TGS 2008: Monster Hunter 3 Hands-On

We hunt for monsters as Capcom brings its popular monster-hunting franchise to the Wii.

TOKYO--Capcom's Monster Hunter series has become a sales juggernaut that has moved PSP hardware for Sony in Japan. The game's solid action and multiplayer emphasis have found it a loyal audience that has picked up each entry in the series by the bucketload. The latest entry in the series, Monster Hunter 3, marks a significant departure from the previous games, which were released exclusively for the PSP, because it's the first appearance for the series on the Wii.

The TGS demo for the game let us pick from three hunting missions. One had us hunting a raptor-like critter named Dos Jagie across plains. Another mission sent us after a creature called Quru Pecco, which was a cross between a bird and a lizard. However, the most interesting mission was probably the third, which had us going after a creature called Lagiacrus and which showed off the new underwater gameplay mechanics. We were able to pick a male or a female hunter and choose from four weapon classes: great sword, one-handed sword and shield, hammer, or bowgun.

Controlling your hunter makes comprehensive use of the Wii Remote and Nunchuk combination. While everything maps out pretty well, we can't say we're fans of the Remote and Nunchuk combo when hunting monsters. Thankfully, we're happy to report that the game will also support the Classic Controller, which is the way to go. The only nagging quirk is the lack of a lock-on feature, which we know is a staple of the series, but we live in hope.

As far as the gameplay goes, it's pretty much Monster Hunter. You'll roam around killing things until you find your quarry, at which point you'll stab it until it stops moving. It's a pretty simple formula, but it certainly has its appeal. You'll still navigate using an onscreen map of the region you're in. The locations are still broken up into chunks that will load briefly as you move between them. The monster behavior has been tweaked,as noted in the stage demo, and we were able to see it firsthand. At the moment, the behavior system seems pretty subtle: Injured monsters seem to try to engage in some cannibalism with their fellow creatures to regain their strength. This comes in handy because it leads to convenient infighting, which helps you deal with large mobs. Finally, although there wasn't much information on how they're going to work out, the adorable cat people are back in full force. They appeared in support roles in the demo, most notably wheeling your unconscious body back to your camp if you fall during a mission, but the producers promise extra doses of feline-based eccentricity in the final game.

In terms of overall presentation, Monster Hunter 3 hits all the right notes. The new platform gives the visuals a significant boost over the PSP titles. The game looks great and stands out among Wii games even in its work-in-progress state. Your hunter looks sharp and has a high level of detail, as do the monsters you'll be slicing your way through. The locales have an impressive array of little animation touches, such as running water. The underwater segments have a nice look to them, and Lagiacrus looked right at home. The audio was hard to fully make out, but this definitely sounds like a Monster Hunter game. The creatures' sounds and your own attacks are all in line with what we've heard in the series so far, with some more-robust creature screeching.

Based on what we played, Monster Hunter 3 is shaping up to be a worthy entry in the Monster Hunter series. There's a ton of content to plow through, and the various online and offline co-op features are a smart addition to the mix. As usual, the game's quirks, such as the camera and targeting, make the action a little bumpy. If Monster Hunter 3 can get those rough spots worked out, then the game could become a contender for the best entry in the series to date. Monster Hunter 3 is slated to ship next year in Japan, so look for more on it in the coming months.

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22 comments
VXLbeast
VXLbeast

Yes, cannot wait! This looks like it is gonna be awesome! Thank you Capcom for taking the Wii seriously!

Iriscal
Iriscal

@whnninjasattack Fortunately, Gamespot appears to be the only ones who think Monster Hunter is bad. Everyone else is getting it right and actually playing for about 20 hours instead of trying it out for five hours, dying repeatedly to Yian Kut-Ku, and ragequitting to give the game a 6.5 like Gamespot does. Gamespot: "Boo-hoo, I'm too dumb to be good at this game, I give it 6.5!"

Prototype_14
Prototype_14

Why does everybody whine because there is no lock-on feature. That would completely ruin almost all the fun. There is absolutely no reason at ALL to add that feature. I completely agree with The_Reaper_CooL.

CapedCod
CapedCod

What's that?!? The Wii CAN support good looking graphics?!?! *GASP*

chappy_man
chappy_man

I want to know more about the co-op can see me and two buddies play where ones on the couch beside me the other is say 600 miles away? That would be sick!

