At the risk of sounding absurd, I'd say 3 is the Growing the Beard
game for the series. The previous ones were good (although the original for PS2
was an awkwardly-controlling false start whose poor reception kept the later, superior console titles from coming to the US until now), but this is probably the first one I'd honestly call a great game.
Numerous interface and gameplay improvements, some truly unique new or reworked monsters (such as the Altaroth, which will gather items from certain types of gather points... and can then be killed for an item you wouldn't be able to get otherwise... or the newly retuned Kelbis whose horns are acquired by stunning them, then carving when stunned), something actually resembling a plot this time... an upgradable village that gets more and better services as you progress (as opposed to a village that was static besides an upgradeable farm)...
Bowguns are finally reworked to be comparable to melee weapons in customizability and upgrade mechanics... a "free hunt" area where you can hunt and gather as much as you want without time limits or death penalties... new "subquests"... it's all-around a pretty great game.
edited 23rd Apr '10 1:21:29 AM by Nezumi
"That's ridiculous. What would a walrus do with a magic bag?" Pokeamida