Monster Hunter is a series that’s been around for a while; and as with any long running series, Monster Hunter has gained a big following. Back in 2013, the Monster Hunter fanbase got an exponential increase in numbers. This was due to Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate, not the first, but the biggest Monster Hunter game to be released through Nintendo. Being both on the 3DS and the Wii U, Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate was very accessible. Now that plenty more were hooked on Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate, they all awaited the sequel.

With any sequel there is an expectation that it has to be better, with newer mechanics, and of course, fixing everything wrong its predecessor. Plenty of people must’ve been scratching their heads, wondering how Capcom could do better.

Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate saw its worldwide release last Friday, February 13th, and all would agree, Capcom definitely delivered.

It’s hard to explain Monster Hunter to someone who doesn’t know anything about the games. Without showing someone everything about the game, the jist is pretty much just, “You fight bigger and tougher monsters and use their body parts to make yourself stronger.” For some, that’s all they need to know and they’re in. Others may need a bit more, and at that point you really just need to play it.

That’s where Monster Hunter 3U came in, it was considered one of the most accessible games in the series. Accessibility aside, 3U was not a perfect game. Many people (myself included) bellyached over various issues, almost entirely based around the swimming aspect of the game. People felt that swimming was needlessly difficult, and many more felt that the combat was slow and bogged down. That combination being bad enough for the water proponents, people felt as if the monsters you fought underwater were unfair, having large hitboxes and overpowered attacks.

With all of the uproar surrounding water-based activities in 3 Ultimate, Capcom could’ve just removed it and plenty of fans would have been pleased. Capcom did remove the water-based struggle, but they didn’t stop there.

Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate introduces two new weapon types, entirely new areas, and new monsters, with plenty of classics in the mix. 4U focuses on a few new mechanics, namely, vertical combat and mounting. All weapons can perform aerial attacks and a few can even leap on their own to initiate an aerial attack. You can climb walls to catch your breath and heal, or you can climb up high and leap down upon the monster. When performing an aerial attack, you have a chance to initiate a mount. Mounting is when you grab on to the monster and start stabbing away. Of course, the monster isn’t going to just stand there and take it, they’ll struggle and writhe about, and you must hold on before you get thrown off.

Since a totally new play style wasn’t enough for Capcom, they added two new weapon types: the Insect Glaive and the Charge Blade. The Insect Glaive is what yours truly chooses to wield. It features a weapon with a blade on one end and a dull, smashing bit on the other. The Insect Glaive can pole vault, making for easy mounting, and attack quickly and fluidly. More importantly, is the Kinsect partner. Your Kinsect can attack with either slashing or smashing as well as different elemental attributes. When your Kinsect attacks, it draws extracts from your opponent, which you use for buffs.

The Charge Blade is the second new weapon type. Charge Blades combine the sword and shield and a giant axe. With the sword and shield mode you can attack quickly, defend, and charge phials. Phials are charged to unleash massive attacks with the axe mode, as well as helping out when defending.

The areas are all new as well. Each area has beautiful scenery and plenty of variety. Each area is also designed with the vertical combat in mind, featuring large cliffs and columns to climb and leap off of.

One of the new areas is less of an area and more of an entirely new mechanic. The area is named Everwood and is said to be an unexplored region. As a hunter, you go out on expeditions to explore this mysterious place. While there, you may encounter large monsters, as well as smaller ones. Its claim to fame is the foraging you can do, occasionally when foraging you may find a relic. Relics are random pieces of equipment that can be good or bad. If you defeat a large monster on an expedition, you might get a guild quest that you can add to your pool.

While there is plenty good about 4U, it does have some flaws. Monsters will occasionally glitch, online can be buggy sometimes, and, though few and far between, there are some spelling/grammar errors.

Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate comes with even more features that could be explained in great detail, but are better experienced than read about. A quick rundown: vertical combat, expeditions, palicoes (felyne fighting companions), two new weapon types, entirely new areas, online multiplayer, new monsters, and plenty more.

Score: 5/5

With that in mind, 3DS owners should get their hands on a copy of Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate today!