So, something momentous happened. Something truly beautiful. New Monster Hunter Ultimate screenshots! Wii U screenshots! Squeaky clean, high-definition, Monster Hunter Ultimate Wii U screenshots! Now I, in my (very-much-not-so)infinite wisdom, will give details on each of the following screenshots! I can do this because… I can! Anyway, nobody else seems to be doing it.
First we’ve got this screenshot. This evil, soul-destroying, horrifying screenshot.
Now, what’s so horrific about this screenshot? The evil sandfish with the head-sized uvula. That there is the Hapurobokka (name will probably be different on release), a Leviathan-class monster and possibly the most despicable thing ever to “grace” the series. It has jaws the size of… Well you can see those. Anyway, it’s one of those annoying sand fish types that love to swim through sand even though… Well… Sand doesn’t work that way. But I’ve no right to complain with that, the Agnaktor swims through rock and I love that thing. But that’s a tangent I’m not allowed to go on at the moment. Lack of screenshots for that area and whatnot. But still, these Hapurobokka (whose name is still subject to change) are the devil. They have a speed rivalling cheetah when they’re doing their swimming thing and when that’s combined with the megaton punch that their face packs, there’s nothing good that comes of it. The fact that it’s one of the more aggressive monsters in the game makes it one of my least favourite monsters in the series. The best part – and only good part – is that it’s freakishly large uvula is a destroyable part, meaning that it’s quite a good anger release. Then again, there’s not a great lot of love in me for all but one of the following screenshots. Before I get sadder, I’ll explain the rest of the smaller details here.
First, the person in the middle? You should be able to gather that that’s the player. Covered from head to toe in armour, a massive weapon lugged over your shoulder, you carry on forward and keep your head up in the face of every shape adversity takes. You move forward to pursue the continued protection of your homeland and neighbours! Or perhaps your there to get filthy stinking rich. Or maybe you’re just one of those guys who does it for the thrill. Honestly, there’s not ever much of a story to talk about. There’s a bit of backstory hanging about the games – and I honestly think it should be dug into a bit more than it ever is – but it really doesn’t harm the game. Now, our noble hunter up there? She (I’m pretty sure that’s a she) is decked out in Barroth armour. What’s a Barroth? Something I’ll cover later. But that armour? It’s a decent set of starting armour, grants some decent elemental protection as well as a nice attack buff. It also shoves some negative affinity onto you, however. Affinity, for the uninitiated, is essentially the critical hit rate. It starts at zero by default. Increasing it will grant chances to get a critical hit, decreasing will give you the lucky opportunity to for your hits to become ultra sucky! That weapon they’re lugging about is a Hunting Horn, again made out of Barroth materials. In case you hadn’t guessed, the Hunting Horn will also suffer from negative affinity, wearing the armour and using the weapons is something I’d never recommend. It kind of sucks. Anyways… Hunting Horns are an interesting style of smashing stick. Putting it bluntly, they’re hammers that have had some sort of instrument infusion. They deal a fair amount of blunt damage and, when you’re in the right stance, you can play the thing and, with the power of music, you can grant buffs to yourself and those around you. They’re fun weapons to use and usually have some quite awesome designs. They’re not always horns either, some of them being quite epic guitars (number of strings varies). Player 1 gets a sideways thumb – Barroth armour is alright defensively, but that massive attack downgrade you’re getting from it and the weapon will likely be your downfall unless you’re really lucky.
Now, those midgets in the foreground? They’re a pair of Shakalakas (magic [maybe] masked cat people) that will follow you about while you’re playing single-player. The masks they wear grant special effects. Cha-Cha up there (noticeable by his freaking name above his head) is wearing the Fluffy Mask. It allows him to very temporarily mark any big monsters on your map, bringing the unfortunate side-effect of giving the wearer a timidity that makes them less likely to fight monsters. Now, Kayamba, on the other hand, is wearing the BBQ mask, granting the helpful effect of allowing the wearer to dig itself into the ground and allow the player to use the mask as a proper barbecue. It doesn’t even give any negative effects! Now, both of your little buddies will grow stronger the more they’re used and there are also extra bonuses that you can apply to each mask to get even more extras like the ability to use traps.
