There’s good reason for why the Monster Hunter series is so adored. Monster Hunter’s unique focus on the stalking and slaying of wondrous beasts simply can’t be found elsewhere, and the heart pounding excitement and adrenaline is a drug that fans just can’t quit. Your Hunter never grows stronger in stats, but you as a player frequently grows stronger in skill and knowledge, and equipped with new armour and weapons forged from your previous foes you continue to conquer dragons and dinosaurs on a practically endless quest to become the best of the best.
In Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate on Wii U, hundreds of hours can be spent playing offline but bringing your hunter into the multiplayer offering can easily double or even triple that time commitment. Venturing into the wilds with three fellow monster slayers and tracking then defeating one of the many beasts is tactically broad, a true spectacle and utterly bonkers fun. Add to that the unpredictability that comes with other monsters occasionally joining the fray and you can be sure of a challenging and highly entertaining time on every hunt.
With the crated armour and weapons being your only in-game form of progression, your understanding of the combat and of the monsters you’re hunting is key to success. Learning the layout of each area and what items you need to bring to survive within it is a large part of your pre-hunt routine. Meanwhile knowing how your prey is going to fight is what’ll keep you alive in an encounter and secure your victory. You need to know where you hunt is likely to run to as you injure it. Timing is everything. Swinging, stabbing or shooting your weapon locks you into a direction and animation, pressing attack multiple times will lock you into a combo, so it’s important to know that you’re going to connect with a monster for each hit. A miss can leave you vulnerable. You also need to know what you can and can’t block or dodge. Whether a blunt heavy weapon is more effective than a light sharp one. What elements and ailments effect the creature. Then, with all this knowledge you need to ensure you have the tools to defeat it. Monster Hunter is so much more than simply engaging and killing or capturing a monster, it’s truly about the hunt and preparation.
Numerous combat styles and weapon sets make for a variety of options to best suit your play style and taste. Online a hunter with a specialisation in a weapon and armour type can be a useful ally, however, a jack of all trades approach has a quality all of its own, both online and off. Mastering combat and fully understanding everything Monster Hunter has to offer makes for a steep learning curve and a lengthy time commitment, but there’s nothing quite like success in this series. You feel like you truly earned it.
Indeed the Monster Hunter series is a unique set of titles and their exciting monster battles and cooperative hunts can be spectacular. Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate is the best version yet and deserves it’s place in Midlife Gamer’s top 10 best games of this year.