New Nintendo 3DS XL & Monster Hunter Ultimate 4

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New NIntendo 3DS XLI’m 1/10th the enthusiast that Graev is when it comes to handheld systems. We both got the 3DS when it very first launched and became ambassadors (received the spiffy badge and free games) for supporting their somewhat rocky launch.

When the 3DS took off and launched the ‘XL’ version, then several more versions of the XL, Graev would get them and pass down his systems to me and I would fiddle around in a Pokemon game every now and again. When the New Nintendo 3DS XL came out, boasting so many new features, I decided I wanted one.

My family got me the New Nintendo 3DS XL as a belated birthday present, and thanks to Graev tossed in Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate to go along with it. I’ll talk on MH4U but first let me talk up a few of the things I like about the new system.

Improved 3D Technology

New Nintendo 3DS Eye Tracking

If you’re like me and unable to hold still, you probably noticed that the 3D was finicky on the original 3DS. Moving your head to the side or not holding the 3DS at just the right angle made viewing the 3D effects difficult. The New 3DS includes a form of eye tracking that knows where your eyes are at and adapts to follow them when you move your face or the system around. I know it tracks my eyes because when I look a way then look back it wigs out for a second to find my eyes again. So as long as you don’t turn your head and look away completely, this thing keeps you engaged in the experience.

new-nintendo-3ds-c-stickThe C Stick

A couple of new controls were added like two new shoulder buttons, but the real star here is the C stick. The C stick is that little nubbin you see just above the X button. It barely moves but is made of a rubbery type feel that is sensitive to how your thumb pushes in directions. The only C stick implementation I’ve played with so far is in Monster Hunter, but that ability to control the camera alone has proven immensely useful for someone like me who has always struggled with handheld systems and the lack of ‘freedom’ of movement. Works great!

The New 3DS XL Overall

Overall the system is nice a big, feels good in my hands, and runs faster thanks to a better CPU. The browser on this thing feels better to me and navigates well. I think the camera was also improved to no longer be so dark and grainy. I haven’t played with the Amiibo support or anything but it has that. I plan to give the wireless file transfer stuff a try later to see how easy it is to take stuff from the micro sd card and transfer it over the wifi network straight to my PC. OH! I should also mention that exclusive games are coming to the New 3DS XL that will take advantage of not only the controls but the new upgraded speeds, so they will look even better.

 Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate


I have never been a Monster Hunter fan. I was always intimidated by what felt like massive barriers to entry and learning curves. There is so much that goes into such a simple premise of hunting monsters. Choosing weapon and armor types, crafting, upgrading, massive amounts of collecting, tons of strategic positioning during fights… it’s intense.

Much of that has changed now that I’ve hunkered down and put about 8 hours into the game. I’m starting to realize MH isn’t as incomprehensible as I thought. Still massive and overwhelming? Yes. If I stop and think about how insignificant I am compared to other people like Graev who have put in 100 hours already and could play another 200 hours easily… yep I could give up now. But I don’t. I focus on me and I go kill monsters.

For those who are completely unaware, here’s the gist of the game. You’re a monster hunter (the story is pretty simple and forgettable). You have a basic city/hub where you get quests, craft, etc. When you’re ready to go out on a quest you depart from the hub and you’re transported to a ‘map’ of ‘screens’ or ‘sections’ containing monsters. You’ll have lots of ‘trash’ monsters to kill as you make your way to objectives. You can harvest monsters you kill, big and small, for their resources which is essentially the entire point of the game: Kill monsters, harvest resources, make better stuff. You can mine nodes too for metals and gems, harvest plants, bugs, fish, etc. When done, you’re teleported back to the hub.

I’m having fun. I’ve even played multiplayer co-op with Graev! From the break room at work on my lunch I log in and Graev and I can connect to each other and slay monsters together. That’s an AWESOME feature for handheld systems, and it supports like 4 or 5 people all playing together hunting big monsters — yep, that’s pretty sweet.

I’m still a newb. I’m actually still trying to figure out which weapon I want to use. I thought I decided on the Chargeblade, but something about it just doesn’t fit my play-style. I’ve slayed lots of monsters already, gone on plenty of quests, and I’m crafting armor sets. This game brings out the min-maxer in me already by making me want to go online and read message boards to find the best combination of armor sets for my weapon type. Kinda fun, but kinda stressful.

