The Diary of a Monster Hunter: No.1 - The Hunter of Mushrooms
After much procrastination and countless false starts, I have jumped head first into the world of Monster Hunter with MH 3 Ultimate. The first few hours went a little something like this….
What’s My Name?
We didn't get off to the best of starts. My first session with MH3U on the 3DS lasted all of ten minutes, before a strict character limit (ten letters or numbers for your username) drove me straight back to my PS3 and Skyrim. I wanted to be Toomanywires, not Toomanywir! I tried reverting to my PS3 handle, but Talkingboo is even more embarrassing. Monster Hunter is rubbish.
Two weeks and a Wii U upgrade later, and I gave character creation another shot. My grey-beard wearing a purple, Apollo- Creed-running-on-the-beach-length t-shirt has been christened 2manywires. I'm not happy with the numerical solution, but if I didn't compromise then I'd never have gotten past character creation. Monster Hunter is fucking rubbish.
The village hub is compact and colourful, full of tiny text and helpful locals. Despite my shrunken t-shirt, they all seemed pretty confident that I'm the solution to their sea monster problem. Not wanting to let them down, I listened patiently to everything they had to say, all the while battling the urge to play something more familiar and more PlayStation.
Having introduced myself to the shopkeepers and artisans, I then stopped by the farm to introduce myself, which is where I met my pig, Albert. I have to give him a fuss each time we meet; he seems to enjoy it, though he strongly disapproved when I tried to slip him the tongue. Monster Hunter is alright, I guess.
In the Field
My earliest journeys into the wild were relatively uneventful. The tutorials didn't outstay their welcome, and I was soon restoring hunting camps and gathering dangerous mushrooms. Feeling confident in my new found abilities, I eventually decided to pick on something non-fungal. I messed up a number of docile herbivores with my sword and shield, and then celebrated by accidently eating all my herbs; I still haven't quite got the hang of the controls!
I continued to flex my hunting muscle(s) by stabbing up some goat-like creatures. It turns out that these unassuming beasts are among the most resilient in the game, with one brave specimen shaking off a liver harvesting to re-join his friends and eat some grass. I also bullied some insects and herbs.
With a few simple quests under my belt, I started to become more comfortable with how best to approach different situations, how to combine items effectively and established the basics of an all-important pre-hunt routine. With the Guild quests in full flow, and feeling confident with sword and shield, I started to approach larger game. As the creatures became less willing to take a carving lying down, I started to look at upgrading from vest and pants to something more substantial, while also eyeing up more advanced weaponry.
MH3U started to stick around the ten hour mark. I had my eye on an all-Great Jaggi armour set, a functional yet stylish get up that'll put the fear into a pack of pink raptors, while making you the talk of the town. I went about researching the required ingredients and embarking upon repeat quests to secure the raw materials. As I slayed my umpteenth mega Jaggi, it dawned on me that I was rather enjoying the slog and the Monster Hunter experience in general. Having successfully forged my new set of threads, and now exterminating Jaggi with ease, I felt a real sense of achievement and am now better able to appreciate MH’s passionate fan base.
The Long Sword is now my weapon of choice, just edging out the Switch Axe. It offers a nice mix of speed and power, encourages forward roles and, most importantly, makes me look a bit like Toshiro Mifune in Seven Samurai, only if he were wearing Jaggi armour. With my new threads and blade, I have started to tackle some of the larger beasts that inhabitant Mon Han land, including a successful first attempt at slaying a Qurupeco all on my lonesome.
The game clock now sits at around fifteen hours, and I think it's about time to branch out into the world of multiplayer. I didn't think my wife would be game, but having caught her reading a Monster Hunter Wiki, I think there's a fair chance I may be able to rope her into some local multiplayer. This should save me from having to play with strangers for a few more hours, strangers who are likely to shout at me and make fun of my Jaggi turtle-neck. Fucking pricks.
I think I might be enjoying Monster Hunter.