A hands (claws?) on with Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate for the 3DS.
During New York Comic Con, I took my first crack at the much-hyped (at least in Japan) Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate for the 3DS. Being my first time with the series, I was eager to see what the game was all about.
One of the things going in that I was worried about was controls. When Monster Hunter was released on the PSP, many players complained that the combination of movement and camera controls relegated and cramped to the left side of the system made playing an extreme challenge. I'm glad to say that what is known as the Monster Hunter "Claw" is nowhere to be found in Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate. Well, almost nowhere. Players can use either a moderately sized D-pad located on the touch screen or the system's D-pad itself in order to control the camera. Both controls seemed to work well enough. You can also use the L button to re-center the camera behind your character.
The demo started off in an arctic region of the game at what seemed like a base camp. The first thing that stood out was the amazing graphics. Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate could easily be one of the best-looking games on the 3DS when released in March, even though it’s coming more than a year after its Japanese release. After leaving the small starting area to head to a larger area (areas are all separated by a short load screen), the beauty of the detail put into this game really began to show. Moderately sized tundras with monsters roaming around, surrounded by tall mountains and plateau sure had convinced me that not only was I about to become a monster hunter but an explorer as well. That is, until I encountered a bunch of invisible walls.
The map on the lower screen displayed around six-to-eight areas to explore in the demo. Being my first time with the game, I spent more time becoming familiar with controls and only had a chance to see about three of those areas. The second area included my first monster encounter with what looked like a huge wooly mammoth. After slaying the monster I was given the option to harvest whatever I could find from the dead monster with the tap of the A button. I immediately fell in love, being my first time with the game I was unaware of the level of scrap collecting and crafting that was in the Monster Hunter series. The second I found that monsters were dropping various hides and tools, this game's potential shot off the chart.
While I will be entering the series at a late time with this version for the 3DS, I'm pretty sure there is no other way I would rather have it. With the announcement of game save transferability between the Wii U and 3DS version, I could totally see myself hunting and gathering while on the go, regrouping my inventory when I get back home, and going multiplayer on the Wii U. Playing on the demo 3DS with the 3D on this game provided a very immersive experience, and I can only imagine how it will be at home or on the go, with headphones and a 3DS XL. I'm really looking forward to this one!