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PixlChatter: Monster Hunter 3 Conclusion

PixlBit's Monster Hunter 3 chat-based adventure comes to an end.

Kathrine: How about gathering? It is a kind of grind.

Jason: Definitely It works exactly the same way. To make good items, like mega potions, you have to gather honey, an item not sold in regular stores, but rarely available online. And each time you gather, it's another few seconds where you just sit and watch the character doing something. I understand the idea that exploration can be a fun thing to do, and in fact, gathering isn't bad the first time you're finding things, but since, for example, honey is used in several good combinations to make better items, it means either you get lucky and trade something for a bunch of honey online, or you go and pick up a little bit, come back to the game's lobby, then go back, get a little more, over and over again, especially since you can only hold on to 10 honey at a time.

Kathrine: The process would be simpler if you could just hold the button down to pick up everything from that spot.

Jason: Or just gather once to get everything. And if you could send items from the field straight to the box…

Kathrine: Like using the red delivery box or something.

Jason: We didn't mention this, but the game limits how many items you can hold, which isn't so bad, as it means you need to take only what you need and strategize with items. Howerver, when it comes to gathering, it really is a pain to hit the item limit, then have to throw away stuff in order to gather any more.

Kathrine: On the positive side, all of the items available across the land mean that you aren't necessarily in trouble if you run out of a certain item, like potions. You can go and gather the necessary ingredients and make more.

Jason: That's true, absolutely.

Kathrine: So you can improvise if things don't go as planned. Or if you don't plan, like me.

Jason: My problem hasn't been so much that I run out of potions as it has been getting attacked thrice in a row and instantly dying, though. It's is a serious problem in multiplayer. On a quest, players basically share lives, and when one person dies, everyone in the group loses out on a big chunk of money. If there's three deaths total, the players all lose.

Kathrine: With rare exceptions, like one arena fight where you have 7 lives.

Jason: I understand the idea that it means players will have to work on a team, but there's been a lot of times where someone will have made it up to whatever level you're on by coasting entirely. He or she will just die from one or two hits from a powerful monster, since he or she didn't grind to get the good armor, and they'll die like that three times. Since quests cost a fee to begin, players can quickly lose money unless they've got a team of others that don't die with them on quests.

Jason: I'd prefer something else, where dying only affects the player that died, rather than the whole team.

Kathrine: Just make the weak person pay the quest fee.

Jason: That works, but you forget, the quests available to any individual player are random!

Kathrine: Yeah what's the deal with that?

Jason: I'm not all that sure. I just know it means that sometimes there's a quest I want to do and it's just not there.

Kathrine: It isn't like they couldn't fit all the quests on the list, there are multiple pages.

Jason: Not to mention, the second page is half empty, too. Even when you've completed every quest, they won't all show up!

Kathrine: Are you sure you did them all then?

Jason: Yup, a "DONE" stamp appears on the rank when you have.

Kathrine: Oh right.

Jason: Really, though, I have trouble playing the game offline. Not that it's too difficult, I just get bored, honestly.

Kathrine: You can do that?

Jason: Yeah, there's totally an offline mode...

Kathrine: How could I forget?

Jason: And for some reason, it has access to some pretty nifty features exclusive to offline, single-player. Remember how we didn't like having to gather all that honey? There's a mode where you can basically "grow" honey! But it's only available in single player, the mode with reduced missions, monsters, and fun. Basically, the only reason to play the game's single-player mode is so you can grind for some materials faster. There's one exclusive boss monster, as well as various trading partners that you can only trade with in single-player, but... opposed to online multiplayer, with it's greater missions, several exclusive monsters, event quests, and high-rank quests, it's a drag.

Kathrine: The single player mode is different from the multiplayer mode in that you are playing by yourself. This, I feel, is a game-breaking mechanic.

Jason: Making bowgunners die, and the rest of the game dull and boring. Like I said, I've observed most use it as a way to gather materials that otherwise take longer online.

Kathrine: It is clear it was designed for online, with four players.

Jason: True! We've read a few varying opinions. Some people believe the game scales HP of a monster online according to how many people are challenging it. From our experience, we've talked it over, and we both aren't so certain that's true.

Kathrine: If that is true, it certainly doesn't feel like it.

Jason: Right, if it is true, I definitely don't feel it is. Which means any time you have a group of less than four people, you're already at a disadvantage. Or at least, it feels that way.

Kathrine: Even if we fight the low-rank monsters with our powerful high-rank weapons, it still takes a long time with just us two.

Jason: Often, yes, it does. That's why we're not so sure there's any HP scaling at all, since playing with low-rank weapons and four players yields a much faster kill in most cases.

Kathrine: Assuming the low-rank players are not incompetent.

Jason: I'm pretending that's most cases.

