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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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As lengthy and feature-filled as the singleplayer campaign is, the game's true enjoyment come in the form of multiplayer. By talking to a certain NPC within the game, players can travel to a separate port town consisting of the usual shop vendors and blacksmiths, as well as three other players both online and off. When visiting the online port, all of the equipment and items gathered in singleplayer immediately carry over, and vice versa, making the pursuit of loot and equipment a persistent reward no matter what you are doing.

The only thing that doesn't carry over is quest progress; the online port features its own list of quests to complete involving the same creatures found in singleplayer, but contain higher-ranking objectives that are only accessible to players who raise their ranks from the beginning tier of quests. As expected, the multiplayer hunts are significantly more difficult and require a dedicated team of players to work together and reap the rewards (every player who is present during completed objectives gets their own individual loot) .

Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate Wii U

In many ways, however, fighting with friends also makes things significantly easier. Monsters won't always focus their attention on your character, often attacking each player at random. This allows for more breathing room to unleash attacks against the monster's blind spots, or to momentarily retreat restoring lost health and stamina. Freeloaders could even hang back and not contribute at all to the fight and still stick around to seize materials from the fallen foe. While it is generally recommended to pull your weight for the sake of the team, prudence is still advised: quests will end in failure after three player deaths, regardless of who it is: if three players are killed each, it's a failure. If one player dies three times, it's a failure. This encourages everyone to give it their best in battle, and to especially learn what not to wear when taking on higher-ranking bosses (an equipment set with high defense, for example, can prove fatal against fire-breathing dragons if it also features a negative value for fire resistance) .

The multiplayer system isn't as robust as other multiplayer-focused games, but it is functional enough. Multiple lobbies are available to join in or create, and can also feature room descriptions for specifically farming a certain enemy or to raise a certain Hunter Rank. The search can also be filtered to friends registered on the Wii U, though the game lacks the ability to send an invite to anyone playing singleplayer. Most annoying of all, anyone who joins a lobby where the other players are engaged in a quest may not be allowed to join the quest in progress, leading to many instances of entering a random room in the hopes that the group has not left to fulfill an objective, or waiting around in town asking when they will be finished. On the bright side, those unable to find a decent group online can still do the quests offline, and can also "hire" fellow players by registering their Guild Cards. Essentially AI copies of player data, these clones can be tasked to embark on their own quests for a set fee and deliver the rewards after some time have passed.

On the technical side of things, Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate marks the first high definition port of a Wii game. While no one will confuse the game for next-gen title, the sharper textures and more defined colors blend nicely with the already impressive art style as well as the brilliant monster animations; every creature, big and small, behaves like a natural exotic animal. In contrast, the animations on the human characters are deliberately stiff and cartoonish. While the custom player character looks noticeably low-poly up close, their wacky reactions prove quite amusing, whether from devouring food with rapid ferocity or running like a headless chicken when escaping rampaging monsters. The biggest technical fault, however, is the incredibly small text when speaking to villagers in town. While none of the dialogue is especially crucial to the experience, there is a copious amount of text that is expertly localized by the 8-4 department, making their written efforts feel like a waste unless players focus their eyes uncomfortably.

Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate Wii U

Currently, the game does not support off-TV play like many Wii U titles, although a patch is planned to include the feature along with cross-region play between North American and European players. What the game does allow out of the box is the ability to customize the Wii U gamepad to include shortcuts for many of the in-game tools; all of the items in a player's possession, for example, can be displayed and used by touching a single bar, while another bar allows for quick combinations of materials. The gamepad can also house all of the HUD elements from the game, including the mini-map and health bar, allowing for a completely clear screen to further admire the visuals. These customizations can even be saved and loaded as presets, which can prove invaluable to expert players bouncing between different weapons and tasks, both online and off.

In the end, it is more difficult to describe how easy Monster Hunter's learning curve is due to the countless number of features and mechanics, to which this review has described only a few. However, the sheer scope and scale of the game can be grasped quicker than it would first seem, especially when consulting an online guide or two. That said, if you are the type of gamer that prefers quick action games and less farming for materials, then this series may not be for you. Those seeking a unique and immersive experience that features unparalleled boss battles and thousands of different weapons and armor will eagerly sink their teeth into the hundreds of hours Ultimate will provide while lamenting over the many sleepless nights awaiting them.

Our ratings for Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate on Wii U out of 100 (Ratings FAQ)
Presentation
80
An HD facelift compliments the already fantastic monster animations and visual setting, even if the human characters are clunky by comparison.
Gameplay
70
Thrilling boss battles and grand rewards more than make up for the occasionally stiff mechanics and online tutorials.
Single Player
80
Story is kept to a minimum so you can be on your way to bring entire species of monsters extinct... provided you prepared accordingly.
Multiplayer
85
Getting your friends together isnít the easiest process, but the four-against-one monster fights make up the game's best experiences while also yielding the best rewards.
Performance
75
The Wii U version benefits from faster loading times and a customizable gamepad, but small NPC text can prove cumbersome. The gameís original quirks have also failed to be more streamlined.
Overall
80
Once you overcome the steep learning curve, you find the monster hunting experience unmatched by any other game, and the obsessive need for farming items will consume much of your sleep.
Comments
Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate
Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate box art Platform:
Wii U
Our Review of Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate
80%
Great
The Verdict:
Game Ranking
Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate is ranked #465 out of 1989 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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Screenshots

Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate
12 images added Apr 12, 2013 20:12
Videos
Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate - Intro Tra...
Posted: Feb 5, 2013 20:47
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