Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate comes out on the 23rd of March. In just a few weeks
more, I can get my hands on the next instalment of the most painful, grind-ridden game series that I
have ever had the enjoyment of playing. There’s not much to the Monster Hunter series
– you run around and slaughter monsters many, many times to gather ingredients for recipes to
make more weapons to kill more monsters, over and over again.
It’s painstaking, it takes forever, it’s frustrating, and it’s a terribly large amount of fun.
Traditionally, the series involves learning your enemies inside and out: from the smallest Giodrome,
a true foe, to the Rathalos, large, flying and mascot-worthy as they are. It takes an exorbitant
amount of patience to learn the patterns of one monster, let alone the dozens in any one game.
Why do I complain about how hard a game is but still be so damned excited about it? It’s not
really easy to pinpoint one reason as to why Monster Hunter is fantastic and why
Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate will continue the trend; it’s really just the little things that
Firstly, the combat is ridiculously intense. In most games, you can just take one weapon-type and
use that for the whole course of the game – I do that, I usually pick the sword. That doesn’t really
work in Monster Hunter; most hunts are what you would consider boss-fights in any
other game, and they’re designed so that usually two or three weapon types work on them. They’re
fast, they’re fun, and the monsters are kings in their own dominion. They require you to think about
how you play, and that separates the good Monster Hunter players from the great
Monster Hunter players.
What else do you need? Customisation? It’s got boat-loads of that. You manufacture anything
you want to wear, and so you can customise your character to your heart’s content. Satisfaction?
When you bring down a tough monster for the last piece of your recipe, there is nothing more
satisfying at that moment. Your son was just born? Nope, took down a Barroth and managed to find
the last Wyvern Tear you needed to farm.
If you read any of my other articles that I have written, you know that I enjoy playing with
my friends more than grinding stuff out solo. Thankfully, multiplayer is a key facet to the game and
always a boat load of fun. There is nothing better than running around with three friends slaying
dragons and hunting Giodromes, because that is the pinnacle of life itself.
Which is why I’m very keen for Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate. It has all this, and more!
I’m a university student on the go, and the convenience of having such a social and time-consuming
game while travelling about is just amazing. I can meet up with friends on campus, slay some
Duramboros, and head to the next lecture.
It wasn’t always that simple, though. The game takes patience. The game takes time. The game
takes dedication. The game is hard. But the sense of satisfaction, the feeling of victory, and the plain
fun you have while doing it is just immense. There’s a reason the series has sold over 22 million
copies; it’s a plain recipe of success and people enjoy the pay-off.
But is it worth buying a Nintendo 3DS for? I plan on buying one just for it. It’s too early for me to
say if the game alone is worth a console purchase, but if I sink in even a quarter of the hours I did on
the PSP release, Monster Hunter 2 Freedom Unite, then I will definitely get my money’s
worth. It’s been years since I’ve had the ability to slay some monsters, to hone my game combat
reflexes and I’ve forgotten nearly all the tells for the main monsters.
It will be a brand new game to me, one that I am sure I will find amazingly fun, and I hope I’m
not disappointed. With the next release, Monster Hunter 4, also being on 3DS, Capcom
need to make sure they get the recipe right before they make it better. But I think they will. It would
be hard to screw up Monster Hunter. And hey, even if they do? I’ll still always have my
Giodrome, a true foe.
By Tom Robinson