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First Impressions: Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate - Wii U

Posted by Martin Watts

We played the monster mash

Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate for Wii U may not be an entirely new game built from the ground up, but it’s fair to say that this upcoming expansion has a lot of gamers excited. Monster Hunter Tri was without doubt one of the definitive hardcore title for Wii owners seeking an in-depth experience, and MH3 Ultimate looks set to take this one step further.

Releasing March 2013, the title will also be available on 3DS; Capcom has already confirmed cross-play functionality between the two systems. Players will be able to move their save data back and forth, allowing them to continue their progress away from the TV, as well as use their 3DS systems to play locally with a Wii U system. When you take into account just how many hours you need to invest into a game like Monster Hunter, it makes perfect sense for Capcom to approach these latest instalments in the way that it has.

Nintendo Life was recently invited along to Nintendo UK’s offices to try out Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate on Wii U, as well as get a first-hand look at some of the new content on offer; we naturally went along to see what we could learn about the highly anticipated release.

One of the first things we noticed was how this new title takes full advantage of the Wii U GamePad. The player is able to shift the majority of the HUD items to the GamePad screen, providing them with not only a clearer view of the game’s landscapes, but also with easier means to navigate the multiple menus and options on offer.

You can fully customise what appears on this second screen, be it the map or health bar or less vital menus such as gestures and combo lists. It is perhaps most useful, though, for accessing the item pouch; no longer must you frantically trawl left and right through a long list of items in order to find that health potion you desperately need. Everything is immediately accessible via the touch screen menu, although it’s worth noting that this doesn’t provide any additional in-game benefits as such; players will still need to sheath their weapon before they can use anything.

Perhaps the most noticeable difference, however, is the game’s visuals, which are now displayed in glorious high definition. Ultimate's graphics haven’t been rebuilt, and what you see is essentially a re-textured, sharper version of Tri. As a result, character models and environments look far more detailed than they ever did on Wii, although it’s still very clear that this is an up-ported Wii game. It lacks the polish and smoothness of other HD titles, but the frame rate remains consistent throughout and the game now looks much more at home on larger screens.

Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate promises new monsters for players to hunt, and we were fortunate enough to have a stab at battling it out against some of these.

The first new quest we got to experience involved hunting a Lagombi, - a vicious monster that resides in the Tundra region and looks like a cross between a rabbit and a bear. The thrill of Monster Hunter has always been to find new monsters and learn how they move and fight (something which usually involves investing a lot of time on the player’s part). In this regard the Lagombi didn’t disappoint, moving with a surprising amount of speed and freedom in comparison to monsters that have come before it. Despite its lumpy shape, the Lagombi gets the upper hand on the player by sliding around on its belly and launching icy projectiles. It’s by no means one of the toughest monsters in the game, but it’s fair to say that it will offer a good and refreshing challenge around the halfway point.

The Brachydios is an entirely new monster created especially for the Wii U and 3DS versions of Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate, and is the flagship monster for each title. We got to battle this creature in the Volcano area, and veteran players will likely appreciate its inclusion due to how immensely difficult it is to beat.

Compared to previous monsters, Brachydios’ design is very adventurous. This hulking blue beast has glowing green arms and frequently charges the player with speedy physical attacks, making it difficult to get multiple hits in against it. It can form puddles of explosive plasma on the ground and — more worryingly — this substance will stick to the player if they are hit by one of Brachydios’ physical attacks. This creature is utterly relentless and even four highly skilled players will have a tough time conquering this beast.

Zinogre is another vicious beast that will be making its first appearance to Western audiences, and was the last creature that we had the painful misfortune of crossing during our preview session. This monster is basically a giant electrified wolf covered in spikes. Despite its large size, it — like the other new monsters we tried — moves with astonishing speed and has the most acrobatic attacks out of the three. For example, one of its attacks is a devastating black flip that is designed to crush the hunter; we’d refer to it as glorious were it not for the fact that it repeatedly caught us out.

When battling this creature, it will frequently try to electrically charge itself up in order to increase its attack damage. Not only that, but as it takes damage, it becomes much stronger and quicker. We especially liked how its visual appearance changed as it became enraged; all of its hair stands up on end as electricity surges erratically throughout its body. It’s a monster that appears towards the upper end of quests available to the player and this — along with the Brachydios — shows that Capcom is clearly putting a lot of effort into prolonging Ultimate’s endgame for more advanced players.

