Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The Monster Hunting Genre

first things first, sorry i was out for a few days, caught some kind of virus and was too miserable to write anything, its a miracle I finished my homework.

anyhow, I'm going to be doing a longer post today, I'll be detailing the "Monster Hunting" genre of games, and my particular love for it.

The Genre Kicked off with the eponymous "Monster Hunter" released on the Playstation 2 by Capcom, whatever they thought about it, i do not believe they predicted how much of a hit it would be. The game sold like wildfire in its homeland of the Rising Sun, but sadly, due to a low marketing budget in The States, the series hasn't taken off in the west. this can be attributed to a number of things, most notably Difficulty, and convenience.

first of all, the well documented, crushing, but oh so loveable difficulty, Monster Hunter pulls no punches, it takes the Action RPG and slams on a healthy dose of realism (not too much realism of course, but just enough) your Hunter's Massive Greatsword is swung like, well, a massive greatsword, each swing takes considerable startup, and your movement with it out is a snails pace, (though mysteriously when it's sheathed you move normally) you need to put your weapons away to use items, this takes a few precious seconds (more then enough for your character to get turned to paste) then, if you want to use your healing item, it takes another few seconds to use, did I mention your massive prey is programmed to take advantage of these oppurtunities?

thats just the items, you can only dodge so much, until your stamina runs out and you need to let it recharge, your maximum stamina is directly tied to hunger, it lowers over time, and you need to eat to keep it up, your weapon (close combat weapons at least) have sharpness, that must be kept up if you don't want your carefully timed swings to bounce off, it obviously takes several seconds to pull out a whetstone and sharpen your blade.

despite all this, every single battle boils down to the hunter's skill, your dodging, attacking, and item using timing prowess must be spot on, every single move of your weapon has a use, you must master them all, you must balance your armor skills and your weapons statistics to optimize for almost every single hunt, these hunts are like a wild dance, a flow of dodges, strikes, frantic item using, and planning, to finally take down the massive Dino with a thousand cuts from your giant knife (or maybe normal sized knife, giant toothpick, hammer, crossbow gun thing, bow, whatever.) every single strike was earned, it is a true test of skill vs. strength, and you had better hope your skill is enough.

by the time you get through the tutorial, any weapons or armor you buy will be completely obselete, to remain competitive, you must loot your kills, crafting a new suit of armor from the natural armor of your quarry, your blades made from gathered bones and mined ore, ammo for your bowgun made from seeds and exotic fruit, your potions from herbs and mushrooms (be careful not to eat the wrong 'shroom!)

Monster Hunter takes its concept quite seriously, but it is fair, and very fun once you can get over the learning cliff. of course, all these things are great, but the real reason the series has taken off is simple, convenience.

I do not have the exact numbers, but the first few console MH games sold poorly compared to the portable titles. Capcom, realizing that the first games online multiplayer was great, but that so many people in Japan are always on the go, released Monster Hunter Freedom, an expansion to the original PS2 Title, Freedom sold unbelieveably well in Japan where nearly everyone can fire up their PSP and find a local Hunting team (bringing down Giant Beasts is always more fun with a team of course) but since American Gamers usually cannot maintain the 30 feet range to play MH locally so the PSP titles didn't sell very well across the pond, in fact, they were sadly probably not worth the investment, and the most recent portable title, Monster Hunter Portable 3rd, hasn't come out in america.

The only success found with this series in america is the console titles, of which there are merely two, MH1, (MH2 was released only on Japanese PS2's,) and Tri, Tri is the most recent console title, and has finally validated the series to America, it probably wouldn't have gotten translated if it weren't for the efforts of Nintendo.

My favorite Game Company is hopefully pushing MH into america, Tri has online infrastucture and a far more friendly learning curve, so much that it has almost pushed one million units in america. Nintendo appears to have sealed a deal with Capcom, as the series next title, Monster Hunter Tri G. will be released exclusively on the Nintendo 3DS, localization has not been confirmed as of this writing, but I can hope.

anyway, on to the absolutely massive success of this franchise, I have not communicated it very well, suffice it to say Monster Hunter is the Japanese Call of Duty, it sells over there that well, several millions in the first week of a new title's release, shockingly large figures,

naturally this outstanding success has attracted the attention of other companies, so much that "MH Clones" are practically their own genre, naturally few of them can match the original Juggernaut, but a few are supposedly worth checking out.

being that my TV is currently unable to play videogames (long story) and I have sold my last PSP MH title, I have decided to go for something new. God's Eater Burst.

GEB is the updated release of the original God's Eater, only in Japan of course. the series features many differences from MH, primarily that it takes place After the Apocalypse, and giant demons roam the earth, your anime-esque hero wields a unique weapon built from the cells of the enemy monsters, it is capable of switching between a close combat weapon and a ranged weapon easily, this is one of the things that intrigue me, but the main thing is certainly the ranged weapon mode.

the ranged weapon is far from the relatively simplistic Bowguns of Monster Hunter, your bullets are custom made just like the ones in MH, but instead of taking a recipe to make, say, a shotgun bullet, in GEB you actually get a huge list of sliders, minutely tweaking hundreds of variables, you can go for a simple shotgun pellet sure, but what about a bullet that stops in midair, then spews out fire in a plume like a volcano? as I understand this is totally possible, and of course encouraged, since creativity is necessary in the fights. if things go my way, I'll have God's Eater Burst later tpday, and I may do an extended play journal, since I lack the equipment to record directly for my youtube channel.

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