Wait, why is Samus stabbing a dragon in the neck?
Despite buying two versions and putting a stunning amount of time into the save transfer process, I didn’t really get into Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate despite the best efforts of the local hunting guild. The breaking point was the underwater battle that served as my barrier to the G rank. For Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate, Capcom elected to forego swimming in lieu of flying through the air, and they absolutely stuck the landing.
By taking out swimming and replacing it with the mount system, it forced the areas to be designed for verticality which added a whole new level of fun to the combat. Adding new weapons like the Insect Glaive and, my new main, the Switch Axe were great surprises. Also, simplifying the controls made it so that I wasn’t going, “OK, can this thing just DIE ALREADY”, and allowed me to adjust strategies to focus on hacking off body parts.
2015 was a year of content fire hoses, with Splatoon and Super Mario Maker both bellying up, but Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate did it first. Adding in the 3rd party quest items gave me an excuse to come back to the game every month, and I spent a good part of the year running around as Linkle or Samus accompanied by Mario, Luigi, Sonic, and eventually Mega Man. I even got shockingly into the character customization after I managed to create a pair of jorts and beat up Great Jaggies as Joann Cena.
I put a massive amount of time into MH4U this year, and I’m not even the most obsessed in my own circle of friends. Someone who routinely fries 3DS batteries put nearly a thousand hours into the game this year and managed to get every title the game has. But even if you’re just looking to master one weapon, or actually want to see Capcom use Mega Man for once, Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate is the best chance yet to get into the series. Now we just have to hope for an X or Stories localization.