Normally, I wouldn’t go out of my way to talk about a demo, but monster hunter is a top contender for my favorite game of all time. If you’ve never played it, it may seem intimidating, but once you make it past the initial learning curve, it will change you as a gamer forever. I’m telling you this because I too had little interest in the games before MH Tri came out for Wii in 2010. I took a chance on the game, and ate a lot of dirt in my first battles with the Great Jaggi. But over time, the game changed me, like war. Monster Hunter delivers some of the most intense moments you can experience in a video game. When you cringe as a Barroth charges at you while you’re in the middle of drinking a potion, when you shriek as a tail swipes just pixels away from you, and you breath a sigh of relief after the narrow escape, And, best of all, complete elation when you finally defeat a terrifying monster for the first time after a 30 minute, nail biting, edge of your seat battle. There’s not much of a story, because it’s your story. The drama is where metal connects with scales (or vice versa).

So as you can imagine, I’m completely excited to be playing the new HD demo of Monster Hunter Tri Ultimate on Wii U, and its 3DS counterpart. In this demo, you are allowed to select between 2 monsters that will be new to anyone who has only played MH Tri on Wii, Lagombi, an arctic hare combined with a grizzly bear, and Plesioth, a bizarre fish wyvern. After selecting the monster you want to hunt, you will have the choice of several pre-geared characters: Great Sword, Long Sword, Sword and Shield, Dual Swords, Switch Axe, Hammer, Hunting Horn, Lance, Gunlance, Bowgun (light and heavy), Bow. Using pre-geared characters robs you of a major portion of the game which is the incredibly deep crafting system. In the full release, you will be able to craft armor and weapons from items you find in the environment and carve from the massive monsters you overcome. You can also craft items that will aid in your hunting like traps and bombs.

Starting up the Wii U version of the demo, I first found the graphics to only be slightly improved, however, after going back to the Wii version of the game, it became a little more obvious how much more crisp everything looked. Essentially, it is a port that has some major rendering improvements. However, the 3DS version of the game is stunning for a handheld experience. I found myself getting completely immersed in the 3D environments.

As a big fan of the series, I’ll be getting both copies at release so I can transfer my save data back and forth between the 2 systems. The Wii U version will allow you to go online and play with random players in your country, and even voice chat through the gamepad with no additional hardware (according to what I’ve read). A similar feature was available in MH Tri and I found that to be where I spent most of my time. Hunting in a party is a completely different and rewarding experience compared to playing alone. The 3DS version will be able to play with other 3DS players as well as a Wii U player over local Wi-fi. In fact, I’m take the day after release off from work to go over to a friend’s house and hunt as a team, me on my 3DS and him on his Wii U. After which, I will take my character home to play online with my Wii U.

If you’re new to Monster Hunter and decide to try out the demo, don’t feel bad if you’re not able to beat Lagombi much less Plesioth. Successful hunters aren’t born, they’re forged in fire and beaten with hammers (or claws) until they’re hardened, confident champions. So I urge you to give this game a try when it comes out March 19th (23rd EU), just remember, it may change you.

If you’re having some trouble beating the monsters on the demo, here are some monster hunter tips.

– Start by focusing on avoidance. By keeping your weapon sheathed, you will be able to run around quickly and avoid attacks. By running around and avoiding attacks for a few minutes, you’ll learn when and where you have the opportunity to attack.

– Review your items before you start the fight. If your premade character has a pitfall trap or a paralyzing trap, try placing them in the area the monster is in and getting some free hits in. If you have bombs as well, this is the perfect time to use them. Large bombs need to be detonated by either a hit, kick, or small bomb. Also, when you first start a quest, there will be free items for you to take in the blue chest.

– Avoid the bowguns. Bowguns are very tactical weapons, but not very big on damage. Sticking with the melee weapons will help you take down these monsters in a timely fashion. More advanced players will be able to pull off the bowgun, but if you’re new, pickup a sword and shield or hammer.

– Both Plesioth and Lagombi are weak to Fire and Lightning. The —— Enter weapons here ——— sets in the demo will do elemental damage that will cause bonus damage to Lagombi and Plesioth.

– Use whetstones. If your weapon loses some sharpness, you should re-sharpen it with a whetstone. Having your weapon at maximum sharpness means you’re doing the most damage possible with that weapon. Additionally, some weapons will bounce off of monsters if they are not properly sharpened.

– Use potions. If you’re low on health, run to another area and use a potion. If you faint 3 times, you will be forced to abandon the quest and admit defeat. So be careful and stay alive.

– If you’re out of potions, you can run back to the starting area and take a nap, that will restore your health.

– Keep your stamina up. You can eat rations and well-done steaks to increase your maximum stamina. Stamina is used for sprinting, blocking, and dodging. So good stamina is directly linked to survival. On that note, during your fight with Lagombi, you’ll be in cold weather where your max stamina will deplete more rapidly unless you use a Hot Drink, so make sure you grab one from the blue supply box and use it right away.

– If you see the monster limping away, it means it’s almost dead, so hang in there, you’ve almost got it.

– Monsters also have spots where they take more or less damage. Usually is a section looks armored and your attacks bounce off of them, that means you’re doing less damage.

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