Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate review

  • Getting into fights with giant monsters
  • Crafting your own weapons and armor
  • Seamless online experience
  • A high learning curve
  • Lack of detailed explanations
  • Clunky controls

Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate 3DS review

By Giancarlo Saldana

With the exception of online features, the 3DS version of Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate plays just like its Wii U counterpart. All the missions, monsters, and quests have been faithfully ported to the 3DS, letting you experience this robust game in 3D and play it anywhere you want.

The touch screen mimics the feel of playing it with the Wii U GamePad, and does a smooth job of recreating the same shortcuts and customization as its console counterpart. Because the 3DS lacks a second joystick, a D-pad panel on the touch screen lets you move the camera around with your free thumb. It may not feel as natural as playing with a Circle Pad Pro, but the touch screen’s responsive controls make it a good substitute for those who don’t have (or want) the extra accessory.

"The touch screen mimics the feel of playing it with the Wii U GamePad..."

If you happen to own both the 3DS and Wii U versions, you can transfer your data between the two devices any time you want. It’s a shame, however, that this portable version doesn’t add a quick save option and still forces you to save in between quests. Additionally, the game doesn’t look the same as it does on your television screen, and suffers from grainy visuals and fuzzy letters in its menus and dialogues. Regardless, if you can dismiss these small blemishes, you will appreciate how faithful the game stays to its Wii U version, essentially giving you the same experience in a more portable and less expensive format.

For all it brings to the table, the 3DS version doesn’t have an online mode of its own, but does allow for local co-op matches. You can also recruit hunters from people you meet via StreetPass and send them on quests to look for resources. This gives it a few features the Wii U lacks, but doesn’t replace the immediacy of playing with others. If you want to have actual online quests without dishing out an extra $60 for the Wii U game, you’ll need to purchase a separate LAN adaptor that tricks your 3DS into connecting to Wii U servers to play. This tedious workaround won’t give you full access to online features, so getting online with the 3DS becomes more of a hassle than it should.

" impressive example of how much content and depth can go into one little 3DS cartridge."

When it’s time to decide whether you’ll purchase Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate for 3DS or Wii U, you have to ask yourself: What’s more important, portability or online functionality? If you choose the latter, you’re better off buying the Wii U version of the game as it gives you everything the 3DS one offers and more. Still, you can’t go wrong in picking up the 3DS version, as it’s an impressive example of how much content and depth can go into one little 3DS cartridge.

You’ll Love: 

  • Cross-save functionality
  • Seamless Wii U experience on the 3DS 
  • Getting into fights with giant monsters

You’ll Hate: 

  • Lack of online mode
  • Fuzzy graphics
  • A high learning curve

Score: ****

More Info

Release date: Mar 19 2013 - 3DS, Wii U (US)
Mar 22 2013 - 3DS, Wii U (UK)
Available Platforms: 3DS, Wii U
Genre: Role Playing
Published by: Capcom
Developed by: Capcom
ESRB Rating:
Teen: Blood, Crude Humor, Fantasy Violence


  • robmh - March 28, 2013 5:19 p.m.

    I'm disappointed that GR clearly haven't tried at all to promote MH3U, when there are a constant stream of articles for mediocre games just because they are funded by 'powerhouse' publishers. This review gives the impression that the reviewer didn't spend much time on either their research, or actually playing the game itself, as everything written here could be inferred from playing the game for 1-2 hours or reading the wikipedia article for MH3U. The review is mostly consisting of uninteresting 3DS/WiiU specs, rather then any relevant game specific points. (e.g. the return of several weapons not present in MH3, the games companions, or anything about the combat intensity or atmosphere) The control scheme is a boring complaint that shouldn't be a major negative in the review, as most people who play the game for an extended period of time don't complain about them at all. Bear in mind that this is a series being constantly revised and updated in Japan, so it is unlikely to suffer from clunky controls. (In my opinion the controls couldn't be improved.)
  • AVahne - March 25, 2013 9:42 p.m.

    Funny, I find the controls perfect and very easy to use. Not clunky at all. However, I've played the games before, so I may be used to them But, and this is the truth, the first I've played Monster Hunter Tri with dual-analog I still found the controls to be incredibly easy to use and understand (once I've inverted the y-axis). I think it's more to do with a gamer's ability to adapt. Some of us are just better at getting used to controls than others.
  • talleyXIV - March 24, 2013 4:32 p.m.

    This is going to sell millions of consoles in Japan.
  • blakebeauchamp - March 18, 2013 4:58 p.m.

    From what I played, the controls are a bit... well... how can I say "horrid" while not being rude... I'll break out a thesaurus later. Anyways, I had fun with it and will more than likely pick it up at some point.
  • EYE8URBRAINS - March 18, 2013 12:54 p.m.

    There isn't anything to hate about this game...
  • ObliqueZombie - March 18, 2013 12:19 p.m.

    This might be on my list, if for nothing more than that vibrant and awesome art style. If plan to get a 3DS soon, and this seems like a solid game to get on it.
  • PlainLikeVanilla - March 18, 2013 9:26 a.m.

    So if you have ever played a MH game before there is nothing to hate. I guess this is just like all the other ones, if you are a fan buy it and if you are a newcomer stay away.
  • BladedFalcon - March 18, 2013 9:21 a.m.

    Yeah... I'll pass.
  • talleyXIV - March 24, 2013 4:33 p.m.

    Good for you?
  • Talvari - March 18, 2013 8:56 a.m.

    Welp, didn't expect this to get less than MH Tri did. Considering it's largely the same game but with an explosion of new content and weapon classes..and a better single player experience :|. Different reviewers I guess. Still doesn't get any less frustrating when a reviewer mentions clunky controls in a monster hunter game though *Sigh*. Oh well, thanks for taking the time to make the review. Was an enjoyable read even if i don't agree with some of the points made.
  • CombatWombat101 - March 18, 2013 4:34 p.m.

    Why would it be frustrating when a reviewer mentions clunky controls in a Monster Hunter game? If they found them to be clunky, then they're just doing their job as a reviewer.
  • Talvari - March 18, 2013 5:26 p.m.

    Maybe i shoulda put people instead of reviewer :| Either way it's more of a case of the reviewer didn't really explain what was so clunky about the controls so it's kinda out in the open. Just personally never had a problem with the controls as most people who play monster hunter for a while will confirm. I'd assume this reviewer was referring to the more heavier and slow weapons and timing the attacks etc takes time to learn and master and can feel like it's just bad controls at first, whereas the controls themselves aren't actually bad. I dunno i guess i just want more clarification on why the reviewer thought the controls are clunky, since controls are kinda essential to a game like this and could be the deal breaker for someone. So just flat out saying the controls are "clunky" without any justification annoys me a bit :| Also worth noting that based on the demo and the gamepad you can just have the inventory open and it'll have all your items on the gamepad so you can just tap something once to use it xD. Again, I don't have anything against this reviewer, just wanted some elaboration.
  • ChiChiRocket - March 18, 2013 9:58 p.m.

    I agree. "Clunky" could mean anything from a lack of a Zelda-style lock-on camera to controls outright not working. Monster Hunter fans more than anyone can give the best testimonials on how the new game is. I've seen many people say the controls are too confusing and the monsters are too hard. However, ask someone who has played a MH game before, and they'll tell you the controls are perfect. Playing the demo for the first time, I was able to beat the first monster in about five minutes because the controls were exactly how I expected them to be. Like the review said, MH is something of an acquired taste. It really sucks when you see this game being so outrageously popular in Japan, but it's lagging in the US because people think it doesn't hold your hand enough.

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