YvoCaro Plays

YvoCaro Plays: To Slay a Monster

Welcome to another YvoCaro Plays!

As always, these blurbs are mostly about the video games I’m currently playing. Unedited thoughts that spring up in my mind, sometimes game related. Or a random train of thoughts starting with the game and ending somewhere completely different! This time about “to slay a monster in video games”.

If you like these bits of gaming thoughts you can find the previous ones here

Love Felines? Do You Know Monster Hunter Diary?

At release date I decided, on a whim actually, to buy Monster Hunter Stories 2. New on the Switch, but as the number indicates there has been a first title before, on the 3DS. Now I must tell you that the Monster Hunter series has always intrigued me. And unlike most people, it started with a game centered on the Palico cats that feature in the main series. Feature as side characters, but did you know they have their own game too?

September 2015 the Monster Hunter spinoff Monster Hunter Diary: Poka Poka Airou Village was released in Japan.  (モンハン日記 ぽかぽかアイルー村 DX Monhan Nikki Poka Poka Airū Mura DX) I had the game pre-downloaded on my Japanese 3DS, always ready to take on a cute looking game that promises simulation gaming. I think it was my first getting to know the Monster Hunter franchise, and it surely was a very un-Monster Hunter-like entry point.

Monster Hunter Diary, Feline Fun

The game is super cute. The felines that play the star role are adorable creatures. The visuals are good, colorful, exactly the way I like them. Though it was difficult progressing in this Japanese only game, I did have a lot of fun with it. So much fun that I decided on trying one of the main Monster Hunter game when a new one came out. So, a year later in 2016 I dived into Monster Hunter Generations.

See my Muscled Body?

In Monster Hunter Generations, I was a huntress and I didn’t know I could look so buff! Sure, I loved the collecting, roaming with my Palico friends Mario and Univer. Mario came, curtesy of Nintendo, through DLC! But I didn’t last long in it. Real time fighting with the monsters wasn’t for me. I’m awful at the real time thing anyway, but even though I’d turned down the blood spattering, it still didn’t sit well with me to butcher these giants.

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So I didn’t try any more Monster Hunter games until the spin-off series, Monster Hunter Stories. Much more cartoony in graphics, a mix of simulation, questing, gathering and crafting and not as intense. In a way, it’s more like a Pokémon game, in that you gather eggs, raise levels in the monsties you have in your team and fight together with them. All good, and I’m loving the game.

There’s only one thing that’s nagging at me: why would I kill a monster when it’s not attacking me and then even steal their eggs, raising their young as my own monstie? It’s good that Monster Hunter 2 my own character fights and gets hurt too, not just giving orders like in Pokémon. But in Pokémon at least the enemy only faints.

Monster Hunter Stories
The first Monster Hunter Stories on 3DS

Some Monsters are too Familiar

I had the same problem in other games where the critters that I had to slay looked familiar to animals in real life. In Minecraft I had to kill a sheep to get enough wool to craft in bed in Minecraft. A bed that I needed, to sleep away the darkest nights when there wasn’t a lot to do in the Minecraft world. I knew there was no other way, I needed the bed and to craft it, I had to kill three sheep. So I gritted my teeth and went about it. What made it worse was that they tried to run away after the first blow. Poor animal, grazing away, minding its own business and then to be savagely butchered. That’s how it feels to me when I have to kill a familiar looking animal in a video game.

Now who can just kill this adorable looking sheep in Rune Factory?

In Rune Factory I had the same problem, killing the sheep, chickens or cows to get much needed materials. But in that game I knew I’d only have to do it until I was able to tame such an animal, because after that they would give me their produce for free. Once they liked me enough to give me wool and milk for free, I always left the critters in the wild alone, on the understanding that if they didn’t bother me, I wouldn’t bother them.

Viva Piñata Takes it a Step Further

Although, writing this article I realized that I might be just a little bit of a hypocrite. You see, I don’t mind killing monsters in games like Atelier Ryza or Breath of the Wild. I happily chop away at Slimes and Goblins to progress the story and to level up my fighters. Maybe it’s because those monsters don’t look anything like real animals?

Being devoured is daily business in Viva Piñata

And on top of that, one of my favorite games on the DS was Viva Piñata, a game that really takes sacrificing animals to another level. Strange that I almost completed that game without any qualms, although in the beginning I did really have a problem with letting my Whirlm be eaten by the Sparrowmint that visited my garden.

But, I overcame my own resistance, convincing myself that these animals were clearly filled with candy and that they had no other purpose in live then to bring joy. See, there’s always a new reason to kid myself…..

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