Last thing to really address here is the HUD. In the bottom right we’ve got our inventory. Well, part of your inventory. When you grab an item you can actually use, such as the Mega Potion in the image, it will appear in the inventory at the bottom right. Over in the top right, we’ve got our map. This shows us each of the separate areas within the greater area and the links between them, as well as the location of any painted monsters. The thing with the map is that you actually need the item to see the whole thing (there’s always one supplied, four if your playing multiplayer) but after a while, you probably won’t want to use that inventory slot because you’ll really learn the lay of the land while you play. The last thing is the mass of things in the top left. So what’s up there is:
1) The timer. Every quest has a time limit (usually fifty minutes), and that timer is of the countdown variety. When you hit those last ten minutes, you’ll get a notice on your screen and the timer will start pulsing red. Thankfully, that usually only happens on quests where you should expect it to get that low – most are over in the first half hour, at most.
2) Health/Stamina Bars. Honestly, there’s not much to say here. These are quite standard for games. Health keeps track of the damage you can take until you “faint” (three faints and the quest is over, usually), and the stamina bar shows how long you can exert yourself. They can both be extended and retracted through different means.
3) Weapon Sharpness. That glowing green sword represents the sharpness of your weapon. Yes, even Hammers are “sharp.” I don’t get it either, I just go with it. Sharpness affects your damage and what you can and can’t hit properly, with some weapons not being sharp enough to damage monsters being simply deflected by the monster’s armour. Anyway, you’ve got a quite a few stages of sharpness, as follows (from worst to best, and with colours in brackets being what is shown in weapon stat screens):
Buggered (Red) – Represented by a completely smashed (i.e. fucked) sword that glows red, this is the sharpness you should never experience in your game. It will do bugger all damage and you might be able to hit maybe the more docile vegetarians without bouncing off harmlessly.
Ever-so-slightly Buggered (Orange) – Represented by a somewhat smashed sword. You’ll probably see a bit of this at the beginning of your game when you have weapons that don’t quite have the power or sharpness to practically take down some of the bigger monsters. Your damage will suffer and you’ll bounce off most, if not all, of the the bigger monsters.
Meh (Yellow) – Just a sword. This is what your weapons will have by default. You get no damage bonus and you’ll be able to hit a fair amount of things reliably.
Good (Green) – This is where your weapons will be hanging about for pretty much the entirety of an offline playthrough. You get a bit of a damage bonus and you can hit near enough everything. Anything this bounces off of is probably never going to be hit properly.
Nice (Blue) – This is the level that will almost constantly be just out of reach while offline. It’s reserved for some higher-up weaponry and gives a better damage bonus than Green does. There’s pretty much nothing that you absolutely need Blue sharpness to hit properly.
Beautiful (White) – Until you get to G-Rank quests, this sharpness will be but a mere pipe dream for you. Hitting anything with this level of sharpness will give you a very good damage bonus and make you feel very good about yourself (note: self-actualisation not a guarantee). Again, like Blue, there’s nothing you really need this to hit properly, it’s just a good damage bonus.
??? (Purple) – A level above White! This level may or may not be present in Monster Hunter Ultimate, but I’m including it here for completions sake. This was the sharpness that most weapons could only attain through excruciating amounts of upgrading or by using a very nice sharpness increasing armour ability. It provides the best damage bonus. Allegedly, it is in the game and is necessary to properly damage one of the nastiest things you’ll ever fight.
4) Players. This is just where everyone playing is listed. Next to the names will be icons representing any stat changes for that player. For example, the player in the above picture has taken a Cold Drink and is resistant to the harsh heat of the Desert! A red bottle would mean the opposite, and that the player was protected against the cold. Ther’s also an icon to the left of the names that shows what weapon each person is using. If a large monster has seen you, a red eye will occasionally flash in that spot just to let you know what’s going on.
5) Miscellaneous Weapon-Specific Things. In the above image, the player is wielding a Hunting Horn. That’s why there is a note chart thing up there. When you play your hunting horn, notes will show up and it’s up to you to remember what notes grant what buffs. Other weapons will not have the note chart, and instead have their own specific thing. Long Swords have a Spirit Meter which increases when hitting an enemy, Switch Axes will have an Energy Meter which decreases when the weapon is swung about in sword mode, Bowguns and Gunlances have an Ammo Count which shows when reloading is necessary, and Bows have a Coating Count which shows how long until your arrows no longer have the coating you’ve applied.
6) Oxygen Meter. Something no game should be without when swimming’s involved. This is only used when swimming. It goes down over time, can be replenished when you get to the surface, a magical source of underwater bubbles, or use the applicable item. That’s pretty much it really.
Okay, next picture.
