Review by Bulbopwn

Reviewed: 04/09/13

The best game I have ever played, hands-down. Don't let no online deter you from this amazing title!

Hey, welcome to my review of Monster Hunter Tri/Three Ultimate for 3DS and WiiU! To give a little background on myself, I am a newcomer to the Monster Hunter series, and only have played Tri on the Wii and haven’t touched Freedom Unite on the PSP games, but I have done a lot of reading on it. I love a wide range of games, and I’ve played a lot. The biggest ones I have played are MapleStory, League of Legends, Final Fantasy (Tactics series, not the main games) Disgaea, Dynasty Warriors/Warriors Orochi, Gotcha Force, the Pokemon series, and a lot of other genres. I love monster raising games (Pokemon games, Digimon Worlds, Jade Cocoon 2, and if you don’t know this game, pick it up for the PS2, it’s probably my third favorite game of all time behind Monster Hunter Tri Ultimate and Final Fantasy Tactics.) I have anxiously awaited every single of these games’ release dates but never have I ever been so excited for March 19th to come. This game has taken over my mind, and the days leading up to its release were pure torture, especially because finals were starting that week :( Let me start this off by saying that this game is perfect, and no I am not exaggerating because this is really how I feel! So let’s get started with the review:


Graphics:

I bought a 3DS XL for the sole purpose of buying Monster Hunter. I bought Fire Emblem and Etrian Odyssey to keep me busy but while they were great games, I found myself playing for an hour and then browsing Monster Hunter GameFAQs forums for 3 hours and then reading things on the Monster Hunter Wiki for another 2 hours. Both games looked great on the 3DS and it really impressed me, especially since I came from using a DSlite. Then I downloaded the Monster Hunter demo and wow I was amazed at the graphics! They look phenomenal on the XL screen, but I bet they would look fantastic on the regular 3DS also. Environments are crisp, and monsters are detailed. Worlds are colorful and the armors look FANTASTIC. There are literally thousands of armor pieces in this game. No really, literally thousands, and they all look great on the screen. Coming from playing on the Wii I thought this game would look terrible, but I was so wrong. The text could be a bit bigger/clearer but turning off the 3D effect in the options remedies this. And in addition to that, there are little touches on the weapons that just make you really say, “Wow that was just really cool.” For example, charging a hammer called the Paralykeet (it looks like a flower) makes pointed needles stick out of it, which just has such a large cool factor. Also when Gunlances use Wyvern Fire (a huge blast) they go on cooldown and each Gunlance has its own cooldown graphic, like the Lagia Gunlance extending to let the heat out or a heat vent opening on the Jhen Moran Gunlance. These nice little touches really make the game have some kind of charm that is just unexplainable, it has to be experienced.


Story:

Monster Hunter is infamous for having no story, and some people take this as a chance to lower its overall score. There is nothing to be done about this, and Monster Hunter does admittedly suffer from having almost no story. This is not unlike Etrian Odyssey, and in my opinion, if you want to read a good story you have tons of other outlets to do so, like books and movies. Games are meant to be played. But this doesn’t mean Monster Hunter should receive a low story score. Why? Because there IS a story. There IS an extensive offline, solo-player experience that takes place in Moga Village. For all of Low Rank, you are sent out on missions by some Guild to hunt monsters, and it all ends in a climactic battle to save the village. Throughout this whole experience the story just charms you. The localization team did a great job and there are plenty of funny moments in the story, and it makes you feel like you really are a needed member of the village. Though I can see where people would find fault in the fact that the game is not story-driven. But they should realize that the game makes up for this in so many other ways! Like mentioned above, the story we do get is beautifully written and funny, and on top of that, your two little minions Cha-Cha and Kayamba are hilarious. The monster ecologies are short little videos that give us a little insight into the beings that we are slaying and are pretty entertaining. Also anyone who beats High Rank in the village will be surprised with an AWESOME ending scene. I feel like these little non-gameplay moments really make up for a lack of a story.


Gameplay:

This is the portion that turns a lot of people off of the series and it is very, very unfortunate that it happens. I played Tri for 2 hours when I first bought it. Didn’t touch it for another 3 months. I picked it up out of the blue again and played it religiously for weeks (only weeks because school started ). This is not an easy game, but it is not hard to have fun by far! Yes the first boss destroyed me a good 5 times before I learned how to barely beat it but that is what the gameplay of this game is about – learning about past mistakes and coming back fully prepared to deal with an enemy that you thought was so hard before and is so easy now. Trust me, I suck at action/fighting games and I got to High Rank in this game so… take that for what it is. The sense of accomplishment and defeating one monster only to move on to a bigger, badder one never gets old, and with this game sporting 53 monsters this should last you one hell of a long time.

