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Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate Review

Developer: Capcom | Publisher: Capcom
Players: 1 to 4 Player Game | Release Date: 03/19/13 | Genre: Action

Monster Hunter is a franchise that just hasn’t caught on in the Western part of the world like it has in the land of the rising sun--Japan. In Japan, Monster Hunter is the newest franchise to dominate sales, in Japan. Schools ask that Capcom not release it during classes, people stand in line to own a new version, and people buy a new console just to play Monster Hunter. 

Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate is a port of the 2010 Monstner Hunter Tri. Ultimate is enhanced with more missions, better online play (more on that later), DLC, and more. Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate comes in two flavoris: 3DS and Wii U. This review will concentrate on the 3DS version. 

The 3DS version of Capcom’s re-release suffers in two areas: control and online play. With only a single analog stick to utilize, out of the box, Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate, originally designed for dual analog sticks, suffers with the 3DS. There is an option to use the CirclePad Pro, for the original 3DS, but this add-on hasn’t been officially released stateside for the 3DS XL. Players can, instead, opt to use the d-pad, inconveniently located below the left analog stick, or the touchscreen d-pad that uses software to mirror the real thing. This is located in the upper right region of the touchscreen in its default location. 

Can Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate be played without the use of the Circle Pad Pro? Yes, it can. At times, the lack of a lock-on mechanic and fumbling with moving the cmaera can lead to missing your target and cause you to wait again for another opening to jump in. Due to the slower-pace of the standard combat, this is okay though still annoying. It is even worse moving the camera in the water battles. If the 3DS ever needed a second analog stick, this game is the reason why.

Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate also doesn’t offer online play on its own. True, users can play locally with up to 3 friends but if you are looking to online with your 3DS, you will have to wait for Monster Hunter 4. The only way to get Ultimate online is to first own a Wii U, next have a copy of Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate on both the Wii U and 3DS (each sold separately), third, you have to have the Wii U LAN Adapter, and then you have to franken-connect the Wii U online with the above mentioned tools to get your 3DS copy online. Sound overly complicated? It is and a bigger letdown than the lack of a second analog stick. 

The nice part of having Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate on both the Wii U and 3DS is you can play local play with both the 3DS and Wii U at the same time. This makes it easy for friends to join up in slaying monsters. For those of you who have never experienced Monster Hunter this way, it is what makes the franchise so special. Grouping together to slay large monsters gives Monster Hunter something that not even most MMO’s can compete with on the PC. There is definitely no competition on handhelds or big-screened consoles. 

For those of you who have yet to experience a game of Monster Hunter, there isa demo of Ultimate available for the 3DS to give you a taste of what you have to look forward to. this peak into the world will give you a small glimpse at the epic nature of hunting large-scaled monsters. Monster Hunter is not for the faint of heart. Players must complete different quests to find items, slay monsters, or trap monsters. Battles can take place on land or in the water and are not your typical button-mashing affairs. You have to watch your prey and tactically know when to engage. If you go in guns blazing, you might get the smaller foes but you will fall on your face when you go toe to toe against your bigger prey.

In addition to more intense gameplay, there is no locking on enemies. you have to earn materials in order to buy or upgrade armor and weapons, and each weapon uses a complete  different set of skills. A  sword and shield plays completely different than a lance and shield. This mirrors real life and makes the gameplay much more engaging. Also, certain enemies will be easier when using certain equipment.

Players can journey out and harvest resources, fighting the enemies that are in each area of the map, without timer. However, when embarking upon a quest, you are limited to 50 minutes to complete the task. If you are seeing an item, it must be brought to your camp and placed in the Red Box before the timer runs out. There are no magical icons that show you where to go or where the enemies are. You need to know the areas and listen to the townsfolk to give you clues. If you are really lost, you can do what all good Monster Hunter players do... Look on the Internet at the various help sites and forums with specific instructions on how to tackle each quest.  

Quests are given a star rating. The more stars, the harder the quest is. If you die more than three times, while on a quest, or if the timer runs out, you fail that specific quest. What makes matters more frustrating is if you are on a quest with other players, their deaths count toward that 3 death total. That means if one players dies three times, the quest is over for all of you!

Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate may not be a brand new entry in the series. It is, however, a well crafted experience that players can pour easily over a hundred hours into. This should easily tide you over until Monster Hunter 4 makes its way onto the 3DS in the future. Until then, I confidently recommend this title. Just take it slow, pay attention to all the text boxes, and get ready for an adventure unlike anything else.

By Kaleb Rutherford - 05/24/13
ESRB Details: Rated for Blood, Crude Humor, and Fantasy Violence. This is an action-adventure game (with role-playing elements) in which players hunt fantastical monsters and complete quests while in the service of a village chief. Players battle dinosaurs, dragons, and giant insects in real-time, close-quarter combat. Characters can use a variety of weapons including swords, lances, bombs, and “bowguns” (firearm-like crossbows) to attack creatures. Combat is accompanied by red blood-like spurts that flash briefly when hits are successful. During some combat, players can use “dung bombs” that result in greenish brown clouds. Characters can also track creatures from their droppings, which are humorously described: “That's right: monster poop. The odor reveals (too) much about the monster's diet.”
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