Now here’s a nice talking point for me. This here’s the one and only online gameplay screenshot we’ve got. We’ve got our four players grouped together to fight the world’s largest forehead. Well, first of all, some might notice the map. It’s the same as the above screenshot, which means we must be in the same area. So, we’re in the Sandy Plains (read: Desert) area of the game. There’s a fair few others, and we’ll see some later, but let’s move on to some other details here first.
Now, that big ol’ brute of a monster is the Barroth. Sound familiar? Well, it’s what was torn to pieces and stuck together for the weapons and armour in the first screenshot. It’s a Brute Wyvern-class monster and not one of the most fun to fight. It’s very mobile, fairly strong, and essentially the “wake up call” of the third generation games as it’s the first thing you’ll fight that will deflect anything that’s duller than Green sharpness. It covers itself in mud (the greyish blobs all over it) and it can shake clumps of it free which will envelope you if you’re hit by them. It’s also got a nastily fast charge attack which ends with a flick of it’s tail which will get the better of a lot of people. Honestly, the biggest problem you’ll have fighting this is adjusting to a more aggressive monster.
This being a multiplayer screenshot, there’re four entire players with different gear for me to point out. I’ll start with Player 1 first. Straight from the start I can say that they are humorously over-equipped for a Barroth. They’re wering Rathalos armour and using a Long Sword (note the Spirit Meter under the Stamina Bar) that is also made of Rathalos materials. A Rathalos is a much harder fight than a Barroth and a nasty Flying Wyvern-class monster that was the flagship monster of the first few games. Put simply, this is like bringing in a zweihander to make a sandwich, effective but unnecessary. The Long Sword does a bit of fire damage which is good for a Barroth, and the armour does at least give a good amount of defence, as well as a nice attack bonus. Player 1 gets a thumbs up for overpreparedness, which is never a bad thing in this game (unless you get cocky).
Player 2 has also decided to go in with matching-material weapon and armour, though this time they’re made of Qurupeco (a giant multicoloured chicken with flint on it’s wings and a penchant for mimicking other monsters). The armour is actually really good considering how early it becomes available. It increases the efficiency of healing item, increases the invincibility frames in a dodge, and gives a small defence boost. The bow though, I can’t recall very well. Why? Well, bows are only just returning to the game after being left out from Unite. In Japan they were brought back a game ago in Portable 3rd, which I owned. Unfortunately, I didn’t get much play time with it, ranged weapons have never been my forte, and I can’t recall Japanese effect text so well. All I can be certain of (I hope…) is that it does a bit of fire damage. Bows are funny weapons as well. They’re the ranged weapon that don’t run on ammo. Instead of running with bullets, you can charge your shots to fire them differently (depending on the weapon) and you can also use coatings to imbue your shots with extra effects (e.g. Poison, paralysis, extra damage, etc.). Player 2 gets a thumbs up for rocking a good set of armour for most occasions.
Player 3 is something of a mystery to me. I can tell you that they are wearing Jaggi (essentially a raptor) Armour, something that is usually the first set of armour anyone will make, and that it gives a tidbit of an attack boost, decreases the chance of you getting stunned (a nice bonus for the first time against a Barroth), and that eating becomes more effetive. What I can’t tell you is what weapons he is using. I can tell you that he is using Dual Swords. The problem gets to the bit where I tell you what they’re made from. Again, like Bows, Dual Swords are only just being brought back and I am not much of a Dual Sword player, so this is like me trying to identify a specific species of millipede. Presumably, it’s a matching weapon made of Jaggi materials so it’s probably got no bonuses to it. Anyway, something I know about Player 3′s weapons is the reason for the red glow to them. That there is what we call Demonising. This is the Dual Swords’ unique ability and, when activated, it makes your standard attacks change and provides you with a new combo. Generally, all of your hits are much faster and stronger. What you give up to do this is your stamina. Demonising puts a massive drain on your stamina, though there are items that can counteract this entirely and make Demonising throughout an entire quest completely possible. Overall, Player 3 gets a thumbs up, though I would recommend a different weapon – Barroth’s legs aren’t exactly it’s weak point.
