Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate Review
Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate Box Art
System: 3DS
Dev: Capcom
Pub: Capcom
Release: February 13, 2015
Players: 1-4
Screen Resolution: N/A Blood, Crude Humor, Fantasy Violence

If you're looking to strut your stuff, there's no better place than at the Gathering Hall where multiplayer hunts can be found. The game supports four-player local connections but for the first time on the 3DS allows online co-op, also with up to four players. I was pleasantly surprised with the stability of the connection and ease of gathering a party during these sessions, even with partners from different corners of the globe. It's exciting to see a foursome wail on a giant beast, each wielding a different tool of destruction. However, the multiplayer also lessens the challenge by a significant amount. The monsters do not compensate for the added attackers, and whether or not their health is scaled to accommodate the larger party, each one was still defeated in a fraction of the time it took in solo mode, with not nearly as much personal satisfaction. It is, however, a quick way to net some monster "bits" for crafting, and is fun nonetheless with the added social element.

Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate Screenshot

The monstrous fiends are exceptionally detailed, each an amalgamation of various animals. Their innards craft some equally stunning-looking equipment, and the animations of each are almost excessively flamboyant in their display. The environments, on the other hand, are primitive in comparison. Flattened foliage on the ground, simple water effects, and crudely cut walls show what the game had to sacrifice for such girth in content. Yet even with limited background animations, the world still feels alive, both with the small and large creatures that inhabit it and the colorful tribal artwork found throughout the adventure.

The voice acting consists of grunts, gasps, and plenty of meowing from the feline race of Palicoes that live alongside the humans. As expected, the monsters bellow with ferocity, sometimes even stunning and dazing you with the reverberations. The mellow town themes and adventuring fanfares crescendo into booming symphonies to alert you of the presence of a challenging foe. Drums thumping and horns blaring match the tribal aesthetic, presenting a soundscape that is uniquely tailored to the Monster Hunter series.

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Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate is the perfect fit for portable play, allowing you to devour piled-platter entrees or saucer-sized appetizers. Take on a hunt or two during your lunch hour, and if you can't finish, put the 3DS in sleep mode and spend the rest of the afternoon strategizing how to take down your mark. When you get home, crack the lid open and finish the job without missing a beat. Then spend the rest of the night tackling more quests. The game is rich in its variety of content, allowing for quick bouts at a crafting station or long slogs out in the field. Its appeal can span a variety of gamer profiles, and those who have not yet delved into the engrossing world of Monster Hunter have the best opportunity with Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate.

By
Sean Engemann
Contributing Writer
Date: February 10, 2015

RATING OUT OF 5
RATING DESCRIPTION
3.9
Graphics
Despite some lackluster backgrounds, the detailing in the monsters and equipment is impressive. Character and monster animations are all fluid in the heat of an intense battle.
4.4
Control
Heavy controls are deliberate, and add to the strategic element. Controlling the camera on the 3DS is surprisingly easy to master, even on the older systems.
4.4
Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
Simple vocals somehow seem fitting in the Monster Hunter series. The playlist perfectly matches the scene, and the booming sound effects in combat only heighten the intensity.
5.0
Play Value
As full a game as you'll find on any console. This review only scratched the surface of the content that awaits. So get out there and let the hunt begin.
4.5
Overall Rating - Must Buy
Not an average. See Rating legend below for a final score breakdown.
Review Rating Legend
0.1 - 1.9 = Avoid 2.5 - 2.9 = Average 3.5 - 3.9 = Good 4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy
2.0 - 2.4 = Poor 3.0 - 3.4 = Fair 4.0 - 4.4 = Great 5.0 = The Best

Game Features:

  • Online Play – Connect with up to three other hunters online over the Nintendo Network for the first time ever, or local wireless, to join up and take down larger than life beasts.
  • Two new weapon classes – The Insect Glaive is a long staff type weapon accompanied by a powerful flying insect which can be customized with various attributes; the Charge Blade is a hybrid that switches between a sword and shield or axe mode, with the ability to collect energy from attacks to charge up and unleash powerful attacks. The 12 previous weapon types have also been updated with modifications to moves or combos.
  • More vertical environments – The action expands with more fluid climbing motions and the addition of jump attacks from walls or ledges.
  • Virus effect – Monsters are even more threatening with a new frenzied state which makes them stronger and more vicious than in their normal state.
  • New gameplay mechanic – For the first time ever, hop on to monsters and hold on to deliver a burst of attacks.
  • Dynamic terrain changes – Some monsters can cause the battlefield to shift during a fight, making even ground slant at an angle into a steep slope; if hunters are not careful, they could slide right out of the zone into the next area.
  • Returning favorites and fresh challenges – With several brand new monsters such as the dark and menacing Gore Magala as well as hordes of returning favorites including the primal Tigrex, players have access to a larger roster of ferocious enemies than ever before.

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