Welcome back to the backlog, the feature where we talk about games from our, well, backlogs. This week we're covering Monster Hunter Portable 3rd HD.Ver If you want to check out last week's article where Rom's discusses his long journey to playing Pikmin 2, you can do so here.
Monster Hunter has always been a bit of an obsession of mine. Since it was released in 2004 I have bought every single game translated into English, from the Playstation 2 to the PSP and the Wii. Each one progressively better than the last due to small tweaks in gameplay, graphics, connectivity and the like. I even came to play Dragon’s Dogma because it reminded me so much of the Monster Hunter games. Over the years the games have angered and thrilled me whilst also helping me make new, great friends. I had been wanting a HD version of the games for a while because, while it was fun to play the games on handheld consoles, or on the Wii, the graphics, though impressive for the respective consoles, needed something to lift them into the current generation. Monster Hunter Portable 3rd HD.Ver isn’t quite there in the graphics department. It is still just a high res version a PSP game, but it add tons of new monsters to the mix making for a creative and challenging new experience, learning things that I hadn’t experienced before.
I had acquired MHP3HDV (thats just a ridiculous abbreviation) around the release of Mass Effect 3, but had little time to play it, due to this behemoth of a release. After a couple of months I got around to playing it and boy, its a Monster Hunter game. You start off in your village with a selection of weapons and go out and hunt things, collecting pieces from the creatures you slay. One problem though, the game is completely in Japanese. Despite my extreme familiarity with the series, it was like playing something completely new as I had no idea what anything said. Translation guides as well as a lot of persistence allowed me to get back to how I usually play.
One of the first big boss missions of the game was against a Bulldrome, a giant boar that charges at you faster than you can run. Not particularly a difficult foe, killing it within a couple of minutes, I was pleased with my victory, when suddenly: “WARNING!!!” shot up on screen, scaring the life out of me. Following this text was a japanese message, which turned out to be an introduction of a new mission objective. A Jinouga, a lightning wolf type creature, had appeared in the area and I was tasked with taking it down as well. Unfortunately this was the game's title monster and was way beyond my skill level. Not knowing this I charge head on into battle, swiping and flailing my two swords at its legs. The creature turned around fired an electric shot, killing me within one hit and sending me back to base camp. Luckily in this series you have three respawns per mission, allowing me multiple failed attempts to kill this thing. Once all my lives had gone, the mission was over. I had completed the main objective of killing the Bulldrome, but the bonus of killing the Jinouga was left undone.
I went into this game expecting the same thing I always did, a tough but satisfying experience that would test my skill. This had pushed it too far, I was mad and wanted revenge. Knowing that if I restarted the console before the mission ended I could try killing him again without having to wait until I reached him in the game later on. I stocked up on health potions before my second attempt knowing full well I’d need every single one. The battle lasted nearly the full 50 minute allotted time limit. I had died twice but he was nearly dead and limping back to his lair. Chasing him, swords in hand I slashed at him, taking off his tail. Unfortunately this only enraged the beast. No potions left but an end in site left me careless and I attacked him too many times without trying to dodge. Splat, I was squashed by a paw slam. The mission was a failure and I was devastated. Once I had beaten more of the game though, I got a chance to fight him properly, with weapons capable of killing him quicker and he was decimated.
I am still playing and loving the game, but will never go out of my way to try and kill something that is obviously out of my league again.
That's it for this week. Come back next Wednesday for more backlog action! Leave your comments and questions below.