In the past, I’ve tried to push my Japanese ability to the next level by jumping into video games. I’ve dilly-dallied with Japanese only games here and there, but I’ve never had any real success in spending more than an hour or two on any title.
That is until Monster Hunter 4 (MH4) came into my life. Good bye
Guardian Force Girl Friend (GF). Hello MH4! Hit the Jump to see why you should fall in love with MH4 too!
For those who are not familiar with the game, it’s basically a RPG / MMORPG type game that has players killing and capturing dinosaur inspired creatures.
You can either complete quests to advance the story line or get your hunter rank up by tackling quests through the guild hall. Where they differ is that the story line quests are tailored toward people who enjoy soloing whereas guild quests are tailored more toward the group adventurer.
How you play is entirely dependent on you. What’s unique about this game is that their is no leveling system and you aren’t trying to unlock new abilities. The game is highly dependent upon the use of weapons and the gathering of materials to create stronger armors and weapons.
As you defeat more difficult monsters, you’ll be given access to new areas and materials to create new weapons and armors that’ll carry you through out the game.
Lastly in my observation, about 80 – 90 percent of the game is boss fighting while the rest is either hunting low level enemies or gathering supplies. Though in my opinion, I think the devs should have just gone 100% boss fighting.
With a very niche following in the west, the Monster Hunter series is a big deal in Japan. Which is very surprising to me. Because World of Warcraft was/is (not sure if it still appeals to the millions of users) such a huge success, I’d think people are looking for the next best MMO, and this game definitely delivers. Now that I think of it, I’d say Monster Hunter is Japan’s version of WoW.
Anyhow I thought to myself, “Why not? It seems to be all the rage among the kids. I’ll give it a shot.”
To my surprise, this game has had me more than hooked. Like a riveting game of Battle Ship, every free minute I get has been sunk into this game. While this is my first introduction into the franchise and I’m still very noob-ish, I’ve been having a very positive experience so far.
Granted the story is a bit difficult for me to understand, it’s not at all important to the progression of the game. What is important are knowing the stats and abilities of your weapons and armors.
Since the game hasn’t been released outside of Japan yet, there isn’t a lot of information in English available yet. So I’ve had to rely heavily upon past guides of previous installments of the game, lots of youtube videos, and my Japanese comprehension. Needles to say, it hasn’t been perfect, but it has been getting the job done.
How It Has Affected My Japanese Comprehension
There is a lot of information to digest in this game and doing it all in Japanese requires a tremendous amount thinking and focus, which in truth, is a bit of a pain in the neck. Where youtube videos and old online guides for previous versions of the game have helped, is that they’ve made a lot of the more intricate details of the game much clearer.
Most importantly, where they have really helped is that they have pointed me in the direction of where I really need to be focusing my Japanese comprehension. Instead of trying to break everything down, I can just skip through the non-essential parts (story line), focus my knowledge on the essentials (different types of damage, protection and skills) and keep things in mind (different materials and items).
Basically I’ve built up a mental priority system that has really improved my Japanese comprehension.
Monster Hunter 4 has been a highly addictive game for me so far. If you’re interested in improving your Japanese skills and are the least bit interested in video games, I highly suggest picking up a Japanese 3DS and the game. It will set you back anywhere between $250 – $300, but is well worth it if you have the money to spare.
On the other hand, if you’re interested in the game but not the Japanese side of things, then you’ll probably have to wait a while as there is no set date to be released outside of Japan yet. But there is hope!
Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate was just released in the west about 6 months ago, and from what I hear, it is just as good as MH4. There are a few things different, but not enough to change the experience. It’s definitely worth checking out.
So, if you’re playing video games in a foreign language or at all into Monster Hunter let me know about your adventures.