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Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate Review

A seemingly monstrous learning curve is but a mere hurdle when experiencing the thrill of the hunt

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Fortunately, the internet is a treasure-trove of MH knowledge filled with numerous how-to videos, wikis and guides to fill in those blanks. In many regards, the game is similar to an MMO in the way that online databases exhaustively catalog all of the different items, weapon stats, elemental properties of monsters, and so on. Those guides will especially come in handy in order to find out how to obtain the necessary components to create a new piece of armor or to complete a gathering-related quest.

But even with all the online tutorials at your disposal, the best way to get better at Monster Hunter is to simply play it; as crucial as it is to prepare resources accordingly and learn the advantages and disadvantages of each piece of equipment, once the battle begins between a player and a snarling behemoth of a monster, it is the player's skills that will determine victory or defeat. Much like the cult hit Dark Souls, Monster Hunter's apparent lack of fluid controls are in fact a deliberate hurdle players must instinctively overcome. The concept of animation priority plays an important factor in both the weapons you can equip and the monsters you must face.

Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate Wii U

Rather than assign players with a specific class or job, as commonly seen in similar games, Monster Hunter determines what role characters will play based on the type of weapon they are wielding. Right from the start players are given access to all of the available weapon categories, but are only allowed to equip one at a time. And while logic may dictate that the biggest weapons do the most damage, none of the weapon types possess an advantage over each other. Instead, it all comes down to the player's preferences over what pros and cons each weapon carries: the sword and shield set allows for quick strikes and the ability to block attacks, but loses its weapon sharpness very quickly (ultimately resulting in weaker attacks that may even do no damage at all, unless players use a whetstone to restore the blade's edge); Greatswords are massive two-handed blades that can cleave through the thickest monster hides, but also cut down on the player's movement speed significantly, including very slow swinging attacks; Bowguns can hit enemies from a safe distance, but require ammunition, which can be sold or crafted to shoot different status effects to hinder prey; Hunting horns act like massive clubs when used offensively, but can also be used as a support weapon by playing a combination of melodies to boost both the player's stats as well as those of nearby allies.

In addition to learning how each weapon handles as well as the various attack combinations each one possesses (information that most certainly should have been represented in the actual game via a combo list or whatnot), it is also important to learn the attack patterns and tells of each monster. Many have attributed the Monster Hunter series as a "Boss Rush" series of games, and that distinction certainly qualifies. While the game features several smaller enemy types littered throughout each area, the real threats are the monsters players are tasked to hunt in each quest. Bigger, meaner, and more tenacious than any of the regular monsters, each of these boss monsters are unique in both design as well as behavior: some creatures like the Great Jaggi or Lagombi are known for their quick speed and close-range attacks, while others like the Rathian are massive dragons that can take flight and pelt players with fireballs from a distance. There are even creatures that behave differently in both land and underwater, such as the Royal Ludroth and the story-oriented Lagiacrus.

Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate Wii U

Any player who rushes in an attempt to take out these titanic terrors will soon find themselves incapacitated and wheeled back to their home base (losing a portion of the reward, though all items are kept). The key to victory is to assess each creature patiently, memorizing the patterns of their attacks and knowing when to roll away or counter with a blow to the head, similar to Punch-Out and other brawler-based games. Though none of the monsters feature a life bar, eventually they will begin to show signs of weakness, such as excessive drooling and limping. Don't expect victory to immediately follow, however, as these creatures also tend to run away in order to lick their wounds, disappearing into another part of the area (which features different zones that are all linked together). Throwing a paintball prior to their escape will mark the creature's presence on the mini-map, allowing players to track them down no matter where they've run off to, and perhaps re-supply some potions and rations along the way. Take too long to continue the fight, however, and the monster may regain some of its lost health by resting in a nearby nest or devouring some smaller carcasses.

These boss battles represent the defining appeal of the Monster Hunter series. All of the item harvesting and equipment preparation is in pursuit of the singular goal of hunting bigger and stronger monsters, gathering their parts to forge stronger weapons and armor, and those parts to outfit your character to take on bigger and stronger monsters. The unpredictable attacks and missing life bars result in some of the most intense battles ever experienced in any game, while the relentless pursuit of retreating enemies further extend the thrill of the hunt. The closest approximation to any previous game would be Shadow of the Colossus, and the shared rush of topping a massive titan after barely surviving its earth-shattering attacks. While the bosses in Monster Hunter do not possess any glaring weak points like the Colossi, they do have certain parts of their bodies that are susceptible to critical attacks. A well-timed Greatsword can cleave a creature's tail clean off, while a hammer blow to the head can momentarily stun them into inactivity, or break off a horn or two. These dismemberments not only weaken monsters considerably, but also result in more monster parts to harvest, including rare pieces that can craft especially powerful weapons and armor. Fans of loot-driven games will come to know this monster-infested island as a paradise.

Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate
Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate box art Platform:
Wii U
Our Review of Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate
The Verdict:
Game Ranking
Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate is ranked #465 out of 1982 total reviewed games. It is ranked #42 out of 160 games reviewed in 2013.
465. Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate
466. Pikmin 3
Wii U
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Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate
12 images added Apr 12, 2013 20:12
Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate - Intro Tra...
Posted: Feb 5, 2013 20:47
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