Monster Hunter (PS2)

By Gavin "Blayd" Keating

Published on Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Graphics: 9.00
Sound: 6.50
Gameplay: 8.00
Replays: 7.50

Let’s face it. When we were young, we always wanted to have an adventure with dinosaurs. Whether that dream lasted only a minute, or maybe you carry it with you up to this day, that one wish has been been present in all. Monster Hunter for the Playstation 2 has finally fulfilled that wish, and then some.

Set in a medieval world (with Dinosaurs), Monster Hunter casts the player as a fresh Hunter. The role of a Hunter in a village is somewhat similar to a mercenary, except the missions always involve dinosaurs. You recieve a contract from the Town Chief, then head out to do the mission. Succeed, and you are rewarded with money and useful items. Fail, and you waste precious time and resources that went into your hunt. This is the main goal in Monster Hunter: complete as many missions as possible, upgrade your equipment, then complete harder missions.

Gameplay is pretty original, especially for a Hack-n’-Slash by Capcom. Rather then using a single attack button, attacks are preformed by the right analog stick. Depending on where you move the stick, a different attack is preformed by each individual weapon. For instance, pressing your analog stick foward while equiped with a Great Sword slashes the sword downwards, while pulling the analog stick back results in a rising over-head slash. Certain attacks are more effective against certain monsters, so the game encourages you to experiment with both weapon choices and attack styles.

Along with basic weapon attacks, Monster Hunter allows the player to buy and make equipment which facilitates your mission. Items like bombs, nets, binoculars, and poisons will allow you to complete your mission more thoroughly. You can buy these items, or save money and make them. However, to make the items you’ll need to forage for them. Checking bushes for herbs and plants, mining and fishing, and of course carving up a slain monster quickly becomes a daily activity for you in Monster Hunter if you want to make and upgrade your equipment.

Along with a Single Player Mode comes the free, online Multiplayer Mode. All you need is a Network Adapter and a PS2 Head Set. After an hour of filling out information by typing it in with your Controller, your ready to enter a pub. Pubs allow you to gather together two other Hunters to go out and complete additional missions. This cooperative gameplay is where Monster Hunter really shines, and I urge anyone buying this game to also pick up the equipment necessary for Online Play, otherwise you’re missing an integral experience of Monster Hunter.

The graphics are incredible for Monster Hunter. The smooth textures and movements of the Monsters really make them look alive. The same could be said for the extensive and vibrant backgrounds which do a good job in making you feel like you’re part of this world. Sound, however, is a tad dated. Aside from the monster calls, most sounds in Monster Hunter are repeated heavily, and feel as if they are forced and synthesized, rather then mixing in with the environment.

Some other flaws in Monster Hunter involve the depth of the game. This is not an RPG, and there is practically no story to follow. If you play games for plot advancement, you might not enjoy Monster Hunter as much as others. Also, the game increases drastically in difficulty throughout new missions, so be prepared to repeat easier missions often.

Monster Hunter is an original concept which was executed quite nicely. If you like instant action, exploration, and treasure gathering, Monster Hunter is for you.

Overall Rating: 8.00

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