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Operation Cherry Blossom, Catherine, and Being Human (UK)

Brad Gallaway's picture

So, it's no secret that I am a big fan of Monster Hunter. Although the series does have issues (being inscrutable to newcomers or running the best version on the missing-a-second-analog-nub-and-no-true-online PSP to name just two) I am a true believer in the franchise and I think it has much to offer. Sadly, it's only been able to carve out a very small niche for itself here in the United States, but there's now an opportunity—maybe—to help change that.

The good people behind the Monster Hunter Podcast and the Well-Done Podcast have gotten together, and with a little help from Capcom, they've launched "Operation Cherry Blossom".

You can check out the video, but the gist of it is that fans of Monster Hunter Freedom Unite (PSP) and Monster Hunter Tri (Wii) have to band together and let Capcom know that there are people hungry for the next installment of the series. The goal is to convince the House of Street Fighter, Resident Evil and Mega Man to localize Monster Hunter Portable 3rd for an English-speaking audience. If enough people show support, there is hope.

Now, I know what you're thinking... Capcom hasn't exactly had the best track record of listening to their fans lately, and that's a fact. However, making some noise and letting them know that the fanbase is desperate for more is better than doing nothing at all, and let's face it, if we do nothing at all, then it's pretty much a guarantee that there won't be any more Monster Hunter games in the states or Europe for the foreseeable future.

One final note on the subject: if you've never played a Monster Hunter and you're wondering why you should give a rat's about this, I would strongly recommend picking up either Freedom Unite or Tri since they are both dirt cheap these days, and see what you've been missing.

Granted, these aren't going to be everyone's cup of tea, but I suspect that if more people gave it a chance, the fanbase would be at least double or triple what it is now. Buy a copy and sit down with an FAQ or scan the message boards over at GameFAQS before you start… Hell, you can even feel free to ask me some questions right here at the blog and I will do my best to get them all answered. If there's anything I can do to help grow support for the game, I'm going to do it.

Knowing that there is another full installment of a series that I love so much sitting around with no plans for localization just breaks my heart. Let's get together on this one, people. Let's make it happen.

Catherine Screenshot

I finished Catherine on PS3 (also available for 360) the other night, and it did not disappoint. Although there are certainly some rough edges to it and a few things I would have touched up, in general it's another brilliant, bold and extremely provocative title from the master craftsmen at Atlus.

Kristin Taylor (one of our up-and-coming reviewers) handled the main review. I do think it's important to say that despite the titillating advertising campaign, the game is not really about sexual situations and flashing skin. Instead, it's about a man's self-examination and how he decides to live his life in relation to women and commitment.

(...It's also about some balls-hard block puzzles, but hey.)

Very few developers are even scratching the surface on stuff like this, but Atlus consistently finds ways to add depth to their stories, and their characters are frequently some of the most memorable in gaming. Catherine is most certainly an unusual experience, but it's one that's well worth getting into, if for no other reason than to see how such subject material is approached in a medium that is not generally known for deep commentary.

… And if you do get into the game, it's worth knowing ahead of time that the "cheater" ending is a hell of a lot more entertaining than the "lover" ending. It's not the one I earned for myself during my playthrough, but after having watched it on YouTube, I kind of wish that I had gone that direction.

The wife and I finished up Season 3 of the UK's Being Human tonight. It's been a favorite of mine ever since the first episode, and although this latest batch of episodes took a few twists and turns that I didn't expect, it still ranks as an excellent collection of characters and character-driven writing.

For those of you who've never seen it, the gist is that a ghost, a vampire and werewolf become roommates and the three discuss what it means to be something other than human, for both good and ill. Mostly ill. I know that hearing that description seems more like the setup of a bad joke then something that would make for quality viewing, but I swear by the program and I think the writers have done a spectacular job with it.

I won't get into any discussion of the season for fear of spoiling things for those who have not gotten into the show yet, but I do want to say that if you are a fan of science fiction, fantasy, and especially urban fantasy, you owe it to yourself to at least watch a few episodes and see if it clicks.

My suspicion is that it will.

Category Tags
Platform(s): Xbox 360   PS3   PSP  
Series: Monster Hunter   Catherine  
Genre(s): Puzzle   Role-Playing  

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Monster Hunter

Hey Brad, I finally decided to try MH after reading most of your articles about it. I picked up Tri because frankly i kinda hate actually playing psp games even though i like the system (handcramps). I was wondering if you might be able to post some links to a beginner's guide or something that would help someone like me out. I'm kinda planning on soloing the game, is that possible, or do you really need to do coop to have fun with these games? Any help or pointers would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

Hey Drew, Sorry for the long

Hey Drew,

Sorry for the long delay in response. My apologies!
So, to answer your questions...

It is definitely possible to solo MHTri, for sure. I completed the story campaign (which is strictly solo to begin with) with little trouble. I thought it was really fun personally, and I definitely recommend playing through at least a large chunk of the campaign solo since it's a great way to learn how the game works without relying on (or getting messed up by) other players.

However, if you want to see 100% of what the game has to offer, I definitely recommend considering getting a group together for the highest-level quests. When you go online, the monsters are a lot tougher than they are off-line and you will be in for a world of hurt if you try to go it alone. I'm sure you can, but it's probably going to be more hard work and defeats than the average, non-obsessed person would want to put up with.

So, can you solo the entire thing, including online? Yes. Would you want to? Probably not.

As far as links, I never found a good beginners guide myself, but you can get a lot of good information from the GameFAQs boards and FAQs, in addition to a site called ReignOfTheRathalos.Com. However, Reign seems to have some problems with certain browsers, and I've had trouble getting all of the functionality to work there. Still, if you can get a browser that it gets along with, there is a ton of info there.

That said, a lot of the info won’t make a damn bit of sense until you actually put some time in with the game. MH is a deep, deep, deep, deep and detail-oriented experience, and it's not the kind of thing that you can learn in a day. I mean, anybody can pick it up and figure out that you need to kill monsters, but the intricacies of the weapons, the armor, the abilities and enhancements, the tips and tricks... all of this stuff will be like trying to read Latin until you have a basic understanding of how the game works, and the best way to get a basic understanding of how the game works is to just experiment and play it for a while.

To give you an example, whenever I jump online with Tri, I can spot RIGHT AWAY who knows how to play the game and who is a newbie who starts playing multi without spending any time in the solo portion. If you don't master the skills, going online is a complete waste of time.

To be perfectly honest with you, it takes more than the average amount of work and dedication to get into Monster Hunter and be successful at it… even after putting somewhere in the neighborhood of six hundred hours into the game, I still feel like there is a lot for me left to learn. If you're not afraid of the game that makes you put a lot in before you get a lot out, then you will be well suited to hunt monsters. ; )


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