This is a Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate review from the perspective of a (real) gamer who never gave this game the time of day back when it was immensely popular on the PSP or the Wii version with online multiplayer.
For the huge monster hunter fans out there, the only reason one can overlook your beloved title is the sheer number of games one can play out there and the fact that Monster Hunter is proven as a HUGE time sink. The game is very challenging and requires a lot of time and dedication to master and progress (meaning get lots of loot to craft new weapons, armors, and all the little items in-between) in the game.
- This is one of the more beautiful 3DS titles which does not suffer from low frame rates or affect your eyesight during extended hours of game-play.
- Solid real-time combat mechanics rewards players who master their weapon types and learn monster tells.
- The game shines in multiplayer mode where up to four (4) players can team up to take down monsters efficiently and provide countless hours of fun.
- No online play. Seriously, in this day and age, it’s a travesty to NOT have online multiplayer for this kind of game.
- Farming for rare loot can be extremely frustrating at times.
Things That Can Swing Either Way:
- Monster Hunter is a “loot game”. You will spend most of your waking hours in the game making a list of items you need for specific monsters or areas and then you will proceed to farm these monsters or resource points repeatedly until you acquire enough items to craft your gear.
- The game is a huge time sink. You can easily surpass 200 hours of game play or more when you’re going full completion mode (crafting all armor sets, weapons and their respective decorations – stat bonuses).
- The game is not a pick-up-and-play kind of affair. Every game sessions requires you to at least hunt a monster four or more times to actually feel some progress (by means of crafting a new set of items). This of course doesn’t include the times when you fail a mission (no loot rewards when failing missions).
Monster Hunter is a real-time action RPG where you play the role of a Hunter in the Moga Village which gets ravaged by huge monsters time and again. Your job is to deal with capture or kill these monsters (the PETA’s worst nightmare). If you are expecting something along the lines of more recently released action games such as Metal Gear Rising, you are sorely mistaken. Your characters regardless of weapon type move rather slow in comparison to other action games. This is by no means a design flaw as the game emphasizes timing and moving efficiently a lot.
From attacking using the various weapon types (12 different weapons), using restoratives like potions, to setting bombs and traps, you will have to learn to time your movements and attacks to meet great success or you will find yourself sucking real hard in Monster Hunter.
While you start from simple gathering quests or small monster slaying missions, you will eventually work your way to fighting extremely huge monsters and you will find yourself fighting some of these monsters several times in succession when you’re trying to build a new weapon or set of armor. These monsters need to be attack in specific parts (such as their tail, wings, or a large horn, etc.) until it breaks so that you can either carve the broken part, or unlock the item drop when you complete the quest (and carve up the monsters for everything it’s worth). These little requirements actually spike the difficulty of each monster as you have to fulfill specific requirements to get those item drops. Mindlessly killing monsters without a goal is one of the most inefficient things you can do in Monster Hunter. Everytime you get new loot for crafting, the recipe show up in the blacksmith’s store so it’s always good to visit him after hunting a new monster or finding new loot.
There are key quests for both solo and multiplayer mode you need to fulfill in order to advance to higher Hunter Ranks (HR) to unlock new monsters and stronger equipment. This is how you reach the end game. The highest rank is the G rank where I am told the level of difficulty is insane. Monsters are faster and more powerful, rendering your ever-slow moving character at greater risk.
To sum it all up, it’s one big grinding game full of challenges and it plays in real-time so the grind isn’t mind-numbing and dumb. It’s challenging and can be rewarding or frustrating. This is the kind of game which really sells consoles. But if you think about it, it’s a little weird that some people would play the franchise over and over to beat the same monster and craft their sets or fight a monster not in their old game but released in another game on a different platform. But hey, it’s people like these who helped me learn the ways of Monster Hunter and with this, I have to say that I am looking forward to a Monster Hunter 4 (hopefully with a western release plan and online multiplayer).
It’s a Social Game in a way:
Not in the sense of The Sims or some Facebook game where you spam people to come join you in playing the game. You can actually benefit a lot from this game if you’re not a shut-in solo-playing doofus like most games would have us be and even in the cases of MMORPGs. It’s a great way of breaking the ice between groups of gamers who’ve never really met or bonded before (at least in my case).
The punishing mechanics of the game actually ensures that nobody tries to trip on each other or get someone killed because everyone suffers and wastes their time. A lot of the game information such as monster weaknesses, strengths, and drops are actually found on community sites where players share information on their game exploits with others. Without all these player driven initiatives, we’d be walking around like headless chickens.
But most of all, it’s a great experience to meet up with friends and new people, sit down and virtual-bond by sharing adventures, looting opportunities, have good laughs, and cringe in frustration (should you fail a mission). Then when reality kicks in (battery charge runs out, or over staying your welcome in some place), everyone can go grab a bite together, have drinks and what-have-you while talking about Monster Hunter or the other things in life.
I’m trying out a new review format to be more concise and prevent any tl;dr moments. Let us know if this kind of review hits the game’s spot on or not.