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Review: Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate

Feb 10 // Patrick Hancock
Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate (Nintendo 3DS)Developer: CapcomPublisher: CapcomReleased: February 13, 2015MSRP: $39.99  The beauty of the storyline in Monster Hunter games is it constantly feeds directly into what players want to do: kill more monsters. It doesn't force players to do extraneous tasks that detract from the main point of the game. Even when tasked to collect little pieces of rock or plants, monsters inevitably get in the way and need a good slayin'.  This time, much of the plot's focus lays with Gore Magala, a giant black winged monster. This monster is not only tough, but brings with it a Frenzy virus. This blight has an interesting affect on the player; once infected, the virus starts to incubate within the player, represented by a purple bar next to the player's name. If it reaches its full potential, the player loses their regenerative health. If the player does a certain amount of damage to the monster before the virus manifests, they gain a temporary boost. When a monster (not just the Gore) is infected with the Frenzy virus, however, it acts as if it is always in rage mode. Not only is the monster more powerful, but they are also quite wily. Dealing with these monster is no easy feat, even if players have slain the non-frenzied version many times prior. Now, the Gorestoryline will take up a couple dozen hours to get through, but as most Monster Hunter fans are aware, that's just the beginning. Players will move from location to location rather quickly in Ultimate, as their caravan continues to grow alongside the player's reputation. The locations are all varied and will even be altered themselves after specific events, changing the way the player must approach them. It also helps keep things from getting too same-y, keeping monotony at bay. Monsters can still hide out in the transitional part of an area that forces a player into the adjacent area, which prevents the monster from being attacked, but it seems like the monsters move around much more frequently in MH4U to help prevent that. If it does occur, prepare to be frustrated until the monster decides to move out. [embed]287439:57255:0[/embed] The "treadmill" in Ultimate is all about the equipment. Each monster provides materials after death, and those materials can then be forged into weapons and armor that reflect the properties of the monster. Big fiery rock monster? That will yield some high defense, high fire resistant armor! Once that set is complete, it's only a matter of time until the player decides to go for a bigger, better set from a stronger monster.  Quests do vary, but in general, players will be killing a monster and carving it up to reap the rewards. Sometimes players may have to capture the monster instead - wounding it until it is very low on HP and then luring it into a trap device. Other missions consist of bringing back delicate eggs, minerals, or fish in order to make the townspeople happy. Sometimes, a player might just want to head out into an area without any real objective, in order to explore or gather materials, which the game permits. Also available are "expeditions,"which are a randomly-generated series of areas with a random collection of monsters strewn about. These seem to have been included as a way to keep things "fresh" by adding a layer of randomness to the layout, but in reality the expeditions are rather underwhelming as a whole. The pool of areas seems incredibly low and rather uninteresting.  There are no traditional "experience points" within the game, just the experience the player gets themselves as they see themselves get better and better at mastering the mechanics. Often, players may not even notice they are getting better until a boss that gave them so much trouble a few hours ago, is now a minor inconvenience in a fight with a much, much larger monster. With fifteen different weapon categories, players are bound to find one they enjoy using and slowly start to learn the nuances of it. There are two new weapon types in Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate: the Charge Blade and the Insect Glaive. The Charge Blade utilizes a sword and a shield. "But Patrick," you intrude, "there's already a 'Sword & Shield' option!" That's right! You sure do know your Monster Hunter! What makes the Charge Blade different is it's possible to switch out of sword and shield mode into Giant Axe mode. In Sword and Shield mode the player will build up charges for the Giant Axe mode. Once the charges are full, the sword becomes very ineffective, forcing the player into using the Giant Axe. Then, the player can use the charges to hit with extra power, adding even more damage on to the already powerful swing of a Giant Axe. The versatility of the Charge Blade quickly made it one of my favorite weapon types in the game. Having the power of the Giant Axe with the utility of a shield makes it an ideal weapon, especially for any solo hunters. When forging a Charge Blade, however, it is unclear how much damage Sword will do versus how much damage the Axe will do, since there's only one damage number.  