Player 4 is made of sponge. Seriously, that weapon and armour are made out of Ludroth (a sort-of amphibious lion, with the dominant males having a large “mane” of sponge). I can’t fault the choice in armour; if this was played from the beginning, Ludroth armour is literally the best to be made at that point. It also randomly reduces damage to a nearly insignificant amount, as well as making dodging easier on your stamina bar. The hammer is also a good choice. It inflicts extra water damage, which is another of a Barroth’s weaknesses. Hammers are also the only thing that can hit a Barroth’s head without being deflected – presumably, Hunting Horns won’t be deflected either, but, again, it’s been a while and Hunting Horns were never my thing. Hammers get a nice charge-up attack that can deal a massive amount of damage if it’s released at the right time. They also give chances to stun when you hit a monsters head. Player 4, like the others, gets a thumbs up.
All that’s left here is the chat window. Firstly, HAH! Rathalos guy needs help! Secondly, it’s your standard chat window. The words seem to take up a bit more space than they did in Tri, but that’s probably because this is a port of a 3DS game. That’s something I never got though. Why would there be a chat window for a portable game? Hopefully the chat window will be redundant for the Wii U version and voice chat will be available like it was in Tri. Then again, 3DS port… Well let’s just hope that a keyboard can still be plugged in.
ROLL ON THE NEXT PICCY!
This here is a lovely picture for me. First I’ll just get the Barroth thing out of the way. So, he’s just finishing up his charging attack. Once his feet get a bit more of a firm hold in the ground, his tail will flick to the right. Also, all that dust is probably from a destroyed mound of rocks. Because Barroths do that. They destroy mounds of rocks. And anthills, which seems kind of petty.
Now, our player here is not petty at all. He is wearing one of my favourite armour sets in the game. He is using one of my favourite weapons in the game. Both of them are made of the Rangurotora (name subject to change), one of three bear-shaped monsters that made it into the series in Portable 3rd and decided to stick around for this game as well. Coincidentally, the three bear-shape monsters are some of my favourite things to fight. Now, despite my love of the monster and the armour and weapon, I can’t quite recall the effects very well. I think the armour gives some level of protection against paralysis and that the weapon can inflict paralysis, but I’m not entirely sure. Now, what the weapon is and does, I’m entirely sure of. That marvellously crafter weapon is the mighty Gunlance. A beautiful marriage of weapons that proves that Squall and Lightning picked the wrong weapons. It functions basically the same as a Lance, what with it being a lot of stabby stabby guardy guardy fighting, but differs in that they have a trigger. You see, Gunlances have guns in them. Now, they’re not quite proper guns.; they don’t actually fire bullets, or any projectile really. Every now and then, whenever you feel like it, you can pull the trigger of your Gunlance and experience an explosion at the end of it. Being an explosion, it has the benefit of never being deflected by a monster’s armour. Unfortunately, firing an explosive out of a weapon does bad things for that weapon’s sharpness. Now, there’s one other bonus besides the standard explosion. Wyvernfire. This insanely awesome sounding hing is the Gunlance’s secret weapon. Where normal “shots” can be chained into any normal combo, Wyvernfire requires your feet to be firmly planted on the ground. To do this, you neeto start blocking. Afterwards, you use those magic buttons and feel the brilliant hum of the Gunlance. After a second of charging, an extreme explosion is released from the Gunlance, dwarfing you, and dealing a large amount of damage to anything stupid enough to wonder near a burning stick. This, like a standard “shot” doesn’t do any good for your weapon’s sharpness, but it does essentially always cause a monster to flinch. This Player 1 gets a hug, twelve thumbs up, and a personal Mariachi band to sing songs of their greatness. Not for any technical reason, but for being so damn awesome for me.
Now to leave the Desert, and head to the Forest!
Now here we are at the Flooded Forest. Why is it flooded? Because they needed to shoehorn in some more underwater sections. Overall, this is a horrible place. Some areas are kind of camera-blocking heavy, and the water is disgustingly murky outside of area 8 (see where it’s blue?). It’s also home to the Gobul, which is the Hapurobokka’s water-dwelling cousin, and it’s just as much of a pain to fight. Now, with my mystical Fable 3 collector’s edition flipping coin, I’ve decided that I’ll talk about the armour before I talk about the monsters.
