Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate Review
How many times have played a game and thought this experience could be more realistic? This was certainly a selling point for Fallout: New Vegas, as they included a “hardcore” mode with this in mind. Sadly the idea never really caught on, that is with the exception of Monster Hunter. Unfortunately Monster Hunter never went on to become that great in the USA or Europe, but did go on to be a system seller in Japan. Since then, we’ve missed out on the last few titles, but Capcom decided to test the water yet again with Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate. With this being the first truly impressive game on the Wii U, is it a sign of hope for Wii U owners or will this honor go to Pikmin 3?
Lets look at what’s HOT and what’s NOT in our review of Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate.
Starts you off Slow
If you played the demo for Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate, then you probably have no idea how to play. If this sounds like you, fret not because the game gives you a tutorial for your first experience with pretty much everything. Not only does this make the game accessible for anyone willing to give it a go, it also serves as a refresher course for fans that haven’t played in a while. Over time they can start to get on your nerves, but you can always skip the ones you don’t think are exactly important, like how the farming/fishing system works.
Not a Lot of “Hand Holding”
While Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate starts off slow and offers you plenty of advice, the game doesn’t cut you many breaks. For some this might be a turn off, but for others it’s what makes Monster Hunter such a great game. For starters, very few monsters literally drop items, so you need to collect most of your resources by examining their body. Doing this will leave you open to attack, so it’s always wise to kill every monster on the field or at least have a good buffer distance. Taking too long can result in the body disappearing, which will result in you missing out on your opportunity to collect resources.
In addition to having to collect your own resources, monsters act and behave differently based off their type. For instance, monster A might be hostile towards you, where as monster B might ignore you and monster C will only attack if you threaten them. As you progress in the game you will see other types, like some monsters will attack you in a group, which obviously requires different tactics than other enemies. This becomes even more complex when you get to larger monsters, as they have all kinds of unique elements to deal with. To counteract this, you have a wide array of weapons that can vastly change a fight. Lets say you fight an enemy that has a hard shell and can push back your blades attack, simply switching to a larger/heavier blade should allow you to damage them despite the shell. The same goes for quicker enemies, as it’s better to fight them with a lighter weapon with more speed. With 30+ larger enemies and 12 weapon types, you’re sure to have plenty of options in any given situation.
Besides the monsters giving you a run for your money, you can expect a number of realistic limitations imposed on you. This is probably where Monster Hunter shines the brightest as you need to compensate for misfortune. One of the first and most common limitations is blade sharpness. Much like the real world, using your weapon too much will result in the blade getting dull and decrease your overall attack. When this occurs, you have one of two options. The first is to ignore the problem till you ultimately break it or simply use an item to sharpen your blade. Some other limitations are the possibility of freezing, losing health to extreme heat, poison, plus many other things to consider. Before you start to worry, most of these effects can be countered with items for some period of time, plus plenty of missions will give you at least one to survive.
Despite being called Monster Hunter, there are actually a number of different quests you can complete. At first most of these will be gathering based and require you to find some item, then bring it back to the starting point. These can be difficult if you’re unsure what you’re looking for, as some items need to be fished, mined, harvested or in some cases dropped. The next type are quote based and are probably the easiest missions in the game. These missions typically ask you to kill a number of something, so there isn’t a lot to them. The “hardest” type are probably capture missions, since you need to first weaken the enemy, then you need to capture it via traps/tranquilizers. Capture missions are fairly rare, but certainly offer a good change of pace from other types. The final mission types are large enemy targets. These missions become more common as you rank up, but will also be the most rewarding too. This is not only because most armor/weapon mats come from these enemies, but because these enemies are vastly more difficult than your run of the mill monster.
Beyond having an amazing gameplay experience, Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate simply looks stunning on the Wii U. Everything is so lush and vibrant that it feels like the first real HD Monster Hunter game. It’s quite clear that Capcom took this project very seriously, as even the opening is gorgeous to look at. That’s not to say the visuals are always perfect, but it’s sure to impress fans and newcomers alike.
For those thinking about the 3DS version, I would say the visuals look pretty similar to the PSP versions of Monster Hunter. However, be warned that the text can be fairly hard to read (at least on a normal 3DS), as it looks quite scrunched together on the screen. Regardless the 3DS version still looks better than a lot of other 3DS games, so just keep that in mind.