Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate: monster hunter triumphant

I’ve played enough games over the years to know that if you come up across something you can’t accomplish and that other options exist, maybe you’re supposed to do those other things first. I distinctly remember coming across a boss early into Darksiders 2 that I was in no way equipped to deal with but not before spending half an hour trying to kill the blasted thing. Eventually I gave up, came back when I was supposed to and promptly killed its bark covered ass.

After the jump, killing its scale covered ass

Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate may not give you all of the information you want up front but thankfully we live with the internet which is more than happy to tell you everything about the game you could hope to know. I am in no way averse to using guides so I hit up Eurogamer’s excellent guide to the game and learn that if you tag a beastie with a paintball you can track it back to its lair once it limps off. As it turns out, monsters don’t cram themselves into small caves to lick their wounds, they use those caves to travel to other areas of the map where you can kill or capture them.

I still don’t know why the guild hall quests are so much more difficult but I figure maybe they’re harder for a reason so I should stick to the main story quests. I do some fishing, do a completely different egg hunting quest that only requires two trips to the delivery box and before long the next quest on my list is to revisit my dear friend the great jaggi. Between this quest and the last great jaggi quest I make some equipment upgrades including dressing up my palico friend like Mario because Mario is the Wolverine of video games and he has to be in goddamn everything. Between the upgrades and the knowledge gleaned from the internet I’m confident that success is assured.

As soon as I get to the area where the great jaggi is hanging out a cut scene starts and the game uses the action afterwards to teach me how to mount beasties and use that opportunity to stab the heck out of them. The cut scene confirms what I had guessed, that I had been tangling with the previous great jaggi before I was supposed to. I still end up getting carted once on this quest but it doesn’t take long before I’m standing over the corpse of a great jaggi gleefully carving off parts of it to use as a wallet.

After the great jaggi I kill a giant flying horned beetle called a seltas, and then go on an expedition where a velocidrome uses me as a cat toy before dropping proof of its existence that I can use to get extra points for completing the trip. I don’t face anything as tough as the great jaggi on the previous egg hunting trip so I’m hesitant to return to it but I also seem to have run out of two star quests despite the guide telling me that there are several two star quests left. Maybe I have to do more expeditions, maybe I have to do guild hall quests, I have no idea and the game isn’t telling me which is both surprising and not at all surprising.

Do I like the game? Yeah I do but it has the same complete mission, collect loot, repeat structure that I most recently got burned out by in Destiny. I’m not sure I’m ready to continue the act of returning to the same geographical area only with slightly different enemies to kill some big thing in order to get a piece of loot that makes it easier to kill the next big thing. Don’t get me wrong, the quest structure is such that you can find something to do, even if it’s just gathering supplies and fooling around with item combinations if you only have twenty or thirty minutes to play but for long sessions I usually prefer something with a stronger narrative to keep me engaged. All of this is a long way of saying that I finally understand the appeal of the Monster Hunter series, I’m just not sure it appeals to me.

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