I tried playing Monster Hunter a few years ago when Becca gave me a PSP as a gift. I just didn’t get it. I knew it was popular and I knew a lot of people loved it, but I just couldn’t respect (due to lack of understanding) the game, and I thought it was too hard.
I’ve finally got into Monster Hunter, and it’s one of the most rewarding games I’ve played. I get it. I understand why folks find the games so awesome.
Monster Hunter is a very popular game in Japan, mostly because it has some cool multiplayer that was local-only and given the public transit and just overall population density in Japan it did really well. Monster Hunter definitely has a cult following in the United States, but we’re much more spread out.
Luckily you can play Monster Hunter online these days, but unfortunately I don’t know anyone who plays online! The cool thing is that Becca and I can play together on the same game if we get a Nintendo 3DS, but we’re not purchsing one for a while. Instead I’ve been playing a Monster Hunter game on the PSP, and Becca has been playing Monster Hunter on the Nintendo Wii U.
They’re different versions of the game, but luckily they’re part of the same generation so we can both share stories about the same enemies, similiar areas, and items.
The game is essentially about hunting monsters and gathering items. My game is in Japanese so I have no narrative, and Becca’s is translated which honestly still gives her a weak narrative. The game isn’t played for story though, it’s played for the unique gameplay surrounding completing quests, gathering items, mixing them together to create better items, and of course obtaining, leveling up, and creating new armor sets and weapons. The combat is very realistic, and can be frustrating if you’re used to much easier and forgiving games.
Battles with monsters require you to block, run away, heal, and attack different ways with different ways. It’s all about learning your surroundings, and learning the monster’s behaviors.
The other unique thing about the game is that you aren’t really killing monsters because they’re evil, or controlled by some villain. You’re slaying them because the town and you need to survive. Some monsters are pests and need to be destroyed, but other monsters simply need to be killed to harvest their pelt and meat. You feel bad when you slay a herbivore monster that would never consider attacking you. They flail around and cry out when they die, and then you must carve into them to extract their items.
The game is also incredibly wacky and totally Japanese. You have to cook your meat and the game plays a jingle while cooking to help you not overcook it. The other really rad thing about the games is that you can hire intelligent and brave bipedal cats called Felynes to help you out while questing. They’re like house cats except they can stand up, wear armor, and attack monsters much bigger than themselves. They have unique personalties and you can train and equip them yourself.
I still have so much to learn about Monster Hunter, but it’s been really fun to play and talk about with Becca.
If you have a PSP, a Wii, a 3DS, or a Wii U. I encourage you to try out Monster Hunter.
It’s really fantastic.