[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.]
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.
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.
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.
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.
- Amazing Gameplay
- Outstanding use of the Wii U GamePad
- Good use of music
- Great Visuals (opinions vary)
- Weak Story
- Outdated Graphics
Final Score: 8/10
Are any of you playing Monster Hunter 3: Ultimate? What are your thoughts on the game?