Games Review: Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate

Monster Hunter 4 has a rich variety of enemies to take down. Picture: Contributed

Monster Hunter 4 has a rich variety of enemies to take down. Picture: Contributed

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CAPCOM’s monster slaying franchise is more accessible than ever

Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate

Platform: Nintendo 3DS

Score: 9/10

EVEN though its profile sails far below the stratospheric popularity it enjoys in Japan, the Monster Hunter series has a cherished cult following on these shores. The action RPG’s premise may be straightforward - the player must embark on various quests around the globe, hunting down a series of fearsome creatures - but it is a test of skill, perseverance and guile that can easily eat up hours of your time in a single sitting.

This is the most obvious attempt to date by Capcom to garner mainstream appeal for the franchise, yet it is careful not to compromise the essence of the Monster Hunter experience. Niggling, time consuming necessities such as having to constantly buy items and supplies are overhauled with a new bulk purchasing system, while western audiences finally have the option to play online multiplayer. There is also an expanded narrative, which is welcome if ultimately irrelevant to seasoned players.

The classic Monster Hunter experience is refined and improved

Elsewhere, this is classic Monster Hunter. As the monsters you must slay grow in size, so you amass greater quantities of weapons and armour. The grinding system which sees you repeatedly embark on hunts to improve the items at your disposal is present and correct and although it might sound unappealing to those unfamiliar with the game, teaming up with friends to take down the creatures is one of its best features.

The graphics are among the most ambitious yet for a 3DS title and although there are a few textural glitches here and there, they work well. Indeed, there is a far richer variety of monsters to contend with in this version, something that was lacking in previous instalments. This cannot be underestimated in enticing you to sink days into the game and the sense of progression and conquest is keenly felt.

This one of the most involving games available for the 3DS

Ultimately, this is the best Monster Hunter game yet. It combines the classic combat experience with a spectrum of well judged refinements that make what could well be an overwhelming title considerably more accessible. It is still a game that requires extended periods of play if you are to make inroads but give it a chance and you will be rewarded with one of the most involving games for the 3DS yet.

TIPS AND TRICKS:

Local multiplayer is always a better bet than online as it allows you to communicate and plan strategies

Master how to dive out of the way when under attack. It is a simple move but it will often save your skin

Experiment with different ingredients for your meals to find out which one is best suited to your weapon class

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