Monster Hunter Tri - hands-on

We spent most of our youth hacking up make believe monsters. Tree stumps, bushes, neighbours’ pets – all it takes is a bit of imagination and no friends. It’s the key difference between gamers and non-gamers. The non-gamers embraced the magic of childhood looking for Where the Wild Things Are. We, on the other hand, asked Where the Wild Things Are Because We Want to Hit Them With Rakes. Gamers are destructive. Luckily, so are Capcom.

After landing at Moga Island’s quaint fishing docks – the main (and literal) port of call for the single-player adventure – it takes roughly three minutes to kill your first monster. Step 1: Purchase whomping stick (a Great Sword, just under twice our height). Step 2: Enter the mountains. Step 3: Whomp away. The kill undermines Moga’s natural splendour. Stepping out onto the mountain plateau and seeing the island stretch out takes the breath away – think Sam Neill eyeing Jurassic Park for the first time. Only in our version, Neill then pulls out a rocket launcher and nails the nearest brontosaurus.
We defy you not to. Monster Hunter Tri trades entirely on your desire to hit big ’orrible creatures with big ’orrible weapons. Give us a sword twice our height and of course we’ll smack the nearest living thing. Fans don’t pour hundreds of hours into this game gawping at ecosystem AI – motivation stems entirely from the lure of bigger, pointier sticks, and bigger, nastier monsters to be poked. Step back and the entire game is driven by one cruel cycle of production: kill monster, harvest bones and skin to build bigger weapon, kill bigger monster, harvest bigger bones... and so on.

Combat takes time to get used to. You can swipe. You can roll. You can, er, did we mention the swiping? Balletic grace is not the order of the day. Fighting is all about endurance – dodging hugely overpowered attacks coming your way – and finding opportunities to deliver deadly, but lumbering blows. Our first kill – a defenceless baby herbivore (hey, we’re not proud) – was left a horrible spasming pile in one blow. Capcom let you have this one to ease you in - from there on monsters are set to ‘hand ass to you’ mode. And they do.

Jagii, Tri’s velociraptors, swarm around in true ‘clever girl’ fashion. A Great Sword will put an end to their face-snacking routine, but the blighters can easily weave past the treacle-slow wind-up. Some monsters you won’t want to kill outright. Slaying the Bambi-like Kelbi can damage their horns – knock them out with a hammer and you can carve off the horn with greater success (sounds horrible when you put it in words). When you fight the big ‘boss’ monsters, your game has to improve again – learning weapon combos and using items to bait, trap and stun.

In time, crude swipes reveal hidden nuances. Take our Great Sword, for example. Wide enough to hide behind, it can block, but every hit it deflects dulls it a bit. So you have to keep sharpeners on you. Damage is decided on which part of the blade collides – dig in the thick middle section for maximum hurt. Horizontal slashes can clear beasts in an arc around you, while its immense length proves effective against aerial enemies. Online, its upward slash can even be used to catapult fellow hunters out of danger. And this is but one of seven weapon classes.

All this is done from the comfort of the Classic Controller. After five minutes’ play we abandoned the remote for the favoured scheme – Tri comes with the redesigned Classic Controller Pro in Japan. What a godsend the second analogue stick is. We’ve spent so long with the Nunchuk we’d almost forgotten what it was like to swivel a camera with a second nubbin. Rotating Moga’s wondrous peaks is a sight to behold, stopped short when the camera reveals a Jagii pouncing on us from behind.

Death comes quickly in Monster Hunter Tri. This was much easier when the monster was a trash bag full of leaves. But you persevere; the lure of wrenching out a spine is too strong. And we’ve not even stepped off Moga yet, into the ice, desert and underwater realms beyond.

Feb 4, 2010


  • twewy13 - February 22, 2010 8:15 p.m.

    @1One1Winged1Angel us wii owners will not have to flail our arms like idiots because this game come bundled with the classic controller pro Althou i do think its weird this isnt coming out on 360, it doesn't use the advantages of the wii (motion control) and would be better off on the 360 (better online, visuals)
  • 1One1Winged1Angel - February 15, 2010 10:13 p.m.

    Yeah okay i admit i'm kinda jealous lol -_- buuut, it still sux .. Never did play lost planet tho :O maybe i shud try it .
  • - February 9, 2010 4:39 a.m.

    Hmmmm looks very interesting =) Metroid Prime Trilogy almost got me to pull my Wii out again but i was too busy playing my 360 at the time.... This could get me to pick up that wavy wand again =D
  • QWERTYCommander - February 9, 2010 2 a.m.

    That was an epic preview. CAPTCHA: had budgets But now I don't...
  • PlainOldGamer - February 6, 2010 2:45 p.m.

    @Both of you above me. Monster hunter frontier is coming out on the 360 in japan (Its an MMO) and you can use a classic controller or Classic controller pro in MH3. and 1wingedangel stop being jealous you are getting Lost Planet 2 (think monster hunter with Guns & Bugs)
  • sniperscope - February 5, 2010 9:29 p.m.

    @1One1Winged1Angel, Not his game specifically, but monster hunter should coming out for the 360 at some point.
  • 1One1Winged1Angel - February 5, 2010 12:09 p.m.

    I just don't get why this game isn't coming out to ps3/xbox/PC :S Cuz even tho this game has 'fairly' good graphics on the wii, it could b incredible on the other platforms. I believe we could have bigger and prettier world + we wouldn't have to swing our arms like fuckin idiots when wanting to cut off heads o_O
  • DeviousMonkey - February 5, 2010 11:41 a.m.

    This game is the reaosn i'll be buying a wii.
  • PlainOldGamer - February 5, 2010 1:05 a.m.

    @MetroidHunter32 I'm not sure but for 10$(US) more you can get the pro bundle that includes a classic controller pro :-D i can't wait for this game!
  • Metroidhunter32 - February 4, 2010 11:09 p.m.

    I was tentitive about this game for a while, figured i'd get it eventually but not for ages. Then I saw what Famitsu gave it. A F@#$ING 40!!!??? HOLY S@#$!! This only makes me more eager for it. Does it work with the gamecube controler as well?

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