Hunting season is here once again as the much anticipated Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate for the Nintendo 3DS has finally been released. Big monsters, slaying them to get their loot, and crafting gears are some of the things you can expect to do in this new game. To some, this might sound extremely boring and repetitive but for a lot of people, the Monster Hunter franchise is one of the best gaming experiences of all time. With Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate, the formula that the series has been known for is there but there are a lot of small things that Capcom added to make it refreshing and new.
Similar to every Monster Hunter game released so far, Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate doesn’t have a captivating storyline to keep fans interested. The same concept is just killing monsters, and that’s it. From the very moment you start your adventure, the game doesn’t fail to emphasize that your main mission in this game is to hunt for big monsters and take them down. In the game, you will be a Hunter in a new village where you will be tasked to take on quests from the villagers and the guild. As you continue to do quests for them, chunks of the storyline will begin to unfold in terms of the main monsters that you will be killing. The backstory is not that interesting, but it’s there to give you something to ponder about.
For those who have played Monster Hunter 3, they might have remembered that the main monster they have to kill is a Lagiacrus. In Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate, you will focus in slaying the Gore Magala, a giant black winged monster, that you will meet at the beginning of the game. Unlike the Lagiacrus who stays in water, the Gore Magala constantly stays at the air with its devastating poison in its arsenal. Before you get to fight the Gore Magala, you will be fighting other monsters, which a lot are from the old series like the Jaggia. Their signature moves are there and those who have been playing other games in the series will find the fight with old monsters familiar. Sure, many of them are old monsters, but there are new ones as well and they are still deadly and fierce.
When it comes to the gameplay, not a lot has changed. In fact, the concept is pretty much similar. In order to advance through the story, you will have to go through the Guild and take on the quests listed in there. As you finish them, a new one appears and your rank increases. The higher your rank is, the more monsters are available for you to kill and with more monsters, more loot can be collected to craft better weapons and armor for yourself.
The Monster Hunter series doesn’t focus in just slaying monsters. Actually, killing them doesn’t make the game fun, as it’s the items that you get from them is where the fun really is. For every monster that you defeat, you will have an opportunity to carve items from them like their hides, horns and claws. These items are used to craft armor and weapons to make you more competitive in hunting monsters. For every major monster that you kill, you can ask the blacksmith in the village to craft you that gear. Yes, if you are looking to have a full set of armor, like from the Jaggia, you will have to kill the Great Jaggia more than once in search for that item to drop. With many monsters that you can sly in the game, expect to gear yourself with fancy armors inspired from their designs – I can guarantee you that once the game sinks into you, it will get very addictive.
Getting the materials to craft armors and weapons is very time consuming as it involves you doing quests more than once. The type of quests that you can do in Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate varies from slaying a specific number of monsters to picking up items and delivering it to the box mission at the beginning of the area. Pretty much you have thirty to sixty minutes to do a mission and three attempts to do it if you die in the middle of it. The more times you die in the mission, the less rewards that you will get at the end of it. It’s pretty much important that you prepare yourself for every mission that you do.
Speaking of preparing for missions, the village will give you everything you need. From blacksmith to vendors that sell you items, all of the things to get you ready for battle can be found in the village itself. Think of it as your main headquarters as you will have people cheering for you and giving you items along the way. Before starting your journey, make sure that you familiarize yourself with the types of NPCs that will be aiding you battle – the cat that cooks you food, the blacksmith that crafts you armor, the gathering hall to play with friends, and your room where you can rest whenever you feel tired. If you are not in a mission, you will most likely find yourself in the village doing your preparations.
For the first time in a handheld Monster Hunter game, Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate offers an online multiplayer. Sure, local play is awesome but playing with friends that are not in the same room is now possible thanks to the online play that Capcom implemented. Those who are accustomed to playing solo, you now have an option to complete missions with online friends. A lot of the missions that you can play offline can be played online with friends. Your progress in both offline and online are tallied, meaning your Hunter Rank will be combined so it doesn’t mater how you play it. As someone who has friends that rarely play videogames with me, the ability to play the game with my online friends is a nice addition that I really appreciate.
If there is one thing that I dislike about Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate, it would be the controls. Since I reviewed the game in an old Nintendo 3DS, the lack of the C-Stick introduced in the New Nintendo 3DS is very troublesome when it comes in navigating the camera controls. Sure it’s possible to adjust it with the D-Pad and the touch screen, but it’s a nuisance to get used to when there are monsters all over you. If you are lucky enough to play the game on the New Nintendo 3DS, it will make the game more fun as you have that little C-Stick to help you navigate through the game, or if you have at least that Circle Pad Pro extension, you can use that as well.
There are a few new things in Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate that shine where players will appreciate it, especially long time fans. One of the new additions that is introduced in the game is the expedition. Those who are bored in doing the missions and facing the same type of monsters, you can set out in an “expedition” and go through a random-generated area where different monsters will appear. It keeps things fresh, but it’s not really that enjoyable compared to the real quests that you do.
Another new addition that is worth mentioning is the two new weapon types; the Charge Blade and the Insect Glaive. For those who have played the series before, they might find the Charge Blade to be quite similar to the Sword and Shield. In fact, it is but what makes the Charge Blade stand out is the ability to switch out of sword and shield mode into a Giant Axe mode and charge it for a more devastating attack power. The Charge Blade is versatile and it’s currently one of my favorite weapon types in the game.
Aside from Charge Blade, another weapon type introduced in the game is the Insect Glaive. Just like the Charge Blade, Insect Glaive is a versatile weapon type as well. Using an insect as your companion, the player can send the Kinsect off in a direction and if its a monster, it can be recalled to give the player a bonus point to their stats. The type of bonus points that you can get depends on the location where the monster was strike. In addition, you can also vault into the air, adding a ton of mobility to the weapons and mount on monsters to do more stylish kills.
Since you are a hunter in the village, you will have a sidekick that will follow you around and can be very beneficial in battle. The Palicos previously introduced in the series will be joining you this time around in Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate. Their purpose in the game is to help you out in missions and offer you to do things to get you astray from doing missions such as fishing. Just like the main character, the Palicos can wear different kind of armors or costumes from the Nintendo eShop.
Visually, the game looks pretty. It’s on par with the graphics of Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate for the Nintendo 3DS and it’s best to play it in 3D to see the eye-popping visual effects the developer aims to deliver. Those who have problems viewing 3D, it looks best on the New Nintendo 3DS as it doesn’t have the angle issues that I’ve experienced. From the monsters and environments in the game, I must say that they are designed pretty well. Not to mention that it looks very vivid on the 3DS screen. I wouldn’t be surprised if Capcom will release a console version in the near future.
Wrapping everything up, Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate is a game that no Monster Hunter fan should miss out on. Everything you love about in a Monster Hunter game is in Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate and you will not be disappointed. From hunting big monsters to crafting cool-looking armor, Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate is a must have for any Monster Hunter fan. Although, it would be a good idea if you have the New Nintendo 3DS to fully enjoy the game without worrying about the annoying camera controls.
[Editor’s Note: Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate was reviewed on the Nintendo 3DS platform. The game was provided to us by the publisher for review purposes.]Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate Review,