The Insect Glaive is also a very versatile addition. The weapon itself is a long glaive, as the name says. The real star here is the Kinsect, the insect companion. The player can send the Kinsect off in a direction and if it hits a monster, it can be recalled to give the player a bonus to an attribute. Bonuses can be combined and stacked to a point, and the attribute gained depends on where it strikes the monster. The player can also vault into the air, adding a ton of mobility to the weapon. This also helps the player mount the monster, which is another addition to Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate. The Insect Glaive is quick and nimble; vaulting to avoid attacks or deliver big blows feels great and micromanaging the Kinsect's location keeps battles interesting. Being able to mount monsters, riding on their backs and giving them a good stabbing, goes well with one of the game's biggest additions: vertical movement. There is a ton of verticality in this game and incredibly well-designed monsters to take advantage of it. Climbing onto a wall to knock a monster down, only to jump off and deliver a slam-dunk to its head feels absolutely incredible. On the flip side, having to worry about a giant ape butt-slamming its way onto your face is absolutely horrifying.  The camera, however, can have a hard time keeping up. I played this on a standard 3DS, without the analog nub of the "New 3DS," so most camera work was done by pressing the L trigger to focus on either the monster or straight ahead. Minor camera adjustments can be made if players choose to include the digital d-pad on the touch screen, or by using the actual d-pad to rotate the camera, but it is hardly ideal. With how large some of the monsters get, plus the quickness of Frenzied monsters, there will be more than a few times where the player must tame the camera before they can fell the beast. Joining the player is their trusty cat-buddy, the Palico. The player's main Palico can have their appearance completely customized before starting the game. Later on, the Palico's helmet, armor, and weapon can be crafted just like the player's, albeit with different Palico-only materials. These materials are gathered once the player gains access to Sunsnug Isle, the island where Palicos hang out. There is a quick fishing and questing mini-game that can garner rewards used to make new gear for the Palico. They're enjoyable diversions and creating new Palico gear quickly became a priority, considering how much they help in battle. The player can eventually recruit more Palicos from the field to bring to the island, and can soon bring two out into the battles. Of course, playing Monster Hunter online with three other humans is easily one of the best experiences available in videogames. Four people honing their skills with their respective instruments of destruction, united in their goal to take down a gigantic beast. Multiplayer can be done locally or online, and luckily the online experience is rather smooth. Playing with other people in the USA led to no noticeable lag, regardless of the number of players. Even when the host was an entire Atlantic Ocean away, the lag was rather insignificant, though it was noticeable. The lack of voice communication is certainly a bummer, but having full text chat is at least something. All of this is wrapped in the classic Monster Hunter charm. Characters are eccentric, the music is epic, and the monster designs are as amazing as ever. One moment players will be laughing at a line of dialogue, only to have their heart pounding moments later as they narrowly escape a Frenzied monster's devastating blow. Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate is about mastering a craft and being proud of it. So go ahead, be proud! [This review is based on a retail build of the game provided by the publisher.]
Monster Hunter 4 review photo
Where a monster can fart before killing you
Ah, Monster Hunter. A game that ends up being more of a culture than anything else. These have always been games about community and self-improvement. Getting better isn't measured in some arbitrary number, but how well you c...

