Review: Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate

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The Wii U has arrived at the office, and of all the games I thought might be the very first Wii U game review for the website, Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate captured my attention and caught me by surprise.

I spent years playing World of Warcraft (from Beta to Cataclysm), and there are things about an MMORPG that I like and things I don’t like. Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate hits on every note that I love about an MMORPG without having the baggage of things that I didn’t enjoy. Let me explain why you may want to look at Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate as a purchase for your Wii U.

30 Second Review

+ The monster battles are excitingly epic

+ Crafting & gathering systems are done well

+ Increased challenge when you include friends

– May have too much of a grind element for some gamers

– Underwater fighting may not be for everyone

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 Notable Features

  • Full online multiplayer with voice chat included
  • Local 2-4 player co-op
  • Ability to progress simultaneously between the Wii U and 3DS
  • Guild card exchange system
  • Free downloadable content updates
  • 200 quests
  • Lots of customization options with hundreds of weapons and armors to create

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Did Someone Order a Blue Leviathan?

The monster on the box cover of Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate is the Blue Leviathan known as the Lagiacrus. While it is not the final boss, it is the flagship monster and propels the story line from the very beginning.

You begin playing Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate in a village that has just been rocked by a tremendous earthquake. You have to help repair and rebuild the village, which is what propels the early part of the story. Also, a lot of these early quests are very tutorial, yet they don’t feel like a tutorial because you are doing quests pertinent to the story. It’s almost set up like a prologue to the actual events you’re going to encounter along the way.

In Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate you will roam various maps in an attempt to gather resources to help the village you are protecting improve. You will be gathering from resource nodes such as beehives, plants, mushrooms, and mineral deposits. While you are doing this you will encounter wildlife. The herbivore’s are docile unless attacked. The carnivores are very aggressive. A few monsters will need to be hunted specifically at the request of the villagers in order to make the region safer for them. The creatures you encounter range from dinosaur style creatures, bears, dragons, and even sea monsters just to name a few.

The underwater battling with the monsters in Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate is very dynamic. I am greatly enjoying these encounters. It is challenging, but never frustrating. Once I have defeated a monster, I am filled with a sense of joy and accomplishment. The first time my friends and I went up against the Lagiacrus, once we defeated it, we all cheered simultaneously over the mic. Even though we were somewhat under geared, no one died!

There are several land monsters in addition to the sea monsters. The sea monsters can even be fought on land in certain conditions, so if you don’t enjoy the underwater fights there are ways to take at least some of the fighting onto land. I can easily acknowledge that not everyone is going to like the underwater aspect of the game because of how the character is controlled. Playing as the hunter, you quickly realize that you are out of your element and in the monster’s element completely. The sea monsters fight in a very cinematic way and at times I’m almost lost in that. I forget that I’m playing a game, because until now this is only something I could have watched in a movie or dreamed about.

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It’s Dangerous To Go Alone. Bring Friends.

Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate has a great single player campaign, but the enjoyment is increased with friends. Up to four people can play using local co-op, online multiplayer, or even connect together using the Wii U and 3DS systems. You can even transfer your save file from the Wii U to the 3DS and vice versa, as long as you own Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate for both systems. This game is very versatile thanks to these features. The main difference between the two platforms is the Wii U has HD graphics.

Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate is a game that you can really bond over with your friends or family. If you’re a gaming parent and looking for a game to help connect to your teenagers, this easily could be that game. I would recommend it to families with the mindset that this game is for a 12+ crowd due to blood, animated violence, and mild crude humor.

There is a tremendous amount of content and replayability in Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate. It scratches at that MMORPG itch without requiring a subscription fee. When you have four people playing together, the boss battles feel almost like raid fights. If you want to play the online portions by yourself for a greater challenge you are free to do so.

I’m including the below screenshot just so you can see what the gaming UI looks like. If you play Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate using the Wii U GamePad, then you will have further customization options and panels using the touch screen interface.

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The Price is Right…

Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate launched on 3/19/2013. It has been available for a few years. What’s great about that is a lot of people still haven’t experienced it; there is a plethora of new WiiU owners, and the price is starting to drop. Some retail stores are now selling this title new as low as $19.99, which is a great value for the game.

If you own a Wii U or are even considering purchasing a Wii U, I highly recommend making Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate part of your gaming library.