Monster Hunter is no Final Fantasy, or Dragon Quest for that matter. However, in recent years, the series has really taken off and has grown quite a following of it's own. With the quite undeniable success of Monster Hunter Tri on the Wii in 2010, it was almost certain that Western gamers would receive another chance to explore even more Monster Hunter.
At launch, Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate will be available in the form of two versions, for Nintendo 3DS and the Wii U version. These two versions will follow the same story and content and work excellently hand in hand in, allowing for shared save functionality and local co-operative play.
If you've played Monster Hunter before, you'll know exactly what's happening here, however, we still found that Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate is very accessible for newcomers to the series. It's all about travelling a vast land and slaying various 'monsters', hence the game's name; Monster Hunter. The whole thing is wrapped in a nice story, which is relatively interesting from start to end.
The opening of Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate is relatively bleak, whilst new players will find it slightly baffling, more experienced Monster Hunters will struggle to find any fun in wading through the various tutorial tasks. Granted, these tasks do introduce you to many aspects of the game, however, at times they do feel a little un-accessible to new players. However, stick with Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate, as the tasks improve and the challenge starts to rise.
We were quite impressed by the battle technology, it feels both responsive and pleasurable. As with all Monster Hunter games, battle is simply handled through the use of buttons. There's no real tactics, it's simple button mashing. However, its quite enjoyable!
Controlling Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate is a little bit of a sticky situation, the use of a Circle Pad Pro is heavily promoted and recommended. It isn't required to play the game, but otherwise in terms of controls, everything seems a little bit awkward. The use of the D-Pad is required to adjust the camera angle, and whilst in transit, this is a little bit of a pain.
Monster Hunter has always had quite a distinctive art style, through it's games. This never really alters, and we're quite glad about that. We like how Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate looks and feels and it shows that Capcom are really doing something right in terms of graphics.
However, the problem comes in the fact that the 3DS version of the game is considerably inferior to the Wii U version, in more ways than one. There's a lack of full online play in the 3DS version, unless you're using the special software to extend the battle mode. Which is quite a pain and if we're honest, it really isn't worth it. It's because of this lack of online functionality that we can't help but feel that you may be better opting for the Wii U version.
In conclusion, Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate for Nintendo 3DS is a great game in it's own right. However, we can't help but think that the Wii U version is considerably superior with it's full online gameplay. Still, if you're looking for a bite of Monster Hunter on the go, this game is just that. + Josh Moorcroft-Jones
8/10 - Whilst not quite everything it's Wii U sibling is, Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate for 3DS is a really nice adventure in it's own right.