Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate

9.8 Overall Score
Gameplay: 10/10
Length: 10/10
Game Mechanics: 9/10

Near-unending gameplay | Fantastic combat system | creative monster & equipment design

Steep learning curve | Requires lengthy play sessions | No online voice chat

Game Info

GAME NAME: Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate

DEVELOPER(S): Capcom

PUBLISHER(S): Capcom

PLATFORM(S): 3DS

GENRE(S): Action, Role-Playing

RELEASE DATE(S): February 13, 2015

 

Let me get this out of the way right at the start of this review: Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate is one of those games that makes you buy a 3DS. In fact, when I ask people what they play on their handhelds, it usually ranks right up there with Pokemon and Animal Crossing. And the reason for that is simple: It’s an amazing game.

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Now, it’s easy to call a game “amazing,” but this review seeks to delve a little deeper into what makes Monster Hunter 4U such a good game, as well as to highlight what features feel lacking or ultimately serve to drag the game down. Make no mistake, while this game has been the source of nearly un-ending joy and entertainment for me and my friends, there are plenty of reasons why you should seriously consider whether this is the right game for you before making a purchase.


The first of these reasons is probably the most straightforward: Monster Hunter 4U is a slow game. If you’ve played a Monster Hunter title in the past, you’re probably already familiar with the game’s 30-50 minute battles that mercilessly contain no checkpoints and only three lives. Add to that the fact that there are more monsters to hunt in this particular installment than any previous title, and that the comparatively short single player campaign will still take you roughly 60 hours to totally complete, and you begin to understand why this game might not be for the faint of heart. That being said, for those of you looking for an incredibly lengthy game that will constantly push you to your very limits, look no farther; you’ve found your paradise in MH4U.

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One of the truly amazing aspects of Monster Hunter is how well it blends the single player campaign with the online hunting system. Both types of missions are completed the same way, with the key difference being that online hunts are generally harder. However, with a team of four working together to complete a task, you’ll find the missions breeze by much faster than those of your single player campaign. One aspect that is unsurprisingly lacking, albeit still disappointing, is voice chat. The game does allow you to enter self-composed phrases, which will quickly become token catch-phrases between you and your friends, but the inability to get specific mid-hunt can be a real hindrance.

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Monster Hunter 4U’s online offers another easily overlooked gameplay element that really assists players new to the Monster Hunter formula: the ability to hunt with more experienced hunters who can help you collect better weapons and armor. If you ever find yourself stuck on a particularly challenging single player hunt (which you will, time and time again), you can always jump online as have some masters help you along. I can’t tell you how invaluable this was to me personally when I first started playing the Monster Hunter games. In part, that was because Monster Hunter has a very steep learning curve. Many of the game’s weapons move very slowly and may feel foreign to first-timers. Luckily, MH4U seems to be one of the more forgiving entries to the series, providing plenty of help during the start of the solo campaign, even going so far as to have the first batch of online-oriented (that can be played offline) be optional weapon tutorial hunts. And with more weapons to choose from than ever before, there really is something for every play-style in this installment.

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Something I touched upon briefly earlier was the length of this title. Monster Hunter is a bit of an odd beast in that regard. Rather than providing a linear set of challenges to overcome in rapid succession, this series prefers to provide players with a collection of varying tasks, some of which must be completed to rank-up. Upon doing so, the player then unlocks the next set, which contain harder, more rewarding quests. This cycle continues so-on and so-forth for a seemingly unending time. Make no mistake, there will come a day when the most hardcore completist will see their pool of unfinished quests dry up, but for the average gamer, that day may not come for years. Add to that the fact that the game has received five months’ worth of free dlc so far, which include new quests with new themed weapons to craft, and you have one of the longest running titles on the 3DS to date. The one dark spot in all of this content is rather obvious; those without much time to play, or those who can’t afford to sit down for an hour to play may find themselves unable to make very much headway into this title. Monster Hunter 4U is not a title you open for 5 minutes on the go. Rather, it is meant to be enjoyed at length, and is often best suited for play sessions that last approximately 2 hours or so. That’s not to say you can’t start a hunt, put your 3DS in sleep mode and pick it up again later. However, the experience is somewhat more awkward than doing so for a more casual title.


The final topic that needs to be covered here is how the game actually performs. If you choose to follow my advice and play Monster Hunter over long, drawn-out play sessions, you’ll absolutely want to do so on either a New 3DS, or with a Circle Pad Pro. The reason for this is two-fold: It will afford you the best control style available, especially in regards to controlling the camera, and it will keep you from getting nasty hand-cramps during those lengthy hunts. The title is available on regular 3DS’ without a second stick, but the camera control will be placed both on the d-pad directly below the circle pad, and on the touch screen in the form of a virtual d-pad. While this solution does make the game playable, you’ll eventually find yourself in pain, long after you realize your hand-eye-coordination isn’t what you thought it would be as you once again miss the correct button input and end up facing straight down instead of turning left or right.

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Monster Hunter 4U is one of those titles I always recommend to friends who have a 3DS. It’s also probably the only title I recommend that comes with a lengthy warning, however. All of the points present in this review reflect that warning. MH4U could very well be the single greatest gaming experience of your life. The sheer competitiveness from your fellow hunters and the amazing weapons and armor you can craft have an almost addicting quality to them. Monster Hunter is one of those games that you never truly stop playing. Once you become a hunter, you’ll find yourself hunting again and again, even if you take months off at a time. But this title isn’t for everyone, and while I’m remiss to ever use the term “hardcore” or “casual” in a review, the latter might want to think twice before picking this title up. For those of you up to the challenge however, may you discover a world as rich and full as I did, and may all your hunts be prosperous.

And may we ALL kill Black Gravios quickly, and without the need to retry again, and again, and again…

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Summary

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Author: Lukas Termini View all posts by
An amateur game designer and lover of all things Nintendo, Lukas studied digital arts and 3d animation at the University of Tampa before graduating in 2013. If he isn't playing a video game, you can bet he's probably thinking about it.