It’s worth mentioning that we also played a couple of quests that were originally available in Tri – “Leading the Charge” (hunt a Barroth) and “The Wrath of Rathalos” (hunt a Rathalos). While these quests didn’t present us with any new challenges or surprises, it did help us to appreciate the visual differences between Tri and Ultimate. We can confirm that both monsters look even more terrifying thanks to the improved textures and resolution granted by the Wii U.

Based on what we’ve played so far, it would seem that the speed and manoeuvrability of the monsters appears to have been a key focus for the developers with regards to upping the challenge. The benefit that players in the West have is that the majority of them won’t have had the chance to play the 3DS or PSP versions of the game, meaning that these experiences will mostly be new to them.

We do not yet know how much new content actually appears in the game. However, if other additions are as well thought-out and creative as the ones we demoed, then Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate will definitely have something new to offer to even veteran players of the franchise.

Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate is currently scheduled to release in March 2013 in Europe and North America for both 3DS and Wii U. A specific date for either region has yet to be announced.

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User Comments (76)



Shiryu said:

Why isn't it March yet!? Oh wait, I have way too many Wii U games to play as is... ~_~;



Hokori said:

I can't wait to get the 3DS Version (sorry HD, portable is better)



CanisWolfred said:

"One of the first things we noticed was how this new title takes full advantage of the Wii U GamePad....It is perhaps most useful, though, for accessing the item pouch; no longer must you frantically trawl left and right through a long list of items in order to find that health potion you desperately need. Everything is immediately accessible via the touch screen menu..."

Insta-buy. Now if they could just reduce the item use animations, this game would be perfect.



Falk_Sturmfels said:

I will buy this game for my XL the day it comes out. That´s a promise. Please let the release date something like "March 5th" and not "March 29th."



bezerker99 said:

Finally, a good Wii U game coming to shelves. Can't wait...getting this and the 3DS version. Crossplay ftw



Marakuto said:

This is might be one of the titles that could convince me to get a Wii U and take advantage of the gamepad controls.



Klunk23 said:

I would really like to get both 3ds and wii u version if the game but that would cost alot of money. If I were to just get one it'd be the 3ds version. Love portable games



DashDG said:

I really need these games (wii u & 3ds) right now!!!! Somebody, please take me to the future!!!!



SanderEvers said:

@DashDG If you travel to the future you'll end up in a different version of the future in which the game will never be released.



XFsWorld said:

I'm gettin the 3DS version, games like Monster Hunter is what i like to play on the go.



AyeHaley said:

I want another awesome game for my Wii U...this one will definitely be it. 3DS version has to wait unless I win the lottery.



Scollurio said:

Im glad I didn't play Tri longer than a few hours so most of this + Bonus content is still new for me! Yay! Can't wait!



Bucho said:

i'm so excited for this, i got stuck in Tri, could never kill Barroth but this time i'll give this game all i've got, now that it'll be in portable form, which is the way i usually play.



tabris95 said:

@CanisWolfred the item use animations take that long on purpose. It is there to encourage more tactical thinking and your reliance on timing as well as to make the battles more nerve racking.



Sean_Aaron said:

If there's voice chat that would make a purchase easier to justify for me. Hopefully it will be so!



Tallion said:

@CanisWolfred not really bro... It's an intentional game mechanic. I like it just the way it is. There are plenty of other action games that require less skill if you want a more casual experience.



Raylax said:

I imagine they're still in place, but I'll ask anyway: Are the maps still broken up by load portals every few feet? And what are the loading times like?



CanisWolfred said:

@Tallion There's a difference between skillful and annoying. Guess which one this is? I'll give you a hint: Useless, unncessary Fist pump.



MAB said:

It's not that hard to roll out of the way, drink a potion then roll on back in for a fight... More realistic



Zombie_Barioth said:

@CanisWolfred You have a point about the animations themselves being a bit....much. Thats something most people tend to joke about. But the long animations are there to curb item spam without actually limiting item use. I'd take the corny flexing over having wait periods any day, for MH at least.

I hope this plays well on the 3DS, I haven't seem a CPP around yet so hopefully theres a bundle. I'm still wondering how the 3D is too, a demo would be nice for that.



SCAR said:

This game is a for sure purchase for me, on both Wii U and 3DS. Please let there voice chat so people won't hate you Capcom(the sake of more features)! All you fools better buy this game, otherwise I'm gonna be pissed when we don't get 4! I really hope this will be on bothe eShops as well... Ca-Ca-Capcom! Capcom.



Spanjard said:

@MadAussieBloke You mean... more fun !
People complaining about these mechanics are not understanding the whole idea of this game.
I love everything about this game, I can't wait!



