Get Into Monster Hunter Ultimate With The Previous Handheld Entry
Looking to pick up Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate? You might want to take one step backward and start with an older entry. It's cheaper, and easier to get started with if you're brand new to the series. The Monster Hunter games can be frightening to start for players who haven't been on board since the beginning. There's gold to be found within the excellent set of games, but it's every bit of an overwhelming franchise for those just getting their feet wet. Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate is actually a re-release of Monster Hunter Tri, which initially appeared on the Wii back in 2010. It's largely the same release, but with a glut of quests and a higher rank cap. Monster Hunter Tri veterans and new Hunters alike should find plenty to do within the sprawling expanse of this 3DS port.
After customizing your hunter with a myriad of options, you embark on your epic journey. From there, it's time to beef up your arsenal and monster-slaying skills considerably. Monster Hunter has always been all about killing things to find more quick and efficient ways to kill other things -- in a nutshell, anyway. The "things" in question are creatures of varying shapes and sizes. The village folk are quick to assign you low-level tutorial quests to get you started, with smaller low-level beasts to skin and return to nab better loot with. Like a well-oiled machine, conquering smaller mobs leads to your being able to take on larger hordes for greater rewards. Though you'll be stuck with low-level quests and rewards for a good portion of the time, when you finally do start felling larger beasts for better rewards it's a blast to see how you're able to interact with more dangerous monsters and the world as a whole. Hunting, tracking, then killing or capturing a huge beast nets you a feeling of accomplishment like no other. These moments are what comprise the meat of the game, so it's lucky that these battles are pretty engaging on their own.
Monster battles are a mammoth undertaking in themselves, and sometimes they're frustrating, since that's basically all you do within the game. It can begin to grate on the nerves. Some bounties are long, plodding endeavors, and they can be painfully long, so for those impatient players who don't particularly like having to chase after a certain bounty for a while, this might put them off of the experience. There are also no health gauges, and when a target becomes out of reach or out of sight, it can be tough to track them down. Also, because of this, simply hacking away at a bounty won't work in most cases. With little information to study behaviors, attack patterns, and machinations of the monsters, it's an intriguing experience for sure, but it won't be for everyone.
As far as playing with friends, a robust multiplayer mode is available, but it's possible to tackle the game solo, as I did, though this obviously will require more work on your end to see the game through to completion. Seeing as the major appeal of the Monster Hunter franchise lies within recruiting friends to adventure with, it's obvious you'll want to try out this mode at least once for it to live up to its full potential.
Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate isn't for everyone, but it's a meaty translation of a popular game teeming with beasts to fell, treasure to uncover, and weapons to master. The 3DS library has been sorely lacking this kind of adventure in its repertoire, so support the franchise, pick it up, and encourage more releases to keep the hunt alive.