As a young man entering Moga Village I didn’t know quite what to expect. Apparently there was this beast called Lagiacrus who was causing trouble for the village and it was my job to take care of him. Thanks to that monster, earthquakes were plaguing the land and both monsters and allies were running away scared. It appears that Lagiacrus is the “Lord of the Seas” and I really shouldn’t attempt to take him on until my skills develop a bit more. Off to Moga Woods to see what awaits me…
Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate has you assume the role of a, well, monster hunter. You are introduced to your big nemesis early on but you obviously aren’t powerful enough to take him on in the beginning. As I began to play Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate I felt the game started a bit too slow for my liking. There were a few missions that I found rather boring and it took a little while before I could pick what quests I wanted to do from the guild. Once I did get to that point though I started to really get in to the game and I started really enjoying what I saw. Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate can be a really deep game and if you want to try and do everything then you can spend well over 100 hours doing so.
The quest system in Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate works on a tier system based on stars. When you first start out you will only have access to one star quests but as you progress in the game and become a more experienced hunter you will go up the ladder to much harder quests. You will have quests ranging from simply killing a certain amount of monsters, to harvesting something you can use for resources to trying to capture a live monster. You can choose to do quests whenever you want but once you have accepted a quest you are locked in. This means you can’t go in your house and you can’t leave the village except to immediately head to your base of operations for the quest. You will want to keep this in mind and make sure you get everything done before taking on a quest. Before you get in to too many quests though it would be a good idea to simply run around the world and familiarize yourself with the surroundings. You will undoubtedly run into monsters while you are doing that and you can use this time as practice to familiarize yourself with the controls. One thing about the quests in Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate that I really didn’t like was that it was timed. During a lot of them you would have a 50 minute time limit to complete the quest. In some instances that would simply be killing a certain amount of creatures but in other instances they might have you collecting something and then you have to deliver it back to your base. Once you know what you are doing the time limit is not an issue and there will be a few quests that you can finish in under five minutes. There isn’t a whole lot of hand holding in this game and you have to generally figure things out by yourself. I enjoy doing that but the time limit at times would get to be annoying. I’m the type of person who tends to play games at a slower pace than most because I generally like to explore my surroundings to see what the game has to offer. You can’t do much of that in Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate when you are in “quest mode” and I found it to be a bit irritating.
For those who happened to play Monster Hunter Tri back when it came out for the Wii in 2010 a lot has remained the same. Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate is a port, however, they did change things up so that even if you did go through Tri back in 2010 you will find new things to explore. Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate features the same storyline and same weapons and while some of the quests remain the same some of the enemies have been changed and the difficult curve seems to be a bit more forgiving here. If you thought a two star quest in Monster Hunter Tri was especially difficult then there is the possibility that Capcom moved it up a notch to a three star quest in Ultimate to try and fix that difficulty spike some had trouble with in Tri. In addition to that there are the new features seem to work fairly well. Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate is one of the few games where you have the option to utilize the Circle Pad Pro attachment but it isn’t required. For the purposes of this review I didn’t use it as I know that not many people have it and the vast majority of the people interested in Ultimate probably wouldn’t use it. With that said the development team over at Capcom found a great way to use the dual screen feature of the 3DS. The touch screen is broken up into different sections and you can customize what appears in those sections. While you are in Moga Village you will see a small map of the village in addition to a bunch of buttons you can push to check out the Moga Forecast (upcoming conditions for Moga Woods for the next three days), check on your guild cards, look at your hunters for hire and more. When you are on the battlefield the screen changes into six different sections which you can customize to your liking. Since the 3DS does not have a second analog stick you can control the camera with a virtual d-pad on the touchscreen. This works decently enough but not nearly as well as a second analog stick would work, especially in swimming sections. Another section shows off the map of the area, while another one has your stats and another updates me when I am in the same area as a specific monster. That is the setup that I used a lot and you can set yours up however you see fit.
