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Monster Hunter 3: Ultimate review

[Author's Note: I'd like to start off this post by personally apologizing for it coming so late. Shortly after I posted my initial impressions video for Monster Hunter 3: Ultimate a little while back, my Wii U actually broke, and I just recently received it back from Nintendo. So, I was unable to complete this review as fast as I'd hope. Now, that is all in the past and you can find my all my thoughts on the game in the video below.]

Overview

I know many people are intimidated by the complex game mechanics featured in MH3U, but players should know, it’s really not that bad. The game does a good job of introducing you to the various mechanics, like gathering and combining resources separately, and at a steady pace. So, you never feel overwhelmed with new information. And if players do run into trouble, they can always post for help in the game’s very active Miiverse Community, or by making a game in one of the Need Help! lobbies. Before you know it, you’ll have at least an understanding of the different mechanics, including the combat, and be ready to take your hunting online.

For me, the online mode of this game is where it’s at. Sure, you can fight the monsters solo, but its just more fun and efficient with others. When playing online, communication with your team is almost essential, so I highly recommend you take advantage of the built-in microphone on the Wii U GamePad. The fights with the large monsters are always intense and epic. And somehow, the game finds a way to make the fights increasingly epic as the game progresses, whether it be by confronting you with bigger or just more monsters. Satisfaction is guaranteed every time you take one of these behemoths down. Their final roars before death are like candy for the player’s ears as you rush to cut rare resources off their dead carcasses.

The only problem I had with the online mode, was the way joining rooms worked. You can’t join a hunt that is in progress, but you can join rooms of people who are already on a hunt. So, if you find yourself in such a case, you either have to wait for the party to finish, or try another room. I feel like it would have helped to have some sort of indicator that shows when a party is already hunting before you join the room.

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Audio & Visuals

Besides the learning curve that comes with figuring out the gameplay, I know that the lack of modern graphics is something that has turned a lot of people off from this game. I always make sure that when I address the visual aesthetics of a game in my reviews, I call them visuals and not graphics, as the term graphics today often refers to things like polygon count. And, I think you can have great visuals without having awesome graphics. So is the case with MH3U.

I don’t think the game is at all graphically impressive, but I find it visually pleasing. You get to traverse a wide array of environments while in pursuit of your prey, all of the major monsters are cool looking whether they be intimidating or just plain goofy, and there is all sorts of crazy gear for the player to customize his character with to get the look he wants. Many may disagree, but to me, these are the things that define great visuals.

The sounds in this game work incredibly well at setting the mood. As soon as you’re spotted by a large monster, the music quickens and you know you’re about to be in a fight for your life. Also, many of the weapons have unique sound effects tied to them, which in my opinion can make the player grow quite attached to them.

I was using a long sword called the Chainslaughter, and was hesitant to upgrade it because I knew I would miss the chainsaw sound it made, as I imagined The Texas Chainsaw Massacre every time I brought it down on a monster. While I enjoyed the sounds of MH3U, some of them can be a bit much in the chaotic fights. The sounds of four melee class characters all hitting a monster at once are often rough on the ears.

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Gameplay

MH3U doesn’t have much going for it in the story department, but in a game like this, I think that is alright. Some may be turned off by the fact that the game features no voice acting, and very few cut scenes,  but these things just aren’t necessary here.  If the player does want to learn more about Moga Village, its residents, or the origins of the monsters, they have the option to talk with the NPCs to find out more. I like having the story elements tucked in the background in a game like this, because if the player wants to know more they have the option, but, if he is just looking to go out and hunt, he can do so without feeling like he’s missing out on important plot points.

If there is one category that I believe this game outshines all other Wii U titles in, it has to be with its GamePad implementation. The player is allowed to take any part of the HUD display as well as some character actions and not only map them to the GamePad screen, but also place them where he wants. You can also have multiple sets of these layouts which I found to be incredibly valuable.

For instance, I have one layout where all of the HUD info I need is on the GamePad screen, so my TV screen is totally clean. I normally use this when doing simple things like gathering resources. When doing group hunts, I like to keep most of my HUD on the TV, but have the ability to quickly use items with the GamePad. And, as many of you know, a recent update made the game fully playable on the GamePad. I’ve found the GamePad play to look and run just about as good as it does on the TV. There honestly isn’t anything else I could want from this game’s GamePad implementation.

