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Review

Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate Review

  • Game release: March 19, 2013
  • Reviewed:
  • WIIU

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.

by

'

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.

Perhaps the most welcome aspect of Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate is the overhaul of its online systems. Joining a game is a simple affair: you head to the online port, join one of the lobbies, and pick a room or set up your own. From here, you can quest with friends or strangers, and the new text input interface, as well as voice chat using the GamePad, makes communication a lot easier. There's still the ability to shout stock phrases via text, and you can also customize and save your own for use in the heat of battle.

The online quests (which can also be played locally) are a diverse affair. Some take the form of quests from the main game; others exist as arena-based challenges, granting you specific equipment and armor. Some of them require you to take on multiple great beasts at once, and rising up the hunter ranks allows you to hunt increasingly more difficult quarry. There are plenty of downloadable quests too, available at no cost, with a large number already available in time for launch, so this portion of Monster Hunter should keep you busy for a long time to come.

Taking on these challenges with other people, tailoring your roles to best suit the monster you're after, and making use of the game's multiple approaches are where Monster Hunter really shines. A greatsword expert can take slow, methodical strikes from behind while a lancer goads the monster, stabbing at its head to get its attention. Another player lays a trap, then retreats to a safe distance, peppering the creature with arrows. With good planning and some skilful play, Monster Hunter becomes more than just a struggle to survive but a methodical, well-planned series of hunts, rich in strategies and variety thanks to the numerous weapons, approaches and monster variants on offer.

One slightly annoying issue, however, is the onscreen non-player character dialogue text, which is tiny and boxed into one corner of the screen. At times, it's barely readable. It's a frustrating accessibility issue, one that's particularly baffling considering how customizable other aspects are. The game's presentation is largely excellent, however, with the rest of the interface clear, concise, and easy to manage.

Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate isn't an entirely new game. Players who sank hundreds of hours into Tri are going to find the majority of the content familiar, but given the nature of Monster Hunter, this isn't necessarily a problem. You make progress fast, so tackling the same beasts you've already fought in the same locations a few years ago isn't really a deterrent, and the extra quests, maps, collectibles and better online functionality more than compensate for any familiar moments. It's easily the best Monster Hunter game so far, and while it would be nice to see a console sequel with more up-to-date visuals and all-new locations, Ultimate is an great entry into the Wii U catalog.

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The Good
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
The Bad
Onscreen text can be awkward to read
Series fans will already have seen much of the content
8
Great
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Discussion

307 comments
Muchacho24
Muchacho24

I just barely found out about this game and I really want to play it. I have played the demo

vattodev
vattodev

I see that this reviewer didn't play until G rank. This is MH3G release in the west. This means that we got a new difficulty level in which even the few monsters that were in MH3 now have new attacks, make new armor sets and weapons. The major mistake in this review is that it leads the reader to believe that we "are going to find the majority of the content familiar". 

Let's also remember that MH3 had 18 monsters while MH3G has 51. So, 33 new monsters are all familiar, huh? Please don't bash monster hunter for bringing old monsters into new mechanics. That's a very nice tradition. Everyone was eager to fight the old monsters with the new weapons and improved collision detection.

Unless you played MHP3rd in the psp, which still didn't have G rank and wasn't released in the west, this game brings a ton of new content. If you did, it still brings you G rank, which changes everything you thought you knew.

Blakey856
Blakey856

port this over to xbox already. COMMON!

greymon12345
greymon12345

Got to try it.  The monster warriors are amazing. 

SteveMcD01
SteveMcD01

"Not an entirely new game" - Dude this is Nintendo! They live to recycle.

Rovelius
Rovelius

I can't fucking wait to own a Wii U.

chyng85
chyng85

Thanks for the review, agree for the "Onscreen text can be awkward to read" part~

02050muh
02050muh

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!

GothikaGeist
GothikaGeist

Best Monster Hunter released so far in the West, but I'd kill for a localized online-enabled HD version of MHP3rd!

ih8soup1
ih8soup1

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!

MAS_LUDICREN
MAS_LUDICREN

I passed on this one at the store the other day but I may need to give it a second look!

N4o7A
N4o7A

I'm glad MH got a good score, most of the time they give it ok or bad.

Dschadir
Dschadir

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.

GheTToDaN15
GheTToDaN15

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.

00LiteYear
00LiteYear

Maybe the reason bosses are faster in Dark Souls is because it is more story oriented, while MH is more like care free hunting.

Sp0ilzbury
Sp0ilzbury

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.

TheDarkSpot
TheDarkSpot

lol people used to get unlimited 48 hour gold trials with this game on XBOX...

greenpolyp
greenpolyp

Now can we please stop making more Gears Games. Who knew that they could actually make chainsaw guns boring

theblackfrog
theblackfrog

 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

zenstrata
zenstrata

Imagine that!  A game which doesn't try to center itself around that gimmicky motion control is good.

Sampawende
Sampawende

Please tell me that I'm dreaming !

Are we playing the same game ? ... guys ! com on....

martaye
martaye

this game is awesome but needs to be on more platforms....

Brokenseraph
Brokenseraph

@SteveMcD01 This is Capcom and Capcom only.  They are way to lazy and scared to develop an HD console version from scratch.

wcwj26
wcwj26

 @Bl4KD37H You don't own a Wii U......

5mi77y
5mi77y

@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. 

cesarexec22
cesarexec22

@02050muh 

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!!

reper1210
reper1210

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. 

teknic1200
teknic1200

@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.

teknic1200
teknic1200

@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.

teknic1200
teknic1200

@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
teknic1200

@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!

theblackfrog
theblackfrog

 @Dschadir exactly, like diablo without auction house

teknic1200
teknic1200

@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.

theblackfrog
theblackfrog

 @GheTToDaN15 lol ppl say that for over 15 years now

ih8soup1
ih8soup1

@00LiteYear brachydios would like a word with you. hes the equivalent of artorias in terms of aggressiveness

theblackfrog
theblackfrog

 @greenpolyp what are u talking about? there are no chaingun weapons and mh3u has nothing to do with gears of war

Sp0ilzbury
Sp0ilzbury

@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.

Thunderbear24
Thunderbear24

@cesarexec22 @02050muh I couldn't agree with you more. Like you, I go for PC gaming and for something dfferent I go for Wii. I don't like people that say bad things about Nintendo when they haven't experienced it before. Nintendo games really do shine and stand out form other consoles.

SeannTHEsheep
SeannTHEsheep

@cesarexec22 @02050muh they are bringing lots of rehashes and sequels to the table. infamous 3, killzone 4 with slightly better graphics and only using 1.5 gig of the ps4s 8gb ram that isnt going to be used by programmers till 6 years into the consoles life.  

LukeWesty
LukeWesty

@reper1210  

I beg to differ, graphics have a big part of next gen console's infact i think its probs the biggest

N4o7A
N4o7A

@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...

Dschadir
Dschadir

@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.

Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate More Info

  • Released
    • 3DS
    • Wii U
    Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate utilises the functionalities of the Wii U console and Nintendo 3DS system to provide players with a truly intuitive hunting experience.
    8.6
    Average User RatingOut of 248 User Ratings
    Please Sign In to rate Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate
    Developed by:
    Capcom
    Published by:
    Capcom, Nintendo
    Genres:
    Action, Role-Playing
    Content is generally suitable for ages 13 and up. May contain violence, suggestive themes, crude humor, minimal blood, simulated gambling and/or infrequent use of strong language.
    Teen
    All Platforms
    Blood, Crude Humor, Fantasy Violence