Ahoy hoy, everybody!

In my spots of spare-time between doing the comic (when I really should be writing, or practicing my acrylics and pastels) this weekend I’ve been playing copious amounts of Monster Hunter 4 on my New 3DS. I’m going to summarize it in general here, before picking out the fun bits that I really enjoy:

Is it worth getting? Yes.

Why? It’s a fun, action-packed romp where you get to fight dinosaurs in hand-to-hand combat.

How different is it from other Monster Hunter games? Not very. As much as any Monster Hunter game differs from another. Although it has maybe one or two more gimmicks that do offer some interesting strategic choices.

Right, that’s the generic stuff out the way; what is it that I like most about it?

Well, for starters, although they eliminated water combat they have added a lot more in the way of leaping, 3D combat. Map spaces feel more multi-level, which makes them more interesting to look at and to fight in. Leaping attacks are fun to perform, and allows a chance to execute another addition that I quite enjoy – mounted combat.

That’s not to say that you can tame a monster and ride it (so far as I’ve encountered). Instead, you can leap onto the backs of many large monsters (Great Jaggi and the like) with a well-placed leaping or airborne strike, and ride it until it throws you off, stabbing away with impunity while atop the beast. You can even stagger the creature this way, for bonus strikes on the ground.

There’s even a brand new weapon class to complement this combat feature – The Insect Glaive. Now, I LOVE mobile combat – I’d rather dodge a hit than take one. And the Insect Glaive gives you so many options. It’s a fairly short-range weapon, but it packs rapid-fire punch up close-range, and it also comes paired with a ‘Kinsect’, a little beetle/neopteron that you send out to drain essence from the target monster that is converted to an attack/defence/health bonus for you. The Insect Glaive can also be used to vault, allowing you to leap ANYWHERE. It’s fantastic for attempting to jump onto the back of large monsters, or for deftly leaping out of the way of a charging creature. It’s so versatile, and incredibly satisfying to use for glass cannon style players like me.

I’ve only tried the other new weapon in training, but it also seems interesting – The Charge Blade has two modes of combat, one sword-and-shield and the other an oversized axe. The idea being that you fight with your speedy short-sword to charge up phials of energy by attacking specific parts of the monster (much like the Kinsect strikes), before converting the weapon into axe configuration to deal slow, long-ranged and elementally charged damage. It’s a weapon that requires constant juggling, but will suit players that can pick up rhythm easily.

I’m still getting to grips with the equipment upgrades, streetpass, and online parts of the game, but no doubt as I play more of it I’ll report back! All I can say is this, for now though – Go play this game, you will NOT regret it!