Capcom recently released a demo of their upcoming Nintendo exclusive release of Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate for both the Wii U and 3DS. Set to release March 19, 2013, Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate is a refined and retuned remake of Monster Hunter Tri which was originally released for the Wii in 2009 in Japan, with a 2010 release in North America. Knowing that the game would be packing plenty of new features, upgraded graphics, and the ability to transfer your save data between the Wii U and 3DS all make Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate a pretty tempting combo for the Nintendo loving monster hunting enthusiast.
The demo released for the Wii U and 3DS is just that, A demo. The demo is exactly the same on both systems, with the exception of the two obvious differences: graphics and controls.
The Wii U version looks sharp and clean in HD. The colors look very natural, well as natural as giant monsters can be, yet vibrant. The 3DS version on the other hand, while not up to par in pixel count with its home console counterpart, does make decent use of the 3D. With the smaller screen of the 3DS, the 3D does actually help make the world look more expansive and open which often times is not the case when you’re trying to squeeze an open world action adventure game onto a handheld portable consoles.
In terms of controls the Wii U version, playing on the Gamepad, was definitely a little easier to figure out without any guidance. That’s not to say the 3DS controls were complicated or difficult to use in any way, but just that they did take a little more “playing around” time to become confident and comfortable with. While the demo does not support the Circle Pad Pro (the attachment which gives the 3DS a second analog stick and 2 extra shoulder buttons), the full game will and 3DS fans everywhere will finally have another reason to pull it out of the drawer! That being said, both versions make good use of the touchscreen for on the fly inventory management, with Capcom adding a “second analog stick” on the 3DS version on the right side of the touchscreen for those that don’t have the CPP.
Now that we have the differences between the two versions laid out, let’s discuss the similarity: gameplay. The demo contains 2 different maps, one snowy mounting labeled easy and one water filled world labeled hard. Being a novice to Monster Hunter, I found the game to be difficult on both settings, yet addictively so. Both versions of the demo really gave no indication as to what you are supposed to do, other than “kill the monster” and surprisingly enough that’s really all you have to do. You choose from a cast of twelve different characters, each with a different weapon type, and then basically follow the indicator on your map until you run across the biggest meanest monster in town, and then you kill it. Along the way you can kill smaller monsters, collect their innards (meat, bones, etc.) to create new weapons and items with, and find/purchase items and tools which will aid in your quest to kill the boss monster in each area. You are given a handful of lives, and a time limit in which to complete the quest. Disappointingly, the time limits in the demo are cut down from the usual 50 minutes found in the Monster Hunter Tri quests on Wii, to a tedious 20 minutes in which you feel like you have to rush and are not really given time to do a lot of world exploring or small monster hunting.
All in all, the demo is fun on both consoles. It could have used a little more tutorial, which is usually something one would not complain about, but the demo really does nothing to indicate to the gamer how the game is played. Furthermore, it would have been nice if the Wii U demo had a little taste of the online gameplay which will be featured on the final release of that version, but unfortunately it did not. For those who love Monster Hunter though, and there’s a lot of you out there, or anyone interested in learning what Monster Hunter is all about the demo is definitely a good taste of what to expect when Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate does finally hit store shelves next month. Personally, after trying both demos, I’m now highly tempted to get this game for both of my Nintendo consoles.