Monster Hunter’s fun and addictive. It’s also insanely popular in the Asian territories. That’s not to say that the Western side of the world doesn’t also have its own niche of dedicated fans, but in comparison there’s no contest.
Many blame this on Monster Hunter’s “archaic” design choices (although that might be too harsh a term) such as small areas separated by loading screens, lack of a decent camera functionality, and an almost unchanged combat formula since 2004, with Monster Hunter Tri and its offspring being the most varied of the bunch.
So let’s take a closer look at just what it would take make Monster Hunter become not only the smash hit in Europe and the USA that it is in Japan, but also what might help to break it from the mold and skyrocket the franchise into an even better multiplayer oriented RPG experience than it already is.
Step 1: Cut out those load times
Having varied areas is fine. But breaking them up by load screens and then teleporting into an area that looks little like the one you just came from is a bit jarring and can take a player out of the experience.
If Capcom would seamlessly integrate these patchwork worlds together (while still having separate location such as volcanic areas, forest and hill, jungles, etc.) while managing to make monster hunting fun and unlike a chore of running endlessly while chasing a wyvern in flight, the game would be infinitely better and more rewarding when finally catching up to your target.
Step 2: Camera
Coming from a 2004 Monster Hunter vet who’s never really had much of an issue with MH’s camera controls, it’s simply blind denial to say that the thing doesn’t need some tweaking. I’ve always been a fan of MH1’s right analog stick combat and even used that control setup on the Wii’s Pro controller as opposed to the buttons for MH3.
But having a camera without set quadrants and a bulky turn speed making for an ultimately freedomless feel over your surroundings is just something that can no longer be ignored in third person action titles. Especially one as popular as Monster Hunter.
Step 3: Immersion
We want bigger cities with more to do in them, much like Monster Hunter Frontier. Give us 3D object models for every scrap we cut from a dragon’s corpse with an in depth item description to match while perusing the storage chest. Have our characters’ expressions change based on the situation they’re in.
Factor in visual armor wear and tear during quests, like Vindictus. Keep working on those hitboxes, something that Tri managed to improve upon so beautifully after 5 consecutive titles of BS late hits and confounding tail swipes. Do it until they’re perfect.
And finally, upgrade the visuals. Something that could have been accomplished years ago but has been put on the backburner Madden style for years, merely inching its way to the true graphical potential. And of course, all of these improvements lead us to our final step.
Step 4: Upgrade the hardware
Frontier’s an old game, but it has the potential to (and arguably does) look the best in the series with the help of high end PCs. But this isn’t a petition to patch the game and give it better graphics. We need a new game on a new system with stunning visuals that can operate side by side with the improvements mentioned above with little to no difficulty.
The PS3 has been at your fingertips and its fans at your mercy since 2006, Capcom. And just to spite those very same fans you ported a PSP game to it with some pretty visuals and called it a day. Now the PS3’s lifeline is running thin alongside its contemporaries and setting you up for yet another chance at redemption with the next gen consoles, which if this latest Wii U port/new game (Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate) is any indication, you’re hardly even looking into.
Enough with the ports. Enough with the minor tweaks. It’s time for an overhaul. One that will undoubtedly change the playscape of Monster Hunter while still managing to keep it as enjoyable and addictive as it’s been since its debut back during the PS2 era, pleasing both fans and newcomers alike. It’s time to evolve.
You’ve got the funds and following–all you need now is the initiative. If there were any other advice I could give it would be to not pull an Activision and “Guitar Hero” yourself into the dirt before it’s too late. Although based on what we already know sales-wise, it’s unlikely to see this happen. Which consequently means it is very unlikely to see this overhauled project happen.
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