Kii got her hands on the Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate demo. Here’s what she thought!
Once upon a time, (On the 14th of January) I sat down and watched Nintendo Direct where I saw the Nintendo President Mr Iwata happily stand there and tell us all what Nintendo are up to for the next few months. This Nintendo Direct was about the 3DS and Wii-U releases for the upcoming year, and whilst I was enraptured by many of the titles on offer, one obviously grabbed my attention. Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate.
As I’m sure many of you remember from my previous articles, I friggin love Monster Hunter and I’ve been excited for the western release of MH 4 Ultimate since I got my little mits on it at EGX. The biggest piece of news about my beloved franchise in the Nintendo Direct was that there would be a demo available at the end of the showing, however, this demo was by invite email only. The emails were being sent out when show was finished. And we got an email! Woohoo! So now, let me tell you about the demo.
Firstly, there are two new weapons the Insect Glaive and the Charge Blade. The Charge Blade I personally don’t find too much of a difference between that and that Charge Axe, however it’s nice to have more choice for flexible options if that’s the kind of weapon you like to play with. With the Insect Glaive you get a little insect buddy who you can send out to hit the Monster and bring back a buff for you so now he’s my best friend.
The demo on ‘Experienced’ or ‘I know how to play’ mode gives you three options to hunt. The Great Jaggi (Which is like the Rattata of the larger monsters), the Tetsucabra (Giant armoured frog thing) and the Gore Magala (Minor death dragon of doom). Myself, my partner and our housemate worked our way through them all (via Demo access to the Local Multiplayer) trying out the different weapons and admiring the armour that the game decided to put us in. As you can imagine, the monsters increase in difficultly and it was nice to have a really challenging hunt in the demo version, even if it did royally kick our asses, as well as the more chilled out kind of hunts that you would expect in the early game of the full version.
One of the new features that has made the biggest difference was the climbing and ledge jumping mechanic. I honestly wasn’t expecting it to make that big of an impact but being able to climb up cliff faces has really opened up the map areas and made them feel a lot bigger. Because of this extra vastness, the monster battles are much more mobile and it feels much less ‘stand in one place and hit the thing’. In particular, the frog-like Tetsucabra would jump further up the mountain to get away from us and we would scramble after it hoping that it didn’t get a chance for a breather.
Ledge jumping also adds something fresh to the combat as you can now jump on the back of the monster and cling for dear life whilst stabbing it between the shoulder blades. I was pleasantly surprised by how this tested your teamwork since it was pretty ease to smack your friend in the face and throw them off whilst trying to blindly hit your foe.
Something that this demo provided that the Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate demo did not, was a Beginner mode. This makes the game far more accessible to those who have never played it before. MH3U was my first game of the franchise and my partner suggested that it would be a game we could enjoy together so I gave it a go and I was immediately lost. It resulted in him sitting at my shoulder and telling me what to do until I got the hang of it. Thankfully, for people that position in this game, you can boot the demo up in beginner with multiplayer and you’re set.
During Beginner mode the helpful Guild Clerk tells you some bit about the game, explains that she’s marked the monster that you’re hunting on the map and she also pauses the combat to explain what the monster is trying to do (whilst this sounds annoying, it only occurs about twice). Beginner also does not allow you access to the Gore Magala because why would you? He’d burn you to a blackened crisp and send you home in a match box and you’d never buy the game. My main gripe with beginner mode is that the Weapon tutorials are a bit too much info at once and could do with being staggered. Even for someone who knows the game, I found the info dump a little overwhelming. If I were to nit-pick, I’d also say that in Beginner, you don’t really get hurt and your stamina doesn’t deplete. Whilst I understand that it’s to up the enjoyment for new people, I feel it will be a bit jarring for people to start the lower levels of the actual game and find their stamina gone and their arse being handed to them.
All in all, I feel that the demo is great. I had fun playing it, I like the new weapons and the armour that they showed off was ornate and cool looking to the point I want to find what monster it came from. I’m not going to lie, I was going to buy the game anyway. But the demo has secured in my mind that it will be a worth-while purchase as although the formula for the game is unchanged, kill something then wear it, there are enough new things to keep it fresh and interesting.
One day we will meet again Gore Magala and on that day I will wear you as a fine hat.