Patrick as an experienced Monster Hunter (300+ hours on the portable titles) I highly recommend My Fair Hunter's Monster Hunter Beginner's Guide. I purchased it for a friend and gave it a read myself to make sure it was all solid. It's easy to follow and gathers everything you'll need to know before venturing out on your first quest. It's the best guide for entering the world of Monster Hunter. Having said that I still recommend playing and absorbing all you can from whatever tutorial they put into MH3U. I got hooked from a friend but much of my early learning was from the psp game's tutorials and solo hunting, so hopefully the MH3U tutorial is also worth wile and should be taken seriously.
I really hope Patrick and everyone else who read that Banner Saga complaint on Gamasutra also read Alex Thomas' (Stoic) response linked at the start of that article. I am a Banner Saga backer and I knew from day one Factions was a thing. To put it simply that was a rant from an irresponsible backer.
I only very briefly checked it out just to search for GGXXAC+ to see if it was out on psn in NA yet. First impressions aren't good, it ran very slowly and the search function is asinine. They give you a long scroll wheel of letters so you have to scroll through the whole thing to type a word out. It's like going from touch tone phones back to rotary. Smooth.
I think the canyon has great design because it shows your not stuck in the open desert for the whole start of the game, you are actually making progress towards the mountain. It has low rock walls that look like you can jump, but if you try the wind blows you back. It's a smart creative way of not having to make invisible walls. There is even a mural in the canyon that shows you, yeah it's a windy canyon. Also, the amphitheater with the "blank" murals are actually used in later playthroughs. I can appreciate taking a critical look at the game, but I do agree with the previous posts that some of your points actually work in the games favor.
How about when you reach the top of the tower and you see all of the murals depicting your path. Then the last mural is a picture of you and your companion trudging through the snow and wind. The one in front face up, the one behind face down. I really though one of us wasn't going to make it. I also though it was super cool that it showed both of you in those final murals. I wonder if it shows only one person if you get there alone.