Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate Review: Curbing Critical Inflation

mh3u

It really is a shame.  I purchased my Wii U shortly after launch, and to this point, the only game with which I have spent any measure of time is Wii U Coaster.  If this were a game about rollercoasters, like the title implies, that might not be so bad.  Unfortunately, Wii U Coaster is just a game where I sit my coffee mug on top of the Wii U while I vacuum.  My second favorite game is Clean the Coffee Ring off of U.  It isn’t a lot of fun, but so far, it has proven to have even more replay value than the ever popular Dust U.

The lack of titles available for this console is bewildering, and there doesn’t seem to be any light at the end of the tunnel.  Even Nintendo is not releasing Wii U games at this point, so I am not sure how they expect other developers to get on board.  Usually, Nintendo at least comes through with original properties, but that hasn’t been the case thus far.  These days, Samus is getting her suit cleaned, Link is busy reliving his high-school glory days, and Mario won’t step into the third dimension for as much as a game of tennis.  Up to its launch, Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate was the only game on the horizon that generated any enthusiasm around the office, so there was a lot of excitement around here when it was released.  It is a game with a great premise, it has a portable option, and the Wii U gamepad’s second screen functionality is perfect for mirroring 3DS games to the console.  Finally, we would have a reason to hit the Wii U’s power button other than charging our phones in the USB port.

 

Source: www.videogamesblogger.com

Monster Hunter’s “Vouch System” allows your 3DS to endorse your Wii U. Syncing the two systems will cause the 3DS to display, “Come on guys, he’s cool… I promise,” once again making your Wii U playable.

 

With PAX going on, we were too busy to pick it up until this weekend, but the reviews have been generally positive, so we were very hopeful.  On Saturday, we bought three copies of the game to facilitate portable and living room play.  Since then, we have been battling monster after monster, suffering to choke down the fusion smoothie of confusion and frustration that is the MH3U gameplay experience.  We have looked for answers internally and externally, questioning our own reason and sanity within the body-snatcher possessed world that generated the game’s 84% metacritic score.  Seriously, MH3U definitely has some redeeming qualities, but they are largely overshadowed by its failures.  How are people rating it so highly?  The line items which these reviews are citing as weaknesses are typically considered to be non-negotiable, game-breaking issues.  I do not want to call anyone out specifically, but let me paraphrase a review from one of the more popular outlets:

“The game is really fun, and you and your friends will have a blast playing it for a long time to come!  Its only problems are the poor control scheme and bad camera. — 9/10!”

Saying that a game’s poor control scheme is its “only” problem is like saying that the only problem with a flight is the dead pilot.  Last time I checked, “controlling” and “playing” were synonyms in the gaming world.  If I can’t play the game, what am I supposed to do?  Look at it?  Too bad the “only” other problem listed in these reviews is the poor camera, so looking at it isn’t really an option either.  Allow me to rewrite the review in a more direct manner.

“If you are looking for a game you can’t play or see, you’ll love it! — 9/10!”

Just like the recently released SimCity, MH3U is a game with impeccable theory and horrible execution.  I appreciate good ideas, and I am sure that some other developer will improve upon this formula down the road to deliver a truly great experience.  Unfortunately, much to the chagrin of the inquisitive children in the back seat of the car, we are not there yet.  The multiplayer has tons of fun potential, the monsters are very well-designed, and the crafting system and RPG elements are extremely deep.  There is so much potential for a good time that you will find yourself putting up with the clunky combat and broken camera just so you can party with your friends.  The Wii U version is awkward, and if you don’t have a circle pad pro, the 3DS version is a nightmare (good luck importing one if you have the XL).  Nothing is more frustrating than failing a quest because the underwater camera is unusable, or because controlling your character is like using chopsticks while wearing boxing gloves.  This is the type of game that cannot exist in the post-Dark Souls world.  Dark Souls proved that almost any level of difficulty is acceptable, so long as it is accompanied by an equal level of fairness in gameplay.  MH3U does not deliver on that ratio.  It doesn’t even have a permanent lock-on option.  Like the monsters at the heart of its story, it is prehistoric.

 

In Monster Hunter, your characters will move you, but you won't be able to move your characters.

In Monster Hunter, the characters will move you.  Unfortunately, you won’t be able to move the characters.

 

There is a place for this game, but you must temper your expectations.  No one checks out Vin Diesel movies for their Oscar potential.  However, if you really like testosterone, explosions, and random snowboarding, you might be willing to put up with a little bad acting, bad writing, and… random snowboarding.  Similarly, if you really like the idea of hunting giant monsters with your buddies, you might be willing to put up with a little high blood pressure.  Because of its outstanding multiplayer premise, MH3U is a game you will wish you could enjoy, so you may try to find redeeming qualities among its flaws.  Perhaps, as you take its abuse, you will use the excuses you invent to legitimately delude yourself into thinking the game is well-designed.  Maybe, as you wander through the desert of denial, your thirst for a playable game will create a mirage depicting an enjoyable gaming experience.  Then, blinded by heat and dehydration, perhaps you will mistakenly review this dream game instead of the one in your console.  In this case, you might give it an 84% score.  In any other case, you might give it a…

 

6/10 - Mediocre

 

Thomas Shamburger
Thomas is one of the original creators of "What's Jump?" As a lifelong gamer, writer, and comedian, his goal is to provide readers with humorous, entertaining, and thought-provoking perspectives on current gaming news and culture. His early career successes in the business world helped to pave the way for the site's launch in 2012. As the Editor in Chief of "What's Jump?" he combines his passions for gaming, writing, entrepreneurship, and comedy.
Thomas Shamburger
Thomas Shamburger

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