Monster Hunter Online (China) up to 23 Monsters and 10 Hunting Grounds
I might be a little hype for Monster Hunter Online, even though I repeatedly miss the deadlines to sign up for closed beta phases. The game is being developed and published by Tencent Games in cooperation with Capcom, and it looks pretty awesome.
As of right now, there are a total of 23 confirmed monsters in the Monster Hunter Online beta build and 10 hunting grounds to fight your way through. In addition, there are six types of weapons currently in the game as well as a special Chinese-theme monster aside from the 23 officially confirmed. That's a mouthful.
To top all of the above off, it is possible to play using either mouse and keyboard or a controller for gameplay. The keyboard offering a more MMO-style gameplay experience while the controller allows a more classic Monster Hunter-style gameplay. Keyboard and mouse combat makes use of the mouse for attacks, and keyboard for movement and items.
The downside to all this is that Monster Hunter Online may never see the light of day in China -- the upside being that there will be no IP block and it is free to play.
So why get hype over Monster Hunter Online, especially after Monster Hunter Frontier was not-so-great?
Frontier is really bad. I don't know if you've played it -- it is and has been Japan-only with an international IP block -- but I wouldn't wish it on any fan of the series, especially at this point. It wouldn't be difficult for Tencent to trump Capcom in terms of quality.
The game is also being developed using CryEngine 3, which can easily trump console-based Monster Hunter games in terms of graphical quality. That said, being a Chinese free to play game, it should be optimized to run well enough on lower-end computers as well. Here's a video of Steparu running the benchmark at 1080p to give you an idea of the game's high-end visuals:
But enough about graphics, what about the monsters?
23 (24?) monsters so far and more to come
I mentioned there are 23 monsters in the current beta build and a special Chinese-theme monster is waiting in the wings. The monsters currently in the game are:
- Yian Kut-Ku
- Daimyo Hermitaur
- Blue Yian Kut-Ku
- Gold Congalala
- Shogun Ceanataur
- Purple Gypceros
- Yain Garuga
- Akura Vashimu
The special China-theme monster has yet to see a full reveal, but the teaser trailer can be seen on this news announcement from December.
There are still a lot of monsters to be added, but the available roster has just almost doubled in size since this time last year. One can only expect to see the list of available monsters to grow as Monster Hunter Online progresses through its beta phases and edges ever-closer to this year's launch.
All those areas!
There are a lot of hunting grounds already found in Monster Hunter Online: A total of nine standard grounds and one special (the Arena). On top of that, there are three towns to peruse and farms to collect materials. That's quite nice.
Below are the nine standard hunting grounds - listed with a screenshot, a loose translation, and a link to the official site (on which there are more screenshots). They look pretty nice, if I do say so myself.
The stills look pretty great, even with no monsters about. It is worth mentioning this is close to the amount of areas seen in Monster Hunter 4U.
Though Monster Hunter Online is so far meant to be a China-only release, it is possible for international players to get in on the action come the next beta phase.
Registration for the current beta phase ended January 1st. Hopefully Tencent continues the pattern of opening registration every two to three months.
Gameplay ultimately looks a little more simple than the mainline games, as evidenced by some of the fan-made Monster Hunter Online videos:
Many of the monsters look to have simpler attack patterns, and perhaps slower reaction times, than the mainline series. Here's to hoping it still rounds out well, and that the next beta registration phase comes soon.