One of the first few games we tried out at Tokyo Game show this year was Monster Hunter X. Mainly because they gave out a cool bag, but please don't tell anyone I said that.
We decided to have a go on the multiplayer mode, as that's what monster hunting is all about really, isn't it? The Nargacuga quest was listed for experienced battlers, which seemed like a safe bet. Nargacuga didn't make it to Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate, so it was an all-new experience for me.
The new map we played through featured nine areas of all shapes and sizes, much like we've come to expect from the series so far. This stage feels a little like Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate's Primal Forest, only with more trees and fewer bones strewn about the place.
The controls, feel, and overall setup of the game is very much the same as Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate, but that's what you'd expect from a game running on the same engine.
There were no new weapons available in the demo, nor are we aware of any being planned for the final release of Monster Hunter X, but one of the biggest changes to the Monster Hunter formula is the addition of Hunter Arts.
In the top-left corner of the screen, just under the life and stamina bar, there's an all-new gauge you can charge by attacking monsters. Once it's full, tapping the gauge unleashes one of these special moves. Most of these Arts are weapon-specific, but there's also a handy evasion technique that can be used too.
There are also Hunting Styles that you can choose from, to even further customise your playstyle. The Striker Style makes controls easy to get to grips with, and allows you to perform three different Hunting Arts, while Aerial Style lets you springboard off monsters for jumping attacks, and Bushido Style focuses on evading and blocking for strong counter attacks.
Our troupe eventually stumbled across Nargacuga, and as the wyvern let out a loud scream we all went in on him. He's quite a speedy chap, and it didn't take long for him to unleash his huge tail on us.
As time went on he wouldn't let up, eventually moving on to a shallow stream area, but continuing to pounce on us like there was no tomorrow. He took us through a cave and up to a cliff edge, but our time ran out before his life bar did. The Nargacuga is not a monster to be messed with.
The Tokyo Game Show demo had two other monsters available to battle, both of which were new entries in the Monster Hunter series: Dos Maccao, a dino who loves to give you a kicking, and Dinovalde, a ferocious fire-breathing dragon, and also one of Monster Hunter X's flagship beasties.
While only five new monsters have been revealed so far, I'm willing to bet there'll be plenty more on the way, as well as the return of many old favourites.
Monster Hunter X will be available in Japan on the 28th of November, but there's no word on a western release just yet. We'll keep you informed.