When I had a chance to play Monster Hunter 3 at Tokyo Game Show I went straight for the bowgun class. Theoretically, this class should be a natural fit for the Wii remote since you could point at the screen to aim and shoot, but that’s not how things are done in Monster Hunter 3. Capcom stuck to traditional controls where you have to aim the bowgun manually with the remote’s d-pad. Press A and you can fire arrows, the minus button is used to reload. I heard some of the beasts in Monster Hunter 3 are smart enough to follow you into the next area so you can’t zone/reload or zone/heal anymore. The pacifist dinosaurs weren’t part of this group. They just ran away as I shot fire arrows at them.
One of the missions in the Monster Hunter 3 demo was to crush a giant sea serpent. I chose this as my mission and walked up to the appropriate zone on the map to dive into the water. Oh, like Monster Hunter Freedom 1 & 2 there is a fair amount of loading time between zones. Granted, this is just a demo and this could be fixed later on. Once you’re submerged you can dive further by pressing the B button on the remote. If you want to surface you also press the B button, but you point the remote to the ceiling. Hunters don’t have an infinite air supply underwater. You have to find and touch bubbles to breathe. If your air meter runs out you’re in trouble, but at least in the demo air was plentiful.
Like the diving controls, Monster Hunter 3 attempts to maximize the number of commands with awkward use of the remote’s tilt sensitivity. I think the bowgun users will have the easiest time using the Wii remote control scheme since it’s still rotate the camera and shoot. Greatsword users need to be cognizant of which angle they’re holding the remote. Tilt it left and you have one set of moves. Tilt it right and you have another. Holding the remote flat in your hand has a third set of moves, which makes Monster Hunter 3 quite confusing at first.
The most pressing issue yet to be explained is how Capcom plans to let players communicate. Unlike the portable Monster Hunter Freedom games players won’t be sitting next to each other huddled in a fast food join. Monster Hunter 3 supports online play through Nintendo Wi-Fi. Capcom could let hunters type with a USB keyboard. That’s how players did it in Monster Hunter on the PlayStation 2, but it’s still an archaic solution. Monster Hunter 3 would be much better if Capcom supported the soon to be released Wii Speak accessory so players can shout “heal me!” instead of putting down the remote to type it. Fingers crossed.
Images courtesy of Capcom.