Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate Review
Over the years, Capcom has given us gamers a lot of memorable franchises. From Mega Man to Resident Evil, Capcom continues to deliver…and fuck up…and at times, downright kill them off. But, one franchise in particular is still going strong and has amassed a massive fanbase with cries for MOAR! That franchise…is Monster Hunter!
The franchise itself came to fruition on September 21st, 2004 here in the United States on the PlayStation 2. Shortly afterwards, it was remade as Monster Hunter G and released in Japan first, only for Europe and North America to get that version on the PSP under the title, Monster Hunter Freedom. As it stands, there are currently 4 games in the Main series, 4 games in the Freedom series and 4 spin-off games, bringing the total to 12 games altogether. Currently, Monster Hunter 4 is the newest one in the franchise, but it’s only available on the Nintendo 3DS for Japan and more recently, South Korea….asshats.
The formula for Monster Hunter is fairly straightforward: Kill monsters and make stuff from their body parts. It sounds morbid, but even as I have so simplistically explained it, there is a WHOLE LOT MORE to it. So grab a drink, take a seat and get ready to read…because I promise you it will be a lot easier for you to read this than it was for me to write this thing.
The game itself doesn’t technically have a story. You’re pretty much an up-and-coming Hunter in search of glory and fame and your quest for that lands you in Moga Village. From that point, you are given tasks(or Quests)by the Village Elder and his lazy-ass son to complete. Later on, you are invited to join the Hunter’s Guild and that’s where the fun really begins. Quests vary in difficulty depending on their “star level”, with 1-2 stars being Low Rank, 3-5 stars being High Rank and 6-8 being G Rank.
Now from this point, Quests are divided into 3 types: Hunting, Gathering, Capture. Hunting-type quests make up a good chunk of the game. You pretty much head out into the wilderness or whatever location you are tasked to go to, and kick the bitch out the marked monster and carve parts off of it’s dead, lifeless body. Gathering quests are few and far between, and those have you gathering minerals, herbs, bugs, fish…whatever. Capture quests are just as few. You pretty much treat it like a Hunting quest, but instead of slaying it and heading back to the village for a little after-party with some of the women(Or men if you’re a female character), you have to noticeably weaken it, set a trap and capture it. So, no after-kill booty for you as village women like killers, not merciful saints. But capturing Monsters can be beneficial as you tend to get more monster parts after the quest is over with. The other quest type is Event Quests. Now, Event Quests are special quests you can download for free(Just like all Monster Hunter DLC). Now completing an Event Quest will net you a special item or ticket. Collect the required amount and you can forge a special and unique weapon. You don’t have to do Event Quests for game completion, but they are very fun and very challenging. So download and try it out!
Offline vs. Online
While the game offers Quests offline, the majority of the game’s better Quests take place online. Of course the Quests are way easier offline, but online questing poses more in the way of a challenge. Sure you can go at it alone if you feel your skills are up to par, but being able to work alongside other Hunters tends to make hunts more successful and easier. If you choose to run solo, the game offers two Shakalaka Companions(Replacing the Felyne Companions from previous titles), Kayamba and Cha-Cha, with the latter making his return from Monster Hunter 3 on the Wii. Both can be equipped with masks that do different things, as well as assigning them abilities they utilize during hunts. Though not as good as human-controlled companions, they make great cannon-fodder when trying to take a monster down!
So, hunting with other players is a good thing. It makes farming for materials infinitely easier and faster, and it’s a great way to develop strategies and make friends. Of course, multiplayer hunts are not all slaps and tickles. Should a Hunter die(Or “cart”), the reward is significantly lowered for everyone. Cart 3 times and the quest is failed. So, you really really need to work with your team in order to prevent things like this from happening. Believe me, I’ve played enough pub-games to know just exactly how good Hunters tend to react when someone decides to be stupid. If you’re worried about the community, you’ll be fine. While the online Monster Hunter community does have it’s small share of Elitist nut sacks, the rest of the community is actually pretty chill and have no problem helping you out. See, Monster Hunter is not competitive by any means. It’s purely cooperative, with everyone benefiting from the quest. So, there is no need to worry about some 8-year old kid claiming he gave your Mom the gravypipe the previous night like you would hear if playing Call of Duty.
But if you would rather not take that risk, then I would suggest setting up a guild or group on Facebook so you only play with people you know and trust. I, myself, am part of the You Can Play This! Monster Hunter Guild founded by my mentor and colleague, Justin ‘JewWario’ Carmical. Though only a few of us are active at the moment(People have lives too, you know!), the group I roll with are funny, knowledgeable and just downright awesome! In fact one of our members, Mike, is so fucking ballsy that he solos Deviljhos…for fun…and out of boredom. Deviljhos are one of hardest monsters in MH3U, and this guy goes APESHIT when one shows up during a hunt! He takes off and actually kills it…by himself. Straight gangster, yo.
