Tri and stop me.
As I walked into Capcom's preview event on Tuesday and surveyed the spread of games, my inner-Jonathan Leack started screaming at me. "LOOK, LOOK!" Beyond the fighting games, Resident Evil ports, and DmC DLC sat Monster Hunter Tri Ultimate for both Wii U and 3DS.
I'm not as interested in the title, but Japan's everlasting love and Jonathan's enthusiasm pushed me closer and closer to the demo station. I stood around timidly and waited for Nick to finish whatever he was doing [Eating a giant pretzel. ~Ed. Nick] so we could both try the 3DS-Wii U connectivity together.
The setup gave me a strong sense of déjà vu. Three Nintendo 3DS units sat on the table with their power cords curling behind the TV. Third from the left lay the Wii U's touchscreen-equipped GamePad. When we sat down, the Capcom representative asked politely if I had ever played Monster Hunter before.
I felt like shouting at him. "You hunt monsters, duh!" Nick kept me from embarassing myself by mentioning that he had messed around with the original Wii version of the game. Without skipping a beat, the rep launched into the same spiel he'd probably said a thousand times that day, but I was already distracted by the 3DS in my hands.
Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate's bright, vibrant graphics popped off the screen, but setting the 3D slider all the way enhanced the looks. Putting the 3D back into off position, I started to tear around the hub world our party was gathering in. I spoke with the townspeople and looked at menus on the 3DS's bottom screen, but my eyes kept drifting upwards.
The TV kept taking my attention. The Wii U puts Monster Hunter Tri to shame with crisp, deep, HD visuals. Then the rep mentioned that the Wii U version also has a full keyboard on the GamePad and can export progress to the 3DS version. I felt like I was playing Four Swords all over again.
I didn't want the 3DS version I had in my hands. I wanted to tear that GamePad away from the rep and gawk at the big visuals on the TV. The Wii U version also benefits from having two analog sticks, allowing the player to freely aim the camera.
Four of us finally accepted a quest and jaunted out for adventure. Landing in different parts of the map, each player slowly met up and then began to seek out the boss. Moving from location to location meant running through a dense forest, swimming in a deep lagoon, and hoofing it across a barren marsh, all while fighting off smaller monsters on our way.
When we finally found our target, he was sleeping at the bottom of a lake. The big fish stirred and immediately surged at our group, knocking us aside. Scattered, we found our footing and then started to chip away at the beast's health.
Players can roll out of the way, sheath their weapons to increase their speed, and hack or fire at monsters with a few taps of the Y button. With teamwork, we were able to drive the monster up onto dry land. There, my knight's massive sword sliced at the tail and eventually cut it off. Aiming at different areas of the monster yielded different results.
It wasn't before long that the beast fell and each of us excitedly shaved off our spoils. With the right formula and community, Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate looks like it's shaping up to be the best MH experience yet. I left hoping to some day sit down with Jonathan and hunt monsters together. I'd be on the Wii U, of course.