Today I ask the question: Do we want hardcore game experiences on the go? It sounds appealing to a gamer like myself, who wouldn’t want to enjoy something akin to Skyrim on our mobile devices? Well, I believe the answer lies with one of my recent purchases: Ultimate Monster Hunter 3(3DS).
I purchased the game along with a friend a matter of days ago, and have been moderately enjoying myself. Every time I power on the game, I do find myself longing for a number of conveniences that I have come familiar with on my home machines. Ergonomic controls, high-frame rate, higher resolutions, and polygon counts. Am I just spoiled by the power of technology? Or is something else at the root of the problem?
When playing another game on the 3DS system, Pokemon X, I seem to lack these longings. Sure, HD textures and whatnot would be nice, but it doesn’t require ultra-smooth frames-per-second, nor high resolution. This may be a result of the turn-based style of the game, a style that is frequently common on Nintendo’s Gameboy and DS series devices. Pokemon, Fire Emblem, and Mario&Luigi series have all seen great success with this format, but why not full-on, real-time action games?
Truth is, Monster Hunter is a game that demands a lot more attention in addition to being real-time. Sharpness of your blades and eating to keep your stamina up are both aspect of the game that seem to annoy more than to immerse. In the 360 title Dragon’s Dogma, they had similar concepts and mechanics, yet Dragon’s Dogma is a better pick-up and play experience. It is the controls I discovered, that made all the difference. That distinct feeling of being directly in control, the 360 pad seems to fade away in my hands, as my thumbs accurately guide my character and camera smoothly, whereas on Monster Hunter, the control isn’t there. It feels sloppy and I’m fighting the controls to accomplish my desires.
I have come the conclusion that core games on the machines are certainly possible, but it is by no means as easy as paring down a console AAA or AA title. While a game like Pokemon X does have a lot of depth, it is a casual game on the surface, and instantly accessible. Controls are never an obstacle, and the touchscreen is used efficiently and accentuates it as a viable alternative during combat. To any gamer who wants mobile games to be “hardcore,” I say: be careful what you wish for.