Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate was released in North America in March 2013 on the Nintendo 3DS and Wii U. Unfortunately, Japan had the game for almost two years before we did, released December 2011 on the 3DS and December 2012 on the Wii U.

Monster Hunter 3/Ultimate was the first game to be released on a Nintendo console, due to this, it was generally received by a large audience. In the past Monster Hunter was released on Sony consoles, with the game on Nintendo consoles, the playing party was much larger this time around. At the time, gaming on YouTube was on a rise, which helped as well. With all of this going on, Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate was many people’s first Monster Hunter games. I was no exception to this.

I came in a bit late on the MH3U party. The Nintendo eShop had a sale near the end of 2014, I played a bit with the demo, and I was sold.

The game follows you, the hunter, as you end up in Moga Village, and help to drive away monsters. Pretty simple plot, right? Well, the game’s strong point is not the story of the game. Eventually you start getting guild quests, and you fight larger and larger monsters. You fight the Qurupeco, a monster that mimics the calls of other monsters, bringing them to it’s aide. The Rathian, and its male counterpart, the Rathalos, dragons with poison tipped tails, that breath balls of fire. The Lagiacrus, a mighty electric leviathan that calls the waters its home. And that’s just the bare surface. The further you go, not only the bigger they get, you also must fight more monsters, two at once, three at once, and more. Increasing your hunter rank as you fight harder battles.

With every monster you fell, you can carve away parts of them. With these parts you can forge weapons and armor, or upgrade your equipment. This creates a great dynamic between you and the monsters, you need to fight monsters to get better equipment to fight stronger monsters to get better equipment, it’s the circle of hunting.

At its core, Monster Hunter is an action RPG. With multiple weapon classes, and countless armor sets, there is plenty of room to create an entirely unique hunter. Although it should be said, Monster Hunter is not for the faint of heart. The difficulty curve is pretty steep, but it’s in your favor. Once you get invested in the game, you can become unstoppable. The game portrays growth really well given that when you start you’re just a soft, fledgling hunter with weak weapons, but if you play the game right, you quickly get better armor, weapons, and you get more skilled at the game.

One of the best aspects in the game is the multiplayer, in the Wii U version, you can hop online and fight monsters with your friends and other hunters. On the 3DS you can still fight together using local multiplayer. Multiplayer has entirely different quests and missions than in the single player, “story.” Multiplayer is all about using your friend’s skills in combination with your skills. A switch axe player can run in and wail on the monster, while your buddy heals you with recovery shots from his heavy bow gun.

Which brings me to the weapons, oh, the weapons. There’s a great diversity with the weapons, each with its own advantages and disadvantages. The sword and shield attacks fast, can block, and can use items with the weapon drawn. The dual blades can enter demonization mode and archdemon mode, attack quick, and move fast. The longsword has reach and fluid combos. The great sword blocks and has heavy attacks, but moves slow. The hammer hits hard and has a spinning attack.

The lance has a large shield with amazing attack and it does both impact and slash damage. The gun lance is just like the lance, but it can fire explosive blasts and has the mighty Wyvern’s Fire. The hunting horn attacks like the hammer, but with the recital ability, which allows you to grant buffs to yourself and team mates The switch axe can switch between an axe similar to the long sword, and a sword mode similar to the great sword. The two bow guns, heavy and light, with an optional shield and raid mode, and more mobility, respectively. Finally there is the bow, which offers mobility, as well as melee attacks, and a variety of ranged attacks.

Overall, Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate was a fantastic game, with endless possibilities. I’d highly recommend picking it up, and if not, then we all have Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate to look forward to next week.

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