Hands-On: Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate Preview

Nintendo has been doling out access codes to Capcom’s latest action RPG in the last few days, insistent on giving westerners the chance to jump into the world of Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate. We were fortunate enough to receive access to the series’ latest entry and learned a few things about the game and how it’ll fit in on the New 3Ds.

The first and most noticeable takeaway from the demo is the staggering level of beauty that Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate boasts on the 3DS. While more in line with something one might expect from, say, the GameCube era rather than Wii U, the visual fidelity is still far beyond what I had expected for a handheld Nintendo title.

What’s more impressive in the realm of visuals is the success that Monster Hunter achieves with the use of the 3D effect. Most gamers have an inclination to keep the 3D slider in the off position, but Monster Hunter’s 3D visuals are easily some of the most immersive I’ve seen in the system’s near four-year history.

After selecting from a series of quests, players are offered 14 different fighting types to choose from, spanning anywhere from dual-wielding blades to a “bowgun” — yes, it’s a bow, and a gun. Combat is smooth and simple with little to no issue in regards to framerate dips or control input.The only gameplay concern comes from the limited camera control available to players sticking with the original 3DS or XL models. As camera control is dictated using the D-pad directly below the C-stick, players are all but forced to stop their character’s movement entirely while adjusting the camera angle.

This does demonstrate, however, the utility of the added C-stick being offered on the New 3DS models. It could be that  Nintendo’s endgame with releasing the early demo was in fact to make fans realize how much of a benefit they would have with an upgraded, second C-stick included, New 3DS. In addition, while I mentioned before how well the 3D was utilized, I couldn’t help but fall victim every now and then to the visual distortion users find when moving just outside of the so called “sweet spot” on my 3DS XL. This serves perhaps as another reason to move up to the New 3DS that has supposedly solved the problem of falling out of the 3D “sweet spot” with the use of face tracking cameras.

new control

Above all, the Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate demo is a clever way of letting current 3DS owners see first hand how their experiences can benefit with the improved 3D and second control stick associated with the New 3DS. Is it a bit sneaky? You could certainly argue that, but the fact that original 3DS and 2DS owners still get a chance to experience the game – albeit one that is slightly more difficult to control – is a nice move by Nintendo and Capcom.

Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate launches in North America alongside the New 3DS XL on February 13, and will serve as a compelling reason for gamers to upgrade to the new hardware.


Edit: First two people to comment get access codes to the MH4U demo!


    1. Thanks! Would you like the demo code? I’ll be able to send you it just after 6pm EST either by email or twitter direct message (just don’t want to type it here in case somebody sees it before you do!).

  1. well written! I do agree that releasing the demo so close to the release date is just to lure more people into Monster Hunter. But the game was beautiful and easy to play

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