Conclusion

In the end, I feel like there may be a lot on the surface that scares many people off from this game, but I can’t recommend it enough. This is the greatest multiplayer experience I’ve had this year, and, in my opinion, one of the best games currently available on the Wii U platform. Now get out there, and kill something.

Pros:

  • Amazing Gameplay
  • Outstanding use of the Wii U GamePad
  • Good use of music
  • Great Visuals (opinions vary)

Cons:

  • Weak Story
  • Outdated Graphics

 

Final Score: 8/10

 

Are any of you playing Monster Hunter 3: Ultimate? What are your thoughts on the game?

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  • Nintedward

    Game gets a 9.5 from me. Not many games provide such value for money and an intense coop experience along the way. Visuals shmizuals they’re not important because they take a back seat to the gameplay. That said , some of the monsters are masterfully animated and gives them a real presence and makes you feel like you’re hunting a real beast.

    Nice review , good read :)

    • Guillermo Moore

      Yea but this is the same game that was released years ago, only difference is its in 1080p and uses wiiu gamepad

      • Nintedward

        Wrong. On many levels , do some research.

      • Ben English

        Also dynamic shadows and self shadowing, which honestly does more to make a game immersive to me than all the specular highlights and normal mapping around.

      • http://www.facebook.com/ageofepic.gaming.7 VideoGames Next

        Better use of online and the cross platform play makes it a win !

        • Guillermo Moore

          Let’s hope they also do cross-platform on raid mode of Resident Evil Revelations, one player on the tv, another on the game pad, and two on the 3ds

      • darkstar18

        this is SO NOT the same game dude

      • lonewolf88

        dude you are truly a idiot..

    • THEMIGHTYDOOVDE

      Agreed, not many £50 games give you this many hours of awesomeness. Also, after years of online FPS’s on my other consoles, this game is a breath of fresh air.

    • Tecpedz94

      I never played Monster hunter games so ill look into it later on but is
      it really entertaining. Dont take this the wrong way but apparently
      there isn’t much of a story line does it make the game less fun or is there still a hell of a lot to do and a fun adventure.

      • Desmond Lum

        For monster hunter, story lines just go out the window, but there is 100+ hours of gameplay, 500+weapons, and 600+ armor pieces, and A LOT of monsters. i personally think this game really doesn’t need a story at all to be awesome.

    • NkoSekirei

      i give it a 10 for amazing epic monster battles and soundtracks like the final boss music the lunar abyss thats wat its called

      • Adrian

        I’m finally watching Sekirei pure engagement. I’m on episode 2.

    • mikel334u2

      Yea, I played the demo and at my friend’s house, and I thought it was great, but I just didn’t think it was enough to upgrade from the original MH3 IMO. BTW you seem like the kind of guy who would review games for Nintendo Life (that’s a compliment).

    • NkoSekirei

      dont forget guys u can unlock alatreon on single player by completing all quests and mark of a hero to get that quest

  • AAAkabob

    He lies, definitely got sucked into the game that he forgot to do his job=d

  • Wolfie

    To the reviewer: There’s a way to know if player’s are on a hunt before joining a room in online mode. When you are browsing for rooms press the L or R button (can’t remember which one, the game tells you in the bottom right corner anyway so look for it) and more info will be displayed among which is the host’s status. If it says “On Quest” it means that they are already on a quest, if it says “Seeking Companions” or “Port Tanzia” they haven’t left.

    • http://www.youtube.com/user/ChiGuyGaming John Zaccari

      Thanks for the tip man. That’s going to save me lots of wasted time.

  • dubYA

    Virtual Console has launched on the eShop! You just have to search the game you want and it’ll be there for purchase!

    Vote this comment to the top so everyone knows! :D

  • kutral

    ill put a 8.5, but im agree with this review.

    A well done review, it gets the ozom.cl seal of approval

  • http://www.facebook.com/jason.thomas.940 Jason Thomas

    Love this game

  • Adrian

    Glad I read this review. It made me glad I didn’t get this game. It sounds like the game would appeal to certain audiences (and no, I’m not talking about those stupid enough to consider themselves “more hardcore” gamers than others). But it just wouldn’t suit my style of playing. I look for great stories in games, and always hope to have characters that I care about. I also look for interesting world simulations so it feels like you are in a different universe (so lots of NPCs with random personalities and little stories, or even mini games.) But the thing that turns me off most about the game is that online play seems to be the meat of it. I’m generally a Solo player. Also, I don’t like doing things repetitively (especially not with a team), so joining a team to kill the same monster more than once or twice would just feel like grinding to me.

