As Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate hits the WiiU shelves in most high street and virtual stores today, Joey has taken it upon himself to document his travels and experiences during his first ever look at a game in the series. With the help of the Monster Hunter community in his past article he will endeavour to learn everyth... Read More »
Genres: Action Role-playing
Platforms: 3DS, WiiU
Release Date: 22/03/13
Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate Review
It’s very rare these days that you find yourself experiencing something completely new when it comes to video games. You play a shooter and it’s much like the one you played a couple of months back – it might be a bit shinier but apart from that it’s pretty much the same. Same with platformers, with most genres of games in fact. I’ve been playing video games for over twenty years now and when I sat down for the first time with Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate for the Wii U I realised that, for me at least, I was playing something unique.
If you have played a Monster Hunter before you can say that you have experienced the game. From what I can tell by speaking to people who have played other versions of Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate is not much different to its predecessors. But for someone who has never touched the series before it is unique and at a time when my interest in playing video games has been waning it is the exact experience I needed.
The title of the game doesn’t lie. It’s not some fancy pants name that hints at the deep story line. No, this is the Ronseal of video games; it does exactly what it says on the tin. Your main objective is to kill or capture monsters, carve up their bodies for resources and craft better armour and weapons to take on bigger, tougher monsters.
After creating my character in the rather limited creator I was greeted by an elder of Moga Village, which acts as your HUB for the single player game. You have a room to sleep in that saves your game, your inventory box, a farm to help you grow items, a team of fishing boats that sail away to find treasure and fish for you, shops and anything else you could want. You will notice walking around Moga Village, looking at the characters, that graphically this isn’t the prettiest game on the shelf. It certainly has its moments but it isn’t one that will stick in your mind as the greatest looking game ever created. Just go and take a look at the crates of limes and oranges by a shop and you will see what I mean; flat textures that were pulled straight from the previous version of the game.
So after scrolling through a load of text, I can’t say I read much of it, you are set your first task. Is it to go out and find a huge monster that fires his molten breath at you? Or how about a huge dragon-fish hybrid that will thrash around in the sea and charge himself with electricity? The answer to that question is no. You need to go and pick some mushrooms.
The first few hours of Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate really aren’t inspiring; it teaches you things slowly and you don’t really fight any huge monsters for quite a while. After my first sit down I actually was really frustrated with this, but the more I thought about it the more it made sense. A lot of games these days that feature huge bosses, creatures or enemies to defeat will usually have you scything them down in the opening minutes, acting as a tutorial. Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate makes you work up to the moment when you come across your first truly giant monster. When you do, you are excited yet apprehensive. How am I supposed to defeat this thing? It’s a satisfying experience when you finally take down your first huge monster.
To take on the huge variety or monsters, each with their own attacks, strengths and weaknesses, you have a huge variety of weapons and armour to choose from. Each weapon in Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate feels unique, just like the monsters each has its own strengths and weaknesses. Great swords do high damage but are slow and cumbersome, leaving you open to attacks. The Lance gives you a shield that can block a lot of attacks but you can’t move as quick when blocking. The bow gives you ranged attacks with reduced damage, but you can also have different coated arrows to help induce status ailments. You decide what kind of hunter you want to be and fiddling with all the different weapon types is part of the joy. When you finally find a set up that you feel comfortable with it’s as if being reunited with a long lost family member; after slicing through a few smaller monsters with my Katana like long sword I knew that was the weapon for me.
When you have your weapon you can forge new versions or upgrade them using money and items that you collect while out on hunts. You will find yourself drawing up a shopping list of items you need and spend a few hours just fighting one type of monster to get enough items to upgrade that weapon or armour. It’s compelling and not something I can usually stand doing.
The one thing that Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate has going against it is that if you are totally new to the series (like me) but don’t have anyone else to play it with you who has played previous versions you will find yourself spending a lot of time trying to get your head around armour values, what items are used for, how to capture and lots of other things. It will need you to put a lot of time into the game to scratch the surface, but it is time well worth investing.
Thankfully I had a few friends around who owned the game on their 3DS, and one great feature is the ability to play with those on a 3DS on the same wireless connection as you. We have spent numerous lunchtimes at work slaying monsters – playing with friends truly is the way to experience this game. Teamwork is a necessity; if you all run in with the same weapon types the chances are you will hit each other and with friendly fire on all the time it will start to wear thin! With two people distracting a monster while the other lays a trap, it just feels fantastic. For WiiU owners there is also a network mode that allows you to play online with others and I would certainly recommend jumping in if you are having troubles fully understanding, hell add me – joeydale13, and I’ll take you through some basics.
As gaming has grown and the machines we play them on have become more powerful the word emotion has come more and more to the forefront when discussing the games we play. Yes, David Cage and his crew create games like Heavy Rain that try to draw you into caring about characters via fantastic facial animations and voice acting. Monster Hunter draws just as much emotion out of you just in a totally different way.