Maybe the biggest downside to Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate, and MH games in general, is the time investment. Don’t get me wrong, you can have tons of fun like I am from the start, but to really get far it’s going to take you easily 30+ hours. That’s realistically no bad, but for a handheld system it’ll be the most I’ve ever put into a game except for Pokemon.

Should you get Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate? Yes. Get it. It’s awesome. Just be ready for a learning curve and expect to invest some time. It’s a game that will last.

  • The time investment can be huge. To get to end game (140 Guild Quests in this, Late G in past games), usually takes around 100 hours of investment minimum, as you need really good armor and weapons to get there.

    I just got started in end-game and have around 140 hours into the game, and previously had about 500-600 into MH3U. Because even once you get to end game, you generally get there with only one good weapon and one good armor set, so you then are farming for the best weapons and armor, making sets for specific weapons or weapon types. Even among weapon types (depending on the type) there are sometimes better armor sets for specific weapons or situations. For example, I main switch axe, which it is generally recommended to get Evasion +2, Evade Dist, and like almost all weapons, Sharpness +1 at a minimum. However if I end up using certain weapons that get the best sharpness level naturally you can skip the sharpness +1, or of I use a blast weapon I would try and find a way to fit bomb boost on.

    It is just such a great game and despite literally just being a giant gear treadmill, it has quite a bit of re-playability as there are just so many weapons and armor to get, not even including charms, which are one of the major factors in what skills you can even get.

    Anyway, glad to see you got into the game, and hope you stick around, it is quite a bit of fun, and there is nothing wrong with it taking you 5-6 months to get the 100 hours some people already have.

  • Hello there Keen,
    I currently own a 3DS, but I’m considering about upgrading to a 3DS XL. My question to you is whether or not you think dropping the extra $180 on a new console is worth it. The main reason I want to get one is because of both the exclusive games that come with and the inclusion of the C-stick. As a semi-casual Super Smash Bros. 4 player, and a lover of Melee, the C-stick will probably up my effectiveness against my friends. While I have somewhat mastered the timing for doing normal smash attacks, C-sticking just makes it easier. If you have any experience with Melee, then you know what I’m talking about. Other than that, I am sure to pick up Monster Hunter 4 right after I get Pokemon Omega Ruby, it looks really fun.

    • Hey Benji,
      I definitely recommend the upgrade from a regular 3DS to a ‘New’ 3DS XL. The bigger screen alone is phenomenal over the regular 3ds, and having the enhanced hardware really improves load times. The exclusive titles and new controls are like icing on the cake. If you can afford it, and like your 3DS, then its worth it.

  • @Drathmar: I’m like 12 hours in and I’m not sure I love the charge blade. Really debating between it and the Longsword. Any weapon advice for a newcomer to the series?

  • @Keen: Charge blade is one of the more complicated weapons, especially since it only really shines once you learn how to use the guard points (there are certain points during certain attack, the best being the transform attacks, that have a certain amount of frames that will auto-guard and apply your phial bonus you have if they are loaded in your shield) and other things that are not really explained well in game.

    For a newcome, longsword is good because it flows well, and the most complicated part is just getting the spirit combo through to completion to boost your damage.

    If you like the idea of the charge blade but want something more similar, switch axe is really good. It is viable to use in axe mode without ever switching to sword, or mainly in sword only using axe when running out of sword phial or both.

    Sword and shield is also good as it has nothing complicated as it’s special ability is being able to use items without sheathing the weapon, plus it can guard it.

    The other recommended weapon is probably the lance, because it also has nothing super complicated and can guard most attacks as well, and you take less damage compared to blocking with Sword and shield.

  • Isn’t the 3DS XL over a year old, or have the released a newer version and still calling it 3DS XL?

    If it isn’t really new, fully agree, the move to XL is huge and very worthwhile.

  • This one really is ‘new’. They’ve called it the ‘New’ 3DS XL. Came out a few weeks ago. Nintendo sucks at naming things.

  • Wow yea, that is confusing as hell, plus its not like 3DS XL is a name you have to keep or you lose massive value. Call it the 3DS Plus or something…