Developed by:Capcom Published by:Capcom Genre(s):
  • Action RPG
  • Platform:
  • Handhelds
  • Nintendo
  • Cost:$39.99 ESRB Rating:TEEN Players:1 (2-4 Online) Release date:March 19, 2013 Reviewed on:3DS

    Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate

    Back in 2004, Capcom released a little known game called Monster Hunter for the Playstation 2. The game itself is reminiscent of SEGA’s Phantasy Star: Online, allowing players to gear up and battle larger than life monsters alone or with a group of players. Fast forward to 2013, and Monster Hunter has not only become one of the best selling franchises overseas but it also has a strong following stateside, taking on many updates and iterations to it’s orginal formula. Monster Hunter 3: Ultimate is actually an update to the Nintendo Wii’s MH:Tri, with updated graphics and additional quest and monsters.

    What’s the story you ask? It’s very sparse and typical RPG affair;  saving a small, yet charming village from the local wild life that’s terrorizing everything in sight. That aside, MH is all about the hunt and the hunt alone, so those looking for a tragic and deep RPG styled story with character development should keep on looking. You’re not going to find that sort of thing here, but trust me when I say that you won’t miss that aspect at all.  Now before I delve any deeper I want to make it clear that this is my first MH game, so for any other potential newbies to the series, this review is for you. The biggest draw for me was my fondness for Phantasy Star: Online and how this series is similar (only minor similarities) to that classic game. For the comparison sake I will outline briefly the parallels:

    • Huge Bosses
    • A wide variety of weaponry
    • Addictive multiplayer
    • Tense battles

    Take note of while what’s listed is fairly enticing, the similarities end and MH turns into something much more than what Phantasy Star had to offer. At it’s core MH is all about planning, strategy and essentially just “being prepared” for whatever situation the game has to throw at you (look at it as being a much cooler boy scout, or a nerdy Navy Seal). Before you can set off and get the big kills you HAVE to gather materials, while also hunting smaller game to bolster supplies. The point of these tedious and/or stale tasks? The deepest aspect of the series stems from this seemingly simple mechanic. Acquiring new armor, weapons and other items are received soley from the supplies you mine, hunt and scavenge. Newcomers you read that right, unlike most games where you use some form of currency to solely buy new gear, MH uses various ores, stone, crystal and the corpses of your kills to craft the strongest and fiercest wares available!

    Acquisitions are done during the different quest you undertake through guild services. Most quest range from the simple gathering missions, to eliminating smaller pesky creatures, mining certain minerals and finally tackling the large monsters that plague different areas of MH. Before we get too far ahead you have some decisions to make early on. For instance, how will you look? You start the game by creating your character choosing the standard skin tone, face, hair and voice to create your legendary MH who will no doubt go down in Guild Lore and legend. Afterwards another key decision is what weapon types will you wield? Again, unlike other games that let you switch weapons on the fly, once you start a quest you can’t equip a different weapon until the quest is either completed, abandoned or failed. Options span 12 different weapon types including the Great Sword, Gunlance, Lance, Dual Blades, Hammer, Light and Heavy Bowgun, Long Sword, Bow, Hunting Horn, Switch Axe and Sword. Obviously with a large selection each class handles and behaves noticibly different from one another.

    Dual Swords allow for quick deadly slashes, while the Long Sword deals slower devastating strikes to enemies. Overtime as you abuse the bladed weapons they’ll began to dull, decreasing its damage output in the process. The only fix is using Whetstones found or bought to resharpen them. Bows and Gunlances use various ammo types to deal death from afar and the depth of strategy with the weapons begins to branch out drastically. Ammo based weaponry affords you the luxury of using different ammo types for a plethora of encounters. Regular ammo is not the only option available; you also have paralysis and poisonous varieties at your disposal. Regardless of ammo type it would be wise to make sure you have plenty of it. It is also worth noting that your weapon decision also dictates your options for armor. Wielding a sword for up close encounters? You will be completely decked out from head to toe, but switching to a bow removes a few pieces of gear. Though there are a lot of options, it’s best to choose a weapon/armor that fits your preferred play style.

