What parents need to know
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.
What's it about?
You probably haven't heard of Capcom's 10 million unit-selling Monster Hunter game series, but the Japanese publisher is hoping to change all that with MONSTER HUNTER TRI, a Nintendo Wii exclusive now available in the west. Not much has changed in the gameplay department since the franchise debuted on the PlayStation 2 in 2004, but the single-player story in this sequel begins with your village chief asking you, a monster hunter, to investigate disruptive earthquakes. For the uninitiated, these action role-playing games have players running around expansive environments from a third-person perspective and slaying fantastic beasts -- and now in underwater areas, too. Much of the fun is hunting online cooperatively with up to three other gamers (or two players via split-screen view on the same TV).
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).
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about whether or not it's fair this game is a Nintendo Wii exclusive. On one hand, shouldn't PlayStation 3 or Xbox 360 gamers be able to take advantage of this much-hyped action role-playing game? Or is it better for a publisher to pick a platform the game makes best sense on and stick with it? Do you find exclusives frustrating?
Families can also discuss the difference between fantasy violence, which involves the slaying of inhuman creatures, and realistic violence, which involves people. How do the two compare? Is one less alarming? Why or why not?