Otto-Soq said:

I am so jealous of Monster Hunter players. The action gameplay is pushing me towards a heart attack. I know the games are very good and atmospheric...and pretty long.

Capcom....please swap the action gameplay for turn-based!



Zombie_Barioth said:

@CouchPotato I like turn base-based games as much as the next guy, but as far as Monster Hunter is, just no. As awesome as it would be almost every fight would be a boss battle, the long drawn out kind where the boss has mountains of hp. That doesn't sound too fun to me.



DrSlump said:

Compared to the Wii version, and normalizing it by the relative technologies, the Wii version is better becouse of the better job done by developers on using the hardware resources to give a 360° experience. The Wii U version uses the same textures, despite the 2GB of ram avaible, vs the less than 100MB for the original Wii. What a shame.



Spoony_Tech said:

This is the game the pretty much got me on the forums on a regular basis! Talking with my Monster Hunter buddies was the best thing about it! I'll be stuck with the 3ds version and flying solo as it just won't be the same as a few years ago. Still a good single player experience. Oh how I miss H-Mac, Jayarr, Superpeach, and a few others that use to join us all the time! Those were the days.



erv said:

This game is going to take away the most hours of my wiiu once it hits, that I'm sure of. At least till 4 hits the wiiU I think:p

Did you get to test online play related stuff? And what about gamepad only play? Oh well, I'll see most of you online from march on - all I need is a good voice...



SageWaterDragon said:

You can't really say these aren't the real names, as there were never official English translations of their names to begin with. Jinouga is Zinogre, and that is that.



Sean_Aaron said:

@riverfr0zen: if I'm playing a team-based online game, I think it's better for coordinating your actions and I like a bit of online banter when I play online. Otherwise I might as well play offline!



FritzFrapp said:

This game, Wonderful 101 and Pikmin 3 alone could well make the Wii U achieve legendary status in my eyes.



Rerun said:

I'm getting both! My girlfriend and I both play so it's a great set up. I can just move my save if I want to go online with other players.



sinalefa said:

I have the game on Wii already. I am not buying a Champion Edition with HD or a portable Champion Edition without online.

About the long animations, I am not a fan either. The game is hard enough as it is to add artificial difficulty. And in MH, every split second counts and a mistake can cost you dearly.



Tsuchinoko said:

Just wanted to say, as someone who has had 3G for a year about put countless hours into it, that the Burakidiosu battle is really fun. I didn't think it was hard at all, but it feel like the designers set about to make the most fun, fast-paced battle they could. It was really creative.



Falk_Sturmfels said:

@sinalefa: The WiiU-Version HAS online. I don´t know how many times Capcom announced that in the last 3 months.

And for those people who say "i have the wii-version already" ... no, you don´t. There are 15 or something big monsters in the old Tri, and in Ultimate there are 50! Imagine the armor-sets and ressources you can collect from these guys. Plus you have two new hunting areas to explore, plus all 12 weapon-types, plus more than freaking 200 Quests to solve, plus an all-new Tanjia-Port (where the Multiplayer is or the harder singleplayer).



Tsuchinoko said:

@Falk_Sturmfels Actually the only really new area is the one some people call "Mountain Stream". There is also the Tower 3 area and "Disastrous Sea", but those are boss areas. I love the Mountain Stream area though, its beautiful and the music is great.

The real draw here is the huge amount of new monsters, sub-species, new armours and weopons, the high shadow definition that wasn't in the Wii version, and the Tanjia Port stuff.

I've had this game for a year and I still have a lot to do. The game is huge. In Japan we weren't too sad when MH4 was delayed, because so many people are still really into 3G.



Tsuchinoko said:

@LavaTwilight This is a Special Edition basically, so it has everything that Tri had, plus a lot of what Portable 3rd on the PSP had, and a lot of extras.

I guess you could call it Monster Hunter Tri Extended Edition.



FritzFrapp said:

No, it's a separate game in its own right. Very hardcore. Once it clicks with you, it becomes the most addictive, beautifully designed game.



Tsuchinoko said:

@Frapp But I don't even know if that's fully describing it, since 3G contains every single thing that Tri did, plus all the extras. That's why I think calling it an "Extended Version" (to copy DVD titles) is more appropriate.



Zombie_Barioth said:

I have to agree with @Tsuchinoko on calling it an "extended addition". Normally Capcom just adds a few new monsters and G rank quests and calls it a day, but this one has everything added to the series so far. So in a way this is like the GOTY addition or Blizzard battle chest, but better since its more like a whole new game (for everyone outside japan, for the most part)



sinalefa said:


I know the Wii U version has online, that is why I put the "without online" at the end, when I mentioned the 3DS version.

