A Game Review by Greg Dabkey
Game – Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate
Version – Wii U & 3DS Retail
ESRB Rating: ‘T’ – Teen
Price: $59.99 (Wii U) / $39.99 (3DS)
Release Date: 3/19/2013
Obtained – Review copy courtesy of Capcom
Are you a hunter or a gatherer? Are you willing to take on the hunt, or will you be the one getting hunted by monsters?
The story begins as a new rookie hunter has arrived at Moga Village. Earthquakes have been destroying the village and the villages would like to figure out the problem and if possible prevent future earthquakes. After talking to the village chief, the rookie learns that the chief’s son is trying to restore the camp grounds. The rookie is tasked to go talk to him to see if he needs any help, the chief’s son is hungary, so they should bring some meat with them. After meeting up with the chief’s son and handing over some meat, they both return to the village.
The chief’s son has analyzed the damage and asks the rookie to gather some resources so that the hunting grounds can be restored. The chief’s son then will convert monsters into resources that can be used to fix up the village. Once the village is fixed up, the farm can be restored. After these few restorations, the quest station opens up and the rookie can do quests for the village including gathering particular resources, or defeating particular monsters. The game goes much deeper than this, but this is the initial part of the story.
Gameplay & Controls
The gameplay is really where Monster Hunter shines. While I still have a long way to go, the game has been an incredibly fun game to play. Basically you explore the surrounding area and kill monsters. You can harvest the body for resources which you can use to forge new weapons or combine with other resources and make a new item. If you do not need the item, you can always opt to sell it as well, or if your inventory is full, you can discard it. The hunter has a limited carrying capacity both in terms amount of a particular item along with a total number spots within the pouch.
In addition to the open exploration, the player has the option to take quests. The quests are typically fetch quests or defeat/capture a monster. The fetch quests could be just harvesting a particular part off a monster, or it could be gathering resources from plants or mining. The quest begins by talking to the person behind the guild counter. They will allow you to pick a quest for a particular cost. After the player completes a few quests, a quest of a higher difficulty unlocks, once that quest is completed the hunter will have the choice to start harder quests.
The quests are also very limiting, as once you start you have to depart to begin the quest. Typically each quest has a time limit of fifty minutes, and if the hunter does not complete it in time, the hunter fails the quest. The hunter can also fail if they die three times. The guild supplies some items for the quest, but any leftover items are returned to the guild. The player also has the ability to travel to another port, that has a different guild with land to explore and additional quests. The game does have multiplayer support, but players need to sort of plan ahead as they need to begin the quest around the same time. I have not had a chance to use this feature.
Finally, the last major portion of the game is weapon crafting. The player begins with one weapon in each weapon category which they can equip when in the town. The blacksmith allows the hunter to upgrade the weapon, or forge new ones providing they have the proper resources. The same also applies for equipment. There are also other parts of town that can further your resource development from farming or purchasing or even sending vessels to go and trade.
The controls are pretty solid for this game, but I must say it will take a while to get adjusted. The game does a great job introducing how to play, but the player will want to spend time getting adjusted if this is their first Monster Hunter game. The control styles are basically the same between the Wii U and 3DS, but 3DS controls are more difficult if the player does not have the Circle Pad Pro. The extra circle pad would be desired since the right analog stick on the GamePad allows the player to rotate the camera. I still found the 3DS version playable as there is a button to at least center the camera behind the hunter. I did find swimming on the 3DS to be difficult though. It requires that the camera be adjusted to swim deeper, and in order to adjust the camera the player needs to use the control pad. This can be difficult to be moving forward and changing directions at the same time.
Visuals & Sound
Obviously the Wii U version is superior in visuals as they are in high definition. The 3DS version does have the stereoscopic 3D effects which are pretty solid. The characters, monsters, backgrounds are full of details. One of the issues with the Wii U version is the tiny text on the screen. The player will need to sit close to the TV to be able to read the information on the TV. This may be addressed with the update coming this month when cross-play functionality is added, but it hasn’t been acknowledged. The music and sounds are pretty decent. The tunes for the village and battle are enjoyable to listen to. The nature effects while adventuring make it seem like you are really in the environment, along with all the sound effects from the singing of birds to walking through puddles of water. There is no voice acting, but some characters have a limited phrase or grunt.
Final Score: 8.5 out of 10
Overall, Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate is a game packed with content. If the player has the desire to learn the controls and put in the time to get the items for better equipment and complete quests, then this will be an awesome time-draining game. If the player is concerned about having the time to play or simply not interested in open world adventure games, then this will definitely not be the game for you. Having both versions of the game is great idea as the player can transfer the save file between the two games. This allows the player to continue their game on the go and sync the save file back to the Wii U. I would recommend this game to this that love adventure, open world games or those that played prior games in the series. They have added a significant amount of items, quests and features (compared to Monster Hunter 3) where the game should keep the player busy for at least a hundred hours.
+ HD graphics (Wii U) / 3D Graphics (3DS)
+ Online multiplayer (Wii U) / Portable (3DS)
+ hundreds of quests with varying tasks and difficulties
- Small text on TV (Wii U) / Local Multiplayer only (3DS)
- GamePad screen barely utilized (Wii U) / practically requires Circle Pad Pro (3DS) – for best experience
- Sharp learning curve, numerous tutorial prompts