This is my fourth review, and this time it's on Monster Hunter Tri (I would give a review on Monster Hunter Three Ultimate but I haven't played it yet). Just for future reference, I am not going to stop my "Review Time" series of blog posts until I have written about EVERY game in my collection. Which, admittedly is quite large. With 23 Wii games, 13 PS3 games, and 12 Wii U games, plus one PC game but computer games don't count as video games. Not to mention the dozens of demos and a digital version of the first three Spyro games. And the Ray-man Legends Challenges app (I only play the three levels that come with it). And I have "Adventure Time: Explore the Dungeon because I DON'T KNOW" downloaded on my Wii U. Basically, I have a LOT of titles in my collection.
Anyway, The first thing to know about Monster Hunter is the hilarious animations (The Kick Back and Shadow Box gestures are my favorite. I also like the animation that plays when your hunter is running away from a large monster only to trip on his own feet and fall on his face) will almost always put a smile on your face. Also, some of the armors are downright goofy looking (The Rhenolpos armor makes your hunter look fat, Ludroth Armor looks like a really big rain-coat, etc.).
Second, The first couple of sets of Quests are fairly easy. The only hard parts are when you are trying to capture a monster alive (which takes a Lot of practice) And when you are trying to slay the Barroth (One of the toughest monsters. Imagine a T. Rex with the head of a hippo and you get Barroth. He killed my hunter more times then I would like to admit. Pro tip: NEVER attack his head, ALWAYS go for the ankles and tail, unless you are using a Sword'n'Shield, in which case, just ignore the tail and go for the ankles. Also, bring Mega Dash Juice if your weapon can block. Plus, be sure to have the entire Rhenolpos or however you spell the guy's name armor. It's Mud Proof!!! And finally, try to bring a weapon with Green level Sharpness or higher. Anything duller than Green will bounce right off, dealing no damage whatsoever).
Also, one of the key elements is preparing for that special encounter with your target (I never bring a map. I don't need one. Because I memorized the layout of every location in the game!!! I know pretty much everywhere like the back of my hand. Figuratively speaking of course). Lets take the Royal Ludroth as an example (Royal Ludroth is my favorite monster). When you face him, remember these simple rules. First, you need to be fast, because his moves come fairly quickly (sometimes without warning), so eat something to boost stamina and you can avoid almost every attack. Second, Royal Ludroth is aquatic, so expect him to hop in a pool of water (in which case you bring something to help stay underwater longer). And finally, Royal Ludroth will send out regular Ludroth to slow you down, so either bring a strong weapon to finish them quickly or bring a lot of Health restore items in the event that they overwhelm you (or underwhelm you, depending on how many Ludroth there are) with sheer numbers.
But Lets use a tougher monster as another example: The Barroth. The Barroth loves mud and will cover itself in mud on a regular basis. Arguably it's most annoying move is when he shakes his head, causing mud to fly everywhere. Get hit by the mud and you can't move your arms, rendering you almost defenseless. In that case you want to bring Mud-Proof armor (the one that makes you look fat is a good option). If you don't bring some cleansers. You can get them from the Supply Box at the Quest entrance (a.k.a the Base Camp). Also, the hardest part is actually staying alive in this particular hunt. You definitely want to "buff up" and the restaurant right next to the Quest Counter. I recommend something that has the "rough and wild" flavor because anything "rough and Wild" will increase the size of the Health Gauge. Also, bring Cha-Cha. Some people think he is useless but Cha-Cha is invaluable in this Quest. First he can make a pretty good distraction, giving the few seconds you need to sharpen your weapon or whatever. Also, sometimes he will buff you up with his dances.
Now in addition to the aforementioned humorous animations and goofy armor, here and some other things I like: The monsters' designs set them apart, so it is impossible to get confused over who's who (however, I can't tell the difference between a Rathian and a Rathalos because the difference is minor). Plus, the monsters look and feel properly alive. They roar, hiss, swim, flee, limp, sleep, eat, jump, fly (assuming they have wings), and in the case of the Barroth roll around in mud puddles (which is surprisingly funny to watch).
Another thing I like is how they balanced out the weapons. Great Swords are slow, but they pack so much punch that most hunts end in Thirty Minutes or less, depending out how well you use them. Sword'n'Shields are small and have limited reach, but make up for it with speedy attacks, and lengthy combos. Lances lack strong moves, but the shield makes you invincible to all but the strongest attacks. Hammers are slow (not as slow as Great Swords but still slow), but they are the only weapons that can charge up a power slam/sideswipe/uppercut (depending on how long you hold the button down) and have the power to stun. Switch Axes have long reach in Ax (A-X is actually NOT how you spell "Ax" but this stupid computer is convinced that I am spelling it wrong by including a silent "e") mode but lack meaningful power, While in Sword Mode it's hits not only pack twice the power of Ax mode, they have ELEMENTAL BONUSES!!! The only downside is that switching modes is time consuming and leaves you vulnerable to attack. Long Swords not only look cool but they are faster than Hammers and Great Swords combined. Also it is almost perfectly designed to sever tails (assuming your target has a tail). Sadly, they burn through Whetstones almost as fast as a Sword'n'Shield. Want to inflict maximum awesome on your buddies? Keep your Long Sword as sharp as possible. Bow-guns are perfect for people that like fighting from a distance. Me? I like to get in close and Combo the monster till he goes BOOM. All SMOOTH-like. You got to play it SMOOTH when playing this game (or any game, for that matter). Be as cool as ice when face something huge. This advice applies to literally EVERY monster in the game
There are only a handful of things I don't like. Because the Monsters lack Health Gauges, it can be difficult for some people to do capture Quests. But this is actually a good thing because it builds up your judgement skills. You got to trust your instincts and activate your SMOOTH-sense to truly capture a monster. Basically, if your target starts limping away, STOP HITTING IT. I got a love/hate thing for Capture Quests. It takes lots of practice to get the timing right. Another thing I don't like and this is the only thing I truly 100% don't like. Capcom could have included a Lock-On. The camera has a nasty habit of confusing and sometimes disorientating the player, depending on who's playing. And finally, they could have done a better job of designing the locations. One of the few locations that looks truly visually interesting is the Flooded Forest (don't let the name fool you. It is actually a swamp) But it's not interesting enough to be visually stunning. Sandy Plains is almost visually interesting but the mud in Area 3 is not entirely realistic because it is a silver-like color. If it was a dark brown color then it would actually look like real mud.
All in all I give Monster Hunter Tri a 8.5. It would have gotten a higher score if the locations were visually stunning and if it had a Lock-On.