Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate Review for Nintendo 3DS

Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate Review for Nintendo 3DS

The Hunt Is On!

The stunning opening cutscene delivers a clear message that in Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate the story is yours to forge, with the game providing all the tools necessary to achieve just that. As always in the series, you’re a hunter charged with taking out the biggest, baddest beasts in the land. Capcom has attempted to add a narrative by penning a globetrotting quest via a caravan company to uncover the history of a remarkable relic in the caravaneer’s possession. The tale peels away the interesting personalities of the caravan crew, but it’s more flavor text than a substantive story. There are plot driving quests, but ultimately the pace is yours to control.

As the various town hubs are unlocked, you can socialize with the eccentric residents and merchants. They’ll criticize your eyebrows and poke fun at your lacking brawn, but also provide useful tips for surviving and excelling out in the field. Some offer fetch quests, though you’ll find even simple tasks are rife with surprises and meatier than the average fare in most RPGs. A simple quest such as fishing for Goldenfish could be interrupted by the arrival of a giant tusk-bearing amphibian with a rocky carapace. Even if you obtain the required goods to complete your objective, you are free to eat up the rest of the timed mission by exploring the map’s many zones, mining for ores, catching insects with a bug net, picking mushrooms and herbs, and hunting down creatures for their useful parts.

You’ll reap plenty of resources (likely more than your backpack can hold) by the mission’s end, but every single item from dung to giant tuna has its uses. Materials can be combined into consumables to regain health, refresh stamina, and cure ailments. Create paintballs to tag large monsters (essential for tracking), fashion ammunition and coatings for your ranged weapons, and use those big beast parts to forge upgraded armor and a mightier arsenal of weapons. And this is only a fraction of the useful items the robust crafting system offers you.

Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate Screenshot

Disregard the preparation phase at your own risk. You’re often given fifty minutes to take down a large mark, and you’ll find yourself using every second against later game behemoths, even when properly equipped. As with all Monster Hunter games, the hunt is more important than the kill. Without excelling at the former, you will never achieve the latter. Barreling headlong into your newly discovered “prey” will result in a quick failure. Sizing up the monster’s attack patterns, dodging an oncoming charge, and waiting for a vulnerable opening to appear are all part of the intense tango.

Leaping from a ledge to mount a monster is a new tactic in Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate , and one you’ll want to exploit at every opportunity. The beast will attempt to buck you off its back while you stab at it. Winning the struggle grants you a few precious moments to hack away while it picks itself up off the ground. The enemies bear no health bar, so you’ll have to look for visual cues to assess your progress. The monster will flee to another area to rest and recover, and limp around when nearing its end. That final victorious blow after a lengthy struggle is one of the most satisfying you’ll find in any video game. And then it’s on to your next target.

Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate Screenshot

Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate offers over a dozen different weapon types to play around with, none of which follow the conventional make-up. Bowguns that transform when unsheathed, massive hammers that are easily twice your character’s weight, and even a glaive equipped with a giant beetle called a Kinsect are a few of the outlandish weapons at your disposal. My personal favorite is the charge blade, a new entry in the series that combines the defense of the sword and shield with the versatility of the switch axe (sword and axe combo), but can also be charged up to unleash devastating elemental attacks. Whatever your preferred choice, you’ll find each is equally useful and unique.

The weight of your weaponry affects the controls of the game, making the learning curve much steeper than most action RPGs. While wielding a weapon your mobility suffers, and winding up a wallop requires the proper timing lest your target move out of range, or worse, strike you first. You can dodge to avoid attacks at the expense of stamina, but you’ll find stowing your weapon to gain some running speed the more tactical option. Choosing your strikes carefully, sheathing and evading, then striking again at the opportune moment is the wash, rinse, and repeat cycle that separates the greenhorns from the ace hunters.

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.

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 .

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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