Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate released in North America a few weeks ago – I’ve been playing it ever since – and I must say it’s an amazing game with lots of new elements that ooze nostalgia. The first thing about this game that instantly pulls me in is the music – It’s godly. Reminiscent of an RPG from the PlayStation 1 era, the music continues my interest. The second thing that gets me into the game is when playing, it actually gives off that feeling of interactivity with your surroundings. There are segments in Monster Hunter that show your hunter, you, interacting with the monsters before engaging them – even for small enemies that pertain to your quest at hand such as Koncha or Genpreys. Witnessing your character get attacked, dodge an attack, or even sneak up behind the enemy is such an amazing feeling that no other game in the series has given the player before. Another thing I enjoy is the customization. Monster Hunter has always allowed character customization, but in 4 Ultimate it’s a bit more eccentric given the extra details you can edit onto your hunter such as battle scars, face paint, and now being able to customize your Palico, your helper, as you would yourself.
Unfortunately, Capcom disposed of underwater battles with sea monsters, a major element in Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate, which is a definite plus for some players. Instead, now they’ve added a new element – climbing. There’s a helluva lot of climbing in this game and a lot of jumping on top of monsters which can put you at an advantage when fighting large beasts. Also new are the Charge Blade and the Bug Glaive. The Charge Blade is similar to the Switch Axe except rather than the wearer having a fighting stance similar to a Long Sword or Great Sword wielder, it’s much more similar in play style to that of sword and shield user. You can expect this weapon to administer extraordinary cut damage, but prepare for many long sharpening sessions with your whetstone. The Bug Glaive, which in my opinion is actually pretty cool, is best for those who love to mount enemies and enjoy playing around with strategic weapons like the Hunting Horn. Depending on the stats of your Bug Glaive, your weapon may deal out cut or impact damage. The Bug Glaive will also can give you health, make you more powerful, and give you more complex attacks when ordering your bug pal to gather resources from certain parts of the enemy.
If you’re new to the Monster Hunter series, Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate is definitely beginner friendly compared to its predecessors as it guides you through the game with optional helpful hunter tips from the start. The weapons are also less complex than before in terms of creating and upgrading them. Not only that, but playing with friends is much easier than it used to be. Now you can just play via internet without the need of a Wii U, like with Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate. For the multiplayer experience, if you have any friends with the game or don’t mind playing with strangers, I highly advise you check that out. As you get further into the game, the grind becomes insanely tough, especially when grabbing those rare carves.
As a fan of the Monster Hunter series since Freedom Unite on the PlayStation Portable, Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate revists many “old friends” such as the Tigrex, Congalala, Kut-ku and more. Compared to Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate, Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate is actually a lot more challenging. Early in the game you’re already expected to hunt down two monsters at once during low rank quests. Returning monsters also have complex tactics in low rank missions that only high rank veterans would be familiar with, such as the Gypceros “playing dead” in the midst of battle, that now happens on first encounters.
Overall, new or experienced, this game has a perfect balance combining the old with the new and it feels great.
For those of you who are completely new, or those of you who just want to try out a new weapon, here’s a helpful hunter’s guide playlist on weapons and how to use them to their full potential.