Monster Hunter 4 Tokyo Games Show 2012 Hands-On Preview -- It's A Monster MashBy Nikole Zivalich - Posted Sep 21, 2012
Monster Hunter 4 for the Nintendo 3DS was playable at Tokyo Game Show 2012. The lavishly decorated booth was home to some provocatively dressed booth babes, giant dragon statues, and one of the longest lines for any game at the show. Gamers began lining up as soon as the show floor opened to get the chance to take Capcom's action-RPG out for a spin. One of those lucky gamers was me!
The Tokyo Game Show 2012 demo for Monster Hunter 4 was in Japanese and had Japanese instructions. I wasn't confident in my ability to play, but I quickly found out how basic the controls were. Let me clarify, they're not basic controls in that they are primitive; their simplicity just goes to show the universal appeal Monster Hunter can have. It played like an American action-RPG, hack, slash, dodge, win! I may have doubted my ability to play, but the game believed in me! (Thanks Capcom!)
I chose a save file, a starting point, and a weapon class at random. My character was a tall woman dressed in neon green gear and armed with an enormous mace. There were three quests, each with varying difficulty, but since I can't read kanji, I can't tell you what the ones I picked were called.
The 15 minute demo consisted of 10 small points on a map. They ranged from grass fields with docile dinosaur-like beasts, to a barren, rocky summit with bones and dirt. The farther I moved along the map, the more aggressive the baddies became. Enemies were mainly creatures resembling raptors and other dinosaurs. Mini-boss creatures also appeared to have been modeled after dinosaurs, but these were larger and much harder to take down.
Using the giant mace I was able to execute heavy attacks or even heavier attacks. Fighting off the comply-like smaller enemies was sometimes more of a challenge than fighting their bigger cousins because my attacks were so slow I often missed. Using the Y button, I often accidentally put my weapon away, foolishly leaving me vulnerable to more attacks.
The most interesting enemy fight was an encounter with a mini-boss. This sequence began with my character riding the mini-boss like a horse, a giant, angry, prehistoric horse. I would have loved to have killed it while sitting on its back, but my lack of skill made sure my character was thrown off within moments. I look forward to seeing how this feature plays out the next time I get to play.
The 3DS is a pretty powerful little device and if you don't believe me, watch it run a Monster Hunter game. Monster Hunter 4 has scenery, sidekicks and monsters, with this much going on the screen, it's hard to believe it's a handheld title. The 3D tech lends itself to the games UI above anything else. Status bars, inventory and dialogue can be displayed on different layers. Having an RPG's menu seem organized is no small feat.
I may be a noob to Monster Hunter aficionados, but I did enjoy my brief time with the game. It was quick-paced, action oriented, had dinosaur monsters, and really showed off what the 3DS could do. Hopefully this one will hit the states sometime in 2013. Monster Hunter 4 will be released in Japan in March 2013.