Review by EmptyTome
It's back! and you don't move like a tank anymore. What's not to love?
Another Monster Hunter game! Hooray!
But wait. What if I don't like MH games? What if I never played any of the other entries, and I want to start with the latest? And what if I only played an older version on the PSP and never liked it, will this game change my opinion on the series?
Well, for every question I have some asnwers. The idea of this review is to help you decided if you are on the right track, or not.
But it is clear as water that this game was made with fans and long time players in mind- in fact, the whole game is made to make fans happy (more on this later), but newcomers can also join the fun without too much husle.
WHAT THE GAME IS ABOUT
Monster Hunter is a game about...hunting monsters. The idea is that you select an area, find said monster, and attack it until it drops dead, or you break one of its arms or tails or you capture it. Once you kill/trap a monster, you get materials to make new weapons and armors or upgrade the previous ones. The whole idea of the game is to upgrade your equipment, little by little, to been able to fight more powerful monsters - and I think that that level of "upgrade yourself" element is fantastic in this series, which is why it has so many fans everywhere. And if you play with more people, it even better.
WHAT HAS CHANGED?
Not a lot, really, at least at first glance. The most notable improvement is how nimble your character moves now.
If you played any of the other entries in the series, you already know that you have one button to draw your weapon, and 2 buttons to attack (3 in some cases). But if you are already with your weapon in your hands, you couldn't do many of the other actions (like climbing, or running away); you had to sheathe your weapon, wait for the animation sequence to finish, and then you were able to do whatever you needed.
In this game, your character has been giving more abilities even with a weapon in your hands. Now you can climb small / medium ledges just by running (no buttons needed), jump from cliffs to attack, evade way easier than before, and many other actions that consumed stamina (like climbing mountains) are now stamina-free. This whole change in the gameplay department makes the game feel really different from previous versions; so, if you complained about how "tanky" the characters were in the previous games, well, you might want to try this game then; maybe you will notice how different it feels.
In fact, one of the new additions is the ability to "mount" a big monster. Once you do (by jumping from a cliff and landing on the monster), there's a cute mini game where you try to stay on the creature to land blows without getting thrown away. If you succeed, the monster falls to the ground. If you fail, the monster will laugh at you and steal your weapon forever.
No, it won't do that. But mounting is the only way to get some rare carves, so you have to practice that a lot to get better equipment later on.
There are 2 new types of weapons; but to be honest, I haven't tried them yet, so I can't say a lot about them. What I can say, though, is that they're really good additions (I have seen some experienced players doing great stunts with them), so if you are tired of the same new weapons over and over, give them a try.
There's a new mode, called "expedition". It's a random area that changes every time you enter, and that has some exclusive monsters for you to find. It's a nice addition, and you can get some good materials (some exclusives) if you like to explore the whole area every time possible.
WHAT IS THE SAME?
The rest will be very familiar to veteran players. Each area represents a different landscape (volcano, snow, sand, etc) with a lot of returning monsters and many other new faces. Some previous monsters have been giving different names and attacks, but at the core they are just recycled from past entries. Is it a bad thing? well, not really. But if you have played EVERY other game in the series, you will want to punch Congalala in the face when it appears.
The food system is almost the same (you eat food before battles to gain stat boosts) which can make a difference in tough battles. There are many different towns, which is a nice change but it's the whole town just placed in a different manner.
Not much to say. There's a monster attacking the town / island / whatever, so you have to become stronger to stop it. If you played MH3U, it's almost the same but replace Lagiacruz with Gore magala.
It looks great, no normal person can deny that. I think that they used more vibrant / vivid colors for some areas, which is way I think it looks better than the previous one. Some monsters are huge and move like a real monster would (the snake type monster for example), which makes you feel like you're really hunting a creature rather than a group of polygons. Some bosses are recycled from other games, but the new ones look really great. It's great to see the 3DS hardware pushed to its limits because there's no slowdown whatsoever, even with the 3D on.
No complains here. Music changes when you encounter a boss, and is calm and swift when you are doing...nothing. In fact, music is quite important for this game, considering that most of the time you notice if there's a monster nearby by the music instead of your sight (like when you enter a new area and the creature was waaaaay lower than you but you only noticed when the music started)
There are no voices, except for the grunts of villagers and other NPCs. Not much is lost so I won't complain about that either.
If you get hooked by this game, you can play it until your 3DS breaks. There are so many quests (and many more coming in form of DLC) that when you finish the whole game, you will be breathing and eating Monster Hunter. Remember, there's local AND online multiplayer. So, if you are the kind of person that likes to play with random people and hunt in a cooperative way, online is just for you. If you are more of a lone wolf, don't worry, you can do that too on your own (but it will take longer).
So, to answer the first questions; yes, there's a lot of new content to make veterans happy. If you have never played any other MH game, this is a good place to start, since it has a lot of tutorials and good (but long) explanations. But if you never liked the MH games and want to give this one a try...I'm not sure this is the one to make you change your mind. There're a lot of new stuff, but there're also many aspects that carry on from the previous ones, so maybe this is not the game that will get you into the series. You can try the demo and see if it is the kind of game that expect; but for every other MH player out there, there's a lot of content to make your heart pound.
+New Expedition mode
-Only 2 new weapons
-Many recycled enemies
Final Score 9/10
Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Product Release: Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate (US, 02/13/15)
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