Monster Hunter Tri First Impressions

I have a confession to make. I went a little bit crazy with new games recently. Apart from Super Street Fighter IV and Silent Hill: Shattered Memories, I also got Monster Hunter Tri. And I didn’t get the normal version, oh no. I went all the way to get this (not my video):

Why getting the über-special-edition? I was sorta interested in the game and the extra hardware sealed the deal. I was especially keen on getting the new classic controller. I was also curious about Wii Speak.

The controller is awesome. It feels good, it looks good, it works as it should. Wii Speak is pretty much a useless piece of shit. I can’t believe they actually sell it. The voice quality is horrible. It’s so horrible I can’t understand a thing. I set up everything perfectly, there are no noises and no in-game music and I really make an effort and yet I’m still unable to recognize what I’m saying. The most insulting thing is that apparently, it doesn’t work when Surround Sound is on… and they actually ask you to turn it off yourself… instead of, oh I don’t know, turning it off automatically when Wii Speak is enabled? This is bullshit! I’ve spent 300 Euros for the Surround System and I can’t use it? And then they even expect me to fumble around with the Wii system settings all the time? How am I supposed to know if I will be using it my play session? You know what, I just won’t – all problems solved.

The über-edition also includes a cute toy – the head of the final boss of Monster Hunter Tri. Normally these are pretty crappy but I was quite surprised by this one. It is rather small but the quality of the painting is quite decent. However considering how useless Wii Speak is, it seems like the über-special-edition is actually not worth it. If you are also interested in the game I recommend the controller-only-bundle.

As for the game, it’s good. I haven’t played it too much yet but I can already tell that it is very addictive. It reminds me a lot of Demon’s Souls. In many ways both games are very bland. They perfectly follow the “missing mid-level storytelling” formula of games like Diablo. There are very much about repetitive grinding and item collection. At the same time they convey an overwhelming sense of discovery, agency and mastery. Also, at fist sight the combat systems seem similar. They are rather slow-paced and rhythmic. They rely on blocking, dodging and recognizing opportunities for attack. The difference between the two games is that Demon’s Souls has a very dark feel and it focuses on thrill of unforgiving difficulty. Monster Hunter Tri has a cheerful atmosphere and seems to focus on collecting items and upgrading equipment.

But these are just first impressions so I might be totally wrong here. I don’t know if I will have enough time to invest in it. I will certainly try to get at least a couple of hours more. Did you play this game? What are your impressions?

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.

4 responses to “Monster Hunter Tri First Impressions”

  1. Chris

    The Street Rod article ( links to ‘notorious abandonware sites’ which is the Underdogs website, unfortuantly that website is no longer online but Abandonia does have Street Rod on it:

    I would have posted this comment on the Street Rod post but comments are disabled.

  2. Chris

    I want to comment on your Street Rod article but the comments for it have been disabled so I’ve commented here hoping that you can move my comment to there.

    The Street Rod article is really about the *use of props to create a convincing world* rather than an article about usability.

    The engine assembly process is not a catastrophe. A usability *catastrophe is when the player cannot complete the task* they are working on, not that it takes a long time. Assessing time taken to complete a task is how you measure the efficiency of a design. Usability is not efficiency, though we usually want designs that are efficient but not always as you’ve pointed out.

    “Usability is a nice concept to get you started to think about how a user interacts with your interface” Usability is the measurement of the amount a difficulty a person experiences when using a design.

    The engine assembly (toy) is a functional prop to help the draw the player into the fantasy world of the game.

    The installation of the parts increases the realism of the game, if the player does not install the parts themselves they need to imagine that it has been done (and this requires a more imaginative mind / younger mind), much better to show them and even better if they do it themselves.

  3. Krystian Majewski


    sorry for the comments being off. It was an anti-Spam measure. I turned them on again.

    As for Usability – there are a lot of aspects to usability nowadays. Some of them may indeed have very little to do with efficiency. But as you keep on adding more and more aspects to the meaning of the terms, it tends to lose cohesiveness. For example, how do you really measure “enjoyability” and should a button that launches a deadly weapon really feel enjoyable?

    So for the sake of the argument I use a simple definition of Usability in that article which may go something like:

    “the perception of a target user of the effectiveness (fit for purpose) and efficiency (work or time required to use) of the Interface”

    I’m not quite sure but this might be the ISO definition. I remember that the ISO definition was at least quite similar. This means that Usability has in fact a lot of to do with efficiency.

    My argument is that applying Usability on how good game interfaces are for enabling users to reach their in-game goals (installing an engine) may sometimes yield results that run against the logic of practical user interfaces.

    And framing the entire experience as a toy like you did reveals absurdity of that line of thought. Because how do you really measure the efficiency of having fun?

  4. Chris

    Ha ha, yes the definition I gave was from Jakob Nielsen quoted off the top of my head.
    My toy comment was just about the engine assembly process, not the entire game.


The Game Design Scrapbook is a second blog of group of three game designers from Germany. On our first blog, Game Design Reviews we describe some games we played and point out various interesting details. Unfortunately, we found out that we also need some place to collect quick and dirty ideas that pop into our minds. Hence, welcome to Game Design Scrapbook. You will encounter wild, random rantings. Many of then incoherent. Some of them maybe even in German. If you don't like it, you might enjoy Game Design Reviews more.


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