Demos are something that Nintendo has only recently really begun to push on its consoles, but the response seems to have been a resounding 'yes' from the fans; so we've been gifted with a demo for Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate. For a while you would only be able to download the demo with a unique code, but the floodgates have now been opened and you can download the game directly from the eShop without any specialised mumbo-jumbo.
As Monster Hunter is a series notorious for being difficult to get into, we've compiled a short guide that should help explain some of the intricacies of the demo in order to make all of your hunts successful.
Picking the right weapon is paramount to learning the game correctly, and if you're a complete beginner you'll want to stick to the recommended weapons that you have at your disposal. The Dual Blades are a good weapon to start with as they're probably the simplest to use, the only mechanics they have are damage-dealing. Avoid ranged weapons altogether until you're more experienced.
Something the demo doesn't really explain is the items you can use, and these are of paramount importance if you're planning to go up against the Tetsucabra or even the dreaded Gore Magala. The items are different for every hunt in this demo, and whilst an in-game description does exist for each of these, it's not always easy to read them when in the heat of battle. The main items you'll want to be using are Whetstones – which sharpen your weapon and allow maximum damage – Mega Potions – which refill your Health – and Well-Done Steaks – used for increasing your Stamina Meter. If you're in the middle of a fight and need to use one of these items you'd be best - if you're still adjusting to the monster's 'tells' - to leave the current area before using them, as they leave you very open to attacks. If you're interrupted before the item has taken effect, you'll have to use it again.
One of the most crucial things to understand about Monster Hunter is that you need to understand the monsters you're hunting. Certain weapons have different effects on certain monsters, and a lot of damage dealt is determined by what part of the monster you attack. Heads are usually weak points, but not always, so try hitting different areas to see what happens. You'll also need to be able to read what the monster is doing by its actions; if a monster is limping it means it's close to death, if it reels from one of your attacks it means you've scored a particularly nasty hit, and if it pauses its attacks and appears to hyperventilate, it's exhausted and will attack less frequently. Also be sure to watch out for a sudden change in behaviour - for example if a monster starts glowing or frothing at the mouth and attacking more rapidly, it's enraged and you'll need to take extra care to avoid it or suffer the consequences!
Lastly, don't be afraid to look in the Hunter's Notes for tips and other useful information. Despite the tutorials in the demo being fairly comprehensive, there's no way they'd be able to cover everything without boring you half to tears. A lot of what makes Monster Hunter such a unique series is the fact that you have to learn and understand the monsters you're hunting before you can fight anything more aggressive than a Great Jaggi. If you're still floundering, try and find someone else who can talk you through the areas you're having difficulty with in more detail. Everyone has their own way of doing things, but you'll just get defeated time and time again if you try and play without the necessary preparations. It's all worth it, though, as Monster Hunter is an incredible series that offers an experience unlike any other.
If that all went over your head a little bit, why not watch the video below for some really basic tips to help you get started? It's ideal for those who are completely unfamiliar with the game to help them get started on the right track.