Few games are as deceptively engrossing as Monster Hunter. Some players will go through the first couple of quests, decide that the game isn’t for them, and leave it for greener-seeming pastures. Those that stick with it, however, will find a formula more intricate than even long-standing franchises like Capcom’s own Street Fighter. I have a hypothesis that Capcom’s dark secret regarding this franchise is that Monster Hunter started out as an attempt at a 3D tournament fighter, before the developers embraced the hunter-gatherer aspect and made this series what it is today.
Disclaimer: A lot of these suggestions are going to be bow-specific, as that was the weapon I had taken on as my main. I welcome suggestions pertaining to other weapons in the comments section, and will most likely add them to the article!
Allow us to track different monsters simultaneously. This probably wouldn’t be a problem for veteran monster hunter players, but I find that when I’m fighting 2 or more large monsters at a time and I want to track them both, they both show up as pink on my map.
Remember a couple of years ago, when the big fashion item was “pheromone perfume” and “pheromone cologne”? Scents that would change to uniquely reflect you? Perhaps CAPCOM could crib some notes and have you upgrade your paintballs, paint shots, and paint coatings into “Pheromone Paintballs/shots/coatings” that will smell different (or rather, that will look different on your map) depending on what monster you’ve tagged with them. To make pheromone paint, mix “Funky Pheromones” with a “Paintberry”.
Combine Pheromone Paint with a Sap Plant for a Pheromone Paintball
Combine Pheromone Paint with a Huskberry for a Pheromone Shot
Combine Pheromone Paint with a an Empty Phial for Pheromone Coating
Ever since getting easier access to BugMaker Pro for the insect box, I seem to be accumulating lots of funky pheromones whenever I go free-hunting. This would be a good way to keep them in use.
Alternatively, hitting a monster with a Pheremone Bomb/Shot/Coating could summon a second monster of the same type to the map! Fancy kicking up the difficulty a notch? How about getting double the chances for that rare Rathian Ruby? Perhaps CAPCOM could allow us to use those extra pheromones to combine some devices that will attract a second Ivory Lagiacrus to the map if taking them one at a time becomes kitten-play.
Left-handed Hunters! As always, allowing the player to customize a left-handed player would be the next step in character customization improvement. There are monsters that seem to be left-or right-oriented, as for example, the Gigginox has less of a reach on his right side than his left with his one-two bite attack. It shouldn’t be too difficult to implement a system where the character model is simply mirrored.
More battle-analytics! Capcom has a monster-fighting formula that makes it fun to fight the same bosses over and over and over again, getting a little better each time. After boss battles though, they only give you a random number pertaining to a monster’s measurement from head to tail, and you can see how much time you took to take it down. It’d be nice to see how well we targetted the weak spots and broke/severed parts, for example, or whether our team hit all his elemental weaknesses in the case of the Arzuroth or Barroth.
More Arrow coatings! In the Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate demo for the Wii U and 3DS, when you played with the bow, you would get a model that used most of the coatings available, leading one to believe that all bows were like this. What a disappointment to find that for much of the real game, you could only use paint coating, and maybe one or two more, with any bow you chose! Considering that there are tonnes of different kinds of ammo for bowguns, it’d be nice to see bows get the same treatment, even if it does take a few iterations to get it right.
More customisation for the player’s room! I had recently introduced someone to Monster Hunter via Tri for the Wii and they were enamoured by the fact that you could decorate your room with little furnishings. It’s understandable that with all the armour options you already have, you don’t want to make the characters too customizable as it would slow down the gameplay to have to load from a database of more different faces, eyes, facial features, etc., but having more house-customization options would certainly allow players to personalize their games to a higher degree, without bogging down the network, and allow players to show off their rooms via screenshots on Miiverse and Swapnote. Speaking of which…
Screenshots on Miiverse! It’s baffling as to why Capcom would not allow screenshots to be posted on Miiverse. This is definitely something that Capcom needs to allow for Monster Hunter 4.
