Monster Hunter Tri Diary 13 – Who is the Boss?

This is going to be the final entry of my Monster Hunter Tri diary. The end came without much drama. Yesterday I sat down for an hour to finish the last single-player mission. I had already finished the main missions before. This was just a post-campaign extra mission. A monster I have fought before. My gear was overpowered and it was over soon.

As of now I have spent over 280 hours with the game. Even though that specific mission wasn’t the most thrilling, the game is still engaging even after all this time. The mechanics are solid and still hold water. If anything, they have become more rich and varied because I appreciate all the nooks and crannies. I am familiar with techniques and strategies for each individual monster. I have the skills, gear and attitude to fool around and experiment (see last Podcast).

After 280 Hours, there was no big bang at the end. Funny isn’t it? We are somehow indoctrinated with this idea of a final boss, a climax right at the very last second of the game. And then the credits roll. But that’s not Monster Hunter at all. As already noted, Monster Hunter leads the player through multiple narrative climaxes, sometimes even maintaining multiple villains in paralell. As a result, it’s really difficult to tell what is the final boss of the game. Perhaps there is none. But there certainly are a lot of good contenders (Spoilers ahead):

  • Lagiacrus

    Lagiacrus, the final boss by appearance.

    Lagiacrus is the flagship monster. It’s the monster on the box. If you bought the special edition, it’s even the monster IN the box. The story foreshadows the fight with Lagicacrus from the very first second. There are at least two missions in which you encounter it before actually having to hunt it. The actual fight against Lagiacrus showcases the new underwater combat feature and takes place in the spectacular underwater areas. For all intents and purposes, it feels like a final boss. Except it isn’t. Once you slay the Lagiacrus the story continues with even more monsters to look forward to. And while Lagiacrus eventually joins the ranks of your usual adversaries, it still remains an formidable and memorable foe. Perhaps a final boss, but one that is not at the end of the game.

  • Ceadeus

    Ceadeus, the final boss by story.

    Ceadeus is the final monster of the single player campaign and the monster I was talking about at the beginning. The fight is not foreshadowed at all. It is actually somewhat of a last minute surprise. While not hard to defeat, it does looks intimidating and respectable. It comes with it’s own epic theme song and it’s own epic underwater arena. It would be easy to claim Ceadeus was the final boss of the game. It’s the last monster you fight offline. There is a final cut-scene and a credit roll after it’s fight. And yet, it’s the final boss of only a small part of the game. The Ceadeus doesn’t come up in the multi-player part of the game. It can’t be hunted with friends. It is a respectable king, but it is the king of a country with a population of 1.

  • Jhen Mohran

    Jhen Mohran, the final boss by sheer size.

    Jhen Moran is the biggest monster. The fight against him is the most cinematic one. It’s a whale the size of a mountain. It’s so big you need an entire ship to battle him. In true Shadow of the Colossus fashion, you can climb on his back to do some extra damage or even MINE MINERALS. Due to it’s size and amount of health points, the battle against him is a coordinated team effort. Arm the ballistas and the cannons. Distrupt his attacks with the gong. Trigger the crushing but precious Dragonatgor weapon at just the right moment. Each member of the team needs to take care of different roles. Only an experienced, battle-hardened team will succeed. Jhen Moran has all the trappings of the final boss of the multi-player campaign. Except he isn’t really. He is the boss of the low-rank part. After defeating Jhen Moran the “real” multi-player game begins.

  • Devil Jho

    Devil Jho, the final boss by badassery.

    Devil Jho is the most bad-ass monster in the game. He is angry. He is hungry. He will mess you up and eat you alive. Entering the high-rank portion of the game, the players are often vulnerable as they don’t have any high-rank armor or weapons to deal with the more resilient high-rank monsters. They scavenge the easier missions for materials to get a foot in door. That’s where Devil Jho comes in. He is notorious for appearing in the worst possible moment, especially when summoned by the much weaker, unseeming Qurupeco. Players soon learn to fear and respect him. No wonder the phrase “I will brave the Devil Jho” is embedded as a preset phrase in the chat system. While notorious, he is not the last monster in the game. But even as the hunting missions for Jho unlock, he remains a difficult and viscous enemy, capable to smash even a well-prepared and well-equipped team.

  • Alatreon

    Alatreon, the final boss by multi-player mission structure.

    Alatreon is indeed the final monster the player will encounter in the game. Again, a mysterious surprise monster that is not foreshadowed at all. There are no cut-scenes or credit rolls to underscore the the graveness of the battle. None are required. It’s an exhausting, technical fight that takes place in it’s own volcanic arena. An arena that lacks a place to rest and heal your wounds. The monster is quick and has devastating attacks. The battle against him requires the hunters to use their best equipment and summon up all the skills they acquired on their way there. Defeating Alatreon finally unlocks the last set of quests so while he is the last monster, there is life after Alatreon. In fact, at this point many players have forged a relationship with the game and continue setting their own, personal goals and final bosses. They will fight Alatreon multiple times to create weapons and armor out of his parts. They will go to the arena and to compete for best times. They will go on the event quests to try outrageous things like fighting two Devil Jho’s at once. They will experiment with unfamiliar weapons and armor setup. Or perhaps they will even invent they own games to play within Monster Hunter.

This, my friends, is where I am now at. I may have invested countless hours in the game to finish all the quests. But the game is far from being over. In fact, it has has barely begun.

But for the sake of this diary, my “Now Playing” box on this Blog and my backlog, I will consider Monster Hunter Tri as completed. And with that, I will continue playing the game. But with a different attitude. Not hasty and furious like at the beginning but laid back and patient. That attitude didn’t come suddenly with that last mission. I could have completed the missions months ago. But why would I? A state of mind sets in gradually as I approach the 300 hour mark. Monster Hunter Tri ceased to be a game full of fierce final bosses. It has become one full of good friends.

Krystian Majewski

Krystian Majewski was born in Warsaw and studied design at Köln International School of Design. Before, he was working on a mid-size console project for NEON Studios in Frankfurt. He helped establish a Master course in Game Design and Research at the Cologne Game Lab. Today he teaches Game Design at various institutions and develops independent games.

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