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Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate Review

Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate Wii U Review

The Wii U has had a bit of a rocky start to its console life, so it's good to see some support from Capcom with the release of Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate, a title that previously graced the Wii. With the HD graphical upgrade and a fistful of new monsters to slay there's plenty to entice you back to save Moga Village all over again. Could this save the Wii U from an early retirement?

If you've never played Monster Hunter before then you could be in for a surprise, the concept sounds similar to a lot of other games but this really plays like nothing else I've ever had the chance to sample. If you’ve played any of the older games, well you already know what you're getting into! Taking the same story from the Wii version, you play as a hunter, a character you get to name and customise and then send out into the wilds to hunt some big beasts that are living in the surrounding areas. Playing the single player game sees you as a new hunter to the village, sent to help with the monster problems as huge earthquakes have been hitting the region, it's your task to find out the cause and to deal with the problem. You'll want to make sure you talk to everyone in town if you're a newcomer as they will all give you tips on how to play the game properly without these initial hints the game can have a rather difficult learning curve. Playing online with other more experienced hunters is a good way to get into things as the community with these games are very welcoming to new players.
Great, I've got sand in my boots
With a wide selection of weapons to go hunting with, the game can be played in many different ways and it's up to you how you want to go about selecting your monster destroyer. Bladed weapons such as Long Swords, Great Swords, Sword and Shield or Dual Swords all have cutting properties which is useful if you want to slice a monsters tail off. Other weapons like the Hammer or the Hunting Horn are impact weapons which are good for smashing off monsters armour or even knocking them out. Depending on the size of the weapon you choose, it will affect how fast it is to draw from its holster and how quickly you can swing it about. If you don't fancy getting too close to the monsters, you also have the option of playing with bows or either a large or a smaller, more compact Bowgun for distance shooting. Round it off with Lances and Gunlances which offer a shield to protect you as well as a very long weapon to poke at monsters with.
Monsters are just as varied in number with beasts like giant Wyverns that can fly around to creatures that look like dinosaurs, giant bird like monsters, huge scaly lizards, rock monsters and onto the truly strange that look like giant leeches. Each monster has a specific type of attack it does, some shoot fire from their mouths, others expel poison clouds and some even shoot out lightning bolts from their skin. Most of the larger monsters also have an alternate colour scheme which also changes their attribute. The leech like creature, the Gigginox is usually a grey colour and has poison attacks but his alternate, the baleful Gigginox is a sandy colour and fires off electricity instead, this also changes some of the standard attack patterns up as well as adding some new moves to really pile on the difficulty. Monsters don't have health bars or hit points in the game so it's up to your keen eye to watch the monster as its behaviours will change depending on how damaged or enraged it is. If its drooling from the mouth, it usually means it’s tired, if there's smoke coming from it, it’s probably angry and its attack power will rise as well as its attack patterns switching up. Once you hurt a monster enough it will try to limp away from you to either sleep or eat to heal its wounds, this is your time to strike!
Some call it the Gigginox, other's call it WHAT THE FUCK IS THAT?!
Monsters can be either killed or carved to get items from, or captured alive using shock traps and pitfall traps. Shock traps do what they sound like they do and electrocute a monster which stops them from moving. The pitfall trap is a classic trap in the way that it opens up the floor and the monster falls in. Once a monster is restrained you can throw tranquilisers at it until it falls asleep. All the items you gather from a monster can be used to make new armour or weapons using their bones or skin. This is how you make progress with your character, as well as making yourself look awesome.

This is where the game really excels, having the benefit of a robust online infrastructure and as well as the dedicated Nintendo sign in, this is the best online functionality Monster Hunter has ever had. Pairing up with your friends is easily done once you're in a lobby as you can search for active friends and hop straight into their game and using the gamepad's built in microphone, speaking to each other without having to wear a headset is good. If you want to stay silent, there a virtual keyboard as well as pre made sentances which auto translate to other languages if you're playing with people from around the World. As well as online, you can do some more tradition local multiplayer, grab up to 3 friends or relatives with 3DS's and you can hook them up to a Wii U to play some couch co-op for team hunting. Lastly you can also transfer your game save to and from the Wii U to a 3DS, so you can take the game with you when you go out. Obviously you do need a 3DS copy of the game to be able to do this.
Welcome to Port Tanzia!
Multiplayer actually takes place in a separate area to the main story, moving over to Port Tanzia, you can gather up to 4 hunters in a lobby to take on bigger and stronger monsters. This is where you Hunter Rank will come into play. With the single player quests not really having requirements to tackle the missions other than difficulty progression, Port Tanzia's mission structure has you tackle whatever you decide to take on, but harder missions are gated behind your rank as a hunter. Starting at HR1 you get access to the easier beasts and once you've fought off a few of those you get the take on an urgent quest where you can earn your stripes. Once you hit Hunter Rank 3 you can take on high rank missions where the goodies you can collect increase in rarity and value, which in turn grants to access to stronger armour and weapons that you can forge with those parts.
Holy crap! RUN!
The beauty of Monster Hunter’s multiplayer is everyone in the community that I've met are more than happy to help you level up if you're a low rank, and while I've been playing with people lower than myself, I've always been happy going back to earlier missions to help them out and farm for more monster pieces for armour I still need to make. If you ever feel like playing with me online, I can usually be found in World 3, Lobby 3 (I have a thing for the number 3 if you couldn't guess) or just come find me on my NNID which is chaosriotzero.

Graphics & Sound
Moving on from the Wii game, the HD makeover this Ultimate edition has received really makes the game's graphics pop. While the environments still look slightly rough around the edges, the monsters themselves and the player characters all look fantastic. Included alongside the full TV display, the player screen can also be moved onto the gamepad, where the graphics make a very bold statement with vibrant colours and sharp crisp graphics which is great if you want to play in bed. The gamepad if not being used for off screen play, can be fully customised and all the cluttered menus can be removed from the main screen and put onto the pad; it works really well as you don't have to keep pausing the game to go through menus.
Gamepad display is just as good as the TV
The music in-game is good and fits in with the games theme very well, and sound effects are also very satisfying. Swinging a giant sword around makes some nice swish noises and some special weapons like the Grimm Cat switch axe makes meowing sounds as you throw it about! Add to this the cries of the beasts, sometimes when a monsters appears, the roar's can be so loud they force you're hunter to cover their ears! Also, throw some raw meat on a BBQ spit and tell me you don't love that little jingle that plays. The only strange music I found was when I fought Ceadeus (one of the game's largest beasts) during a village quest, it was a random Japanese song, it's not that I didn't enjoy it; it just didn't really fit with the rest of the soundtrack.
Some beautiful vista's to behold!
Final Verdict
More than just a reskinned version of an old Wii game, Ultimate really lives up to its moniker. The most complete game in the series I've played and put the most hours into, I'm currently clocked in at just over 137 hours and I've still got plenty to do! The connectivity with the 3DS also makes this game just a fantastic mobile experience as well, even if the camera controls are slightly less refined on the handheld version. If you want a deep rewarding game to go with your new Wii U, nothing comes more highly recommended from me than this title. I'd go as far to say that this game is worth getting a Wii U for, but if you don't want to shell out for the new console, the 3DS version is identical except for the missing online modes.

Gameplay = 10/10
Multiplayer = 10/10
Graphics = 9.5/10

Final We Know Gamers Score = 9.8/10

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