The controls are what everyone bashes this game for. It is difficult to get accustomed to the “slowness” of the weapons and the “clunkiness” of your character but these are game designs, not faulty programming. These are implemented to separate this game from button mashers like Dynasty Warriors (which are still completely fun games, I love them) and forces you to use strategy. Learning to dodge this way rather than that when the monster gives a certain sign, and forcing you to choose between a high risk, high reward, or low risk, low reward situation are all part of the game’s strategies. I had trouble playing the game at first, trust me ,EVERYONE does. It almost kept me from enjoying this franchise as much as I do today, and I am so glad I didn’t turn away. It is not nearly as bad as everyone says, and it just takes some getting used to. Also to clarify, I did import a CPP XL from playasia and I play with it all the time… But I also logged in 20-30 hours on the demo without a CPP XL (trying out all of the weapons + underwater combat) and found the controls perfectly fine.

So let me give you guys a quick rundown of the general gameplay. You have a 30 slot inventory that can hold limited amounts of items, and you take these out to multiple varied areas (Deserted Island, Sandy Plains, Tundra, Volcano, Misty Peaks to name the main ones) and you’re given a mission to slay or capture a monster within 50 minutes. You have 3 lives and that’s pretty much it. You have to keep track of a lot of things in this game – stamina bars, sharpness, ammo count, health, hot/cold drinks, status effects. This gives a lot of room for improvement on almost every front, but you don’t have to play at your 100% all the time to enjoy the game. Just because you’re not a leet MLG pro doesn’t mean you can’t have fun and that’s why I think so many people are put off by this “hard” game. It’s not hard. You just have to spend a little time to learn what you’re doing and it is very worth it. The game is separated into three ranks, Low Rank, High Rank, and G Rank. There are two locales: Moga Village, which encompasses Low and High Rank, and Tanzia Port, which slightly encompasses Low Rank, and mostly contains High and G Rank quests. Yes this is a little confusing but very simple once you realize these things. Moga is completely offline and comes with its own farm and fisheries and Moga Woods, a free-roamish type of area in which you can hunt monsters for resource points. The farm and fishery provide you with needed materials and supplies. Tanzia is for local multiplayer and online if you have a WiiU, but you can also play Tanzia solo if you want to! In the end the gameplay is fun enough to play solo, so please don’t let no offline deter you from buying the game.


Replayability:

To the people reading this review, I have to say that gameplay is NOT the most important thing to me. It comes second after replayability. I’m the kind of guy that loves the idea of 100%ing a game (although I can’t name 1 game that I’ve done that with, but that’s beside the point! Haha) and man this game has a LOT of content. Not only are there 53 monsters for you to defeat in this game, each one (yes each one) sports its own armor. On top of that, some small monsters have their own armors you can forge as well, in addition to some event armors like masks. On top of THAT, some monsters have a Low Rank, High Rank, and G Rank version of their armor and you can see that the number of armors adds up quickly. Some armors are not even connected to a monster but look awesome regardless, such as one that dons you in pumpkin or beetle/butterfly gear and trust me you look badass. You will never feel at a loss for choices in this game, and it is a completionist’s DREAM to finish all of the armor sets. The G Rank sets are varied enough that each one has its own specific niche, and you can even mix and match armor sets to fulfill your needs. Not to mention all of them look really sick.

The weapons are an important part in this game because you can’t even unequip them haha. Like armors, there are a HUGE number of weapons in this game. Each monster has multiple weapons that can be crafted from its parts and have a touch of the monsters’ features, which really gives someone the sense of collecting them all. There are 12 weapon categories in all, and this is a huge number considering how unique they all are, and also considering that there are a large number of weapons in each category. The weapons you can use are Sword and Shield, Dual Blades, Lance, Gunlance (a Lance that can shoot shells of gunpowder between its attacks), Great Sword, Long Sword, Switch Axe (transforms between an axe and sword), Hunting Horn (a large instrument for bashing monsters’ heads and buffing the party), Hammer, Bows, Light Bowguns and Heavy Bowguns. They are all so unique, with the most similar ones being the Light and Heavy Bowguns but each still have their respective differences such as walking speed and rapid firing versus a siege mode. There is a weapon for everyone, whether you want a fast hitting Dual Blade set up or you like being extremely powerful but slow with a Great Sword. Maybe you like knocking out monsters with your huge Hammer?

Monster variety is plenty in this game, especially since I came from Tri, which had a puny amount of 18 large monsters. Admittedly some of the 53 monsters in this game are “subspecies” which are reskins with different attacks and behaviors, each one feels like a fresh new fight, especially if you choose to tackle it with a different weapon. And yes, subspecies have their own weapons and armor just like the base species. It should also be noted that not all monster fights are conventional! You will often find yourself in special areas made specifically for a monster, usually for the Elder Dragons. In these fights, you don’t just hit the monster till it dies like in other hunts; you have to utilize tools like the ballista, the Dragonator (a huge spike weapon), cannons, etc. to give the hunt a very “epic” feel, and I hate using the word epic so you know it’s going to be good.



Having covered the four main topics of the game, here is a quick point breakdown:

Graphics/Sound: 10/10
Story: 10/10
Gameplay: 10/10
Replayability: 10/10 (this score cannot be emphasized enough)

So there you have it! A perfect game by my standards. Go out there, watch videos, read up a bit on Monster Hunter, and I hope you all survived my terrible attempt at writing my first review T_T

Have a great day everyone!
Overall: Perfect 10/10

Rating: 10

Product Release: Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate (US, 03/19/13)

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