When you are fighting a dragon whose wings take up half the screen and you have no potions left, you know a couple more hits will kill you but you need to end the battle. You can see the dragon limping, it’s hurt, dripping from the mouth, and you know it’s tired. You move in close and bring your sword down and its tail detaches from the rest of its body as it lets out a blood curdling scream. You feel your hands tighten; you’re breathing getting quicker as the tension spreads through your body. The dragon turns and swipes at you with the stump you fashioned and knocks you back. One more hit and that’s it, one of you is going down. You dodge a rush attack, just… and as the beast turns you lift your sword and cut downwards before thrusting forward and up. The dragon falls as you leap out of your seat with a cheer. Ecstatic. Relieved. Adrenaline pumping.
Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate isn’t a game for everyone. Some of those who pick it up won’t be able to get past the first few hours of pretty tedious requests and missions and I can understand that, but those missions are necessary in order to ramp up the tension. The amount of choice presented to you in the game is staggering and at times overwhelming if you don’t have anyone else to guide you. Put the time and effort in and you will find yourself highly rewarded. As someone who has been falling out of love with actually playing games Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate has been the perfect tonic. It may not look great all the time and push graphics to their limits, but the gameplay is in a league of its own, especially when you are playing with a few friends and that is the most important thing.
- Superbly tense battles especially against the larger monsters
- Amazing Monster design
- Co-op experience that is unrivalled
- Certain visual elements are terrible.
I‘ve taken a lot of flak off TheGameJar team, especially on the DBR Podcast, for purchasing a WiiU, especially when there weren’t many titles available then or even a few months after. With Rayman Legends moving to September I felt a little disillusioned with Nintendo and my WiiU. It’s the first Nintendo console I have purchased when it was relevant (I had an N64 about three years after it was no more) and the single biggest reason I wanted one was so that I could expose myself to games that I had never played before. I’ve never played a Zelda game for more than ten minutes, can’t say I’ve touched Smash Bros and with the WiiU Gamepad I’m certain there will be unique titles coming down the line. Thankfully though, to pull me out of my disillusioned state there is a game that I have heard a lot about. A game that has a hardcore following and is a pretty big deal, especially in Japan. I am of course talking about Monster Hunter.
I don’t really know much about Monster Hunter at all… there are huge monsters and you go hunting for them? I’m not trying to antagonise any hardcore fans who may end up reading this – it certainly isn’t my intention. I’m just uneducated. So as Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate is coming out for the Wii U on March 22nd in Europe, I wanted to try and look at the game and its fans, to try and learn some basic knowledge for when I throw myself into this completely alien world.
My first port of call was to the Monster Hunter Facebook page where there are plenty of images of small people fending off huge monsters in various locales. It’s actually pretty daunting with names like “Duramboros” and “Nargacuga” being banded around. With pictures of these behemoths, for someone new it’s very difficult to think just how much game time would need to be put in before you get to such monsters, as generally you start with small things and build up to the big baddies. Or maybe I have it completely wrong and you start off with the huge monsters and just get even bigger. If that’s the case then it sounds pretty awesome, but I’m sure there will be a lot of systems I need to get used to in order to become remotely good at the game.
Something else that stands out from the Facebook page is how engaged the community is. Whoever it is at Capcom keeping the page updated is doing a fantastic job with weekly live streaming sessions, and new images being released. The fans who want to know more and see more are getting that and eating it up. There are a lot of user posted pictures and people talking amongst themselves – it’s really great to see and there is one particular cosplay image that just blew my mind.
When you see something like that and you read some of the Wiki’s or fan sites that are around the web, as a new player it really does scare you a bit. The community seems lovely but as a newcomer to the series, someone who hasn’t even picked up a controller and tried to play it, I’d feel a bit silly jumping in and asking a question. What exactly is Monster Hunter? What’s the appeal of it to you? Do you have any hints and tips that I should do when I play it for the first time? I just wouldn’t do that, not because I don’t think they would respond well but because, well, it’s such a huge franchise that I should really know about it.
Come March 22nd I will know all about Monster Hunter because it will be in the disc tray of my WiiU and I will dive in head first. It will be a brand new gaming experience for me and that’s something that a lot of people don’t seem to want to do nowadays. They will play the same type of games again and again, which is fine because they like that genre they are playing. But me, I want things to surprise me and getting involved in a game that you have no idea about and going outside of your comfort zone is the only way to truly be surprised. If there are any die hard Monster Hunter fans who stumble across this page, help me out. Please answer the questions a couple of paragraphs back, help me to understand what it is you love so much about Monster Hunter and why, hopefully, I will too.Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate Review,