Monster Hunter Tri Multiplayer Hands-On

We got a chance to team up with fellow hunters and take down the water-dwelling Lagiacrus monster in Monster Hunter Tri.

When we last saw Monster Hunter Tri back at GamesCom 2009, we were taken with how impressive it looked. If bringing the franchise to a Nintendo system for the first time wasn't sweet enough, it was also one of the best-looking Wii games we'd seen to date. The visuals certainly go a long way in bringing the exotic monsters, environments, and characters to life. Originally released in Japan last year, the game is being localised by Capcom for Western markets, and this latest game in the series should be out this April in Europe. We recently got a chance to play the European version, including its two-player split-screen and four-player online modes.

Nintendo hosted a hands-on event in London, which kicked off with a presentation from producer Ryozo Tsujimoto and creative director Kaname Fujioka. The duo attempted to initiate the UK media in the ways of monster hunting, and given that the series hasn't been the runaway success in the West that it has been in Japan, this seemed like a sensible start to the day. During the presentation, Tsujimoto revealed a number of interesting facts about Tri, including the addition of several new weapons that weren't in the Japanese version, such as the Lion's Bane sword and the Grim Reaper-fashioned Sinister Saints switchaxe. Tsujimoto also confirmed that Monster Hunter Tri will support Nintendo's Wii Speak microphone peripheral. Text chat is also an option, and this feature will no doubt make communication between hunters easier during online matches. Lastly, he revealed that Capcom had direct involvement in designing Nintendo's Classic Controller Pro control pad. The redesigned controller appears to be the default control scheme for Tri, and while you can use a Wii Remote and Nunchuk or the original Classic Controller, we found that the pro's longer handles made it a better experience. In fact, Nintendo has announced two additional versions of the game for Europe: one that will be bundled with the Pro controller and another that will include the controller and the Wii Speak peripheral. After the presentation, we met with a Capcom spokesperson, who told us that you'll be able to copy your characters to a Wii Remote and play them on a friend's system, much like you can import Miis from one console to another.

Capcom has already revealed that the cute catlike Felynes won't be tagging along in Tri's single-player hunts, although they are available in the village to help you cook food and plant crops. Aiding you in battle this time around is Cha-Cha, a dwarf-sized fellow who looks a lot like the village witch doctor. We weren't able to see him in action, but according to Tsujimoto, Cha-Cha will become bigger and stronger and will unlock new abilities as you progress.

Monster Hunter Tri introduces underwater battles to the series for the first time. With the exception of two shoulder buttons to dive and surface, the main controls are the same whether you're in the water or on land. The Classic Controller Pro is particularly useful for underwater areas, as the inside shoulder buttons are easier to reach and sit underneath the outside ones, much like on the PlayStation 3's Dual Shock 3 controller. After kitting out our hunter with a great sword, we headed to the aquatic hunting grounds with our companions to hunt down the giant aquatic Lagiacrus dragon. The map had about a dozen sections, with several areas featuring bodies of water deep enough to conceal the beast. Diving into the sea and coming head-to-head with such a giant creature was cool, and he certainly proved to be a challenging opponent. Because you have to move in three dimensions underwater, combat is slightly more challenging at first, and unfortunately the series again fails to include a fixed camera angle behind you, so you need to use the right analog stick to keep the camera on the action. The Lagiacrus eventually moved to another area where we were able to attack it on land. Despite being a creature of the deep, the Lagiacrus was just as formidable on land, and it was great to see that the action continued unabated despite the location.

We also got a chance to play Tri's two-player split-screen mode, where we were able to hunt down a Great Jaggi and a Qurupeco. This mode took place in a single arena covered in sand and featured the backdrop of a beautiful, crumbling colosseum. Rather than fighting on regular hunting grounds, you need to fight it out man-on-beast in a single area; however, the overall gameplay remains pretty much the same. The starting area is adjacent to the arena, and if you die, it's easy to rejoin the battle once you've respawned. The monsters can't retreat to another area and recharge their health, and neither can you (although you can carry health potions and other items with you), so the battles are simple fights to the death. Despite having to share the screen with a companion, this mode does a good job of keeping the screen uncluttered while still managing to display all of the vital heads-up displays.

Monster Hunter Tri offers some of the most deadly enemies yet.

Nintendo and Capcom are still considering whether to charge a monthly subscription fee for Monster Hunter Tri, which would follow the model for the just-announced Monster Hunter Frontier Online on the Xbox 360 in Japan. Given that it's a four-player cooperative game rather than a persistent, massively multiplayer game, added fees might make it a difficult sell.

Monster Hunter Tri looks like it will be a delicious monster-filled treat for fans of the series when it comes out in April. Because multiplayer is such a vital part of the Monster Hunter experience, it's good to know that Capcom is working on its own in-game friends system, and we're hoping it will be as painless as possible for people to jump online and start slaying monsters. We're looking forward to seeing the final version and checking out all of the monsters and environments in store for hunters. For more on the franchise's Nintendo debut, be sure to check out our previous coverage and keep an eye on GameSpot for the full review this April.

Written By

Former staff writer for GameSpot.co.uk, now marketing guy for a certain major online retailer....