What I did not know was that it had so many extra monsters. If I ever got one of these it would have to be the Wii U version, as it has the twin sticks built in and the online. Thanks for the info.



LittleKing said:

Lagombi, TBH, is not there to challenge anyone. Ice Agnaktor or Barioth on the tundra, maybe. Lagombi is like Arzuros in the forest areas and Volvidon in the volcano. It's a big punching bag that does very little. He's there to break you into the area. He's the Tundra equivalent of Great Jaggi, right after Great Baggi.

You're pretty much right about Zinogre, though. He's one of the harder monsters for the point in the game he appears in. However, Normal Zinogre is held back from the higher tiers of monsters because he's exceptionally slow with easy tells when he's not enraged. When he starts charging, focus on one point and stagger him; he instantly loses his charge. Can't stagger him? Trap him, or FB him. Hell, even Paralyze/Sleep him. Any experienced group of hunters can nearly completely prevent him from raging until he's dead, in which case he can't do much of anything.

For those saying Capcom should remove the flexing:

No. It's an intended mechanic to prevent noobs from bringing dozens of potions and healing all the damage they take. If you really want to lower the time, get Speed Eating +2; you'll chug those potions like they're nothing. Of course, you'll miss out on other good skills like Sharpness +1. Also, if they removed the flexing you'd probably STILL have to stand there; they'd just increase the amount of time you spend actually drinking the potion, is all.

It was intended to make the game harder. There isn't anything artificial about it except the type of animation they chose. If you hate flexing, perhaps you should dig deeper; why does the hunter stand still when drinking and a giant wyvern is about to om nom him? Why doesn't he walk/run while he drinks? Why doesn't he walk/run/crawl when he covers his ears while the monster roars? It's all there to make you think about the timing more.

For anyone complaining about the new names, as stupid sounding (Lagombi?) as some of them are:

I am sorry to inform you that the fan-translated names were not the "actual names." The "actual names" are whatever Capcom decides. Thank you.



Megumi said:

@King: From what I've been told, Lagombi is more annoying than challenging, but whatever.
Dark Lagiacrus is going to be a living nightmare for me. >.>



jyxcrafty said:

@LavaTwilight you dont have too...but if you wanna get familiar with monsters attacks,moves,...especially underwater should try it while waiting...



Demon9Tail said:

This looks alot like the monsters in dragon's dogma. Is there any connection between any of these games?



CopyCatastrophe said:

@Demon9Tail Monster Hunter 3 U came out in Japan back in November of 2011, we're just now getting it in March 2013. Monster Hunter 4 hasn't even been released in Japan yet, we may not get an English MH4 for a very long time. That is assuming that you don't have or have plans on getting a Japanese 3DS and copy of the game.



TheHeroOfLegend said:

This game LOOKS AMAZING. I'll probably be getting it for the Wii U because of Gamepad support and HD graphics.



hub187 said:

I hope it comes out on March 5th. That's my bday . That would be a epic bday present for both Wii.U and my 3DS



laserbek43 said:

Another freaking remake. Thanks for trying.
...I'm guessing it'll be a full-priced remake too..



GiftedGimp said:

Great use of touchpad, but yeah I know its now in Hd but lets be honest, if it had been Monster Hunter 4, and not a revamped version of the Wii game the graphics (if the gpgpu use used properly) would of been a lot better.
But luckily its a great franchise, the only reason I kept my psp for so many years was MH1/2, and since I didn't play the Wii version its a new game to me so will be getting it.



Ellyan said:

Yes it is a remake, but only a small part of it is the same as tri. The weapons left out if tri arw back and all have had their move sets fine tuned and use portable 3rd's mechanics. Stats have been changed to accomadate the new monsters. Tri had 15 or so big monsters and this game has about 50. It's more like an expansion but if that expansion was 3 times bigger than the original game. Sure many monsters are subspecies but it is no longer the days of 2nd gen where they were the same monster with a different color and a new attack. Most of these might as well be a new monster for how different they are. Loc lac city is gone and a new port town is included. Plus g rank for everyone who got bored with high rank in tri. Sure if you played tri and p3rd, there isn't as much new stuff but to write it off as some meager remake does it a huge injustice. I'm sorry if you feel that way but don't discourage others from buying it by saying something that entirely misrepresents what it is, which is a combination of two great games plus a ton of extra content. At least I want it to gain popularity so we can get 4 which is the true non-remake you are craving.

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