cool monsters! I like running around! I want to see more of it. Also you have a talking cat servant! Neat! (I hope not all cats are servants though?? That would be unfair...)
Jumping into bed. I dunno, when you jump into the bed to save, your character plays this cute like, dive into bed. It has character and makes me smile. I don't think my character has done anything else like this though.
What I Didn't Like:
"Ghost Chief" tutorial system. When you get away from the village and start learning how to use your weapons and gather resources, random text bubbles pop up which are apparently the village chief speaking to you... even though he's obviously not there. I thought this was a really odd way to handle tutorials.
Killing Monsters. OK, so I've only killed one so far, and I felt TERRIBLE about it. For your first go at monster hunting, you take out a herbivore, which is just hanging out and not threatening you. It definitely felt weird to just go up and brutally massacre it. This makes me think that I will not like the game moving forward... but I'm sort of hoping that maybe I could get more into it if it's "kill or be killed" --- but I'm still going to be actively seeking monsters out, which aren't hurting anyone. I dunno.. it just feels wrong. Maybe if there was some humane way to kill the herbivores?
Harvesting. Oh man... harvesting is super tedious. You press 'a' next to a plant, or some fungus, and you watch your character scoop stuff off of the ground for like.. 10 seconds? That wouldn't be so bad, but you get different amounts off of different things - so far I've found that I can get like 5-6 deposits of fungus from one plant, which means watching that animation that many times. Granted - I don't know enough yet to know if I really need to be getting that much? Just playing on game conventions, it seems like I should harvest until there's nothing left. Maybe I'll find something different the more I play as I learn what these resources are used for.
Too much text that I don't care about. Godddd there's just so much text when I talk to people.. it's long... and I don't care.... just tell me where to go and let me leave!!! .. Basically, if you're going to make me talk to someone in a game, make them say something interesting. I am simple minded... I want to be entertained and not feel like I'm working. ;)
Truck driving traversal. Traversal feels a bit odd to me - you sort of start slow and quickly move to an all out-sprint every time you want to walk anywhere (so like, I can't just slowly walk - it's all running). The built in acceleration and deceleration make your character feel super heavy. I didn't notice it after awhile, but it took some getting used to - particularly since I start off in a village, in relatively small spaces, so the sprint feels odd.
Picking who I talk to. A number of times I was sure I was addressing one person when I hit talk, but it turns out I hit someone else for dialogue. Just a small thing, but sort of annoying when everyone's saying multiple boxes of dialogue.
Piers that go nowhere. The first village is this cool, floating village - which I really like, but there are a lot little piers jutting out into the water, and you can't see the end of them - you'd think this would be a place to find something cool, or someone to talk to when you walk to the end... but none of the piers have anything like that. They're just piers. I feel like I fell for a trick.
UI. The UI is really inconsistent! It looks like a different team made the character customization UI, 'ghost chief tutorial's dialogue box is different than living chief, and I have no idea what game the loading screen is supposed to be from. It's picky, but there's definitely a lack of consistency.
Armor & Weaponry. I know... I can't really say anything about this yet.. but... I really don't like dealing with armor...
Butts. OK, there's something I've noticed through the years regarding .. 'showing parts of guys that you don't normally see' - be it full on nudity, implied nudity (Beowulf), or showing some guy's butt cheeks. You have to understand that for the most part, your audience is going to be too immature to not stop for a moment and giggle; it will decrease the seriousness of any scene, and will probably pull the player out of it. You need to be fully aware of this before using it. I found it distracting and disruptive (as Issam and I both went "woah!!"). How can I ever take the chief's son seriously now?
How Do I Feel About Continuing?:
I'm sure you can guess by the tone of this entry that I'm not super psyched about this game. That being said, I don't think 45min is enough to really judge a game like this where you can rack up hundreds of hours of gameplay. People say it's fun, so I want to see if I can have fun playing this game!!