Hunter Blade: The Perfect Knockoff?
By Jerrico Tan (JetSet), OnRPG Journalist
Embark to a world of hunting as Global Times Studios and publisher JoyChina present Hunter Blade, a Free-To-Play MMORPG that boasts of overflowing colossal monsters, quests, challenges and hours of item crafting awaiting its players. Fans of Capcom’s Monster Hunter could find themselves slighty disturbed by the apparent similarities but let’s not jump to conclusions yet as Hunter Blade comes with a spicy MMO twist. Have these developers succeeded in making Hunter Blade a game of epic proportions or is this just another rip off?
Players are greeted by an option to customize their Hunter. A few face/hair styles are available to choose from but it doesn’t matter as they’ll just get covered by armor later on. The character creation menu lets you choose one of three starting weapons: the wand, the one-handed sword and the two-handed long sword. All other locked weapons become available once your Hunter has met a certain level requirement.
Players undergo a short tutorial session with their hunting instructor to learn more about attacking and movement. The hunting instructor will then take you to the hunter village after your very first hunting session has finished.
The Town, Questing and The World of HB
The hunter’s village (yup, it has no name) is where all players in the game gather. The village is split into three zone areas: The Beginner Zone where players begin starter quests, the Second Zone where the vending marketplace is located and the Third Zone where special events take place. These three areas offer tons of quests ranging from NPC interactions, quizzes, item harvesting and monster hunting missions. All players will eventually get to know each NPC around town as they progress further in the game. Lastly, questing is as important as leveling up – it is the only way to unlock stronger monsters of different types and regions to hunt in.
The different hunting regions surrounding the Village are where all the action takes place. From the snowy mountains all the way to extreme volcanic wastelands, each region has a different geological condition that affects every Hunter’s quest. Knowing where the monsters reside is important as it lets you properly prepare for the weather conditions awaiting you in the terrain and saves you from turning your hunter into the monster’s prey. The hunting regions are also split into zones just like the Village so players will need to do a lot of walking between zones before finding and engaging the main monster, which could be hiding randomly in any zone.
The game’s combat system is more tactical than the usual and mindless hack and slash. Every attack button has its specific movement during combat which must be activated at the right time for maximum damage infliction. A keen perception and knowledge of when to attack monsters takes a crucial role in completing hunting missions. Those that just spam skills and attack without a battle plan will usually end up face first in the mud pretty quickly. Thankfully, your hunter could easily evade the monsters’ ferocious attacks by just pressing the spacebar.
Customization, Community and PvP
Just like Monster Hunter, crafting is what makes the world of HB go round. All monsters vanquished drop various monster parts that could be used as components for equipment crafting. Carfted armors carry passive effect bonuses that could be beneficial in certain region’s weather systems (crafting a weapon made out of parts from an ice monster would certainly add an ice elemental attack to each of your attack moves.)
The only downside in the crafting section is the tireless monster grinding needed. Therefore, hunting in groups of up to four is more efficient (and enjoyable) rather than hunting the monsters alone. The game also has a neat feature where it would auto-search for other hunters to fill up the remaining slots. You can also add hunters in your friends list right away to join in your mission.
PvP is also available if you want to take your hard-earned equipment and hunting skills to the test and take a break from all the monster-grinding. Deathmatch, Territory Mode and Capture the Flag are three of the available 5-on-5 modes in the arena.
The graphics engine that Global Times developed for Hunter Blade is more or less satisfactory. The rendering of the monsters and characters sadly couldn’t meet the graphics standards seen on current gen console titles. Furthermore if anti-aliasing is set to off, it would just look like a high-res version of a Monster Hunter game for the PSP. Players can also turn on the game’s stereoscopic Red-Cyan 3D effect just for kicks.
For its system requirements, as long as you have a PC (sorry Mac users), DualCore 2.4CPU, 2GB of RAM, and a 256MB Graphics card then you’re good to go hunting. Computers made around 2010 would definitely run this game with a good frame rate.
Conclusion: A Decent Alternative
Hunter Blade shamelessly showcases almost every single feature that Monster Hunter has. From the game’s weapons, items, and even hunter and monster movements, one can’t help but notice that Global Times just reinvented the entire game system with the exception of the title. The English translations are terrible and the voice acting makes the game experience quite awkward, uncomfortable and a drag to play.
But despite the obvious replication, the game still has its own fun factor. JoyChina and Global Times constantly update the game for the community, making Hunter Blade a fun place to stay. All in all, the joy of winning when you team up with friends, whether cooperative or competitive, always feels glorifying and Hunter Blade has it. So unless you’re already an avid Monster Hunter fan or you’re not into the console action combat MMOs, then this perfect MMO knock-off is worth the download.
-A fair enough alternative for Monster Hunter Fans looking for an MMO experience
– Epic-sized monsters
-Wide range of equipment customization
-Fun PvP modes
-Very similar gameplay to Monster Hunter
-Some grammar typos
-Awkward voice acting