Mid-February, Capcom released the localized version of one of my favourite game series, <em>Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate</em>. The <em>Monster Hunter</em> franchise just celebrated 10 years, and I’m really happy to be able to play this game, finally, on the 3DS handheld. </p>
As stated in the title, it’s a game about hunting monsters — new people that charge in thinking it’s an action game will be greatly mistaken in short time. The game is as much about crafting and patience as it is to the fighting part. If creepy – crawlies like giant spiders, snakes, toads, or random sea cucumber T.rex looking things throw you off, maybe this will be your chance to fight back without hurting any real wildlife.
I started on Monster Hunter Portable 3rd on the PSP with an English semi-patch that you could run with a copy of the game, and it sufficed to give me a taste of the world that your hunter character plays in. There is no magic per se — your character doesn’t level up, and half the game is figuring out what should go in your inventory before you even leave for a quest. Not having the full translation of the game for MHP3 was what prevented me from fully immersing in the world, and that is one the greatest things about the care and depth put into the MH4U translations.
MH4U’s English version was actually created along with the development of the game in order to adapt to the differences in language and player level. There’s a 8-part localization explanation on the Capcom blog by Andrew Alfonso, MH4U’s Localization Director, and it’s a great read if you’re interested in the differences between the English and Japanese versions, or are just very curious about how biology and linguistics mix in the world of Monster Hunter. Sometimes it’s down to whether the Japanese producers felt that name sounded “right” in English or not, and keeping with the vision of the game; the English changes for UI and text received the blessings of MH4U director Kaname Fujioka and lead designer Yuya Tokuda.
The greatest part of MH4U is the community that develops out of it. I know some people might say that soloing high rank quests are the real way to go, there’s no shame in asking for help or advice. There are so many fan-made guides (the wiki, Kiranico, Gaijin Hunter’s tutorials), or just allowing for people to ask supposedly dumb questions on the “weekly dumb question” MH-subreddit thread.
I personally love hiring Palicoes to take with me, mostly because they’re really cute and they can help distract monsters in a pinch. You can always opt for less aggressive Palicoes if you feel that the victory is truly yours. Multiplayer is where the core of the game really shows, and probably one of the strongest factors for me getting this game.
MH4U has a humongous backlog of free downloadable content: quests, weapons, crossover armour sets… Personally, I’m looking forward to if they release the One Piece Chopper armour set for my healing Palico. Until then, there’s DLC each month, starting with Legend of Zelda outfits for March.
You are definitely getting your money’s worth, but if you’re unsure, watch some video guides and download the demo. The demo’s focus is weapon usage, and less so on “monster reading,” so keep that in mind when you play. If you’re a “fashion hunter,” I’d recommend looking up armour sets before creating your character, because there are some differences between the male/female armour sets. Happy hunting!