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Monster Hunter (#110 of 2)

The Great Hunt Monster Hunter Tri

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The Great Hunt: Monster Hunter Tri
The Great Hunt: Monster Hunter Tri

The zeitgeist behind the Monster Hunter series in Japan is very apparent, even to those that don’t live there. Many of us have heard secondhand accounts of perfect strangers hunting prized beasts on their commute to work or seeing bookstores having whole sections dedicated to guides and manuals to the various Monster Hunter games. If these secondhand accounts are not evidence enough, all you have to look at is the sales figures that the series generates overseas. (Monster Hunter Freedom United for the Sony PSP has sold over 3.5 million copies since late 2008.) So with the latest installment of the Monster Hunter series showcased on the Nintendo Wii, Capcom hopes that Monster Hunter Tri can reach a wider audience in the West and become as big of a success as it has across the Pacific.

With the release of Monster Hunter Tri over here, Capcom has packaged a special bundle pack which includes the Classic Controller Pro. While the game does support the usual Wii setup of a numchuck and Wii-mote, having played the game for the past three weeks now, I can attest that a classic controller of some kind (whether it is a Pro or the original) is needed to play the game properly. With that said, a classic controller is not the only prerequisite needed to fully appreciate Monster Hunter Tri. If you decide to dive into the world of Monster Hunter Tri, expect to invest a lot of time into the game; though I have played it for over 50 hours now, I still haven’t seen everything that the game has to offer. So I am confident in saying that Monster Hunter Tri is the deepest gaming experience available on the Nintendo Wii.

No Sense for Your Buck Lost Planet 2

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No Sense for Your Buck: Lost Planet 2
No Sense for Your Buck: Lost Planet 2

I played Lost Planet 2 wrong. That is, I put the disc in my console, picked up my controller, pressed start, and tried to play the game. But that’s not what Lost Planet 2 wants you to do at all. What it wants is for you to convince four friends to buy the game, so you can all play it via online co-op. I can certainly understand why Capcom thinks making you buy four copies of a game in order to play it is a good idea, but it’s harder to see why you should bother.

Lost Planet 2 is so desperate to be regarded as a kind of action MMO that even when you play in single-player, your AI allies get phony online handles, complete with gangsta “a"s for “er"s. There isn’t even a “Start Game” option, just “Open Session,” and you have to specify that you want to be offline if you want to play without online intervention. That would merely be cute/annoying, but what makes it truly obnoxious is that mission after mission doesn’t just encourage teamwork, it absolutely depends on it—many chapters require coordinating players at far-distant points on the map. And of course, brain-dead ally AI can’t do that, and you don’t have the control over your allies that other squad shooters offer, much less the ability to hop between characters provided by smarter team games like the original Xbox’s Brute Force. So in single-player, you have a game that’s flatly unplayable.