I have finally put down Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate long enough to write about it. The weeks since it’s release have been a blur of amazing battles full of hard-won victories and crushing defeats. I have enjoyed every second from upgrading my equipment to recruiting an army of cats. Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate is a brilliant game that has managed to consume my life.
For anybody who isn’t familiar with the series, Monster Hunter games pit you against a vast range of deadly creatures with nothing more than the clothes on your back, a weapon and a handful of items. Your character gains no levels but instead must craft equipment to make them a more effective dragon slayer. On your journey through this beautiful, yet deadly world you will meet some feline pals who will aid you in battle.
They are called Palicoes and they have their own equipment, skills and unlike you, they do gain levels. The more you use a specific cat the higher it’s level and abilities. They make a great support squad member and can perform a whole host of tasks including: healing, treasure hunting, attacking and fishing. You have a starting Palico and once you reach the cat island in the game you can recruit others and send them off on quests. They are a great help in single player as they can easily distract monsters and save you from death. Make sure not to neglect cat buddies.
The battles in Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate are amazingly varied. Each creature has its own traits, tells and style. You are going to have a very different experience fighting the Kecha Wacha (a baboon-ish creature) and the Seltas (a flying mantis type insect). Each requires you to whittle down their life through bashing them with your chosen weapon, but how you do this will vary greatly. It was during one such battle that I knew for certain that Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate had me for the long haul.
I had just defeated the giant spider, Nerscylla, I was feeling pretty good about myself. It had been a tough battle, but I emerged victorious. Upon returning to the village I had left from, I picked up another quest to tackle two arachnids in one mission. Foolishly thinking they would come consecutively and I would simple defeat one and then the other. This was not the case. I entered the area with the first spider and was happily hitting away at it.
Suddenly, the second comes swinging in and barrels me into the others venomous jaws. I am at the same time stunned and poison, surely this is the end of me. Fortunately, luck was on my side. My feline pal, Titan, runs over and wakes me from my dizzy stupor just in time to dodge for my life. All that concerns me now is finding a moderately safe place to heal. I dodge left, then right as spiders are swinging around like giant hairy wrecking balls. Eventually, I hide behind a stone long enough to cure myself and assess the situation. Neither of the Nercyllaarenot paying me any attention at the moment, but are still a major threat. I take a breath, ready my weapon and charge.
Eventually, the battle was won, but their team work was startling and the battle brilliant fun. Fun is what it comes down to. Even when faced with almost certain death, defeat and seemingly insurmountable odds Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate is fantastic. The battles are always tense and even after fighting the same monster multiple times they will still surprise you. It is never boring and playing with friends is great, too.
There are lots of new additions in this iteration including: new weapons, monsters, items, expedition mode. The new weapons are great, but the old ones are still lots of fun. I suggest picking one and mastering it. Even after playing the game for 20 hours I learnt a new combo and by choosing a specific weapon class you can focus on upgrading that type. Each weapon has an upgraded version of itself and can then become one of the three other weapons. This lets you pick the exact type of weapon you want to use, right down to the specific attributes.
Expeditions are a free play mode in Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate that includes a randomised map and lots of different monsters. With loads of different monsters popping up all over the place and the potential for some really cool treasure, Expeditions are a great addition.
Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate is brimming with things to do. Single player, multiplayer, crafting, combining, Palicoes, different villages and levelling up the different parts of your caravan. Having to redo some of the more boring quests in multiplayer isn’t great, but it still rewards money and that is always great. That is a very minor complaint against a vast array of brilliant mechanics. I can wholeheartedly recommend Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate and if you are already playing it, then I hope to bump into you at the Gathering Hall.
This article was originally published on http://www.gamertime.co.uk but unfortunately, that site no longer exists, so I’ve republished it here.