Hunting monsters on a larger screen.
I have spent so much time hunting just recently that I have finally cracked and built myself a small Bivouac in the garden and have taken to preparing all of my meals over a bonfire. The only problem that I have is that no one will let me take the TV out into the garden so that I can continue hunting monsters in Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate on the Wii U.
After spending a large amount of time playing the 3DS version of Capcom’s latest Monster Hunter outing, jumping into the Wii U version felt like retreading old ground, albeit much prettier ground than that which was trodden upon before. Anyway, more on that in a moment.
For those of you who have also been living in their gardens and may have missed the Monster Hunter hype, the game has a remarkably simple premise. The player takes on the role of a newcomer to the village and has been hired to essentially hunt monsters and gather resources. This is all laid out in an action role-playing game style that will see the player not only improving the skills of their on-screen character, but also increasing their own game playing skills as well.
This is what makes the Monster Hunter games, which frankly have not changed much in their recent outings, so interesting. There is a lot to learn and players will find themselves going through a journey along with their character, improving in skill or failing in the game. And it is this that divides the gaming public into those who sink their lives into Monster Hunting, and those who simply pass it by. The game is an investment and is not suited to everyone.
So, the player will progress through the game and find themselves having to learn the habits and methods for defeating an impressive roster of ever more difficult monsters. The player will find themselves traveling to a variety of different environments in their quests with everything from the scorching desert to the frozen tundra included in their journey, and even the possibility of some underwater hunting (something which takes advantage of the twin sticks of the Wii U gamepad without forcing the player to go out and buy an extra lump of plastic).
Players have access to a selection of different weaponry which offer different approaches to the monster slaying, and there is an extensive crafting system for upgrading the weapons and making the consumables needed for a successful hunt. A lot of planning will go into the hunting of each new monster type, and there are plenty of ways to approach this with the different weapons and items available.
Monster Hunter Ultimate on the Wii U is more or less the same as the 3DS version. Of course, things are bigger and more impressive looking on the big screen with the Wii U, something which gamers will appreciate not only because reading the text boxes is so much easier, but also because the massive monsters that the player will face look even more impressive. The GamePad can be customised to suit the player, with information able to move from the TV screen (leaving it much less cluttered) and onto the GamePad screen, and the inclusion of various shortcut panels designed to make the players’ life easier.
But the real way that the Wii U version improves over the 3DS version is in the multiplayer. Local multiplayer is possible with the other player using a 3DS with a copy of the game, but the real star is the online multiplayer. Connecting with others and hunting together is a huge amount of fun, and the Wii U version makes it very simple to get a multiplayer game up and running. It also allows the player to easily communicate with each other through the GamePad’s virtual keyboard or voice chat with the built-in microphone and speakers.
The Monster Hunter games have always had a Marmite effect on gamer – you either love them or hate them. But if you are a gamer who enjoys feeling that they have achieved something substantial by taking down a massive, screen-filling monster, then Monster Hunter Ultimate may well keep you happy indefinitely. The basic game and the story has as much content as your decent sized RPG, but the game continues beyond that with the co-op/multiplayer missions and the wealth of DLC that is incoming. This is a huge undertaking that many gamers will never quite complete.
In the value for money stakes, Monster Hunter Ultimate is an absolute bargain considering how much entertainment the player could potentially get from the game. But it is still an acquired taste, a game that will not suit every gamer. Monster Hunter Ultimate is a massive grind, but it is fulfilling and, for those that heed the call of the Monster Hunter, an essential purchase.