Don't be alarmed! If you've never played this before, you are not about to step into one of those naughty clubs that stressed businessmen get into trouble for going to. Yes, the men in Monster Hunter Tri may be walking around with glaring holes where the seats of their pants should be, but they're not really anything to do with The Village People, so just ignore it. It's just Tri's silly sense of humour. You hunt dino-monsters, right, so why not walk around with daft trousers?
This is another title that's been out in Japan for some time, shifting well over a million copies so far. It has been doing so well in fact that Capcom has decided to not only grace us Europeans with its presence, but grace us with an even better version. The nub of the game is its comprehensive online system, which our poor Nintendo brethren in Japan had to pay a subscription for. Not us. And we'll get to talk to each other as we play, presumably about how awesome it is playing Tri online for diddly-squat.
Monster Hunter has been wildly popular in all of its previous guises on PlayStation machines, though they left many of us cold with their endless clinical lists of missions and strange, disjointed game design. You look at a list, choose a bounty to hunt and then get out there and find it.
Now, there's a tangible sense of living in a thriving land before time. It's like going to one of those museums that showed you how the Vikings lived, minus all the irritating groups of pre-school kids on a day out. There's a base for you, a pleasant village where you'll pick up quests and jobs, but instead of trudging through tutorials you're eased into things in a - GASP - entertaining way.
You'll wander into the forest after nosing around the village to be gently taught the essentials. Mining, fishing, catching your supper, setting up camp and, of course, slaying 20-feet high monsters all become second nature, but you'll feel like you've played a game rather than endured a drink-your-own-wee sesh with Bear Grylls.
Online play is Tri's strength. The problem in the UK of course is that Monster Hunter hasn't quite taken off as a phenomenon, but that should change. The idea is that you'll bump into countless people ambling about, killing beasts, haggling in towns or, often, running like hell from 50-foot fire-breathing lizards. You'll die a lot, but you'll want to come back for more. And the prospect of teaming up with friends to bring down a creature the size of a skyscraper is genuinely enticing.
Far from being an oddly popular game in Japan, this should be an international smash for Capcom.