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Discussion

40 comments
DemonAscended
DemonAscended

Finally! Another MH game with full-fledged multiplayer! The Freedom franchise is awesome, but the online/multiplayer is really lacking compared to MH on the PS2. But now we get the best of worlds! I'm just gonna say it: This will definitely get my vote for Game of the Year.

hydn631
hydn631

its like the one wii game ive seen in a while that i really really want!

wahyudil
wahyudil

I hope it can be 4 player split screen like PSO episode 1 & II in Gamecube ... because my internet can't be relied on ... but its allright, at least I can play multi player RPG

Csonic6
Csonic6

I always liked Monster Hunter but never played it much cos no online function, so this is a welcomed changed for me and it's deferently on my wish list =)

Rice5phere
Rice5phere

NO FEES! I AM POOR AS IS! No online fees would certainly be welcome with open arms in a declining economy :)

sneakyoddjob
sneakyoddjob

Wow, didn't realise it had split-screen aswell. It's a definite day one purchase for me when it makes it to Europe.

TheyCALLmeG
TheyCALLmeG

I heard the online is LAGGY!!!! but Capcom said they are going to fix it. I still don't know if i am going to get this...

RisingBlackSun
RisingBlackSun

Aw yeah. More developers need to follow Capcoms lead, even Nintendo abit. More people need to capture the Wii's full potential. It's easy, but people need to make an effort.

Haldir437
Haldir437

yes it's available in english, but not until a week into April I believe. You should definitly add it to your collection, just don't get discouraged because its hard, try to make friends and play with 4 people all the time.

wcw1985
wcw1985

Is the game available in English? If yes, i am gonna add it to my collection!

Haldir437
Haldir437

some people heard they want to do the monthly fee so they can keep spitting out new monsters every once in a while. But if they wanted to do that, why wouldn't they just do it like every other game and make it dlc

Doolum
Doolum

yes please,no fees for online multiplayer.else i'd rather have it Freedom style.at least you can solo quests in the gathering hall without any fee(well,contract fee excluded!)

twztid13
twztid13

monthly fee would KILL it for me!

FFJunkies
FFJunkies

Wish I had a Wii now, this game looks like a great co-op game.

fabz_95
fabz_95

The game looks and sounds so awesome, please don't ruin it by adding monthly fees! It's only 4 players online, it's not an MMO so please, don't do it! :P

buzzguy
buzzguy

Well, the added Wii Speak finally, that's a big plus! BUT, forget about that monthly fee, Capcom. Folks seem only interested in paying for true MMO's; all that persistant world stuff costs $, and we're OK with that. This game is different, though, and I really think it would be in Capcom and Ninty's best interests if they kept it free-to-play. They need to get the MH brand going over here, and pay-to-play ain't gonna do it!

Squirrelatwar
Squirrelatwar

Dear Nintendo and Capcom, We love you. But if you make this game have a monthly fee, there will be a hole in my heart. Please do the nice thing. Make the game really good, and no monthly fee. XOXOXOXO, Me

saborfang3
saborfang3

I am so glad you don't need friend codes!

so_hai
so_hai

I'll pay periodic fees if the RRP is *significantly* reduced. But that's not gonna' happen is it?

nicktarist
nicktarist

Looks like Capcom and Nintendo are pulling out the big guns with this one. I'd have to agree though: I wouldn't pay the subscription fee to play. Here's to free online service.

thetravman
thetravman

All monster hunter games to date got only decent review, yet it has a huge fanbase. I might look into it.

Sepewrath
Sepewrath

An online fee would be a very poor marketing decision. They are trying to get a foothold in the west, charging for a non mmo would not be a good start. With the bundles and stuff coming out they are making good headway, a fee is all it would take to blow it.

TalesofRaGnArOk
TalesofRaGnArOk

I'll admit it: even if it is p2p, I'd still pay. So worth it. But hopefully it's not (which I thought it was anyway)

Penguino14
Penguino14

I won't really care if there's a monthly fee for online play because my stupid Wii won't connect with my computer.

DoorKnob22
DoorKnob22

I don't think pay to play is going to be worth it. It's gonna be good but not good enough to pay a monthly subscription fee.

Kiro96
Kiro96

I cant wait to get this game but i will only get it if its not pay to play so PLEASE dont do it Nintendo you will probably get more money by not doing it pay to play because more people will buy it

rottenliver22
rottenliver22

Haldir437 made a good point, Monster Hunter Frontier is probably owned already by many people in Japan. Not only that, with Monster Hunter 3 I couldn't ask for more! (including more money to pay and play frontier). If the Monster Hunter 3 says Pay and Play on it, many NON-fans of the series would take a quick look at it and think it's just not worth being a money pit

Haldir437
Haldir437

im so excited for this game, but if they had a charge for online, it would be severely dissappointing. In addition, it would diminish their already small sales of the series in US so it'd be a poor decision. Talking about poor decisions, why the hell would they port MH Frontier to 360's but only in Japan? Everybody in Japan who wants Frontier already has it for their PC. If they ported it to 360's in US too, they'd get many, many more new subscribers, like me and all my friends who play MH

Kara_R
Kara_R

it looks epic! i like it!

Tat77
Tat77

"and unfortunately the series again fails to include a fixed camera angle behind you, so you need to use the right analog stick to keep the camera on the action." A fixed camera would make the game a lot harder.

th3chos3non3
th3chos3non3

i know nothing about the monster hunter series... but this looks like it could be a good place to start.

enrique_marrodz
enrique_marrodz

It looks great! I really hope they don't add any online charge

Dualmask
Dualmask

Sounds like it's coming along nicely. Can't wait to get my hands on that Classic Controller Pro and this game along with it.