I've got bad news readership, they are back.
As you may be aware I moved house, dedicated myself to trying to become a writer and got a full time job, which accounts for the majority of the inactivity over the past four months on my part. One thing having a full time job has done is shifted how I game (besides away from 'constantly). I'd say the main shift has been in the use of my 3DS and Xbox 360. At least I'm no longer a slave to the desktop and Dota 2. So instead I figured I'd talk about a burgeoning interest of mine (80 work hours of gameplay), Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate.
Now imagine how fucked that any of them would look without the other three.
That's my experience at work.
Like the games before it (I'm told, I only played the one that existed pre-internet), MH4U is all about that sweet multiplayer, the online is seamless and the times I've played it, both online and local play, have been a magnificent treat. The interface is simple and effective, taking only 3 clicks to join a friends 'lobby' and even fewer for a passerby. The stuff you can partake in while online is essentially the entire game bar one strand of quests, which is frankly incredible.
"But Aaron!" you that remain cry, "You played Dota 2, you know that everyone who plays online is a furious manchild just ready to piss you off in the comfort of you own home". A sentiment which until MH4U I'd have agreed with, the players have restored my faith in stranger co-operative. Maybe it is an unfair comparison, the highly competitive MOBA circuit to the rather joyful (if no less skilled) dodgy-roller(Chapman copyright) game. MH4U has finite resources that aren't immediately carved up, and instead distributed eveningly by a team of four, I felt like a feral man witnessing a barn raising.
Why haven't they turned it into a gallows and hanged the scrubs?!
Now a term in the previous paragraph may have perplexed you, namely 'dodgy-roller™'. Now a dodgy-roller is the carefully crafted name I've picked for the Souls Games, Monster Hunter and generally any Japanese game where I get immersed enough to work out which are the "i-frames". I'm sure there are more accurate names, but none are quite as catchy. MH4U meets it's commitments to the Dodgy-Roller genre nicely with some incredibly pacey and interesting Monster fights, by far the equal of DS if taking the handheld disadvantage into consideration.
The tone is invariably different, but the jovial nature of MH4U works to it's credit. I don't think the grimdark work of Dark Souls would work well, the Monster's are enjoyable because they aren't terrifyingly gothic, merely primal and massive. The scope of the weapons and armour that can be crafted from said Monster's are also mindboggling. I've played for going on 80 hours, and judging from my friends I'd say I've unlocked no more than a third of the possible options thus far.
Pictured, The Dota Community in comparison to MH4U's
The game feels like a testament to the 3DS console, it really does. Completely unlike the turn based RPGs, puzzle and action adventure games I had played before hand. It proves itself to be more than capable of supporting an instance based game of large scope and complex combos. You can tell somethings were cut to support the small memory format. Some monsters are reskins, some areas have places that will look spookily similar to the jungle section on another map, but they are barely noticeable and I'd genuinely be fascinated by the person who has a worse experience based around them.
Is it enough to buy the 3DS, or heaven forbid, 'New' 3DS (article on that, soon)? Probably, I'm still not sure I'd recommend buying a 'New' 3DS for the occasion, but now the 3DS is afflicted by that 'not quite the latest model' syndrome, the price is dropping thick and fast and you can get the two in tandem for a comparatively decent sum of money. Will it over Dark Souls as my number 1 source of slashy fun? Definitely in multiplayer, and at work...Where it turns out real people spend an alarming amount of time, who knew?
Till next time, over and out.