The most dangerous game of all

Image by Nintendo 3DS, CAPCOM CO. LTD.
Image by Nintendo 3DS, CAPCOM CO. LTD.

‘Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate’ 3DS game review

By Mike LeMieux, Layout Manager


Gamers outside of Japan are finally able to get their hands on the latest entry of Capcom’s Monster Hunter series. The series is an unforgiving action game where you forage for supplies in a contained area while being tasked with taking down a giant creature. You progress by carving up slain monsters for parts and using the pieces to build better weapons and armour to take down bigger monsters and continue the cycle.

The story of Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate (MH4U)begins with you joining a caravan of misfits who are trekking across the continent searching for the origins of a mysterious artifact in their possession. Along the way, the characters are caught up in an ancient prophecy that threatens to throw the balance of nature out of order. The story is definitely not going to be the draw for most people; it’s more of a means to an end to get you hunting different monsters in different locales.

MH4U is a hard, unforgiving, but ultimately fair game. Your character will die—a lot—but every time is a learning experience that tells you what not to do next time. Therein lies the really interesting part of Monster Hunter: every bit of progress you make feels earned, especially when you take down a giant monster that has given you a lot of trouble. Fans of From Software’s Dark Souls will find this gameplay philosophy familiar.

That isn’t to say this game is entirely impenetrable to people who aren’t looking for a hardcore experience. This latest entry makes great strides over past Monster Hunter games in easing new players into the complicated mechanics. This is a big change from previous games in the series that would mostly just dump you into the world with little or no explanation.

The kinder, friendlier aspect of the game is not the only addition MH4U brings to the formula. The biggest change is added momentum and verticality to fights. Battles that used to take place on a mostly flat plain now have the hunter climbing, running, jumping, and even mounting the enemy in an effort to bring it down. This makes encounters feel much more engaging.

Graphically, MH4U is one of the 3DS’s best looking games. The environments, vistas, and large beasts all look fantastic, albeit a bit low-res. Additionally, the gameis one of the few that takes advantage of Nintendo’s recently released (and confusingly-named) New Nintendo 3DS XL. The game makes full use of the system’s second analog stick and extra horsepower to provide much nicer textures and a smoother frame-rate. While either version of the 3DS is a viable platform to play it on, if you’ve got a choice you should go with the “New” 3DS.

MH4U also features robust local and online multiplayer options. Coordinating with other players to take down bigger and meaner monsters is where the game really shines. Even without the multiplayer component, this game can offer hundreds of hours of monster hunting.

With its more accessible gameplay, wealth of content, and exhilarating combat, Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate is a must-have for anyone seeking a good challenge.