2013-02-27

Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate – Impressions from the WiiU Demo

by Yo Snyder

What happened? That was my first thought after a giant
bunny-abominable-snowman that shot giant snow ball and could slide along on ice
completely destroyed me. Monster Hunter games really aren’t pick-up-and-play
affairs, especially if you’re not already familiar with them. The WiiU demo for
Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate shows
exactly why that is. If you’ve never played a Monster Hunter game before, you’ll
be at a complete loss. If, however, you are already familiar with the
franchise, the demo certainly whets your appetite for what very well could be
the ultimate version of a great game.

In truth, I did play Monster Hunter Tri on the Wii, so I
wasn’t completely loss. I at least understood some of the basic concepts of the
game; such as the monsters are not all that easy to take down. They require
patience, observation, strategic thinking, quick reflexes and solid
preparation. Now, granted you
don’t quite have all of that in a brief demo of the game. The demo lets you
select from several pre-equipped characters, which is nice because you can try
out a wide variety of weapons to see which suits you. You also don’t have to
worry too much about preparation, you’re given a good inventory of potions and
other things needed to help you win a battle. And actually tracking the monster
isn’t too hard, I usually found it travelling to just one or two areas. So in
truth, a big chunk of the Monster Hunter experience isn’t here; tracking
monsters, crafting weapons, finding supplies, hunting smaller monsters to get
materials to make better weapons and supplies, exploring the hunting region and
things of that nature.

The main reason I felt at a loss in the Ultimate demo was because I wasn’t sure what the controls were on
the WiiU gamepad. I couldn’t figure out how to use potions, I didn’t know what
those two little critters were who seemed to follow me everywhere and
apparently served as good decoys during the heat of battle. There were lots of
icons on the Gamepad that weren’t clear to me, and in the midst of battle, I
didn’t really have time to look at them anyway. This demo isn’t a tutorial. It
just throws you in and lets you play which is both good and bad. Monster Hunter
is a series that typically has a steep learning curve to begin with. Starting
off right in the thick of things only exacerbates that.

Despite my frustration of not quite knowing what was
going on, I was still impressed with the demo. The game certainly looks impressive; a step up from the Wii version. It looks
like it’s making smart use of the Gamepad, allowing you to manage inventory and
have quick access to other items and actions quickly, which will be handy in
the heat of battle. Plus, the addition of new monsters and new gear to find,
hunt and craft items holds a lot of promise for fans of the series. And, this
is a good bridge for Monster Hunter 4
on the WiiU. If you’ve never played Monster Hunter before, the demo might be a
bit intimidating, but at least you’ll get the flavor of this franchise. I’m
looking forward to the full release March 19th because, as I
discovered with the Wii version, this is a game that if you’re willing to
invest the time to learn how to play it that is very rewarding and extremely
fun; and ultimately offers an experience unlike any other series out there.