Kathrine: Close enough. Let's not anger the legion of MH fans any more than we have, eh?

Jason: And so that's it. I think we've said our piece about everything Monster Hunter, I suppose the only thing that's left is to ask this question: What rating would you give this game?

Kathrine: Actually I had one more thing to say about single player.

Jason: Oh, by all means, go ahead.

Kathrine: They give you a computer-controlled partner named Cha-Cha, whose purpose is likely just so you won't feel alone on quests.

Jason: He's helpful, good point.

Kathrine: This character is, of course, the most annoying character in the game.

Jason: Sure, but he's still better than nothing. He says the same phrases over and over, and basically is like a baby you bring along. But...

Kathrine: He can be helpful with his dances sometimes, but his endless chatter is annoying.

Jason: But, he gives you extra items after the fight!

Kathrine: That's nice too.

Jason: That's his real purpose, that's what I believe. Or at least, that's his main use.

Kathrine: Still, I'd prefer the partner be someone like, say, Birdo.

Jason: You would!

Kathrine: I know Capcom doesn't have the rights, but that is no excuse!

Jason: Uh huh. Anyway, is that all?

Kathrine: I guess.

Jason: Then, one question remains: What would you rate this game, Kathrine?

Kathrine: That is the toughest question of all. This game amazes me, but it is for all the wrong reasons. By that I mean, I'm amazed by all the boneheaded design choices.

Jason: Well, I'll tell you my ranking, and why I changed it from my earlier score. I'd give it 3 stars, like any decent "B" game. 3 out of 5. There's a lot wrong with it, and Capcom doesn't particularly care.

Kathrine: I definitely get that vibe.

Jason: But there's some stuff in there to have fun with, too, and online multiplayer never hurts. Originally, I would have given it half a point more, though. Then we got to high rank and each earned our first sets of armor.

Kathrine: I would have too, before -- yes, high-rank.

Jason: Doing that took eons of time, if I'm not mistaken. And thus, for the sheer amount of grinding and grinding present in the higher rank, I'm dropping the game down half a star from what I originally felt.

Kathrine: I think I agree with your score, it's a 3-star, "B" game. But it is the best "B" game around.

Jason: Oh, sure, there's a lot of production values, I think we certainly said the game looks beautiful, and there's a lot there... There's just a whole lot of underwhelming stuff there, too, that could easily be tightened up for a much more enjoyable experience.

Kathrine: There still must be something special about this game, or else it wouldn't be the reason we're so tired right now because we stayed up all night every day for the past two weeks playing it.

Jason: It's the MMO factor: You put so much time into it, you want to complete it before you quit. It's also a simple enough game to form a community around, like any big online RPG.

Kathrine: Two people are a community?

Jason: Eh, we play with people we know.

Kathrine: True, but I think we have played more quests with just us two than everyone else.

Jason: For the most part, we just keep building ourselves up to make it easier to help them. That's what I'm telling myself, at least.

Kathrine: Because no one should have to suffer through this game as we have. We are saving them!


 

Comments

Our Take

Jason Ross Senior Editor

05/16/2010 at 04:52 PM

When I look at a game like Monster Hunter, I see so much potential and so many possibilities, that, to me, it's disappointing that Monster Hunter 3 (or Tri) is where the series is at after several iterations. Without having played any prior Monster Hunter titles, Kathrine and I both agree a lot of the game mechanics feel stale and out of place in this console generation, and my guess is that it's because Capcom hasn't altered all that much from the original, successful formula.

Also, there's no question that there isn't fun to be had with the game's online multiplayer mode, but truthfully, virtually any game with co-op becomes fun, simply because gaming with others is always a fun thing to do. What's not fun? No ability to create private rooms, or password-locked rooms, so any person can barge in on a room on a relatively empty server, taking a spot in the room meant for a friend. Could rooms hold more than four people, that wouldn't be a problem, either, but as it stands, a few people behaving annoyingly make the experience a little more mediocre than you'd imagine, especially when these random people aren't very good at the game.

Our Take

Kathrine Theidy Staff Alumnus

05/16/2010 at 08:37 PM

I agree with your assessment Jason, this game has the potential to be something great, but all of its problems really hold it back.

There's one kind of major thing we forgot to discuss: loading screens. The game world is separated into 8-12 segments, with a quick load screen when traveling from one to another. This isn't an issue in itself, as I'm sure it helps keep the game running smooth. Where it becomes a problem, is when fighting a monster near the loading barrier. The monster can travel past that invisible wall, and then become impossible to attack. It is also too common to be knocked into the load barrier, and then enter another area. When returning, your character appears in the area before the loading finishes, and you can be hit before you have a chance to move, or even see the attack. It's yet another layer of frustration.

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