TGS 2008: Monster Hunter 3 Impressions

Capcom gives an overview of its latest monster-hunting installment; this time for the Nintendo Wii.

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TOKYO--For Japanese gamers, one of the most anticipated games at this year's Tokyo Game Show was Monster Hunter 3. Capcom's booth on day one was packed with a four-hour waiting line of visitors hoping to get their hands on the new Wii game. Day two was worse, with the line reaching the same length in just 10 minutes after opening, despite being another business day. Needless to say, its stage event was packed as well. Producer Ryozo Tujimoto and director Kaname Fujioka made an appearance to talk about Monster Hunter 3 and how it's different from the previous installments.

"It's been five years since we've made the Monster Hunter series. During the years, we've had many installments and gained a lot of fans. We've been receiving a lot of input from the players. We've been looking at them, and given the shift to a new platform, we've decided to create everything again from scratch. We've redone details, as well as the game system, and we hope that it'll have even more depth [than the previous installments]," said Fujioka.

One of the main themes in Monster Hunter 3 will be water. The game's trailer depicted a world where the sea plays an important role, and in one scene, an armor-plated warrior was seen swimming in the ocean together with schools of fishes. In another scene, he was using a pickaxe in the middle of the ocean, apparently to chip some ore off from rocks. The warrior was also seen battling against giant sea dragons using a large sword. One of the villages shown in the trailer was made of a wooden foundation, and it floated in the middle of water.

Another major difference from previous Monster Hunter games is the addition of natural behaviors. In Monster Hunter 3, the enemies act in a more realistic manner that can be taken advantage of by the player. For example, a hungry monster will loose stamina, which will make it more vulnerable to attacks and decrease its ability to do some special moves. To regain its stamina, the monster would need to eat other monsters. Also, some monsters are territorial and live together in flocks. If other species comes into its territory, they'd assault the infiltrator. That goes for both the player, as well as other monsters. We were also shown a new monster called Kurupekko, which had a cute, ducklike appearance. The Kurupekko wasn't too strong, but as a method of survival, it could imitate cries of other monsters and call out to them for help.

The developers also gave a quick rundown of the game's control. Monster Hunter 3 uses the Nunchuk for moving around and the Wii Remote's D pad for controlling the camera angle. The A button is used for searching, and the Nunchuk's C button is used for opening the menu screen. In terms of battle, players can pull out their weapons by swinging the Wii Remote; putting away the weapon can be done with the plus button. Attacking is done by simply pressing the A button. To attack sideways, the player needs to tilt the Wii Remote sideways when pressing the A button. Players who want more traditional gameplay can use the classic controller as well, which Monster Hunter 3 supports.

As a final surprise, Tujimoto revealed that Monster Hunter 3 can run with a split-screen so that two players can enjoy the game together. A real-time demo was played on the stage where one player played on the top screen and the second player played on the bottom screen. During the demo, one of the players used the Wii Remote and Nunchuk, while the other player used the classic controller.

It was also revealed during the stage presentation that Monster Hunter Portable 2G has reached 2.5 million in sales as of day one of the Tokyo Game Show. What's more, it also won grand prize in the Japan Game Awards. A "PSP the Best" reprint edition is already on the way and will be hitting stores in Japan on October 30, priced 2,990 yen.

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