I had seen Monster Hunter 3 when it was released on the Wii when visiting a friend. I was intrigued, but had far too much on my plate (such as the most recent Final Fantasy). When I heard it was getting upgraded to Wii U, I decided to wait. Day 1, I got Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate, thrilled to drop a review ASAP here on GoozerNation. I was sorely disapointed to discover that I was again behind the times due to my SDTV and was unable to read the text integral to the storyline, game orientation, and well...telling me what to do. Most of the field text was just large enough to read, but in-town story and quest logs were impossible. All I knew was there was an earthquake, I was a hero, yadda yadda, do stuff. Without any interface to work on, I relied on one page in the manual to give me instructions. This resulted in many awkward moments, such as going to swing at an enemy only to sit down and start roasting meat on a barbecue spit, or suddenly crouching and not knowing how to stand up.
With the new update, you are now able to play the game with the image on the TV displayed on the Game Pad, just like New Super Mario Bros. U. I started a new game. Suddenly, I know character names, where I am supposed to go, and how to progress. I'm still baffled by some menus, such as the weapon forging/upgrade menu that I can barely see on the Wii U GamePad in HD two feet from my face, but at least now I can fully read the storyline. Finally, I can review the game! It looks absolutely beautiful, given that it's a HD reskin of a Wii game. While the graphics are awesome, base animations are a little rough, such as notable lower polygon counts in certain characters, repetitive motions, and no facial animations. I'm sure future non-upgrade versions of Monster Hunter will look divine, though. Now that I was able to read the tutorial, I can see how to fight, harvest from animal carcasses, mine for ores, even fully understand how to use the GamePad. Things as simple as "tap the map to zoom" were foreign to me since I couldn't even read how to use it. This game is a collector's paradise: within an hour of starting, I've got six or seven quests worth of things to hunt down, scavenge for, and craft for materials to help improve the community I live in. The online mode is very tempting now, too, since I'm now able to read the menu to understand how it works. The new update also allows one to hop the pond and play with people in Europe and vice versa.
Overall, the new update will now allow me to actually enjoy the game. I wish the GamePad screen option was easier to interface with, though. The "swap to GamePad" option is buried three levels deep on the third page of a menu I had to squint through to find. When activated, it sends 100% of the sound to the GamePad (what it is intended for, I know, as it's for "Off-Screen Play" and not "Guy Who Can't Read on His TV Play"). There's also default modes to send all HUD graphics onto the GamePad that you select when starting a new game to keep the action screen clear that I can't seem to locate how to alter. Therefore, if you are playing big screen, even if the options exist, it takes a lot of tapping just to get a single-screen interface to be satisfactory. I hope a new update allows you to set up multiple designs so you can press one button to go off-screen in a hurry when your significant other wants the TV as opposed to "hold on, let me click these menus up...just a minute....hold on........." etc. This is the blessing of updateable games, though. I just hope someone behind the scenes gets to read my article, so this issue can be clarified.
Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate is a fun game that can now be enjoyed off screen, and is now enjoyable by people who have yet to join the HD generation. What do you think? Personally, I disagree with the "if you want to enjoy this generation, you should purchase an HDTV." It's not like I'm trying to play this on Grandma's analog black and white TV, the kind Lucy Ricardo ripped the guts out of and climbed inside so she could be on TV, it's simply the last generation of television. I bought it at the end of the HDTV cycle, and have barely had it three years. If I bought the TV, I wouldn't have the Wii U right now, and be missing out on plenty of games that don't insist on HD. Now, Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate is playable, and I'm willing to deal with the crutch. If someone's about to talk to me, it's pause, down three options, enter, right three pages, down three options, enter, right, enter, back, back, back...then I can read on the gamepad. Off to the fields? Time for the TV! Pause, down three options, enter, right three pages, down three options, enter, right, enter, back, back, back...I can handle this, since storyline will only occasionally happen, and I'll eventually get out of tutorials. I can see that changing font size may be harder than I imagine it to be, I just hope that a future update allows a single-button swap to GamePad that updates all off-screen data onto the new GamePad screen. Now, I'm off to slay some monsters. Want to join my party? My Nintendo Network ID is 8bit4ever. PM me yours at my Twitter, @RyanDJGN, and we can go hunt together!