    In addition to weapons items such as healing potions and antidotes are made from combining items gathered from quest, such as herbs, mushrooms, honey and even…dung. To help memorize the large handful of item possibilities, there’s an item combo list that provides a handy reference.  Item management correlates around the 4 gauges you have to watch during your trek across MH. In addition to the standard green life bar, there is a stamina bar directly below that depletes when you run, evade/roll and using special weapon attack moves. Once the meter depletes your character becomes fatigued, and you have to wait for it to recharge before using any of the moves dependant on it. Thankfully, the stamina gauge charges fully in seconds so you can use the moves quite frequently, however the longer a quest lasts the shorter the overall length of the stamina gauge gets. Once it gets too short you lose the ability to evade and run, severly limiting your defensive manuevers. Items such as steaks and rations replenish the overall length of your gauge so make sure to carry plenty of those too. For those underwater excursions there’s an air supply gauge as well as a blade gauge that keeps track of weapon sharpness and overall strength (cue whetstone).

    Still with me? Great! In general there is a slight learning curve when starting out in MH. There are a lot of options at your finger tips as well as loads of information to keep track of during play. But, the gameplay is top notch and very rewarding for those willing to stick with it and learn the ropes!

    Speaking of sticking with it, the controls in general are somewhat of a mixed bag at first. Face buttons control actions such as item use, sheathing and unsheathing weapons and evasive rolls. The Right Trigger (RT) wields a special weapon attack when weapons are drawn and sets your hunter off in a sprint when your weapon is sheathed. LT adjusts the camera behind you when battles get heated (and they will) keeping things oriented. Though the camera is steady, it can be a pain sometimes to have to hit LT to fix it. There is an option, when hunting large prey, to have the it fixated on a target. Another option uses the additional analog attachment (sold separately) hopefully alleviating the problem. Unfortunately, I was unable to test it but as it stands the camera isn’t a deal breaker and I was still able to enjoy myself while playing.

    The touchscreen has tons of customizable options, from using it to view your map, use items, adjusting the camera and whatever else you may need during quest. When diving down into the murky depths the direction the camera is facing is where your hunter will swim. It requires aiming the screen downward to dive and upward when you want to resurface to breath and get on shore. Again, the controls take getting used to. After a while though, things get more comfortable; you’ll be fighting, navigating, and more in no time!

    MH like most 3DS games is bright and colorful, with vibrant scenery and varied locales. Sand blows across desert scenery while snow crunches underfoot in another location; lush environments make the overall experience very easy on the eyes. Character models are detailed nicely, with textures that make models pop and really standout. The use of 3D works nicely and is more of an enhancement and not a distraction or gimmick, a welcome relief. Some textures in certain areas of the game could be improved as they look a little bland/lackluster (bushes). While these areas are certainly noticeable, they’re not a deal breaker by any means.

    Music and sound effects are the usual fare for a game like Monster Hunter. A symphonic score plays during menu selections while a faster tempo plays during those dramatic monster battles. The faster tempo makes each major battle intense, keeping you on the edge of your seat. Sound effects from blades hitting flesh, wind gusts and sounds by the shore, are both engrossing and easy on the ears.

    As of this writing I own six 3DS games, and out of all of them that I own this has to be one of the best reasons to own the awesome handheld. As I have stated early on, this is my first MH game and I can emphatically say that I am hooked. Newcomers, don’t be afraid to take a risk on this title; yes it can be hard and yes you may want to throw your 3DS at a wall, but nothing provides a better thrill than spending 30+ minutes fighting one monster and then turning around and making swords and matching armor out of its hide. There’s plenty I can say about this game but I’ll just simply say GET IT!!! You won’t be sorry!



    As boring as gathering and combining items may sound, it’s actually pretty interesting and never gets old. There is a deep layer of strategy involved.



    Impressive models and effects make MH one of the better-looking games for the 3DS.



    Nothing mind blowing, nor is anything underwhelming.

    What's New:


    MH in functional 3D with updated graphics and touchscreen controls. The best version of MH by far and yes the WiiU is identical in content but with improved graphics, and I will be purchasing that version as well.

    Replay Value:


    While lack of online multiplayer options tend to hurt most games, future DLC, multi card play, WiiU connectivity and at least 150 hours worth of gameplay helps to ensure that this card stays in your 3DS. I promise you won’t miss online play…much!

    Final Score:


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