Zerobeam
Zerobeam

Monster Hunter is one of my favorite franchises, and I'm sure I'm not alone in this sentiment. I have the PS2 and PSP releases. Now if what princeweasel says is true, then perhaps a PS3 version will be released. But that still doesn't help me cause I have a 360. I do agree that MH is better enjoyed with others, and what better console than the Xbox 360 (which has the best online structure) to have this game as a part of its library.

Kishokan
Kishokan

Damn.... i was looking so forward to another monster hunter on a platform... and was so hoping to play it on my ps3... i dont really want to buy a wii so i guess i wont be getting it *cries* i want another monster hunter...

whnninjasattack
whnninjasattack

"Monster Hunter 3 is shaping up to be a worthy entry in the Monster Hunter series" Yea too bad gamespot thinks the MH series sucks. I on the other hand will get a Wii just for this game and if I have to mod it I will.

kritikalplayh3r
kritikalplayh3r

oh crap... now i have to buy a wii just for it... but then again, for one of 'the' best games ever made, why not... I cant wait... yeah... rasengan_X and The_Reaper_CooL.. I share your opinion about the ratings. it takes time to master the controls but then again, why look at their ratings when you could just look at the user rating which are more reliable. and by the way, having a lock on button? that would just bring joy for awhile to starters playing it, but not for veterans and it would remove the actual point of the battle system... anyway, gaming skills, practice and patience is required for this game... sort of like DotA (1 of the best games ever also)...

Rasengan_X
Rasengan_X

I have to agree with The_Reaper_CooL. I don't like it that the review scores for mh games are so low just because it doesn't have a lock-on system. That's the way it's made, learn to play like he said. You'll have no problems with it once you get better. Besides if there was lock on what button would you use for it? All the available ones are already used.

princeweasel1
princeweasel1

And may I add, this is my favorite series of all time. I LOVE the MH series and have since its debut in the States on the PS2 back in 2004. This is an amazing game and it's best parts are enjoyed when playing with other people. GREAT series.

princeweasel1
princeweasel1

Ok, for pure clarity here, Monster Hunter first appeared on the PS2 in both Japan and the States. Japan saw a sequel, also on the PS2 exclusively, called Monster Hunter Dos. Monster Hunter Portable (or Monster Hunter Freedom, as it's known in the US) was the first portable title in the series and was released exclusively for PSP, as were MHP2nd and MHP2ndG. Monster Hunter Frontier is a PC-only MMORPG and is available ONLY in Japan. MHTri simply marks the first time it has hit a console system other than Playstation. MHFUnite will be released for the PSP in the US and will sport the new PSP-to-PS3 network connectivity, allowing a previously ad-hoc only game to be played online as if it were an infrastructure title. Again, this was just for clarity.

corian_331
corian_331

I am so glad that monster hunter finally gets a worthy console stage. Too bad the oter two didn't acknowledge it's greatness. These games are really fun and everyone should at least check it out because of what it offers.

IXIWhistIXI
IXIWhistIXI

As long as I can play online I think I'll like it. I had monster hunter for the psp but no friends with monster hunter...let alone a psp...it's not much fun alone unless you feel like you're bulking up for more online play. I didn't bother with the game when it first came out for ps2 because I didn't feel like buying the network thing.

ahmedkandil
ahmedkandil

i stopped reading after "The only nagging quirk is the lack of a lock on feature which we know is a staple of the series but we live in hope." edit: just saw the reaper cools post, +1

TeabagChampion
TeabagChampion

I had Capcom's Monster Hunter 1 for the PS2. It's an amazing game! If it comes out for the Nintendo in the U.S.A, than I'll go get a Nintendo Wii.

The_Reaper_CooL
The_Reaper_CooL

"The only nagging quirk is the lack of a lock on feature which we know is a staple of the series but we live in hope." LEARN TO PLAY!!! This game doesn't need an effin Lock-On feature, that would ruin it...

Zee666
Zee666

I couldn't get into the first one but i'll probably try it out, maybe they worked out the quirks that i hated.

Serbine
Serbine

Yeah, this game is going to be really awesome, I sure hope get the game of the year award.