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Welcome to Discussion of the Week: Swimming!
A couple of thoughts; as excitement for MH3U is building and building, I thought it'd be good to look at the one feature that it only shares with one other MH game - the ability to swim. A whole new dimension of gameplay!
Plus it's Monday and any non-monster based DotW blogs are always less popular than monster-based ones, so you've only got to put up with this 'till the weekend.
Sure, when it was first announced as being a new feature in MH3, we probably all thought: "How can a hunter hold his breath underwater for any length of time? Won't all that heavy armor and weapons weigh them down?"
Well, no. Swimming does have a little air gauge, but it depletes really slowly and easy to fill up with items or bubbles. Sure, it flies completely in the face of realism, but it makes the game more fun, so I can overlook it.
In the Deserted Island, swimming is possible in Areas 10 and 11 (and a tiny bit of 12). Whilst I think the underwater-scape in Area 10 is quite bland, I'm a fan of the moody, almost cave-like setting of Area 11. Plus it's funny to see them still having arbitrary 'you cannot swim past this point' limits in the endless ocean expanse.
In the Flooded Forest swimming is possible in Areas 3, 4, 5, 6 and 8. Personally I think these areas are notably better, with lots of interesting textures in the sides of the riverbank, like bits of wood and rock, and weeds growing up from the silt on the bottom. And Area 8 is a thing of beauty - such amazing blue water and real feeling of a tranquil cave.
Only downside is that 5 and 6 are too damn narrow - not game-breaking, but can be annoying when fighting Lagiacrus - and they're unappealingly murky.
Bit disappointed there weren't any other underwater areas, and completely baffled that underwater wasn't added to the Mountain Stream in MH3 U - it's practically crying out for it.
Also, I think underwater would improve some Unite-era areas; can you imagine how cool it'd be to go swimming in the lake in Area 1 of the Snowy Mountains? Or in the sea/lake in Area 3/4 of the Jungle! Or the frozen cave/s in the Desert/s? Think of the cool monsters you could have! Ah well, just an empty dream. Any areas you'd like to see with underwater elements?
- Royal Ludroth: I think he utilizes swimming quite well - he's certainly more challenging in it than out of it, though you can say that for all of these monsters. Completely bemused that Capcom didn't add underwater moves and attacks for Purple Ludroth in Tri G though.
- Gobul: I like Gobul; I think it was a great concept (giant freshwater spiky anglerfish!) and well executed. He's a bit ponderous at times though.
- Plesioth/Green Plesioth('cause it's basically the same): Oh Plesioth, you tease. First introduced in the very first Monster Hunter game, and only able to be fought underwater in the most recently released. Anyway, I love the design, cracking blend of fish and dragon, but the fight is... um. Yeah. Haven't fought it in MH3U myself, but was never a fan in MHFU. Hopefully it's changed for the better.
- Lagiacrus: Love the colour scheme, I think it works very well underwater, and the fight is both fun and challenging when swimming. He's a pushover when he crawls onto land though.
- Abyssal Lagiacrus: Sensational colour scheme, 'meh' everything else. Some cool whirlpool attacks, but it's pretty disappointing to have him be basically the last monster unlocked (I believe).
- Ceadeus/Goldbeard Ceadeus: Lao-Shan Lung underwater? Dear god, that could've been atrocious. Luckily Ceadeus is considerably more fun than Lao - not a massive achievement, to be honest - but there is something nice and serene - dare I say almost beautiful - about him. A bit of a flat colourscheme, I thought, until he gets into rage and starts lighting up. That was a cool touch.
- Dire Miralis: Very torn. Having half the fight in the water and half of the fight on land - and the monster being a challenge in both - was a good idea, but I find something about the design very off-putting. All the lava swirling around, spewing out of his wings - looks more like a generic fantasy volcano-themed monster than the more realistic creatures MH is so good at. Plus his skeleton is the same as Fatalis'. Don't think that slipped by us, Capcom.
What do you think? Should swimming come back post MH4? Do you enjoy it on the whole? Which monsters are most fun to fight underwater? Are there any areas you think are the best for aquatic scenes, or any that would really benefit from additional underwater segments?