Nintendo at PAX South photo
Nintendo at PAX South

Majora's Mask 3D and New 3DS XL playable at PAX South

Also Super Smash Bros., for those living in the past
Jan 20
// Darren Nakamura
The New Nintendo 3DS XL is the current hot commodity for Nintendo fans, with special edition units selling out. For those who are not so keen on ordering one before playing, an opportunity to get some hands-on time is coming ...
MH4 U photo

Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate release date, demo, and special edition console announced

My goodness this looks nice
Jan 14
// Laura Kate Dale
Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate is releasing worldwide on February 13, the same day as the New 3DS in North America and Europe. Finally, a release date. The game will be available on its own, or pre-installed on a limited-edition N...
Monster Hunter 4 photo
Monster Hunter 4

Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate dropped $10 before launch for some reason

Still no release date, though
Jan 08
// Brett Makedonski
Videogames go on sale all the time, but it isn't often that we see discounts before they even launch. Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate's releasing sometime in early 2015, and it already dropped $10 in price. According to a listing o...
Mon Hun dress-up photo
Mon Hun dress-up

Felynes can dress up as Dante, Blanka, and Chun-Li in Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate

Nice chest hair, Blanka
Dec 15
// Jordan Devore
I'm no Monster Hunter player but I'm liking the cross-game costumes for Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate. Well, most of them. In line with today's Devil May Cry re-release news, Capcom has shown a Felyne outfit based on Dante. That...
Madoka Magica photo
Madoka Magica

You got Madoka Magica in my Monster Hunter Frontier G

Kyubey and the gang
Nov 17
// Chris Carter
Apparently Capcom is going forward with yet another crossover with the Monster Hunter series -- Madoka Magica, an anime that started off as a TV show, then became a manga and spawned three movies. Weapons like Mado...
Monster Hunter 4 photo
Monster Hunter 4

Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate sells over two million in its first week

Oh great now it doesn't have to get canceled
Oct 15
// Chris Carter
Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate went on sale on October 11th in Japan, and already it has mustered up over two million in sales. The original base game for reference sold roughly 4.1 million units for comparison. Now that it sold over two million, the series doesn't have to be canceled, due to Capcom's new "AAA logic." Just sell yourself to Nintendo already. Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate [Capcom]
Monster Hunter photo
Monster Hunter

Okay, this Mega Man armor for Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate is cute

What did they do to Rush?
Oct 13
// Jordan Devore
Man, Capcom is killing it with these Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate crossovers. And by "it," I of course mean Sonic the Hedgehog. He never stood a chance. This Palico armor styled after Mega Man is super cute but, admittedly, it'...
Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate photo
Yes, it's coming westward
Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate is still coming in 2015 outside of Japan, and there's yet another Nintendo/Capcom crossover coming. A Samus costume is making an appearance, and yes, it will be coming to the western version of the ...

MH x Animal Crossing photo
MH x Animal Crossing

Mr. Resetti is in Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate, you guys

And so is Isabelle!
Sep 22
// Jordan Devore
There's yet another tie-in for Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate and it's the best one yet -- Animal Crossing! Players will be able to make their Felyne companions look like Mr. Resetti and Isabelle. Now, I'm not much of a Monster H...

Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate brings a lot of verticality to the table

Sep 19 // Brett Makedonski
[embed]277922:54837:0[/embed] Over the course of 15 minutes or so, we implemented whatever attacks we could to eventually weaken and defeat this monstrosity. Some ranged, some melee, one buckin' bronco, we chased him from area to area and successfully slayed and plundered him. Three cheers for teamwork! The other change to Ultimate is that this iteration is coming to 3DS only. Because of this, it's not necessary to use a Wii U to play with others. Instead, any old wireless hub will work. Three cheers for accessibility! By the time the demo was over, I was ready for another round. We fired up a quick go at a early-game dinosaur monster named The Great Jaggi. We took him down without much difficulty, but more importantly, it satiated that quick need to play just a bit more. It's easy to see why this game is so popular in Japan. Three cheers for Monster Hunter!
Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate photo
Water is gone
When the west finally gets Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate -- what Capcom calls "the most complete version of 4 that it'll get" -- players are going to need to turn their attention to the layering of the game. Rather...

Today's WTF photo
Today's WTF

Sonic x Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate is, uh, yeah...

