I accidentally took the above image while screengrabbing the new Monster Hunter 4 trailer, and for a brief instant felt like DeadEndThrills. If that’s the first time you’ve heard of that site, leave here immediately, because it contains the best pictures of videogames ever taken by anyone, and is constantly updated.
Back to Monster Hunter 4. If you haven’t seen last week’s trailer, I thoroughly recommend it.
Capcom have gone very Dragon’s Dogma with this, most notably in the clambering and the guy wielding a greatsword in mid-air. Grabbing monsters I like very much, because Dragon’s Dogma’s combat has a winning blend of depth and immediacy that can easily be married to the greater precision of a Monster Hunter. Well, I say easily. But I really don’t like the jumping attack. Weapons in Monster Hunter are brilliant because of the detail that goes into their use – as in, ‘how would a guy actually swing this thing at a giant dragon?’ The only other (thirdperson) games with weapons like it are the Souls duo, and for me it’s the biggest part of why I like hunting monsters.
People often talk about accessibility and depth like they’re two different things, which is to ignore all those games that get it right. Blizzard are absolute geniuses at this. I’d say Vanquish is another – much as I love Bayonetta, I’ve seen too many people put off to include it here. The trick is instantly gratifying feedback, the gift that keeps on giving. When a punch isn’t just a punch, but a zooming fist of justice that connects every time with a gigantic wham, you’re onto something that will delight new players (keeping them in to learn more) and keep on delighting grizzled vets hundreds of hours later.
Capcom, whatever the company’s other weaknesses, has always been great at this. It’s no surprise that the Monk class in Diablo 3 has basically been constructed by looking at old Capcom games. So I’ve got a lot of faith they can pull off MH4’s new system, but that midair greatsword swing does make me worry. It seems crazy to say this about Monster Hunter, but it’s just not realistic. And no matter how much jazzy feedback they incorporate into this new system, as soon as the emphasis moves away from quasi-simulation of weapon swings and precision blows, it’s not going to be the same. I’ve got a lot of faith in Capcom, but all the same: talons crossed.