Let’s just ignore the fact I haven’t written anything on here in over two months…
Last week I started a new game, one that’s been on my shelf for quite a few years. My husband bought it for me for a birthday or Xmas one year, and I hadn’t played any others in the series, but it looked cool, and came with a black classic pro controller for the Wii.
Yes, this is my first Monster Hunter game. The franchise has been around for some time, having been launched with the first game on the Playstation2 in 2004. It’s pretty popular in Japan, which I learned when I was over there in March, finding it interesting to see serious merchandise around the many monster creatures, as well as cutesy cat keyrings and other goodies. I’ve since learned that the cats are “Felynes” in the game and are apparently indentured servants who cook and farm for you.
I’m not too far into the game, having only clocked about 12 hours as yet, but I am enjoying it mostly. However, it’s very different to my initial expectations. I’m not entirely clear what I thought it would be, but it’s definitely something I didn’t think it would be. And that something is: Animal Crossing with dinosaurs.
But before I get into that, I want to describe my main issue with the game so far, which no doubt will bother few people except the sensitive animal-lovers like me. The game makes you murder and butcher gentle beasts for fun and profit. Fun and profit!!! Well, mostly just profit to be honest.
For example, one of the quests made me collect “monster guts”. When I referred to the best source of this resource, it was the Epioth. The Monster Hunter wiki refers to these beasts as “peaceful, aquatic herbivores”. From the in-game information, Epioth are “submissive, water dwelling herbivores that subsist on water grasses and moss. Epioth frequently surface to sunbathe. Extremely timid, they panic when danger is near, swimming about in a haphazard fashion.”
So I had to go to the nice beach area, dive in, find a pod of Epioth and proceed to stab each with a harpoon, finishing them off with a series of violent knife slashes, and finally pull out their profitable “monster guts”. Hmm. This did not sit well with me. Sure, if the game was about hunting for survival and these monster guts were necessary for me to live another day, I’d understand killing these beasts. But no, this was to make a nice meal for the Village Chieftain’s bombastic son. Not because he was starving, or ailing with some sickness only Epioth innards would cure; but because he thought they were tasty. All I can say is, for this game, vegetarians need not apply.
Now that bit of uneasiness aside, I continued on with the story (which seems to be about a big bad aquatic monster that is making it difficult for the local fishermen) and unlocked some additional aspects of village life. Such as a farm. On to the farm I ambled, amused by the little cat creature in a cute hat and the pig wearing a bandana. I spoke to the farmer and he started asking me to help him with the farm, upgrading it and cultivating plants. Wait a second, I thought, haven’t I played this game before? I glanced at my 3DS, knowing full well that I was still entrenched in my year-long sojourn as Mayor of Tekville, and I realised I had just started another Animal Crossing-esqe game. NOOOOOO!
Collect plants, farm plants, cultivate crops, gather crops, repeat. Talk to the farmer, who now wants a mushroom planter. Upgrade farm, collect mushrooms, farm mushrooms, cultivate mushrooms, gather mushrooms repeat. Oh now he wants an insect house. Upgrade farm, buy a net, collect bugs, farm bugs, cultivate bugs, gather bugs, repeat.
I also have to mine ore and go fishing.
What have I gotten myself into?