Now, generally I'm not the sort of person who likes to cheaply strawman their enemies by repeating their sentences back to them in a high-pitched mocking tone of voice, but here's a brief summary of my email inbox after the Monster Hunter Tri review: "Mneh mneh mneh. You didn't play it long enough. Mneh mneh mneh. Metacritic said it was good. Mneh mneh mneh. I just did one in my pants. Mneh."
I won't bother quoting specific examples, suffice to say there were a lot of them. The main thrust of the argument was that Monster Hunter Tri totally gets good once you've gotten past the tutorial, which takes about ten hours of gameplay.
Ten hours. Do you people listen to yourselves? Maybe if I had your kind of wealthy, privileged lifestyle and could spend most of my days idly playing Wii by the pool as a team of oiled bodybuilders fanned me with palm fronds, but some of us have jobs to do. Articles to write. Other, better games to review. Fun Space Games to avoid working on. As I've said time and again, "it gets better later" as an excuse does not wash for me. Even if the game is 50 percent poo and 50 percent mind-blowing envelope-pushing extravaganza, that's still mediocre on average.
I have a simple rule when playing a game to review. I play until the game is finished, or until I can't stand any more. And if the game ever falls below that point of tolerance, that's an automatic write-off. You know when you play Guitar Hero, and you're given a fail if you play badly for long enough for the crowd reaction to sink below the red? You don't get to play the rest of the song, and you don't get any points based on how well you might, potentially, have played it. I use the same approach for reviewing games. If I'm fed up to the back teeth, out the console you go. No buts. No reprieves. No more of it for me.
Besides, does the game really get better after ten hours, or is that just the point when you become numb to the pain? Unless at that magic ten hour mark the game goes "Ha ha, just kidding, here's a completely different game" and magically transmutes the disk into Shadow of the Colossus or something, I don't see how it could significantly improve. It'd need to change a lot of the interface, for a start. Someone explain to me how it makes sense that you can only change your equipment in your bedroom. Well, sure, OK, it would make sense in real life, but what if I'm in the overworld fighting big slow lumbering monsters with my giant two-handed sword, but now I've spotted some of those quick, whippy little bastards and want to switch to a shortsword and shield? I'd have to go all the way back home to do it. That'd just be embarrassing. Like having to come back to school in the evening because you left your P.E. kit there.