A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate is an action adventure game that focuses heavily on combat against large fantasy creatures including dinosaurs, enormous monsters, sea creatures, and so on. Players team up to destroy these beasts using a number of weapons, ranging from swords and lances to guns, bombs, and magical strikes. Enemies cry out in pain, spray red blood, and die. The game also has some crude humor including enemies who use flatulence to poison human fighters. Controls can be difficult to learn for all but the most seasoned veterans of the series, even after playing the mandatory tutorial missions.
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What's it about?
MONSTER HUNTER 4 ULTIMATE is the latest in the multimillion unit-selling franchise that fuses action, role-playing, and adventuring into one epic experience. For the uninitiated, the game challenges players to team up with other fighters to take down huge beasts. This unlocks new missions, characters, items, weapons, and abilities. New to the game is vertical movement (including the option to jump onto the beasts) and environments that change during combat (players might need to balance to avoid falling off ledges or beasts, for example). Players can now team with up to three friends over the Internet via the Nintendo Network as well as the previously available local wireless option.
Is it any good?
Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate has a surprising amount of depth to keep players busy for a long time, from the sheer size of the world to the exploration mode that instantly creates randomized battles. There's even a wide assortment of fighters, monsters, weapons, and items to fight for, which is great for players who like collecting everything. Playing alone is fine and fun, especially for mastering the controls, but teaming up with others is where the fun really begins. Hunting monsters, using a relevant strategy to take them down, and reaping the rewards for winning an intense and lengthy battle all make this adventure an engaging and memorable one -- though it's too bad there's no voice support for online gamers to discuss tactics. Seriously, there are probably hundreds of hours of gameplay here, giving gamers a lot of bang for the buck.
Along with good sound and music, the game's graphics are quite impressive -- be it the character or creature models, environments, or lighting effects. One visual-related issue, however, is that it can be easy to lose your fighter in the battlefield (or while on the enemy itself), until you press on the D-pad to change camera angles. It's not a huge issue, but it's evident right from the start of the game when you defeat a giant monster after riding it. If you like action with exploration and role-playing-game (RPG) elements and teaming up with friends to accomplish a goal, Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate is the A-grade game for you.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the impact of violence in media. Is it OK if players are killing monsters and working together to accomplish this goal rather than fighting other humans? Does it matter the humans are the "good guys"? Or is there no distinction between human/creature and good/evil?
Talk about teamwork. What are the benefits to working with others? Are there specific moments when you'd do better going alone?
- Platforms: Nintendo 3DS
- Price: $39.99
- Pricing structure: Paid
- Available online? Not available online
- Developer: Capcom
- Release date: February 13, 2015
- Genre: Action/Adventure
- Topics: Dinosaurs, Magic and Fantasy, Adventures, Monsters, Ghosts, and Vampires, Pirates
- ESRB rating: T for Blood, Crude Humor, Fantasy Violence
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