Monster Hunter World: Calling it Quits

I was told today that I have matured in my decision making when it comes to video games. In the past, if I spent $60 on a game chances are I’d attempt to play through it, even if it ended up being one of those games that “takes a while to click.” Generally speaking I will refuse to admit that perhaps I purchased the game too hastily, that I left myself get caught up in the hype. I admitted when I first wrote about the game that I did read about it on various blogs and that I was given a glowing recommendation from someone who’s opinion I trust, but therein lies the trouble with long-running series you’re just getting involved in. Monster Hunter is an established franchise, but I haven’t played a single entry. Going into things blind is sometimes a boon because there aren’t spoilers, but at the same time this is the type of game that defies definition. Though I was told it could be compared to a From Software title (and I understand why it was referenced as such) I just didn’t see it. I didn’t have the desire to explore this world. I didn’t feel immersed. Running around chasing a monster around a rather large map and stabbing it until it dies wasn’t appealing either. I assume that this game would be better with a dedicated group of friends that could co-op their way through it, but as the layers of complication added on I simply couldn’t be bothered. At this point in my life my time is too valuable to be wasting on something I’m not enjoying. As such, I deleted the game from my system and brought it into Gamestop to trade it in while it’s still considered a “new” game and get me the best return on investment.

That’s a laugh.

Gamestop offered me $25 store credit for a $60 game that came out just over a month ago. Not to be deterred, I scoured their shelves to find something that I knew I would enjoy. I saw titles that I wanted to play but would prefer to get on my PC, and then there were a couple of console exclusives that were tried and true games that I felt were worth the money. The trade-in value covered most of the Crash Bandicoot N-Sane Trilogy, and then I picked up a copy of the newly remade Shadow of the Colossus. The former is a collection of PSOne classics made by Naughty Dog (of Uncharted fame) of which I’ve played but I don’t think I ever completed one.

I have a longer history with Shadow of the Colossus. It’s unclear if it was before or after we lived together, but at some point or another my best friend showed me this game back in the Playstation 2 days. It looked interesting enough, but I didn’t play it at the time. Later on the Playstation 3, an HD upres remaster released and I purchased it. Perhaps it was too soon to play again for him, but I had some fun with it despite not really being all that much better looking than the original game. Like the Crash Bandicoot title, both of these games were remade from the ground up for Playstation 4, so they are supposed to be the same as the original games with up to date graphics. I’m excited to see them in action, and you know I’ll report about them here.

In other news, I had been trying to find the next game to strike off of the backlog list after completing The Order 1886, and tried picking up Alien: Isolation. I’ve had it for a while and being on a FPS kick lately it was a good choice, but I ended up getting stuck and calling the whole thing off. I deleted that one from my hard drive as well, and I’m sticking to my guns about this. It’s not to say that this is the first time I deleted a game without completing it (I couldn’t get into The Witcher 3 either despite rave reviews from literally everyone) and it’s not to say that I haven’t traded in a game at Gamestop a short time after buying it either, though usually it’s because I’ve completed it and have no use for it anymore. Nowadays I plan to play them through if I enjoy them, and delete them if I don’t. It should help speed up the process, at least.

I’m unsure if I will power through one of these two titles immediately or if I will pick up something else to run through. I know that I have an itch to play an RPG and I mean aside from EQ2 which I still am subbed to and need to spend some time on to at least clear the new expansion before breaking away until later in the year when there’s new content again. I am a good ways into Shadow Warrior 2 which has been on hold for sometime, but I’m tempted to start up the Dark Souls trilogy or Pillars of Eternity/some other isometric RPG that’s in the back log. Or perhaps it’s time to finish of Final Fantasy XV or Mass Effect Andormeda?

Clearly I’m still torn on which way to go but I will figure it out soon and continue on my journey to clear out the backlog.

Thoughts on Monster Hunter World

For the first time in a long time, I was hit by the hype train a picked up a game for its full MSRP. I went into this purchase pretty blind, not watching anything but the trailer on its Playstation Store page, which really doesn’t give you much of an idea of the depth that this title seems to pack. It shows some big beasts and various characters attacking them, and that’s about all you need to know I suppose, though the RPG elements add some needed feeling of progression. I had never played a Monster Hunter game before, but I knew that it was a successful franchise and people were raving about it. I was actually given a glowing recommendation by one of my long time blogging friends over at Socially Sour, and he compared it to Dark Souls, and that did it for me. My Internet has been spotty as of late so I decided to order the game from Amazon and avoid the large download, so I had to wait a few days to play after pulling the trigger. I fired it up the day I received shipment, but only ran through the brief tutorial, but managed another play session in between other things last week. You start out creating your hunter:

The character generation in this game is pretty robust in most areas, though I was disappointed to find that you couldn’t pick a different pet that follows you around. I would have preferred a dog to a cat, but that’s just me. You can also set yourself up in beginner gear — either leather or chain armor (I assume better variants are available later on) and pick a starting weapon. This is where I had my biggest stumbling block, but more on that later.

The tutorial was effective enough. I was surprised by the combat. It is sort of like Dark Souls in that you need to be semi methodical about your actions and try to avoid the enemy’s telegraphed movements. It feels a bit more button mashy, but then doesn’t at the same time. It’s definitely more forgiving than any Souls game I’ve played, but I haven’t pushed too far into it either.

