I’ve been trying to sum up my feelings about Capcom’s Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate since it launched about two weeks ago. As a newcomer who really, really wanted to love the series many times in the past, I had a hard time cracking the nut and finding the meat of the experience. This time, I decided to give it the old college try, and armed myself with as much information I could. About 50 hours later, I’m still hooked.
As I was browsing the net while idling piecing together what I would say about the Monster Hunter phenomenon, I came across Patrick Klepek’s Giant Bomb article detailing his new interest in Monster Hunter, and realized that he had said pretty much what I had set out to.
While Klepek isn’t extremely far into the game, his narrative description of a fight with the Qurupeco is indicative of what’s so special about the series. It’s the thrill of taking on giant monsters, hunting them for an hour, and then dropping them in the nick of time that gives these games their unique edge. The first time you sever a monster’s tail — not through a scripted event, but because you targeted the damned thing manually and hacked at it until it fell off — it’s an amazing feeling of accomplishment. I can guarantee you won’t forget felling your first real dragon, either. Maybe the eighth or ninth time you farm it for materials to build armor out of its scaly hide may slip into faded memory, but not the first.
If you’re going to attempt to get into the series — and since there’s a demo on the 3DS, you really should — follow Klepek’s advice and spring for the Monster Hunter Beginner’s Guide. As an e-book, it does a great job of telling new players exactly what they need to know to start sinking their teeth into a meaty experience covered in so much impenetrable bone that it’s hard to believe sometimes that there’s any nutritional value hidden away. I picked it up on sale last month, and it’s been invaluable in teaching me how to get started with my hunting career.
While it has some infuriating underwater sequences, doesn’t look amazing on the WiiU, and pretty much requires a Circle Pad Pro attachment to play properly on the 3DS, Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate is the most accessible game in the series to date, and the perfect place for newcomers to jump in.