A few days ago the Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate demo came out on both Wii U and 3DS. I spent a few rounds with both versions and am certain that fans of the series will be very pleased.
Firstly, the demo is exactly the same regardless of which version you choose. It features an easy hunting mission and a hard one. They both give you a good idea of what a lot of the game is about: prolonged battles with large monsters, and blocking and dodging while learning monster behavior (and more!). It is pretty much exactly the same as any Monster Hunter you have played before and that’s not a bad thing.
The demo features 12 different weapons to play around with. Each one controls a bit differently but will still be able to get the job done so it all comes down to personal choice.
Visually, the Wii U version looks great but nothing mind bending. The 3d (on the 3DS obviously) looks good but I’ve seen better in Ocarina of Time and Resident Evil: Revelations. The text when in 3d is a bit jaggy and odd and it is still strange in 2d. I’m not sure what is going on with that.
Anyway, it is great fun to be chasing down a monster and beating on it. Monster Hunter has always done a very good job of this. While the game is a lot of fun to play, there are still some gripes I have that Capcom doesn’t seem to want to fix.
I hope there are adjustable controls in the final version because there just seem to be a lot of wasted buttons. I didn’t use L2/R2/L3/R3 and have no idea what they are for, if they are even used at all (they could be used for the ranged weapons but I’m not sure). Also, the whole ‘hold down L and use Y and A to cycle through items’ is a ridiculous system that could easily be changed in the Wii U version with the shoulder buttons. The controls just need an overhaul.
Even more, the right stick camera control does not function like a normal 3rd person game but rather up and down change the camera angle to set options. Oddly enough, it controls normally during the underwater sections.
Controlling the camera is very important in Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate because monsters like to dash out of view and all that. There’s a whole lot of rotating and refocusing the camera. The 3DS controls fix the awful PSP camera controls by having a virtual d-pad on the touch screen you can use while moving. It’s not perfect though.
The underwater sections are a bit frustrating on Wii U but on the 3DS it is almost impossible to accurately control. Maybe after a lot of gameplay you’ll get it down, but that just tells me that it’s wrong and could be fixed with a lock on while underwater or a way to ascend/descend without changing the camera. It just doesn’t feel right at all to have to constantly spin the camera around to move where you need to go and watch the enemy and dodge and attack all at the same time. It’s a bit much and it’s completely unnecessary.
All the underwater stuff is something interesting that Tri introduced but I feel that the demo would have been better without a fight that showed off a poorly controlling and frustrating fight.
Monster Hunter will remain a series for the more hardcore players because of all this. The controls are just strange enough to where you feel like it would be better with a third hand. The battles are quite long and have few ways to tell how much health remains on the monster. Then there is the grinding for items that is required in the full game that is likely to be as obtuse as it has always been, requiring guesswork or the use of wikis.
However, Monster Hunter is still a fun game, especially with friends. It’s the closest you can get to actually going out and hunting monsters as it gets the tension and scale down fantastically. It’s a fun game that does something that really cannot be obtained anywhere else. I just wish it fixed itself up a bit more when I stopped by.
Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate comes out for Wii U and 3DS on March 19.