Play
Please use a flash video capable browser to watch videos.
00:00:00
Sorry, but you can't access this content!
Please enter your date of birth to view this video

By clicking 'enter', you agree to GameSpot's
Terms of Use and Privacy Policy

Review

Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate Review

  • First Released
    released
  • 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.

'

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.

'

Did you enjoy this review?

Sign In to Upvote
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
About GameSpot's Reviews
Other Platform Reviews for Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate

About the Author

306 comments
xkabuto
xkabuto

I got this game in the eShop recently when it was on sale. I was thinking it would must be a pretty good game from all the good things I've heard about it. I've never played a Monster Hunter game til this one but I now have over 100+ hours of gameplay and well... I guess I just don't understand why this game is such a big deal. It has it's good points, like fighting huge bosses and making lots of different weapons and armor but besides that I don't feel like it offers much. It gets very repetitive to fight the same bosses over and over to get the certain things you want, also just doing things like trying to build resources. It also has a lot of stupid things in the game like anytime you wanna drink a potion, sharpen your sword, eat a steak, carve a monster, there long animations for everything. I also don't like how the sharpness of weapons means a lot in this game since if they aren't sharp enough, prepare for your weapon to just keep bouncing off the enemy. Bows and bow guns also seem fairly worthless in a way, because they're weak and different types of ammo and coatings are just an annoyance to deal with because the amount of materials they require just don't seem worth the effort at all. Some melee weapons are worth using but some of them are sluggish in both movement and attacking. The underwater combat is also pretty terrible.


So there are a lot of issues I see with this game but besides everything I mentioned. There is no intriguing story, interesting world to explore or people to talk to. There is no sort of progression besides more monsters. No movesets you can unlock as you progress, no skills. The whole world in Monster Hunter just seems so hollow and lacking, when it could be so much more. As it is though, all you've got is fighting bosses and crafting.

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

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

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....

KBFloYd
KBFloYd

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.

KBFloYd
KBFloYd

good score for a game released 5 times already! aww yeaa

bojox3m
bojox3m

I don't get these boring comments. Are you guys trolling? If you haven't tried an MH game, You have forever forsaken your childhood.

rasputin177
rasputin177

Say what you want about Capcom but I love their enemy design.

SultaN-s
SultaN-s

the art style looks terrible.

Warsilver
Warsilver

What I got from this review: as a Monster Hunter game it's great; as a game in and of itself it's not great.

rushiosan
rushiosan

Found this a boring game on Wii. I doubt 3DS version will change my mind, but great review anyway.

kobra_kaiden
kobra_kaiden

I would've insta-bought a 3DS if it had online.

Big_Pecks
Big_Pecks

It's "the best hunt" but it's not the best Monster Hunter score. False advertising!

LukeWesty
LukeWesty

Sooo they use the same graphics from the PS2 game???

DinoBuster
DinoBuster

Having been a fan of Monster Hunter since the original PS2 game, and putting quite a few hours on all the handheld games and the Wii game, that followed, I am a little disappointed with MH3U so far. Much of it seems to be brought over from the Tri. Identically in fact.

The tablet features are pretty useful and definitley welcome, but the 3DS functionality isn't properly implemented yet, and requires players to have a Wii-U to play over the internet which is just a huge WTF at Capcom in my opinion.

It's true that I haven't played any of the Japanese releases in the series, but as a Western gamer, I've seen much of this already. I'm still having a good time with it, as I most likley would with any amount of times they rehashed existing material and called it something new. I like the series a lot. I also like Dynasty Warriors so take my opinions with a grain of salt in regards to this, I'm just really ready for an entirely NEW Monster Hunter.

teknic1200
teknic1200

the only way fans would have seen a lot of this content is if they played Japan's portable 3rd or p3rd hd.

if you've only played the wester releases there's a ton of new stuff here!

I'm in heaven playing 3u!

Blue-Sky
Blue-Sky

If only I could play this on 360/PS3

galdoblame
galdoblame

how much a wiiu? i spend over 800 hours on the psp version,killing kut kut,owning thjose black gravios,taming the akantor and it's icy counterpart.

even if the wii u cost 400 with taxes,it WILL worth it.for me,at least.

Granpire
Granpire

Sometimes, I think certain games are my all-time favorites. Like Noctis IV. Or Wipeout HD. Or Midnight Club LA.

But when I think of the games that have brought the purest fun of all, Monster Hunter ALWAYS comes out on top.

Such a truly special game for me. So many memories created with my brother and my cousins last year. The Steel Uragan was such a stickler for me. We never did beat a Deviljho. One day, we will. One day.

WllDan7
WllDan7

I like what this is doing so far. I don't like rebuying games but with the better online, better graphics, more monsters, more quests, and miiverse how could I say no.

gecko054
gecko054

Sadly, there's no PS Vita port of this game.. :(

pikaby
pikaby

I like how not a single person here knows that the Wii U version is just an UPSCALING of the 3DS game to a big screen.

No one remembers how bad Monster Hunter Portable 3rd HD (JP only, PlayStation3) looked?

Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate More Info

Follow
  • First Released
    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 Rating255 Rating(s)
    Please Sign In to rate Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate
    Developed by:
    Capcom
    Published by:
    Capcom, Nintendo
    Genre(s):
    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