Monster Hunter Tri is one of the few extraordinary efforts put forth by a third party developer for the Wii. Capcom managed to include everything gamers could ask for with this release: free online, Wii speak support, an epic quest, and even a new controller to enjoy it all with. This game deserves all of the attention it could possibly get from gamers, but with that being said it is still not for everyone. Monster Hunter Tri is very difficult- only the most perserverant gamers will be able to take down the bigger monsters. But when you do the reward is great.
This game has you doing just what the title suggests, hunt monsters. The controls can be pretty tough to navigate quickly if you are using the Wii Remote and nunchuck combination, so you might want to invest an extra ten dollars and get the classic controller pro bundle. The classic controller pro was a collaboration between Nintendo and Capcom with this game in mind, but it works great with other games like Tatsunoko vs. Capcom as well. Even with the ideal controller this game can be a little tough due to the generally slow characters and the sheer amount of things you can do. This is no Ninja Gaiden or God of War, you have to really strategize and plan your shots to get the best out of each monster encounter. Traps, bombs and healing items will help you in your quest, but it is most important to upgrade your weapon using pieces of the monsters you kill along your journey. That’s right, after you kill a monster you can harvest their bones, skin, teeth, and whatever else to beef up your arsenal. New to the Monster Hunter series is underwater battles, adding a new dimension to your hunting, quite literally. The z axis is pretty important when fighting underwater, and while controlling your character underwater can be difficult, it adds a nice bit of variety to the game. The first time I saw Lagiacrus, the monster on the cover of the game, underwater my jaw hit the floor. There is also improved enemy A.I, enemies will attack in groups, flank you, and go back to their nests to heal themselves if hurt too badly. Monster Hunter Tri can be extremely difficult at times, but taking down the larger beasts will bring a sense of satisfaction that is rarely found in other games. Capcom also included a free four player online mode in which you and a few friends can take down monsters together. It doesn’t use friend codes, has Wii speak and USB keyboard support for improved communication, making this title the greatest use of Nintendo’s online network thus far. I suggest taking it online once you gain your bearings in the single player mode.
The graphics are some of the best on Wii. Large vistas on the horizon, beautiful waterfalls, snowy mountains, this game has some great environments. My favorite aspect of the game has to be the monster designs- as a kid I loved dinosaurs, so seeing these beautifully rendered and excellently animated reptilian creatures awoke a long dormant childlike sense of wonder when traversing this digital world. The different noises these creatures make also immerse you in this world, and some of the roars will send chills down your spine. When you first meet a Rathian you know you are in trouble. The game also features suitably epic music that only gets more hectic as your battles heat up. Other times, when wandering alone, it is serene, fitting nicely with the wondrous scenery.
Monster Hunter Tri is an excellent game- it does has faults you should be aware of, mostly in the control department, but offers more rewards than most other games on the market. Excellent execution of online integration, beautiful graphics, and an intense challenge make this one title no self respecting Wii gamer should miss.