The Taiko Drum Master tie-in, on the other hand, is rad
Sep 18
// Jordan Devore
Admittedly, this collaboration is slightly less horrifying once you realize it's a Felyne (or Palico, if you want to be precise) wearing Sonic the Hedgehog armor. Slightly. Still, I think this tops the sexy/stretchy fan art f...
Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate photo
Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate

North America gets Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate collector's edition

$60 gets a statue and other crap
Sep 09
// Steven Hansen
Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate is coming out in Japan next month. The rest of us will be waiting until 2015. Perhaps it eases the wait: Capcom announced a Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate collector's edition for North America.&...
Lil dick pt 2 photo
Lil dick pt 2

That expensive, gold Monster Hunter statue? Doesn't have a lil dick!

Schrödingers' cat's dick no longer incumclusive
Sep 05
// Steven Hansen
Last month, we brought you an investigative, penetrative look at this $29,000 gold Monster Hunter statue. Particularly, "does it...does it have a lil dick?" we asked. It wasn't immediately clear. All the photos prov...
Capcom sale photo
Capcom sale

3DS, Wii U Capcom games on sale

I don't want any of them, do you?
Aug 29
// Steven Hansen
A bunch of Capcom eShop 3DS and Wii U games are on sale until the morning of September 4.  Writing about Capcom just makes me want to replay every Clover game and Resident Evil 4. At least Mega Fans are getting good Mega Man alternates.
Final Fantasy Explorers photo
Final Fantasy Explorers

Check out this new Final Fantasy Explorers gameplay video

It's Monster Fantasy Final Hunter Explorers and I love it
Aug 23
// Brittany Vincent
This new gameplay video of Final Fantasy Explorers has me praying to the ghost of Gunpei Yokoi that Square Enix will localize this game to the U.S. The gameplay looks to be somewhat like the Monster Hunter series and that is...
Schrödingers' cat's dick photo
Schrödingers' cat's dick

Does this $29,000 gold Monster Hunter statue have a lil dick?

Schrödingers' cat's dick
Aug 03
// Steven Hansen
Capcom is selling a $29,000, solid gold Otomo Airou statue to commemorate the 10th anniversary of Monster Hunter.  Does it have a dick, though? We at the Destructoid virtual office thought it might. "does it...does ...
Monster Hunter 4 photo
Monster Hunter 4

Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate gets box art, multiplayer details

North America and Europe can play together
Jul 31
// Chris Carter
Capcom Unity, the community site for the developer, has announced the official box art for Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate, which is set to release in western markets in 2015. You can see both the actual art and the spine font in t...
Link in Monster Hunter photo
More video footage
We've already known that Monster Hunter 4 has a very neat looking set of Link armor and weapon sets, but we haven't seen a whole lot of footage on them -- until this week that is, when Capcom unleashed a new trailer int...

Monster Hunter 4 photo
Monster Hunter 4

Monster Hunter 4 NA weapon contest winner is an insect glaive

It's no pig club
Jul 28
// Chris Carter
I don't think anyone expected the North American weapon contest winner to top the UK's Monster Hunter 4 design (a freaking pig on a club, c'mon!), but it's a pretty cool looking item nonetheless. Yep, the North American...
Monster Hunter 4 photo
Monster Hunter 4

Loads of Monster Hunter 4G limited edition items and accessories

PS1-case lookin' limited edition
Jul 15
// Steven Hansen
As we wait until 2015, Japan is getting Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate in October and, with it, a chance to clutter players' living spaces with more kitschy junk.  The limited edition (above) comes with four figurines an...
Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate photo
Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate

Play Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate at Tokyo Game Show well as a host of other games
Jul 14
// Brittany Vincent
September's Tokyo Game Show will play host to a playable demo of the upcoming Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate for 3DS. While the game itself will be available this fall as we reported a couple of days ago, 4Gamer (via Gematsu) repo...
Monster Hunter 4 photo
Also, check out the new trailer
In this morning's Japanese Nintendo Direct, Capcom revealed that Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate will hit Japanese 3DS units everywhere on October 11th. Yep, this is the same game we will eventually get overseas come 2015. As...

