1. My Nintendo and the Miitomo app are now available in some (most? All?) locations. My Nintendo is a loyalty program, similar to the old Club Nintendo, but a lot more confusing and intrusive. There are three virtual currencies associated with your account, including tickets for Miitomo, gold coins for purchasing games online, and platinum coins for completing "missions," which generally involve letting Nintendo track your every move online. I don't know about you folks, but I'm not thrilled with sharing every morsel of personal information with Nintendo just to get a free copy of Super Punch Out.
|Boy, does it.|
(image from Lein)
|"Wait, I need to ruin your |
career over inconsequential
(image from YouTube)
Okay, now for that meat I was promising earlier. I came back to my Playstation TV after months of neglect, hoping that I could finally understand what makes Monster Hunter so popular. Here's what I discovered from my hours with Monster Hunter Freedom Unite...
* The tutorial missions are "optional" in that you don't have to do them, but you really, really should. Not only are they a stress-free source of cash, they help you get comfortable with the game's dauntingly dense play mechanics. There's a lot here to digest, and it's easier to take it all in when swarms of hungry dinosaurs aren't trying to digest you.
* Hands off the square button! While you'll occasionally need it to sheath your weapon and make your hero more maneuverable, it's also used to consume items, and it's entirely too easy to gulp down a valuable potion by mistake. Buttons are context-sensitive due to the PSP's limited input, changing their function depending on whether you're armed or not. You'd be wise to learn which button does what and when before you play it for real.
|"Okay, you sit here looking cute,|
and while the monster is eating you,
I'll run away."
(image from Wikia)
* Don't let the training missions give you a false sense of confidence. You get the best weapons in the tutorial, but the actual missions are far less generous. You'll probably need to swat a popo (a woolly mammoth about the size of a pony) ten or twelve times with the standard issue sword before it dies. Be exceedingly thankful these creatures never get more than mildly perturbed... the giaprey (brightly colored raptors) are far more aggressive.
* Beware the Tigrex! This massive beast frequently appears in later missions to fill your heart with fear and your pants with... uh, other stuff. You're not even warned about this striped monster until you meet it face to face during what first appears to be a mundane quest. "Okay, I almost have enough Popo tongues and... what the blue blazing hell is THAT?! Did it just take three quarters of my energy with ONE SWIPE?!" When the Tigrex appears, you've got two options: run like a character from a Benny Hill sketch, or take a tour through its digestive system. (I strongly recommend the first option.)
|Death on four legs.|
(image from YouTube)
So I guess the bottom line is that I'm enjoying myself. Monster Hunter isn't a game that welcomes you with open arms, but you start to understand its appeal with some persistence.