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Inside a dark, cold and windy tunnel in Cockatoo Island, Nintendo showed off its latest action-adventure game – Monster Hunter Tri. SmartHouse was there to find out what all the fuss was about.

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Nintendo gave us the chance to try the game for ourselves in both a four-party online mode as well as a two player split-screen mode. We were given fifteen minutes to try and take down a random boss creature, although a Nintendo spokesperson told us that some bosses could take as long as fifty minutes before they were killed.

There was plenty to explore in the game. During a fight, you’ll have the ability to either do a fast attack or a slower but more powerful attack. Pressing B on the Classic Controller Pro causes your character to dodge, and pressing R1 acts as a super-move of sorts. You can combine all four actions to string together some pretty meaty combos, although the boss fights will only let you get a few hits in at a time.

But on top of the length of the actual fights, you also have to worry about weapon degradation. During my little session, my weapon had dulled to the point where it needed sharpening. That was as simple as using an item, but if you were fighting on your own against the biggest bosses that could mean pausing several times for repairs mid-fight.

 
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As you’d expect, the graphics were a little blurred and lacked detail. It’s one of the better looking games for the Wii, but it’s not up to scratch with anything available on the PS3 or the Xbox 360. We weren’t playing the final release of Monster Hunter Tri, to be fair, but given the capabilities of the console it would be foolish to expect any major graphical overhauls prior to launch.

The combat itself was engaging, although the constant loading screens and the need to run across the map chasing an enemy you’ve already fought three times was a little tiring. Monster Hunter Tri received full marks from the famous Japanese gaming magazine Famitsu (where Monster Hunter Tri is already available) but at this stage I would be hesitant before putting Capcom’s latest title up there with the greatest games of all time, although the Nintendo representative assured me that the variety in the game made for a very entertaining journey.

The Monster Hunter Tri will be available in Australia on 29 April 2010 for $99.95 (bundled with a Classic Controller Pro) or $79.95 (standalone).

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