“Welcome to the world of Monster Hunter, where you forge your own path to glory. Take up arms and battle dozens of ferocious monsters. Go it alone or team up with friends. Gain more than just satisfaction from your hard-fought victories: carve conquered monsters to gain their bones, horns, hides and more, then have them fashioned into weapons and armour to steel you for the even tougher battles ahead. It is the hunter’s way.
Nearly three years on, and the monsters of this imaginary world are no less intimidating and than the previous if not virtually the same. With some changes to the graphics, you really do appreciate the HD upgrade, the game’s not quite up there with current-gen visuals, but it’s crisp and sharp, and the monsters look superb.” – Nintendo UK
One of the enticing features of the game is the Wii U accessibility. You can use the pro controller (or the Wii’s classic controller), but the GamePad really shines here; the screen offers additional buttons and functions, all of which can be customized. If you want the map on the GamePad instead of onscreen, it can be done. Targeting, camera controls, item management, and certain attack controls can all be mapped to the touch-screen interface and moved about to suit you. This interface is never intrusive, or mandatory, but it’s a subtle and welcome use of the hardware.
The game continues to be a grind of farming and fighting the same creatures over and over again, it does a remarkable job of keeping things fresh. Battles rarely play out the same, whether you’re tackling a variety of different beasts or simply taking on the same one repeatedly.
The ultimate change is the ability to swim and reach new areas. I dislike this feature the most, because of the swimming you are no longer able to use your feline sidekicks as in the previous game. Nor is the action of swimming easy and difficult to fight whilst under water.
You have lots more weapon types or choice with upgrading or creating. A favourite is the bagpipes, whilst fighting in a quest. Mastering one single weapon feels like a game in itself, and the difference between using a long sword or dual blades results in a huge variety in how you approach combat. There is a vast scope of new weapon types, and armour provides plenty of content.
The animation cut scenes give you a feel of a RPG but you have all the freedom of doing as many side quests or random galavantings in the forest to build up the town or level up. The novelty of streetpass being left on in the game is you can swap guildcards automatically whilst on quests ready to pick up from felines hanging about in Moga village.
The 3DS and Wii U versions are able to connect and play together locally. Game saves can be shared between the two versions, but saves from different regions cannot be transferred to another country’s release. 3G’s save cannot be transferred to Ultimate, or vice-versa. Online play is supported only on Wii U. However, 3DS users can now play online through the Wii U ‘Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate Packet Relay Tools’. The tools are available for free from the Wii U e-Shop and do not require owning the Wii U version of the game.
Another Shakalaka called Kayamba is able to join hunts. At first, Kayamba is not at very good terms with Cha-Cha though the two eventually become friends. Both can join the hunter in the single-player campaign, similarly to the Felyne comrades in Monster Hunter Portable 3rd. When heading into Port Tanzia, the multiplayer mode, both Shakalakas can be taken along if the player isn’t playing wirelessly with a friend. When playing with another person, the hunters are allowed to bring either Cha-Cha or Kayamba, as long as the total amount of participants doesn’t exceed four.
A new feature called Target Camera allows hunters to centre the camera on nearby large monsters instead of the direction they are currently facing by pressing the L Button. This feature is optional and can be toggled via the bottom screen. If the L button is pressed twice in succession, the camera shifts behind the hunter as normal. MH4 director Kaname Fujioka has revealed that the Target Camera system was implemented into 3U as an experiment and that a further modified version would be used in Monster Hunter 4.
Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate is the first game in the franchise to feature dynamic shadows (i.e., realistic shadows which are of the same shape as the character casting them). The game does temporarily switch to the previous round shadows when flying monsters are high up or moving to another area.