Our lovely lady helper here has graciously modelled the Bnahabra (read: Evil Wasp, pronounce: ???) set of armour. This is a delightful piece that always takes the form of something that wouldn’t look out of place at a formal get-together. Women get a lovely dress where men get a rather dapper suit. One thing I should point out now is that Blademasters (Close Range Weapon Users) and Gunners (Long Range Weapon Users) require different sets of armour. Blademaster armour offers more physical defence and abilities useful for those kinds of weapons (such as things related to sharpness), while Gunner armour has higher elemental defence and abilities related for the shooting of things (such as increased shot damage). Honestly, I bring it up now less because of the fact that it’s part of the game, and more because of the fact that Male Gunner Bnahabra armour does not wear a jacket and misses out on some splendid coat tails. Anyway, our Bnahabra armour offers us an increase effect when it comes to things like poison weapons, allows us to reload faster, but also makes us take more damage from poisonings. Our weapon, presumably also made from Bnahabra, is a mystery to me, what with being a bow and everything. If I had to guess at it having an added ability, I’d guess paralysis. Bnahabra’s are capable of paralysing, so why not. Overall, Player 1 gets a thumbs down. Why? It should become apparent momentarily.
Out monsters for this pic are the Furoggi (likely to be localised to Froggi) family. The newly added third member to the third generations raptor-like family. Very rarely ever to be considered a threat, they can be easily ignored under most circumstances. Why most? Well, you see those sacs? They’re filled with poison. Froggis can spit poisonous gasses out. The big drooling one there can fire little globules of poison as well. This doesn’t bode well for anyone with a higher susceptibility to poison. However, they’re still not that troubling and a more of a stepping stone at the beginning of the game. Just to get you used to the idea of big ol’ “boss” monsters.
Remember when I said the water was murky?
Can you tell why I don’t like the Flooded Forest? Now, here’s something I don’t have much to say about. Our girl in the middle is wearing Gobul armour and has the accompanying Bowgun. I can’t tell you anything about the Bowgun as I’m not sure what ammo it uses due to Bowguns being changed about over the last few games and, again, they’ve never been a weapon type I was interested in. The armour is decent though. You can eat faster, you get some extra water defence, and you’re half as likely to get stunned. This player gets a thumbs up. There’s very little that hangs bout the forest that Gobul armour wouldn’t be good for.
Well that was a short paragraph. It’s almost as if I could have used it as a connective for another water based pic…
Well crap, another bow user. Well I’ll take a crack at it in a moment. First, explanation time! This here is the Deserted Island area, and the first place you’ll go to, besides Moga Village where the game starts. This is Area 10 and one of the two underwater sections of the area, making it perfect for the monster in the screenshot.
Above is the Plesioth, a Piscine Wyvern-class monster and the original underwater monster. Introduced all the way back in the first game, it was mysteriously taken out when Tri arrived. But now it is back! Underwater, as it should be! Now this thing, as I’m sure you may have noticed, can shoot lasers. Water lasers. Lasers of water. This creature, with it’s head like a shark, decided that it would like to fire lasers. I’m not going to argue. Because it is huge. It’s difficult to make out but, normally, you rarely reach a Plesioth’s knees when it’s on land. It’s deadly strong as well, sporting a weird chicken-like run, and a hip check that will send you flying. As things are, this is the fight I’m both looking forward to and dreading.
Now, as for our player here, we’ve got Ludroth again. I think, though I may be wrong, that it’s purple Ludroth this time, I know the bow definitely is. Now, sometimes you can come across a different version of a monster. A different colour. They usually act differently, and are occasionally found in different areas than their normal brethren. Ludroths can come in standard yellow or poisonous purple varieties. The purple ones have some kind of poisonous gland in their massive spongy mane that gives any of their water-based attacks poisonous properties. With these subspecies, you can make separate kinds of armour and weapons. Unfortunately, I’m not really remembering much stat-wise about the armour or the weapon, so I’m no use there. All I’d guess at is that the bow has natural poison properties, and the armour helps prevent poisonings.
There’s only one thing left. One screenshot. And it’s last because it’s more new than the others.
This is Tanjia Port (name subject to change) and it is the online hub area. This is where you meet up with friends and get drunk before you head out and fight a dragon. It’s quite pretty, really. Dunno what that tower in the background is though.
All that’s left here is to point out what the player is wearing. First of all, it’s Froggi armour. It’s also the Gunner version, and that seems to be the accompanying bowgun being carried around on our player’s back. It’s probably of about the same quality as Jaggi armour, and has some kind of poison ability going on. I’m not all that certain. There’s nothing else to say about that.
So yeah, that’s been a load of new Monster Hunter screenshots, drawn out and commented on. I hope you’ve learned a little. All that’s left is to say that Monster Hunter Ultimate is heading for Wii U and 3DS in March 2013. I’m grabbing both, and maybe I’ll see some of you on the Wii U version.
Images Sourced From: Official Nintendo Magazine UK
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