Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate Review
A lick of HD paint, a more robust online component, and a bunch of new content make Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate the best hunt yet.
- Excellent large-scale battles
- Huge amount of compelling customization
- Monsters are fantastically realized
- The online component is vastly improved over Tri
- Great use of the GamePad.
- Onscreen text can be awkward to read
- Series fans will already have seen much of the content.
Gathering mushrooms. Mining ore. Fishing. Slaying giant dragons made of rock. Whether or not this sounds familiar depends heavily on your experience with the Monster Hunter series thus far. Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate is an HD port of 2010's excellent Monster Hunter Tri, which refines that game's structure, and adds a bunch of new content and a far more robust online component. Thwacking huge beasts with a greatsword or picking them off from afar with a bow has never been so entertaining, satisfying, and, thankfully, accessible. Throw in a stream of free downloadable content, and Ultimate is indeed the ultimate Monster Hunter experience.
A wyvern patrols, wonderfully animated, tossing its head back and forth as it snaps lazily at a nearby herd of grazing aptanoth. You sneak up, weapon sheathed, waiting for the right time to strike. Suddenly, the hulking beast turns. It notices you. Quickly, you draw your blade as the beast charges. You roll, but not quickly enough. A blow catches you, sending you flying to one side as your sidekick, Cha-Cha, screams in alarm. Quick as a flash, you spring to your feet, up and into the fray, taking a swing that connects satisfyingly with the creature's head. It roars, stamps its feet, and charges again.
These encounters, these epic battles of man vs. mythical beast, are the centerpiece of Monster Hunter. Nearly three years on, and the monsters of this imaginary world are no less intimidating and no less menacing when threatened. Sure, you still start off being sent out against herbivores, or to gather mushrooms and resources, but as soon as you get into the fray proper, things really kick off. The new lick of paint thanks to the HD upgrade pays off too; the game's not quite up there with current-gen visuals, but it's crisp and sharp, and the monsters look superb.
One of the most welcome things about this Wii U outing is the improvement in accessibility. You can use the pro controller (or the Wii's classic controller), but the GamePad really shines here; the screen offers additional buttons and functions, all of which can be customized. If you want the map on the GamePad instead of onscreen, it can be done. Targeting, camera controls, item management, and certain attack controls can all be mapped to the touch-screen interface and moved about to suit you. This interface is never intrusive, or mandatory, but it's a subtle and welcome use of the hardware.
It's not long before you begin farming Royal Ludroths or Lagombis to build or improve weapons and armor, and this collect-'em-all aspect of Monster Hunter remains as addictive as it has always been. There's more on offer than in Tri, with a bunch of new monsters added, as well as loads of new quests, thus leading to new weapons and armor as well. And for a game so focused on grinding and fighting the same creatures over and over again, it does a remarkable job of keeping things fresh. Battles rarely play out the same, whether you're tackling a variety of different beasts or simply taking on the same one repeatedly. Each beast has its own strengths, weaknesses, and special characteristics, and even if you've fought the same monster multiple times, it's still capable of surprising you by varying its attack patterns and catching you unawares.
The vast scope of weapon types and armor provides plenty of content, as well. Mastering one single weapon feels like a game in itself, and the difference between using, say, greatswords or dual blades results in a huge variety in how you approach combat. The larger melee weapons require careful planning; they're heavy, slower to attack, and require you to keep a close eye on your opponent and look for an opening. Faster weapons let you rush in, chipping away at a beast, but doing less damage. It's all about finding a weapon type that suits your style of play, and eventually mastering each one so that you have the skills best suited to each monster. And of course, as well as a number of melee weapons, there's a bunch of different ranged weapons to master as well.
Taking down a giant poisonous leech with a hammer is very different from attacking it with a bowgun. This gives you more patterns to learn, approaches to take, and things to consider. The lengthy animations when you use healing items are still present, but they add an excellent element of tension, and the more-fluid camera and more-versatile controls thanks to the touch screen make the game more manageable than its Wii predecessor.
This comment has been deleted
@Bl4KD37H The battling is that way intentionally, it should grow on you. Find a weapon you like and learn it!
Ignore lack of story, the game is about gameplay.
Agree camera is underwhelming but once you get the hang of it it's actually pretty good.
The game is overwhelming but it gets better, just keep playing/exploring and it will come to you.
only 1 game is not worth to buy a new console. with new xbox n playstation coming, wiiU can only give a 'love-or-hate' game? and also, recycled games that both major consoles already finished playing? u gotta be kidding me!
why would I buy ps4 or new xbox, what new or exciting things are they bringing to enhance the gameplay??! I stick with pc for the graphics , the wiiu is the only console that is different and stands out , and with its new games coming out this year... SHUT YOUR MOUTH PLEASE!!
