I figured with all the time I’ve been devoting to this latest iteration of the Monster Hunter Saga, I should actually do a write-up for it. I’ve put in about 190+ hours now so I do feel I definitely got my monies worth. What is that though… almost 8 days of my life playing a single game? Neglecting a good chunk of those are afk hours, it’s still a healthy amount of time. It’s not all fluff and roses though so let me break down both versions!
You start out this adventure much the same as you did with Tri. The multiplayer town looks different and I’m totally ok with that. I like to play a healthy dose of both on and offline gaming. I kind of figured it was more of a preference thing until another buddy corrected me in telling me that one must complete all the levels in single player to unlock certain monsters. I like that, it’s a mountain to climb at times, but I like it. If you’re just starting out, here’s what I would recommend:
Starting with buds?: Play with your friends online as much as possible while helping each other out. Remember, you don’t want to be that guy that helps everyone else farm some random-crap rare drop and then have them not want to help you. Let’s work together people, we’re all humans here. If you progress pretty decently in the multiplayer, then the single player missions will go by much smoother due to better armor and weapons attained online. Don’t read that as easy (although some will be a ton easier), but just smoother. You’ll know the fights and they’ll have less HP… you get my point.
Starting without buds?: Play the single player until you get a decent set of gear. While you can set out for the online play with basic gear and some people may not care, inevitably some will and some may give you crap. Personally, I’m one of those that wouldn’t care too much, but I personally like to feel like I’m accomplishing something so better gear makes me feel better, and I’m sure I’m not the only one. Got a good set of gear and a weapon you like upgraded two or three times? Go online and play your heart out. Most of the community is pretty nice if you’re not a dork. I’ve really only met one guy I didn’t like, he was a fart head so I don’t care.
Without wanting to start a full blown how-to post I’ll just move on.
The Good & Bad, Point & Counter Point:
The game is lush with vibrant colorful areas, gear, and weapons. I love it. This is important because you know when you’re out of bubblegum and have to kick some butt, you need to look awesome as well. Level aesthetics help, and what helped more is that they added the Misty Peaks. The trouble is that you get very familiar with the levels and while I am ok with the levels, I could have used a level or two more for a bit more variety. I know I ask for a lot, but … I don’t think I do really lol. Maybe just one or two more levels as colorful as the Misty Peaks.
One main gripe is that this was touted as an HD remake/upgrade of Tri. It’s clear that they did upgrade the gear, weapons, and monsters… but it almost feels they stopped there. The levels have lame/flat textures in some places and just plain don’t look good. Remember how excited you were about Skyrim when it first launched, go back and look at the environments… it’s not very super. It’s good, but not as much as I was anticipating. While it didn’t stop me from playing (obviously), it does make me sad that Capcom didn’t put a bit more work into this. Skyrim may not the be the greatest example, but having gone back and played it, some of the textures are that amazing and you get lost in the weather effects and all that jazz. Looking at MHU, some of the textures look like they are straight out of the Wii version of Tri… reall? You couldn’t have spent a bit more time?
They made up for it (somewhat) in the ability to transfer your saves. Being able to transfer my Wii U save to my 3DS and be able to continue the same game at lunch or anywhere else on the go and then transfer back when I get home is awesome! There can be issues with it like losing gear sets, but meh… you can easily equip what you want as long as you know what you have. You basically lose the ability to do it faster at times. I wonder if there is something they could have done about it… or why haven’t they patched it yet?
Control in this game is a mixed bag. I think that they keep the combat and movement controls from the preceding games because that’s what Monster Hunter has been for so long. Monster Hunter makes you think and commit to your actions. Sometimes you come out on top and sometimes you do one attack too many and you eat a face full of damage. I get it, and I’m not completely sure if this played like an action game like God of War or if you could turn on a dime like most FPS if it would make it any better. While it can be frustrating at times, this sets Monster Hunter apart from other games. We don’t need to have every game play like games we’re used to. We need games that are different from each other, not just re-skinned copies.
The connectivity between the Wii U and 3DS is pretty awesome in the multiplayer aspect. I like that 3 people can join in with a Wii U and play together or that four 3DS can do it and that the Wii U can go online and now play with all regions of the game. Multi-region play extends the life of a title like this a bit because in the beginning there will most likely always be people on and you get to meet more potential hunting buddies. That just makes you want to play more with them. What sucks is that while a 3DS can play with a Wii U, it can’t go online. I’m sure there were some technical difficulties here, but Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon did it, why couldn’t Monster Hunter? I’m sure no one can really argue that Nintendo has more online experience than Capcom sooo… what’s the deal? Maybe if they did online connectivity differently? I’ve heard complaints about it being arcaic, and while I agree that it’s not the greatest/smoothest/easiest, I think it does the job well enough.
Speaking of online play, if you’re the solo hunting type, there is a solo mode for the online content. The monsters are a little easier than the coop version, but they will still put up quite a fight. This was a good idea especially since the 3DS can’t go online, having a single player version of the online mode seems almost like a no-brainer so I’m glad they did it.
A final note is on the “grind” of this game. It can be rough sometimes getting the parts you need from certain monsters, and it sucks sometimes. However, it is called Monster Hunter, not Monster Get-Everything-I-Want-On-The-First-Try for a reason. You’re hunting monsters and much like I’d assume hunting in real life goes, not every animal you hunt is worthy of having it’s head hanging creepily on the wall of your log cabin.
This is a rather long review, but it’s more complicated in it’s simplicity than others so if you’ve made it this far, it just goes to show you that the internet hasn’t ruined everyone’s ability to read long posts, kudos!