Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate preview - More monsters and more hunting on the Wii U

The Monster Hunter series has been met with great reception and success (especially in Japan). With Monster Hunter Tri's positive reviews, the developers at Capcom are bringing an updated Ultimate edition of the game to the Wii U and 3DS.

Monster Hunter puts you in the role of a--get this--hunter as you explore the countryside and battle vicious monsters in pursuit of powerful items and piles upon piles of loot. The action RPG has everything from the Wii's Monster Hunter Tri, plus fifty percent more content, by way of additional monsters, items, and weapon classes.

The new weapon classes include the Dual Sword, Hunting Horn, Gunlance, and Switch Axe. The Bowgun from the previous title has been split into two separate classes, the Light Bowgun, and Heavy Bowgun, for a grand total of twelve weapon options. The weapons all have varying attributes attached to them that affect your movement, attack power and special abilities. For example, the Dual Sword is incredibly quick and requires close-range strikes, while the Heavy Bowgun can do massive damage from a distance. Whatever your preferred playstyle, one of the weapon types is bound to float your monster-slaying boat.

Seventeen monsters have been added to the original list, ranging in both the higher-level and lower-level creatures. One particularly nasty one we encountered in our hands-on demo inhabited a desert location and had fire-based attacks. The quest we accepted to kill the monster gave us a mere twenty minutes to reduce the flailing beast to a corpse--which is a minuscule amount of time compared to the fifty-minute-long battles you can take on at higher levels.

The battles take skill, patience, and familiarity with your class. Heavy weapon wielders, like our longswordsman, move significantly slower; so timing your attacks and dodges is essential to surviving the encounter. Typically the combat takes place in stages, with the boss monster retreating to different areas on the map when they become injured. A monster's access to certain abilities can literally be cut off by dismembering tails and attacking vulnerable body parts, making the confrontation all the more strategic.

Outside of the combat, the most interesting features in the game come from its ability to link up with the 3DS version for four player co-op on the Wii U, and it also allows save transfer functionality between the two consoles. So, you can play the game on the Wii U, and when you need to leave your primary gaming location, you can transfer your save to your 3DS (with a separately purchased 3DS cartridge) to continue your adventure on the go.

Both versions play identically, using the console's respective touch screens to interact with the map and to manage items. The touch screens can also be customized for your preferences. The map can be viewed either on the top or bottom screens, and items can be placed on the touch screen for easy access during gameplay.

Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate will be available on the Wii U early next year. For more coverage on the game check out our Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate page.

Lorenzo Veloria

Many years ago, Lorenzo Veloria was a Senior Editor here at GamesRadar+ helping to shape content strategy. Since then, Lorenzo has shifted his attention to Future Plc's broader video game portfolio, working as a Senior Brand Marketing Manager to oversee the development of advertising pitches and marketing strategies for the department. He might not have all that much time to write about games anymore, but he's still focused on making sure the latest and greatest end up in front of your eyes one way or another.