Why Monster Hunter Is The Best Hardcore Game Ever - We Know Gamers

Hunting monsters, creating new weapons and armour, and travelling to new locations to continuously challenge yourself? Is Monster Hunter the best hardcore game ever?


Seeing as how Monster Hunter has been smashing the 3DS charts again with the latest version of the popular beast slaying series, I figured this would be the perfect time to tell you why it is hands down, the best hardcore game to have ever been made.

Now I know what you're thinking "but Dark Souls is so good! The original Devil May Cry is better! But Ninja Gaiden was so much more fun!" you are wrong, so very, very wrong. Before we get into why Monster Hunter is leading the pack, I'm going to explain what I think a hardcore game should be. Obviously it's got to be hard but not so difficult that it's impossible, these games take time and skill to master. Sure you'll end up suffering defeat more than a few hundred times, but the desire to decimate the enemy that repeatedly bashes your skull in is too strong to just give up and walk away. The satisfaction you feel after felling such a worthy combatant is second to none especially if you completely dominate that foe into a wimpering lump. This all probably sounds horrible to your filthy casual gamer friends, but to you it is your Everest, these enemies must be conquered. Also, there's bragging rights, but that's not so important.

So anyways, onto why Monster Hunter is the best at what it does:

It's not super hand holdy
Terrible language aside, the game never really explains a whole lot to you, there are no tradition tutorials that stop all the action and force you into reading a ton of text that tells you "press B to jump, press X to stab a guy, mash the circle button to not die" etcetera, etcetera, it leaves it to you to experiment for yourself. Right at the start you have the option to take whatever weapon type you want, be it a sword, a gun, a lance, a bow, a massive set of bagpipes (yes that's a weapon) you're given the basic version of everything so go nuts and test everything out and find what works best for you.

The first few missions you take on teach you the basics of how to gather resources and get you to beat monsters that won't really fight back, then a few missions in it throws a giant monster at you (usually the one that's on the cover of the box), this teaches you that running away isn't a bad thing and that you need to get better before you can tackle the hard stuff. While that can all be daunting at first, teaching yourself the fundamentals feels more rewarding in the long run, you feel like you actually accomplish something when you get it down to perfection.

Get ready for a beat down
Death is not a penalty
Dying sucks and having to replay a massive chunk of game is annoying because you forgot to save is one of the worst things in any game. Sometimes continues run out and you have to start all over from the very beginning. While the same can be said for Monster Hunter, you're never penalised for falling in battle, sure you have to do the mission all over again but the more you fight the same monster the more you'll learn it's behaviours and attack patterns.

Loot is not a pointless collectable
All that random gubbins you find on your adventures is commonly referred to as loot, sometimes it's a health boost, sometimes it's a new gun with slightly different stats, most of the time it's some pointless garbage that you sell to some dude so you can buy more continues. Monster Hunter is different in that all the things you collect can be put to use and rather than just handing you a new junk, you have to go and gather materials and all those monsters you defeat can be harvested for resources. Using all these different material to craft your own new weapons and armour is infinitely more rewarding.

His bark is just as bad as his bite!
It makes the grind fun
The grind in every game is always a boring chore, but because the loot you get from beating a monster actually has a purpose, you don't mind going back and fighting the same beasts over and over, unless it's one of those annoying monsters (curse you Gigginox!) The other thing with monsters is even repeating the same battles always has a different feel to it, all monsters come in different sizes, sometimes you'll get a small one and sometimes you'll get a super charged giant version. There is also variant versions that change the way the monster behaves and how it attacks, as well as it's elemental attack powers, strengths and weaknesses which changes how you go about tackling every encounter.

It doesn't rob you of your time
Sure the game is a time sink, I've put well over 300 hours into MH3U and nearly 200 more on MH4U, but individual quests are limited to 50 minutes a piece, perfect to cram into a lunch break at work or a cheeky hunt while avoiding some housework. With certain missions having even shorter time constraints on them, you really don't have to sit there for hours just to make a bit of progress.

Your character never gets better, you do
Every hardcore game I've played has always suffered with the same problem, go kill a boss, get some arbitrary new weapon or a longer life bar. Rather than give you a longer health bar so you can take a couple extra hits, your armour set that you build yourself provide you with higher defence or elemental protection and other perks or buffs. Also upgrading your weapons usually adds higher attack damage and depending on your weapon of choice can make a blade sharper making slicing monster parts off easier, or adding extra parts to a gun set to add special attributes like scopes or rapid fire modes.

Eventually though you'll come to realise that the armour doesn't even truly matter. It's how you learn the timing of your weapon strikes and to evade from being hit that makes you a truly skilled master, and it's all the practice by doing battle against a much larger and strong opponent that makes you a far greater combatant.

You shoot it, I'll jab it with the pointy end!

Monsters react to the damage you inflict
This is by far one of my favourite aesthetics to the game, rather than just showing you a big red bar above a monster's head which you just wail on until it depletes to zero, monsters will visually change as the fight goes on. Cutting into a monsters tail for long enough will eventually sever it from the rest of the beast, slashing at a dragons head over and over will scar the monster's face and hammering away at extremities will cause claws or wings to shatter or shred. Having to observe how your foe is reacting is far more immersive than occasionally glancing at a progress bar. As well as all these damage indicators, monster will also show you visually if they're enraged, hungry or tired, it's just a case of looking for these subtle clues. For instance, some monsters will start drooling when they run out of energy, then they'll run off to kill a smaller monster to eat and regain some health. Other times their eye's will glow with a menacing red hue, which means they're going to go all out to try to burn your face off as you flee in terror.

It looks awesome
Even on the dinky little PSP and 3DS screens, and even the much older PS2 game, all the monsters have a very distinct style to them. They're all bright and colourful and heavy on the details, really make you want to just stare at them all day. With a whole mess of different beasts spanning the entire series, it's a wonder how they keep making original looking creatures, as well as all the armour and weapon sets that come along with them. Just watch the video below to see them in all their glory!



Multiplayer is fricken glorious!
Many a hardcore game leave you to fend for yourself, the beauty of Monster Hunter is that while you have that massive amount of single player content, you can take your hunter into the realms of multiplayer and fight even tougher versions of monsters with up to 3 other people. So if you're struggling to take down a certain monster, you can all gang up on it and tear it a new one!

The best thing I've found about multiplayer though, sometimes even above the game itself, is the fact that everyone that is into MH loves to talk about it with other players. Swapping tips on how to play, the tales of epic hunts and the rewards they've got for beating the granddaddy of all monsters is something not a lot of other games have. The community really does help make this game shine.

So there you have it, a slew of reasons as to why this game receives all the praise it rightfully deserves. Do you agree or disagree? Tweet me @chaosriotzero and shout your opinion at me, you can fire off in the comments below or over at our social channels, be part of the conversation already!

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