“When an item has a different name, it takes up a different space in your pouch”: This, and other item-rules applying to the Monster Hunter series, needs to be fixed. When you have to dance around your own rules to finish building your game, then it’s probably time for an overhaul. What I’m referring to is the rule that you can only carry one of each trap-type in your pouch (Pitfall Trap, Shock Trap), or a certain number of bombs (Sonic Bomb, Barrel Bomb) unless you carry the components to make more, or find another trap/bomb in the field or supply box, in which case it will be named differently so that you can use it in addition to the ones you have (EZ Shock Trap, EZ Sonic Bomb), This is also something that I have a feeling will be happening with Monster Hunter 4 already. Personally, I’d prefer the Resident Evil 4 system of playing item-tetris to fit everything in place, especially with a touch-screen, and especially since you can just throw down a farcaster to cash-in your account items, or select “Return to Village” to empty your pouch when you’re done gathering. On a side note, item systems probably need an update across all future RPGs:
As fun as it is to have a backpack with 99 of everything in it, it gnaws at the mind as to how such a system could have gone untouched from the SNES era in a lot of JRPGs.
Similarly, as nice as it is to have concrete item limits for each item-slot, a different gnawing at the mind happens when you can only carry two traps, but suddenly room appears for another if it has ‘EZ’ added to its name.
Improve the aiming guide. On the 3DS, you can use your natural depth perception to see how far the arrows will go on the aiming guide. If you’re playing the Wii U version however, it’s difficult to judge how far the arrows go with that linear aiming guide. Is it going through an enemy? Will it reach that fleeing boss? Perhaps have the guideline change colour to show distance, just as your blade-icon changes colour to show sharpness.
Chopping wood, building trap-tools and barrels. I have a feeling that Capcom is already working on this as a part of Monster Hunter 4. It seems a little bit inconsistent that you can make or find just about anything that you can buy, except for trap tools and the barrels used for barrel-bombs. Being able to chop (or at least gather) wood would open up the possibilities of things you can craft in addition to those two things! Make your own boat? Have bows and other “bendy” weapons use wood in their components? Make stronger arrows? There’s a lot of experimentation to be done yet with the Monster Hunter franchise.
Sell a double-pack. For those of us wanting just that little extra bit of incentive to get both the Wii U and 3DS editions of Monster Hunter 4, sell us one box containing both games, at a slight discount from buying both separately.
Better Analog support. The 3DS Circle pad and the Wii U analogue sticks are much more precise than previous generation consoles. However, in MH3U, this only allows us to see how badly the walking, running, and aiming was coded for the series for so long. Allow us to sneak with our weapons out (or trudge more slowly) and better approach our enemies at varying speeds. Allow us to move the aiming reticle / aiming guide with analogue precision (or better yet, let us use gyro-controls to aim/look as Resident Evil: Revelations did).
Use the touch-screen for the item and equipment storage boxes! Avid hunters will amass an immense quantity of materials, and navigating that box with a d-pad or analogue stick just draws out what should be a streamlined experience. Also, rather than have a separate “Store Items” and “remove items” command, just display both boxes (or one per screen) and allow us to fling items via touch from one screen to the other, perhaps using a button to switch screens if necessary.
Refine the underwater combat. They’ve mentioned that underwater combat won’t be making an appearance in [the first release of] Monster Hunter 4, opting instead to focus on getting air/climbing-combat working. The point still stands that they should keep it in mind to add water-combat back into future iterations of Monster Hunter, as it added a whole new dimension of combat to the game, and it would be a generation of R&D that’d be a shame to simply throw out.
Issues that will likely not be addressed:
Adding a Z-targeting like lock-on feature. It’s evident that the Monster Hunter system was designed that you have to position yourself and compensate for your weapons’ arcs and swings, sometimes to take down a boss and its minions in a single swipe. Other times, you’ll have to start a weapon action early so that a monster leaps into its path once it has committed to a particular attack. Using Z-Targeting would just reduce the formula to a multiplayer 3D Zelda-clone. Not that that would be a bad thing by itself (hint-hint, E.A.D. at Nintendo), but it wouldn’t be Monster Hunter.
A new generation of Monster Hunting is about to begin. Let’s hope Capcom takes at least a few of these ideas into their development process.