A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
Monster Hunter Tri is a fantasy brawler that has you roaming expansive environments to look for battles against non-human creatures big and small. This game is clearly not rooted in reality, but it does send a message about using violence to clear out your enemies.
Positive Role Models
Players fight against evil. They are asked by a respected village chief to perform this "honor" for the good of the village. Clearly, the lead protagonist isn't evil. That said, he is a monster hunter who uses violence to perform his duties.
Ease of Play
Monster Hunter Tri is one tough game! Capcom has added some introductory levels, multiple control options and a revamped user interface -- all to make the game easier to play -- but the missions can be tough and there is quite a bit of depth to the upgrade system.
Violence & Scariness
The main focus of this "Teen"-rated video game is combat. Whether they play on their own or online in co-op mode, players must find fantastic creatures and take them down with various weapons including swords, lances, bows, and bombs. Blood can be seen when defeating an enemy, but it's very brief -- unless it's an underwater battle as the blood slowly floats through the water. Players cannot dismember or behead enemies but it's possible to poach them for food afterwards and put their meat on a rotating spit over a fire.
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There is no inappropriate language in this game but players can chat online via the Nintendo Wii Speak, therefore it might be possible to hear profanity or other inappropriate words while playing online.
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Characters can get drunk on beer or sake (Japanese rice wine) in the game or before a multiplayer game begins in an online area that serves as a lobby. If your hunter drinks too much he'll need to rest for a while before continuing the journey.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Monster Hunter Tri is based on fighting, but it's not overly graphic. Battles are waged against fantastic creatures instead of humans. There is blood in the game but it is not excessive -- though underwater scenes show more blood because it slowly dissipates in the water. There is an option to turn off some but not all of the blood. Parents should also know the player takes on the role of a hero in the game, a monster hunter who is asked by the village chief to perform this honorable duty for his people. The game does contain alcohol consumption, which might concern some, and the online component supports Wii Speak, which lets players chat with others using an optional microphone accessory.
Is It Any Good?
This game is quite good, but it's not a cakewalk. Completing quests takes time, patience, and, in some cases, repetition, as you'll face many of the same boss creatures multiple times. As a result, even though the multiplayer -- with voice chat support -- is a more rewarding experience, those new to the series should tackle the single-player campaign first to learn their weapons, how to increase health (which can be done by eating defeated creatures), figure out how to upgrade equipment, and analyze creature behaviors so you know how to defeat them. Thankfully, you'll get some help from an AI companion called Cha-Cha. Plus, you can choose between three different control configurations and support for optional gamepads (including a game bundle with Nintendo's new Classic Controller Pro, which costs $59.99). Visually speaking, the graphics are impressive for the Nintendo Wii, but certainly not on par with recent releases for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.
In summary, fans of the series won't be disappointed with the latest -- and most ambitious -- Monster Hunter adventure yet. However, first-time players will need to get over the learning curve to appreciate this on- and off-line game.
Online interaction: We tested the online component and it worked quite well. Players can choose to play the game cooperatively with up to 3 other people and chat at the same time to discuss tactics, direction, and such. The WiFi connection was quite smooth and reliable. Parents should note that online communication via Wii Peak could result in hearing inappropriate language. To reduce the chances of interactiving with strangers, however, playing online with friends requires the exchange of 12-digit Wii codes (on the phone or via email with friends).
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.