The Art of Hunting
One the main staples in the Monster Hunter franchise is the ability to forge weapons, armor and items from the parts of the monsters you kill. Sure, you can buy armor sets, but making them is what benefits you the most as you’ll NEVER be able to purchase the really good sets. One thing to point out is that your appearance changes depending on the set you are using. So, if you are using…say…the Nargacuga Set, your character would look something like this…
So as you can clearly see, your armor takes on the appearance of the monster’s parts you used to forge it. But it’s not just restricted to armors. Weapons you forge also take on a slight appearance of the monster, too.
Aside from looks, almost all pieces of armor have Armor Skills infused within them. These Skills are incredibly important for molding yourself to be the Perfect Hunter and it’s one of the most important factors to consider when forging new armors. Based on the set you are forging, the default skills within can get bonuses from each piece of the set itself. So, here’s an example using the Great Jaggi Set:
The Great Jaggi set comes with the Attack, Gluttony, Stun and LastingPwr skills by default. Each piece of that set adds on or reduces a numerical value to that corresponding skill. Now with skills, a certain numerical value has to be reached before the skill becomes active, be it in a positive way or negative way. Now when your Hunter is wearing all the correct pieces of the Great Jaggi set, the end results are you now have the Attack Up(S), Gourmand and Halve Stun skills active. Unfortunately, the LastingPwr skill drops to -8, but to the point where you wouldn’t suffer the active negative version of LastingPwr, which is called Item Use Down.
So in a sense, it’s incredibly vital you pick and choose what armor sets you want your Hunter wear. Also, an armor’s defense can be raised if you drop a certain amount of Armor Spheres into each individual piece. Keep doing it until all pieces are maxed out and you’ll be set! Another thing to point out is your armor’s look and defense rating is dependent on what weapon class you are using. If you are a melee character or Blademaster, then your armor’s defense rating will be high. If you choose ranged or Gunner, then your defense rating will be significantly lower than that of a Blademaster. So choose carefully what weapon-type you pick!
Now this also begs the question: “Is it better to go full set or mix and match?”. Yes and No. While full sets can give you great abilities, mixing and matching can trump a full set if done correctly. Which is why I feel mixing and matching sets is reserved for expert players. So take heed in choosing what to wear. Otherwise, this could happen…
Know Your Monster
Capcom really outdid themselves with this game when it comes to the monsters and by that I mean adding genus and species classifications, sub-species for certain monsters, animalistic AI and pack mentality. Don’t think for a second that the monsters you encounter in the game have a set pattern, HP bar or anything like that. No, instead you have to telegraph the monster’s movements and actions WHILE fighting it in order to effectively survive the encounter. Every monster has a “tell” when it’s about do something, so attention to detail is an absolute must!
Now, almost every monster has an element attributed to it and with those elemental associations comes elemental weaknesses. Even if a monster does not have an elemental-type, it is still prone to weak against one of the 5 elements in the game. Status effects make a return in this game, as well. All the previous ones are present, with the new status effect Slime being added specifically for this game. Not only can a monster succumb to status ailments, but so can your Hunter!
In terms of part farming, you obviously get to carve a monster up after killing it. Depending on the kind of monster, as well as your skill set, you can get anywhere from 3-7 carves. However, what carves you get depends on the rank of the monster you killed. Some materials you can easily get by hunting Low or High rank monsters while some of the more upgraded versions are reserved for G Rank. Remember when I mentioned above about capturing monsters can net you a lot more items? Well in certain cases, you can only get a monster part by capturing, though the percentage is always low. The other thing to note is that some parts are only available from breaking or severing a part of a monster’s body. So for example, if you need a Royal Ludroth Lash for a weapon/armor, you will need to sever the tail of a G Rank Royal Ludroth and hope the one and only carve is the part you need! See? The game is set-up to keep the replay value incredibly strong and with the way it works, it encourages players to keep hunting!
The game is absolutely amazing! It really promotes the multiplayer aspect, but at the same time doesn’t force it on you. The massive amount of content this game has to offer is potentially endless, and you will quickly lose yourself when playing. By that I mean racking up gameplay hours like nobody’s business. I’ve punched in about 300 hours since I bought it, but I know other people that clocked in 500 and higher! So, if you are interested in getting a game worth investing your spare time into, then this would be my suggestion…because…what other games are out for the Wii U that are worth investing a lot of time in? Wind Waker HD? Wonderful 101? Nintendo Land!? Pfft, bitch please.
9.5 out of 10
Until next episode…