    Thanks for the review, I finally lost all desire to ever play this game. Not that it sounds like a bad game, but definitely doesn’t sound like a game for me. :)

  • Nathan Eyre

    There isn’t a need to take points off for the graphics and the story. I mean, really? Did you really buy Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate for the GRIPPING story? Also, I find the graphics very enjoyable for most part, and the animations are really well done. One of the things that I felt from this game when I was fighting my first big monster was a Shadow of the Colossus-esque feeling of grandeur and awe. I also think it’s really cool how a lot of the monsters have their own songs that play when you fight them. It gets me in the right mood when I’m fighting them. When I first saw this game a few years ago on Wii I didn’t really understand the appeal. I was too used to games being easy for me to play and seeing stuff like numbers indicating how much damage you were doing and life bars for the monsters so that you knew how close they were to death. But now, I’m older and I appreciate difficulty in a game and the challenge it presents to you. I like that you don’t see the monsters health, It encourages you to just keep wailing on it until that glorious fanfare plays and “quest complete” appears on the screen. The crafting system is also really well done and fully fleshed out. That goes for the weapons too. Every weapon has it’s own tree of other weapons that it can become depending on what crafting material is present. And that’s really freaking cool. Also, the way that you can get additional carves and rewards for breaking a part of the monster you’re fighting is awesome, as well as the damage you do makes visible changes to the creature. They will start drooling, their frills might be messed up, their tail can be cut off, and after a certain point they’ll start limping. Basically, If you liked dinosaurs and dragon slayers growing up and you like the feeling of defeating powerful beasts and making awesome weapons and armor out of them, play Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate. You should at least try the demo before giving up on getting it. My final score for this game would be… 9/10.

    • ludist210

      I’m with you on the story, but the graphics are a little weak. For the most part they look fine, but when you get close up on faces, they get muddy.

      But yeah. 9.5/10 for me. I’ve already put in close to 50 hours, and I’m not anywhere close to stopping anytime soon.

    • http://www.bagofgames.com/author/jennero/ Jennero Rossi

      Everyone’s opinions are different and look at games in different ways. This is what reviews are about.

  • Nintendofreak

    weak story what other reason you want to kill monster other than cuz its fun..plus cod story is as weak as hell….graphics well yeah its basically a port from the wii version with more monsters

  • http://www.mpt-online.eu/ Sylux

    Hmm since this week somehow I get more and more interested in getting this game afterall (3DS version for me no wiiu available) there was a special monsterhunter 3U event in the Netherlands officialy hosted by Nintendo itself, saw like 3 different specials on tv on different channels and even 4-5 letters in a Dutch gaming magazine of people playing/recommending this game, and on top of that read an article about it in a newspaper.

    Played and loved the Wii version 300-350+ hours spent, kinda disliked the 3DS demo, purely because of the sucky 3DS controls. But now I want it :P I suppose I just have to get the analogepad pro for my 3DSxl with the the game tomorrow…

  • AlexG

    i have the 3DS game and is awesome!!, im waiting for the WiiU bundle… please NoA.

  • Jack5221

    I cant wait to get this game. I bought it over the internet with a pro controller. It arrives in 1 week from today. Im very excited to try it, I’ve never played a Monster Hunter game before. Plus Im getting a little bored with ZombiU, Black Ops, Nintendo Land, and New Super Mario Bros U. :o

  • Untrentide

    If the game ever begins to focus on story and graphics you’ll see the total play time dramatically drop. MH4 will definitely be interesting to see.

  • Matt Lambourne

    I can only assume that the demo isn’t representative of the game, because I thought that was terrible.

    • Kalai3

      It really isn’t. They just kinda throw you into it without any explanation. The actual game is MUCH funner.

  • victor

    Do virtual console game reviews

  • lonewolf88

    they rated monster hunter on graphics a game that doesn’t depend on graphics to be one of the best games of all times…

  • htrhr

    8.7510

  • http://www.facebook.com/Realityglitch Christopher Coonan

    I can’t wait to get this version. I invested 400 hours into the original, and am already at 170 on the 3DS version.