While you are on the field completing quests or just generally engaging in combat you will have the ability to harvest resources from slain enemies. Once you do that you can go back to the village and upgrade a variety of items such as your weapons and armor. There are decorations that can be placed on your weapon that will have different impacts on how you play and you can even forge brand new weapons if you have the appropriate materials. Crafting is also big part of this game and you can combine different items to get new products. Combine one herb and a blue mushroom, for example, and you will get a potion. Combine a potion and some honey and you will get a Mega Potion and, well, you get the point. You can send out a hunting boat on a fishing trip to try and get you more fish or treasure as well as have the farmer and his helping hands cultivate pretty much whatever you want. One of the main problems that I would always run in to is that my pouch was consistently full. This means that when I found something new I would always have to discard an item whether it was that newly acquired item I had or something that was sitting in my item pouch. It forces you to think and strategize about what you bring with you and what you leave at home in your chest. You also have to keep in mind that there will be mission specific items that you will need to pick up at the base at the beginning of every quest. Having all of this taking place on the touch screen allows the top screen to remain relatively uncluttered and you can simply focus on the game. That is a really nice feature given how small the 3DS screen is and there are definitely times when I came across impressive looking vistas on the 3DS and I just stopped to admire the environment.
Available on Nintendo’s eStore on the 3DS is a program that will allow you to transfer your save from the 3DS to the Wii U version. The Wii U and 3DS versions of the game are the same experience so you can make progress on the road with your 3DS and then transfer it over to the Wii U when you get home. Unfortunately the 3DS does not feature online multiplayer which is a huge misstep in my opinion. You can play local multiplayer if you are in the same room with people who have the game but not being able to play this game with one of my friends across the country is a big mistake. To get the local multiplayer action going you can go to Port Tanzia where you will dock in a solo port or a multiplayer port with your friends. It is pretty easy to get started and a lot of fun when you have a small group of friends that you can complete quests with.
The bigger battles that you will encounter in Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate are pretty epic. They are tense confrontations with monsters that will dwarf you in size and you will need to be quick if you want to avoid their attacks and then capitalize with your own. Some monsters will actually try to run away from you after taking some damage and you will have to pay attention to where they were headed. One of the more interesting aspects about these battles is that the monsters don’t have health meters. You need to pay attention to the monster’s mannerisms and the way they act to figure what is going on. If you have done a lot of damage to someone then you might see him limping around or there will be some other indication that you have been successfully causing damage. In instances where you have to capture a live monster this is crucial. You need to be able to tell when a monster is weak enough to be captured but the object is to capture him alive so if you attack him too much and kill him you will fail the mission. Some of these battles can last for a pretty long time but there is a great sense of accomplishment when you land that final blow and accomplish that objective.
The cinematics in Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate also look really nice from the time you are watching the opening movie to when you first run across a giant beast that you need to take down. If you want to re-watch these cinematics you can always do so from your home in Moga Village by talking to your assistant who is a cat. Another thing about Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate is that it has a lot of personality. You have different gestures you can make, you can essentially have a pig as a pet on the farm, you’ll come across many puns as you talk to different people along with much more. Everyone you come across seems to have their own personality and it isn’t like everyone is just a palette swap, which I definitely appreciate.
There is a tremendous amount of things to see in this game and it will take you a very long time to experience it all. If you are a fan of these types of games it will keep you busy for quite a while. You control your own experience whether you are customizing your gear, the bottom touch screen or how you want to approach battles. You have your melee weapons such as swords or ranged weapons such as a bow. You will have the most fun with Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate by playing with friends but if you choose to go solo you should have a great time with that experience too.
Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate is a really fun game that you can enjoy playing solo or with friends. It can be a really deep game with hundreds of quests that will keep you busy for quite a while. It started out a little too slow for me but if you can get past that you will find an enjoyable experience here. The lack of online multiplayer is a misstep and one of the few negatives I have for Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate on the 3DS. For fans and veterans of the Monster Hunter series you should feel right at home here while newcomers will have a bit of a learning curve to adjust to but it is worth it. This is a great addition to the 3DS lineup and should be in your library if you enjoy role playing games.
Originally posted on Totally Gaming Network