Hello all, I figured I'd start this thread to have a companion to the movie rating thread. So I'll start things off.
I will cover five topics for my more comprehensive reviews. Graphics, Sound, Gameplay, Controls and Story. I will also give an overall rating for all games. A (+1) or (-1) after the score is any situational modifier that applies only to certain gamers and there will be an explanation for each modifier. The most common (+) rating will be for "fans of the series.".
Please feel free to post your own game ratings and/or reviews.
For my first review, I'll review:
Monster Hunter Tri (Wii):
"Here good sir, is your massively oversized weapon. Go kill something large and angry!"
Monster Hunter is just that, you play a hunter who pursues massive monsters for a living. These range from the Great Jaggi, which is about the size of a T-rex, to Cadeus, which is about the size of a small sea going freighter.
The graphics are beautiful for the Wii. Both the environments and the monsters are highly detailed and push the limits of the Wii console. A special mention has to be made for the level of detail put into each of the monsters. The monster's movements are incredible. You can tell that the lion's share of the work put into Monster Hunter Tri went into making all the monsters movements believable. I have never asked "should a monster's limb move like that?" while playing MHTri.
There is also a very large variety of monsters, ranging from dinosaurs to dragons to sea serpents, a giant dodo bird, and what looks like a cross between a sabertooth tiger and a bat.
The characters/npcs actually look more realistic than in other games. Both women and men have realistic figures instead of the cliched perfect bodies.
Sound: The sound is good. With unique roars for each monster, distinct sounds for the weapons and at least ten different voices for your character to use, it's good. The only downside is that the character voices are nonexistent, so all you get is the same sound clip every time you start talking to someone. It can get annoying, but it's not gamebreaking.
Gameplay: Gameplay is divided between Monster Hunting and Resource Hunting. Unfortunately, you'll likespend as much time searching for a jumbo pearl as you do beating the same monster again just to get one more Rathalos Shell.
There's a large variety of weapons, including hammers, various swords, the lance and shield combo, the "switch axe", which fold from an axe into a sword and the bowgun. Each weapon has it's own strengths and weaknesses and each weapon requires it's own strategy to use effectively. So it's unlikely that you'll not find a weapon that you'll like.
There is also a resource gathering system set in place. You need various items to craft better weaponsand you also need to build up resources to repair the Moga Village, which was destroyed in a recent set of earthquakes. This is where the game can fall flat. You'll spend a lot of time grinding for resources and items to both repair the village and craft new weapons. Plus, some of the missions are redundant, although other missions are very useful for gathering said items.
You also have access to a farm and fishing boats in the village that can help in the item gathering, but they cost resources to use, so you'll need to hunt for various creatures to keep using them.
It can be tedious, but it's also part of the fun of the series, as you're not JUST going out to defeat monsters every time.
Some of the grinding issues are mitigated by the online multiplayer mode, as it becomes easier to complete the missions with three allies and monster takedowns are significantly faster. There are also monsters that are much easier with allies. The downside is that if you either have to find a group online, which is not easy, or you have to have friends who have the game too. But the online option is definitely a plus, regardless of the difficulties finding a group online.
There is also an Arena Mode that let's you practice against monsters that you've captured. You can also earn specific monster coins in the arena for crafting and gain other rewards. The arena also provides the opportunity to practice with some of the weapons before you choose which weapon to use.
One final note on gameplay is that you find a helper named Cha-Cha, who can distract monsters, heal you and can aid a little during monster battles. He's a big help while you have him.
Controls Very tight, which is expected of the fifth or sixth game in the series. A classic control is recommended. The only issue I had was getting used to the way each weapon affected dodging. Although that's a gameplay issue, not a control issue.
Story The Moga Village has been badly damaged by earthquakes and it's threatened by monsters. Protect it and help rebuild it. That's about it. The game is light on story, but that's not a bad thing. There's only monster introduction cutscenes and a few story cut scenes. If you buy this game, you shouldn't be looking for a riveting story anyway. It's all about the monster hunting and resource gathering.
Overall Rating: 7 out of 10. (+1 for fans of the series OR +1 if you don't mind grinding a little, +1 if you can get a consistent group online. Yes, that means this game can be a 9/10 under the right circumstances.)
This is a solid game, and I recommend it for at least a rental, if not for outright purchase. It's best online if you can either find a group or have friends that play it too. However, it's still fun and challenging offline as well.