I have a deep love of Monster Hunter, but do agree with the criticisms about the game’s narrative and weird arena battles. I don’t like doing them unless they are the wild ones that make the monsters super huge and turn me into Ryu. The story is so frustrating because it some so close to being a story about protecting the Island from this weird dragon, but then you stay behind for bad reasons. They could have just said “we should hang out because that weird mountain dragon will come back” and that would have been more acceptable.
After 140 dumb hours later of filling out armor sets and hunting Elder Dragons, I thought I was done. But this weekend I got back on my bullshit and decided to get mauled by some arch tempered elders. Spike Dragon still sucks real bad and deserves everything he gets, but he is no longer the meanest boy out there.
Side note: I do wish everyone got to become friends with the Gajalaka(island native with dope masks). But you need to really work at it in the game to befriend them. And then only a small group of them finds you acceptable and the rest just don’t target you if you are beating up monsters. But they will totally fight you if you hang out. It is one of the moments when the game goes “Nah, you can’t befriend all of them. Their culture is to complex and it would take a life time to navigate it. But this group will give you this cat sized bomb, which is pretty good.” It is the only part of the game where it pushes back a little bit against the colonialist narrative. But it is so small its barely worth talking about.