This is just a bit of an "off my chest" post. I only recently stopped to think about just how much of an impact MHTri made on me, and I suppose there's no better place to ramble a bit about that.
Way back when I got DMC3 (2005!!), it included a demo for the original monster hunter. I tried it, several times even, because the game just felt so damn alien to me. Items I didn't understand, attacks mapped to the right stick, a huge fucking sword your guy legitimately struggles to even wield…. Cats..?.. And they do pirouettes when hit..??.. An old red man who gave out more items I didn't understand, and then got angry… That demo alone was like a foreign dish where the first bite takes you by surprise; the taste was so interesting you couldn't even process whether you actually liked it or not, and now you want more so you can actually form a decent opinion.
While deeply intrigued, I was still a fairly simple kid back then. I came right from the "check the local toy store's video game aisle for new releases every couple weeks-months" era and never realized I could probably find more info about MH (or even buy it) online. So, not even stocked anywhere locally, it remained just out of reach for me. And then out of nowhere, there it was; MHTri announcements. I had experienced some hype for games before, but nothing like the reaction I had to Tri. "I know this game! It's that obscure demo I couldn't figure out five years ago!" I still had no idea what I was in for, but I was all-in on trying it out.
The release rolled around, and I was just blown away by the game. I had a blast just going through the tutorial bits, picking herbs, slaying some defenseless herbivores (which I recognized from the demo!), roasting meat.. genuine fear when lagiacrus showed up, and slowly gearing up over dozens of hours to eventually take it on (still terrifying under water).
I still remember the first time I beat barroth. I struggled so much with that one because I still had no idea what I was doing. Eventually it came down to the last 1-2 minutes, already carted twice, out of items, and one more charge was going to kill me. I threw out a hail mary hammer charge while it was charging at me, and.. it got stunned right out of its charge. And the next couple of hits I got on it finally killed it. The next real wall I ran into was diablos. I just didn't know how to deal with its moveset, and playing lance (unsheathed most of the time) probably didn't help matters there. I'd either triple cart, or only get maybe 30 pokes in over the whole 50 minutes (where it would take closer to 100 to actually kill it). I did slowly improve though, learning from mistakes and figuring out how to play (much) more aggressively to get closer and closer to actually killing it. In the end it took 10+ hours to finally kill diablos once, but I finally did it. And following that, soon enough I was getting kill times down to sub 40min.
And then eventually I got into online, oh man what an experience. There was so much more content, but most importantly the people! We were all new and figuring out the game as we went along. Sometimes we'd face an entirely new (event) quest, other times someone was already familiar and would give us some briefing to help us out. We all helped each other farm for materials and rank up together. I connected a cheapo usb keyboard, and off I went, chatting away the days. I experienced some of my first all-night gaming sessions helping people hunt for 1% drops. This was all with randoms, complete strangers. Before long, I had a list of 10+ friends I'd regularly play with, all found though online play (and lost when they eventually stopped playing). I still wonder what stars aligned for Tri online to be such a warm and wholesome experience. It had bad apples just like everything else, but I've never seen so few of them in online games before or since.
Tri just resonated with me on a deeper level. I played it actively for a full year; tried and eventually mastered each weapon type, completed just about all the content there was. Got into damage calculation and helped people decide between weapons. Made and shared a bunch of armor builds for each of the weapons my friends were using. When my internet died and I couldn't play online anymore, I just wasn't ready to move on yet and I worked on collecting every single piece of armor you can get offline, got bored, and then started a new character to go through the entire offline mode without any armor. By the time I was able to go online again, the community felt a bit different; it had been months, nearly all the friends were gone, and it felt a bit harder to find people willing to interact like they used to in the first half year. I felt like there wasn't anything left that I still found worth experiencing, and stopped playing at somewhere over 3000 hours in.
There's just so much about Tri permanently grafted into my memory. It's been just short of a decade since I've been online, but I can still draw up a detailed map of loc lac. I still know the whole intro animation. Moga is the only hub area that feels like home to me out of all MH hubs and I prefer the Tri areas over all the others. Between discovering and exploring a new genre, getting fully enthralled by everything it had to offer, and the amazing sense of community online, Tri gave me a complete gaming experience I'll never forget and will probably never find again. Tri, without a doubt, holds the title of being my all-time favorite video game. As a direct result, MH is also my favorite video game franchise. I've gone out of my way to get a release copy of each new mainline title since Tri, and will continue doing so; they've all been great, and each new title reignites an old spark within me. After a collective 6000+ hours in, I still absolutely adore the gameplay loop and content each game has to offer.
I'm so damn hyped for Rise.
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© Post "I need to express my love for this franchise, Tri in particular." for game Monster Hunter World.
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