Platform: Nintendo 3DS
Monster Hunter has long been a series close to my heart, ever since I discovered the series with Monster Hunter Freedom on the PSP. The series has made its home on a variety of consoles, and now resides on Nintendo’s consoles.
Released in February 2015, Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate (MH4U) is the newest addition to the franchise and can only be found on the Nintendo 3DS. Since release day, I’ve sank over 200 hours into the game and feel now is the perfect time to write a review.
Monster Hunter, as the name suggests, is a game wherein you hunt monsters. Dinosaurs, Dragons, Giant Snakes and Giant Monkeys; what more could you possibly want?
You choose a quest, complete the objective – usually to kill or capture something – and get a few rewards based on what you did. These rewards, usually parts of the previously fought Monster, can then be used to create and upgrade a wide variety of weapons and armours.
MH4U can be played both single player and multiplayer, with each offering a different selection of quests to complete. The two can usually be played effectively side by side – for example, if you are having trouble killing something in single player hop online with a group of up to 4 Hunters, get yourself some better equipment and give the single player quest another shot.
Capcom have also done as much as they can to make MH4U as welcoming as possible to any new players. The first few hours of the game are filled with a number of tutorials that get players up to speed quickly, and the single player missions – at least in my opinion – definitely seem a lot easier when compared to previous games in the series.
Unlike other similar games, Monster Hunter does not include a levelling system. You have a set amount of health and stamina which stays the same from the beginning of the game until the end. Instead, how strong you are is determined by the armour you are wearing and its corresponding skills.
This lack of a levelling system, is a great gameplay mechanic, as it means that in order to get further in the game you actually have to be good at it. It’s almost impossible to be “over-levelled” in Monster Hunter, as the gear you make is always just good enough for the stage of the game you are at.
Monster Hunter has always featured a variety of weapons to fit all playstyles, and MH4U is no different. There are 14 weapon types split across two “classes”, for a lack of a better word.
Blademaster, a generic term for any melee weapon type, features a variety of weapons which require the user to get up close and personal such as swords, hammers and lances. Gunner is the other weapon type found in Monster Hunter, and this includes Bowguns and Bows – as you would expect, these require the user to keep their distance from the monsters.
Introduced in MH4U are the Charge Blade and Insect Glaive, two Blademaster weapons. Unfortunately I’ve yet to have any real use with them so I can’t divulge too much about those two.
Also new to the series is aerial attacks and mounting. Regardless of which weapon you are using, if you jump off a ledge – and let me tell you, there are a lot of ledges in this game – you are able to attack whilst still in mid-air with a surprisingly strong attack.
This attack does “mounting damage” and once enough of this mounting damage has been inflicted on the monster you are placed into a mini-game in which you are riding on the back of the monster. Beat the mini-game by stabbing the monster’s back enough without getting knocked off and the monster will fall over, helplessly writhing on the floor. This gives you a couple of seconds to score a few hits on the monster without the risk of getting hurt.
You can also do these aerial attacks whilst being launched in the air from another Hunter’s attacks. Tired of being swung in the air by a Greatsword user’s upswing? Well now you can instantly attack whilst airborne and get right back into the action.
Monster Hunter has never relied on having a great story, instead it’s all about the gameplay. Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate does include a story, however it is nothing fantastic.
What story there is, however, goes something like this: You take on the role of a new Hunter on the way to a small town called Val Habar. During your journey, your ship is attacked by a giant Dragon and it’s up to you to stop it. Armed with nothing but your underwear, it turns out that you’re the world’s best Hunter and manage to fend off the beast. The ship’s captain hires you to become his resident hunter and everything is off to a good start.
You arrive at the town, and suddenly everyone has something that you need to kill. Eventually a new disease comes to light, and its making monsters weirder, and of course stronger. So, naturally, it becomes your job to find out what’s causing it – and then stop it.
For a DS game huehue…
Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate is a beautiful game, which I think may surprise a lot of people considering Capcom’s choice of console. I’m almost inclined to say it’s as good as, if not better than the previous instalment of the series, MH3U, on the Wii U. That’s quite an impressive feat considering how much more powerful the Wii U is compared to the 3DS.
Overall, Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate is a fantastic game. I’m even tempted to call it the best game in the series. The game is welcoming to new players, and there is a tonne of content waiting for veteran players at G Rank.