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Facebook Files: Discussing Monster Hunter Portable Review Scores

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    Welcome to Facebook Files! Since this is our first entry, here’s a quick rundown of how it works: Every week, we’ll be perusing our Facebook group for interesting discussions in the community. We’ll publish the interesting ones on Siliconera as part of this feature over the weekend. The format of Facebook Files will remain flexible so we can focus on the best reader posts and discussions.

     

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    Here’s something of interest to note: Monster Hunter Freedom Unite has scored significantly higher (81) on Metacritic than Monster Hunter Freedom 2 (72). Judging by the nature of the reviews, there was also more interest in Unite in general. With the exception of minor tweaks in Unite, they’re essentially the same game.

     

    Spencer wrote:

    I usually don’t nitpick about review scores. After all, they’re just numbers, but it’s interesting that Monster Hunter Freedom Unite has a Metacritic score of 81 while Monster Hunter Freedom 2 has a composite score of 72.

     

    Initially, I felt that this could very well have been because of Monster Hunter enthusiasts being more impressed by some of Unite’s features, such as the Data Install and ability to transfer your character from Freedom 2 over. Spencer, however, wasn’t convinced, and following his next point, I could see why.

     

    Spencer wrote:

    I think it’s more about informing the press, like you said Monster Hunter games are more fun when you have a strong character. Capcom made a massive effort explaining how to play the game (and Monster Hunter is quite complex!). They made a whole site called Encyclopedia Gigantica just to get everyone up to speed. Also, constant stories about how Monster Hunter was huge in Japan may have made some writers think – "hey, this game is a "monster" (terrible pun!) in Japan maybe we missed something."

     

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    I had to admit, Spencer was onto something. There had been more interest in Unite from the look of things. For example, Eurogamer reviewed the game thrice — the additional reviews being from their Spanish and Italian divisions. Efforts like Encyclopedia Gigantica had definitely had an effect on the press and consumers. Capcom really wanted Monster Hunter to work in the West.

     

    Ishaan Sahdev wrote:

    Maybe the media blitz surrounding Monster Hunter 3 in Japan also had a bit of a role to play in Unite’s popularity. People in the West could very well have taken more of an interest in the series when they learnt the new entry was going to be on a console.

     

    It’ll be interesting to see how they promote Tri outside of Japan. I have a hunch that this is something Europe might latch on to better than the U.S.

    Spencer wrote:

    Good point about Monster Hunter Tri. More Monster Hunter keeps the game fresh in people’s minds. Explaining features about Tri to press and the public inadvertently highlighted some of the deep features in Unite when the games were being compared.

     

    I’m curious to see how Tri will do since it uses the same Monster Hunter formula and includes online play — which is more common than ad hoc play in the US. People just don’t pull out their PSPs or DSes and huddle in McDonalds in the States. (Or if they do, I don’t know where those fast food spots are!)

     

    Ishaan Sahdev wrote:

    I think Wii Speak will make a huge difference if they manage to include it in the Western release. Not to mention, then they can release "Monster Hunter 3 International" in Japan and squeeze a few sales out of that before going on to unveil the PSP port.

     

    You can read the discussion in its entirety here. Feel free to join in if you have something to say!

    Ishaan Sahdev
    Ishaan specializes in game design/sales analysis. He's the former managing editor of Siliconera and a contributing writer at GamesIndustry.biz. He also used to moonlight as a professional manga editor. These days, his day job has nothing to do with games, but the two inform each other nonetheless.

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