As I said, there are various weapon styles you can choose from, ranging from the traditional to the absurd. Pictured above is a “bowgun” which looks like a fucking cannon. I stayed in this training area for a long time testing out the various styles and settled on the Spear with the bug launcher. It seems to suit my playstyle well enough, but perhaps I’ll change things around at some point.

I don’t know what it is about food in JRPGs, but between this game and Final Fantasy XV I’ve seen so many different things being cooked and consumed by my characters. Food plays a role in many games but it’s never quite as celebrated as it is in JRPGs.

I’ve also heard of comparisons to Destiny, in that the game sort of takes place from a hub city where all of the vendors and quest givers hang out — which also serves as a lobby where you can meet up with friends (or strangers) as the game is a co-op title. There are various NPCs that will give you quests or you can visit the quest board. You’ll be greeted with the above screen where you can select a mission and either host or join an instanced area where you’ll complete your objective.

Along the way you’ll pick up ingredients. They’re everywhere! Not only will you gather plantlife and mine minerals, but you’ll also be able to harvest meat and other materials from the monsters you’ll be killing. With these ingredients you can upgrade your existing weapons and armor or create new ones.

Eventually you’ll end up on missions where you have to fight a real monster like this huge lizard, and then the game becomes more like what you’d expect from a Souls title or even Shadow of the Colossus. The creature will be bigger and badder than the things you’ve encountered, and it will take a ton of effort to bring it down. One of my abilities allows me to vault into the air so I was able to hang onto this guy’s back and repeatedly stab him. There were still three separate times you had to fight him — he runs off in between each encounter.

When I quit after my last session this big ugly thing had just been revealed, and rather than being just a bigger version of something I had already seen, this looks like a proper monster. I’ll be heading off after him the next time I play!

When you complete missions you’ll earn various materials and watch various scales increase in value. Apparently my little cat buddy is level 4 now. It doesn’t appear that my character has a level though? It’s all so strange and new to me I really don’t know.

Overall I think Monster Hunter is unique enough to keep me entertained. It’s not my favorite title ever by any means, but I see enough potential here to play it through. Now if only I could convince one of my friends that they should pick up their own copy so I could co-op my way through it, that would be even better.

March IGC

March is shaping up to be another pretty decent month for the Playstation Plus service. I’m glad that Sony decided to support the PS3 for a while, those of us who haven’t purchased a PS4 yet are still getting a ton of new games to play. For PS4 owners, a game that was the first I ever purchased off of PSN is coming to the new platform. The game in question is Dead Nation. This is the “apocalypse edition,” so I’m assuming that it’s the original game plus the DLC that released for it all rolled into one. Dead Nation is a zombie-themed over head shooter, in Smash TV style. It was a great game, and I had a lot of fun with it, so I’ll still get it into my Download list for a possible future playthrough.

On the PS3, we’re getting the Tomb Raider reboot, which is a game I’ve been wanting to play for a while. I actually purchased a used copy for my friend for Christmas last year, and was going to borrow it later, but never got around to it. Now I will have my own copy, so that’s a plus. I was a fan of the Tomb Raider series back in the Saturn/PS1 days, I played the original on the Saturn and the next two on the Playstation. The original was a whole new world of gaming, the story was great, the open world (that wasn’t really open at all) felt huge, the combat was fun, and the puzzles weren’t super annoying. Fast forward to games like Uncharted and it’s a dinosaur, but it was awesome at the time. The sequel added some new features and was still fun, but by the third game I was pretty much done with Lara’s adventures. I know there was a fourth game on the first PS, and at least a one or two through PS2’s generation, and one that I know of that released previously on PS3. I never played any of those games though, it was another series like Call of Duty that became a rehash and I grew tired of it (though this was before all of the modern day cash grabs with DLCs and whatnot). So my relationship with the series was jaded, but I am willing to give this reboot a chance. Especially for free. And Because Boobs:

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The other two PS3 games are indie titles that released last year. The first, Thomas was Alone, doesn’t look like a game I’m interested in whatsoever. It’s pixels. And Puzzles. Or something to that effect. I might give it a whirl but I’m not expecting much. The other title is Lone Survivor, and it’s supposed to be a 2-D survival horror game, which is one of my favorite genres. The game also reminds me of an old school NES title, “Maniac Mansion.” I believe that game was a port from computers of its day, so the interface is different of course, but check out these pictures and tell me you don’t get a similar vibe:

Maniac_Mansion_-_1990_-_Jaleco_Ltd. screenshotI

23 years does make quite a difference when it comes to pixellated 2-D art. Nevertheless, I intend to dive into that game whole-heartedly upon release. Because of late 2-D + Indie has been a win. 

The above two titles are also cross-buy, so Vita owners will get those two games along with Unit 13 and a Monster Hunter iteration. I do wish I had a Vita, I probably have 100 games for it already. Monster Hunter is also a series that I always hear buzz about but have never tried personally. Unit 13 is a title I’ve heard of but really know nothing about so I’ll leave it to you to read about it elsewhere. All in all, a decent looking month is ahead.