Post E3 London event impressions: Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate

Another round of punishment awaits.

I was very surprised to find a playable demo of Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate and this is the one title I wish I had more time with. I only had enough time to hunt one monster, so I thought, ‘let’s take on the cover star of Monster Hunter 4: Gore Magala.’

Now, the assistant at the demo station asked if I had played any of the previous games in the series; I replied that I had played all the games since Monster Hunter: Freedom Unite. I soon regretted saying this, as the assistant took the information as I was some sort of expert on the series and proceeded to enter me into G rank difficulty. For those who do not know, G rank is the highest challenge Monster Hunter has to offer.

The demo started and the first thing I noticed was how much the character animations have improved. Your avatar now moves with a lot more fluidity, clambering over the terrain with ease. The second thing that is apparent is how much more alive the world felt with more ambient noises from distant monsters and more wildlife. Another improvement is the amount of detail in the monster animations. Gore Magala scans the ground with its head low down, but as soon as you are detected it raises its head, roars, and then you have about 1500 pounds of dragon rushing towards you. Needless to say, I didn’t last very long, but I did get the chance to try out one of the new weapons: the Insect Glaive.

The Insect Glaive utilizes a beetle on your arm, which you can send out to absorb properties of the monster it manages to latch onto. The Insect Glaive also has another unique ability in the pole vault, which is an incredibly acrobatic maneuver that can be used to get out of a dangerous situation. Also, if you use the pole vault close to a big monster you will cling onto the back of the creature, a la shadow of the colossus, and a QTE event takes place where the better you do the more damage is dealt.

Control wise the game has the exact same layout as Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate, so fans of the prior game will have no problems adjusting to Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate. A big improvement, however, is the camera. In previous games, the camera could be adjusted vertically in steps, but now the camera is completely free flowing, which is going to feel good with a Circle Pad Pro.

Combat remains based around pattern recognition, but a huge improvement is how dramatic and epic these battles can become as the monsters have a bigger impact on their environment. As I fought Gore Magala at the top of a mountain, the ground beneath us started to crack and break off at the edges whenever it smacked the ground and I am certain if I lasted about five more minutes the plateau we were on would have broken off.

The music is still as grandiose as it has always been and the main theme has been made even more theatrical. Fans of the music from previous Monster Hunter titles will be well served here.

Visually, the game looks incredible and there does seem to be more contrast in colours when compared with Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate. The detail in the creatures is unbelievable and really does show what the 3DS is capable of.

So those’re my impressions of Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate. If there are any questions, feel free to leave them in the comments.

Colin Crompton is an avid Nintendo fan since playing ocarina of time and Loves Nintendo handhelds since the GBA. He currently enjoys his 3DS XL. NNID Col1990