Monster Hunter 4 photo
Monster Hunter 4

Monster Hunter 4 will be distributed by Nintendo in Europe

Fine by me!
Jul 03
// Chris Carter
We all know that a successful Monster Hunter can make a portable. The PSP exploded after each subsequent Monster Hunter launch, and the Vita is currently suffering in part for a lack of the franchise. Nintendo ...
Monster Hunter 4 photo
Monster Hunter 4

The Monster Hunter 4 UK weapon contest winner is a pig club that oinks

Jul 03
// Chris Carter
There's going to be a long wait before most of us get to play Monster Hunter 4 on the 3DS, but in the meantime, we can enjoy the festivities from Capcom's recent weapon design contest. Sending out a casting call to all ...
Monster Hunter iOS photo
Monster Hunter iOS

Monster Hunter Freedom Unite on iOS is astoundingly faithful, if you have a controller

That 'if' though
Jul 03
// Chris Carter
Here we are in 2014 with an iOS port of a PSP game, in the form of Monster Hunter Freedom Unite. The kicker? It's very, very good. As a port of 2008's Freedom Unite, everything is faithfully recreated on an iOS devi...

Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate: E3 first hunt

Jun 16 // Dale North
Going back in, the two of us headed out on a hunt for the Great Jaggi, a Tyrannosaurus-like beast that took a good fifteen minutes of beating on to go down. I did my best to get in damaging hits with my massive, slow melee weapon while my teammate kept Jaggi busy. We both took advantage of MH4U’s newly improved climbing ability to train the Jaggi up to a wall where we could attack from above and even jump down to land a stronger attack. This time around, simply walking up to ledges has you climbing up them, so the surrounding caverns made for a pretty nice positional advantage.  As we got better at teaming up on it, I was landing some pretty big hits, and we could finally see the Jaggi becoming exhausted. It was at this point that riding the Jaggi became possible. Pining it down let us get in a nice string of hits, but just when we thought we had it the Jaggi ran off into a cave. It did its best to send its little dino-like underlings at us (like annoying little Velociraptors) but we managed to finish it off there by backing it into a corner. And as Monster Hunter goes, that loot we earned from taking down the Jaggi could then be used to upgrade weapons and armors to be able to take on even bigger beasts.  If you’ve played previous series games, you’ll be right at home with Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate with its button mappings and touchscreen camera controls. Again, I’m but a casual player and I was pretty comfortable even in the thick of things after only a few minutes.  Every time I play Monster Hunter I think about how I could see myself easily giving up dozens of hours of my life to it. A portable game with a huge, varied world and plenty of challenging situations is the ideal game for me. Add in cooperative play and thrilling boss fights and you have a game that s dangerously tempting for me. I really enjoyed my couple of demo missions at E3. Maybe it’s time I stop being a Monster Hunter newbie. 
Monster Hunter preview photo
Two hunts, one failed
Waiting for one of Capcom’s own to sit in and play with me for my first go at upcoming 3DS title Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate, I got a bit hasty and started picking my own quest. Little did I know I was headed for trouble...

Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate photo
Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate

Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate trailer takes us big game hunting

It's Capcom's big game
Jun 05
// Brett Makedonski
Capcom's putting a lot of its eggs in Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate's basket. Recently announced as one of the publisher's games that will be shown at E3, Capcom hopes that the beefed up re-release will move 3.9 million copies. ...
Monster Hunter 4 photo
Monster Hunter 4

Capcom hopes Monster Hunter 4 sells 3.9 million more copies

Think big
May 09
// Brett Makedonski
We already knew that Capcom did pretty decent for itself last year. This was thanks in no small part to Monster Hunter 4, which moved 4.1 million copies in Japan and South Korea. Capcom's not calling it a day, as it has more ...
Capcom photo

Capcom had a good year, Monster Hunter 4 led the way

Dead Rising 3 did alright, too
May 08
// Brett Makedonski
If you hear some hootin' and hollerin', and maybe spot a party hat or two, that's just Capcom celebrating its decent fiscal year. Not everybody actually makes money anymore, so don't rain on its parade. Capcom's good year was...

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