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Game Guys review - Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate

6:05 PM, Apr 6, 2013   |    comments
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  • 'Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate' for Wii U and 3DS.
  • 'Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate' for Wii U and 3DS.
    

Monster Hunter Tri, one of the best "hardcore" titles ever to hit the Wii, was released three years ago.  Capcom is trying to rekindle the magic with an updated re-release of the title onto Wii U and 3DS, calling it Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate.  While it may indeed be a graphically superior game to the Wii original, calling it "ultimate" might be a bit of a stretch.

As those who played the original might recall, this edition of Monster Hunter takes place on a rural island that consists of one small fishing village and a fairly large wilderness area.  The game's weak story focuses around the needs of this village - in specific the fact that there is this behemoth of a monster that's wreaking havoc on its fisherman way of life.  Outside of that really big carrot-on-a-stick, there isn't much else in the way of plot points or progression to speak of.  The original's graphics may have been upgraded, but its minimalistic story has not.

Just like with the Wii original, overall gameplay is the strongest part of Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate.  While it's of a much slower pace that more in-your-face games such as the recent DmC Devil May Cry and the God of War series, players should find its combat and exploration rather satisfying.  Also, because there are no aim assists or auto-lock features, combat can get rather challenging.

As the title might suggest, the bulk of the game revolves around performing various hunts around the region.  Some of these - especially in the early game - are rather simple and are against smaller and weaker enemies for the sake of harvesting from their carcasses (no, really).  Other hunts, however, will find players tracking and eventually taking on some rather large and vicious beasts that will take little issue with ensuring that your current hunt will also be your final one.

This game also has a rather robust equipment system where players outfit their character will nearly every critical piece of armor from head to toe as well as whatever armaments the player sees fit.  Rarely are these things just handed to you or found in chests, rather they're pieced together with the various parts and pieces found in the wilderness and harvested from slain beasts.  The entire equipment system is vast and proves rather intimidating to learn, but the payoff is certainly there for dedicated players.

Players will also have fairly good online multiplayer options as well.  While the Wii original also had this feature, the Wii U updated version of this just seems overall to be better with more than enough lobbies and cross-region support.

One thing that Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate does very well at is looking nice - even if it's not fully up-to-snuff compared to other high-end AAA titles found on other platforms.  Owners and previous players of the Wii original will notice right away that the overall quality of the game's visuals have received a major upgrade.  Characters/enemies and environments look vastly improved now that they're in HD.  The same cannot quite be said for the audio, however, as the game is no more voiced now than it was in 2010.  Players will still have to work through page after page of (often irrelevant) text.  As to why Capcom didn't bring the game's audible experience up to standards as they did its visuals is an unfortunate mystery indeed.

Outside of the graphical upgrades and lack thereof with the audio, MH3U features cross-play between the Wii U and 3DS (a great thing for Nintendo die-hards).  The Wii U version also has one additional noteworthy extra feature that the original never had a chance of having thanks to the newer console's gamepad.  Wii U gamers will find that the gamepad is a great information source as it consists of many useful items such as the world map complete with the player's position and a number of shortcuts so players don't have to hunt through game menus as often as they had to in the past.  For the addition of features like these, Capcom gets kudos.

Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate may not be the end-all-be-all "ultimate" video game its title might suggest, but it's still a rather good title.  Still, partially because of the been-there-done-that of it being an update of an already-available game, it lacks the punch that a new I.P. of similar quality would likely have had. 

GAMEPLAY: PRESENTATION: STORY: QUALITY: FINAL SCORE:
22/25 21/25 10/25 21/25 74/100

Version tested: Wii U (also available on 3DS)

(Capcom supplied a copy of this game for review.)

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