Known as a wildly popular series in Japan, the “Monster Hunter” franchise has historically been a bestseller every year, regardless of which console the games are released under. So when “Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate” was finally announced to make an appearance for the Nintendo 3DS, you can bet thousands of fans worldwide were eager to finally use their 3DS’s for something besides a “Smash” machine.
Being highly praised within the gaming community for its complex gameplay mechanics, “Monster Hunter” grants the players with a sense of epicness, letting them play with three of their friends to take on monsters from beyond their wildest imaginations. But, as attractive as this all sounds coming from me, will its port to the 3DS live up to the expectations of gamers everywhere?
Staying true to its original formula, faults and all, “Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate” is almost no different from its previous installations. Infamous for forcing players to grind for hours in order to get the materials they need to build better equipment in the game, “Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate” for the 3DS stays true to this mechanic. I mean, why fix what isn’t completely broken? This, and the exceptionally high learning curve that forces players to do additional research before playing the game, can make “Monster Hunter” a huge turnoff for most gamers after a couple of hours of play. The lack of a second analog stick for precise camera movement also makes it very hard on players to keep track of their characters during intense hunts. But, nonetheless, all these faults don’t make “Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate” a bad game. In fact, it is quite the opposite.
I have spent at least 45 hours on this game and I feel that I have barely scratched the surface. There is tons of equipment waiting to be found and accessed, plus a wide range of weapons to master, each with their own unique gameplay mechanic. Hunts, ascending hunter levels and ranks are all penty enough to keep gamers busy for months to come. I personallyknow players who have clocked in over 250 hours and have now finally reached the halfway mark. And while I did bash on the 3DS earlier for its lack of a second analog stick, I personally can’t think of a better system for “Monster Hunter 4” after playing for so long. The portability of the console is great for those who wish to play with their friends locally, and it’s nice having the ability to stop a hunt midway through and pick it up again from where you left off. As for those who can’t stomach the lack of second analog stick, I’ve been told playing “Monster Hunter” on the new 3DS systems with the small nubs or attaching a circle pad pro to your 3DS makes the gameplay a lot easier.
While fun, and at times frustrating, “Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate” is a very satisfying game. I highly recommend everyone, veteran or not, to pick up a copy of this game as soon as possible.