With the New 3DS, the old 3DS, and the Circle Pad Pro, what ways do we prefer our Monster Hunter?
Controls in Monster Hunter on the 3DS have always been a bone of contention. Hell, the Circle Pad Pro essentially exists because for the series. As such, Monster Hunter is one of the few games that makes use of the Circle Pad Pro and the New 3DS's new C-stick. After messing around with different control schemes, Neal and Alex have figured out how they prefer to control the series' latest entry Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate.
Neal: I played a chunk of Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate without owning a New 3DS and I was very frustrated by life without a second stick. The game heavily relies on moving the camera with a D-pad/analog stick, and I found using the touch screen D-pad to be irritating. It might be just that I have big, dumb thumbs, but I had problems making sure I was pressing the right direction in a bind. It was certainly workable, but it wasn't ideal. I managed to mess around with the Circle Pad Pro, and to me, that's the best way to play. Having a legitimate second Circle Pad is tremendous, giving me way more control over the camera in the middle of a hunt.
Once I got my hands on the New 3DS, though, I acclimated to using the silly little C-stick. It's a little stiff, but it's the best of both worlds. You don't need to add on a Frankenstick to your system, and you don't have to deal with using a touch screen. Ultimately, I'd prefer to be playing Monster Hunter with two analog sticks, but the major complaints I had with the touch screen D-pad are now minor with the C-stick.
Alex: When I got the review copy of Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate, I was admittedly a little worried. I had no Circle Pad Pro and the New 3DS wasn’t going to be out for another couple weeks. As a result, my journey with the newest Monster Hunter began with a regular old 3DS XL.
On regular 3DS and XL, there are two main ways to control the camera: you can either use the D-pad to move the camera, or you can use a virtual D-pad on the touch screen that approximates a right stick. Controlling the camera on the system’s left side (the same left side used to control my character) is extraordinarily uncomfortable, so I was left with no other option but to put my thumb to the bottom screen and fight monsters.
It works great. The method was a little unwieldy at first trying to get acclimated to the right stick substitution, but within the first hour I got to the point where I barely even noticed the stick wasn’t there. Since the touch screen naturally sinks a tiny bit whenever pressure is applied to it, there was some level of feedback and I didn’t feel left in the dark. I started the game this way, beat the game this way, got to Hunter Rank 4 this way, and played for over 65 hours using this method and this method alone.
By the time I got the New 3DS, I barely had a reason to try it outside of wanting to test the new system. And though it could be because I got so used to playing the game one way, the C-stick didn’t feel right or natural to me at all. Outside of the fact that the control stick is really stiff, the sensitivity didn’t feel right either (Majora’s Mask 3D does a good job here by making the camera control very sensitive). Maybe if I played Monster Hunter 4 for another five hours with this method, I’d like it more, but the stick failed to give me the feedback I needed during both low and high-rank monster fights.
Regardless, the real moral of the story here is that it’s okay to play Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate with nothing but a regular 3DS XL. More power to you if the Nintendo Trackball can give you a superior level of control, but from my end, you’re better off having nothing at all.