like the reviewer said, its the same game with a lot of new monsters and so on, but if its fun, then its fun so whatever. But the wii u wasn't made for this type of game (with the exception of online multiplayer) the wii u has a lot of unseen potential with the use of the game pad, and with the proper use of the game pad, this under rated system really should be considered next gen. as far a I see it right now, i spent 300 bucks on a tablet for drawing that is cheaper than buying a real professional one, its has amazing potential for us artists. ps4 has nothing that i've seen that grants a new style of game play whatsoever and thats what next gen should be about... and even though xbox has the new light scanner feature supposedly its more like that's a way to see the game rather than giving a different way to play them. both have "stunning graphics" on the way i'm sure, ps4's looks amazing, but uhhh, don't most up to date ps3 games look that stunning already? unless the physics engines are off the scale to make everything 100% realistic, graphics being so advanced really don't make the console next gen or worth getting in my opinion. im sure most fans of ps4 wont agree with most of my points here since its currently only a wishful thought of what the system will be until it comes out. Anyways I think monster hunter looks like absolute crap but so did phantasy star online and so did some older monster hunter games, but they were incredibly addictive and graphics had nothing to do with its success, but rather its game add-ons and gameplay in general as well as good online interactions are what make the game fun. and thats exactly what wii u is all about, the fun experience which usually always include friends, which many of xbox's and ps3's games failed to accomplish that with many titles that needed it.
I beg to differ, graphics have a big part of next gen console's infact i think its probs the biggest
Best Monster Hunter released so far in the West, but I'd kill for a localized online-enabled HD version of MHP3rd!
This review was done too early in the game by the reviewer. I have 350-400 hrs on all my MH tri characters and there is so much new and improved in this game its ridiculous. Totally worth a full 60 bucks. I bought a Wii U just for this game and it was worth it. There are totally new areas, weapons, quests, gameplay mechanics, monsters, ect. The new monsters aren't just reskins either, they have whole new move sets and animations. I have the 100 deviljho title on tri and the pink rathian kicked my ass the first attempt on here. BUY THIS GAME!
@ih8soup1 that's why I bought my wii u, I'm loving the game so far. It feels so good to be hunting again. I managed to put over 1000 hours into tri. I plan on doing at least that many here.
@MAS_LUDICREN I swear if you give it the time it's the best game on the planet. Just keep in mind no information is really given to you, you must find everything out on your own. you totally need to learn to live in the world of monster hunter and tough it out when the going gets tough. taking out large pray is no easy task. with the beginning weapons the monsters will seem to have way too much health.
@N4o7A in all fairness it's a niche game. you either love it or you hate it. personally, I love it. no other game is even close for me.
@teknic1200 Yea... I guess you're right. Really sad the majority of the west isn't into jolly cooperation killing giant monsters and stuff. I often find myself playing w/e games I can find just to fill that empty void in heart that is for MH. Oh well...
I never played a Monster Hunter game, but apparently a lot of people like it, especially in Japan. Can anyone tell me what is so good about it? It just seems like a long grind for newer gear to me.
@Dschadir it's a massive grind. it's very challenging and you hunt the same 51 monsters over and over to craft things out of them.
the thing is, grinding in groups is a blast! this is a game where your individual toon never levels up, he only gets better gear. instead of gaining skills with a leveling system if you wear a full complete set of armor you get powers from your armor set.
I'm not going to say it's not a grind, but I enjoy every second of it. The game never holds your hand and for new players there is always a wall they must overcome and it's no easy task. if you get over the initial challegne things really open up. because nothing is given to you it does take a while before you know how to live and survive in the monster hunter world.
If you own a wii u I think it's worth a try, if you do get hooked you'll not look at other games the same. And some of those rare parts take ages to drop!
@teknic1200 @Dschadir Thanks for the info. I got the game and I can see the lure. It's instant gratification with every kill, you can get new mats almost anytime everywhere. It's addicitive. Oh and also very important, there's a certain learning curve, there's actually a challenge, something sorely missed in a lot of today's games.
Too bad WiiU is bad. Wii graphics in HD, woopie!!!! Nintendo is gunna go the way of Sega. They'll be making games for other consoles.
@GheTToDaN15 too bad you just parrot things on message boards and act like you can tell the graphic potential by looking at compressed videos on line.
wii u is a great machine with a really great online infrastructure. blows xbl away.
Real gammers play games, they don't post silly things on the internet to measure their stuff.
Maybe the reason bosses are faster in Dark Souls is because it is more story oriented, while MH is more like care free hunting.
What does it matter if this game is a re-release of a different title?
Whether or not this is a up-rez'd version of MH:FU, or an expanded version of Tri, it's still introducing a new group of people to the series, and that's a good thing.
Now can we please stop making more Gears Games. Who knew that they could actually make chainsaw guns boring
even if its "just" a hd port with more content 8.0 seems low coz the wii version already got 8.0....for the best monster hunter out there
Imagine that! A game which doesn't try to center itself around that gimmicky motion control is good.
@martaye So long as it's successful, we can ensure the release of future MH titles.
It's only a matter of time until they release a MH game on all platforms.
judging by all the playstation fans critizing the graphics..i was ready to just enjoy an "up res"
but damn... this thing looks beautiful on my 60" plasma... some things are bad..like water and water effects but damn its so crisp and clear.