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Monster Hunter 4 preview

Have lucky Japanese players got their hands on the best MonHan to date?

Japan and 3DS are gearing up for a monster couple of months. October sees the release of Pokémon X and Y, which are set to be the fastest-selling games of the year, but before that Capcom is hoping to break records of its own with the long-awaited Monster Hunter 4. It's an ambitious plan, but even if it doesn't topple the PSP's portable third edition as the series' biggest hit, it has a fair shot at being the best.

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Anticipation's been simmering nicely for a fair old while: September's launch is half a year after its planned debut, with Capcom spending those six months attempting to "quality-up" the game, according to an official statement.

Then again, it was already looking incredible. Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate pushed the 3DS hard, yet somehow Capcom has wrung even more juice from those processors. It's as polished and lively as Ultimate, but the colours are even more vivid, while those brilliantly animated monsters are more imposing and detailed than ever.

No new Monster Hunter would be complete without a few new beasts to tackle. Alongside your usual suspects - Jaggi, Rathian, Kirin, Zinogres - you've got insectoid beasts, fanged lemurs, frogs with tusks and web-slinging nasties that can bind players in a sticky cocoon. Not to mention a jet-black wyvern that can infect its prey with a virus that sends rival creatures into a raging frenzy and reduces a hunter's defences if allowed to incubate. Did we say it has no eyes and a cry like a chorus of human wails? Mummy!

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Sounds scary? Try the shark-dragon for size: this Great White with legs has a gaping maw that opens wide to chow down on hunters. Evidently it's evolved to walk on land because there's no more water - undersea scraps are out, which is a relief for those of us who struggled with the camera during Ultimate's aquatic encounters. A relief, until you bump into a walking shark.

Not only are monsters scarier, they're also smarter and more capable of utilising their surroundings in new and surprising ways. Luckily, so are you: you can climb up walls to avoid enemy attacks or get the drop on your slobbering foe, leap across pillars, or roll-dodge off ledges to perform powerful jump-attacks, swinging your weapon in mid-air as (gasp!) you land astride your target.

Yes, that's right, you can climb on monsters' backs and get your shank on. Attack them like this and they'll naturally start trying to shake you off, as you cling on for dear life by squeezing the right shoulder button. If you can ride out the bucking bronco, the monster will calm down, at which point you can start hacking away once more. Repeat the process until the ride-o-meter (our name, not Capcom's) fills up and you'll be thrown clear as the monster collapses, rolling onto its back and offering a brief window of opportunity to get in a few good hits for free.

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But what good is having new monsters to whack without new stuff to whack them with? Never fear: Capcom has you covered with two brand new weapon classes. The first is the tricksy Insect Staff, a double-ended weapon that handles a little like the Longsword (in other words, swift and slick) but with the ability to summon an oversized Neopteron to suck the life out of enemies and power you up in the process, boosting offensive or defensive stats, and even health and movement speed. You can also use it to grab some air, pulling off a kind of impromptu pole-vault to hop onto an enemy's back even if there are no ledges nearby to jump off.

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  1. Hero_Of_Moga Thursday 7th Nov 2013 at 14:21

    looks great can't wait to get it over here especially as I just finished MH3U last night. I really hope we get the master sword and hero's garb DLC.

  2. Komodo_Wolfgang Thursday 7th Nov 2013 at 15:25

    My 1st Monster Hunter game was the one Tri on the Wii and it was love at first play. Since then I hunted down a ps2 and a copy of the original and then I bought MHU for the 3DS on release (I also plan on getting it for the WiiU). This new one looks amazing and seems to offer a lot of new mechanics to the game.

    I however agree MH isnt welcoming to newcommers. The start is far too slow. I think it would be more interesting if they did it something like this;
    1st mission - defeat a small and of jaggi
    2nd mission - learn the importance of herbs, whetstones and meat by collecting them
    3rd mission - Hunt the Great Jaggi that has come back to avenge its young (but make it into a sort of repelling mission with the Jaggi being scared off by he roar of the title monster somewhere in the distance, pushing the story more.)
    4th mission - learn the importance of combining and cooking by cooking meat and making potions
    5th mission - The Great Jaggi is back and this time you can kill it.
    And then the real game begins, adding small 'tutorial esque' missions every so often.

    One thing about this article...

    Japan and 3DS are gearing up for a monster couple of months. October sees the release of Pokémon X and Y....

    that makes it sound like this is a reused article =S

  3. noobgamer9 Thursday 7th Nov 2013 at 16:05

    that makes it sound like this is a reused article =S


    It was in the magazine 2 issues ago. :?

  4. JoeONM Thursday 7th Nov 2013 at 16:08

    One thing about this article...

    Japan and 3DS are gearing up for a monster couple of months. October sees the release of Pokémon X and Y....

    that makes it sound like this is a reused article =S

    It is a reused article - once an issue is no longer available, we post up the previews and reviews we couldn't at the time. I'll add a clarification.

  5. EdDeRs1 Thursday 7th Nov 2013 at 19:25

    wait wait wait wait..... is that LINK!?!?!? and more importantly.... WHY IS HE IN DUPLICATE!?!?!

  6. Xenobladeperson Thursday 7th Nov 2013 at 20:42

    wait wait wait wait..... is that LINK!?!?!? and more importantly.... WHY IS HE IN DUPLICATE!?!?!

    master sword and hero's garb DLC.

  7. Abe hikura Sunday 10th Nov 2013 at 09:38

    I'm expecting this to do a pheonix wright, project x zone and be digital only.

    MH has its fans in the west but they are spread across the lands. From a distribution stand point that is not good

  8. goldtanooki Sunday 10th Nov 2013 at 20:10

    I'm expecting this to do a pheonix wright, project x zone and be digital only.

    MH has its fans in the west but they are spread across the lands. From a distribution stand point that is not good


    You can get Project X Zone on a cartridge! I have one!

  9. James McNevin Friday 7th Feb 2014 at 21:03

    MH3U is probably one of the best multiplayer experiences that can be found on any console right now so it stands to reason that I'm uber excited for Monster Hunter 4. It is really tempting me to grab a Japanese 3DS and importing the game because a 2015 release date for the English version just seems too long. Not only that, and I'm sorry to alarm anybody who isn't in the know, but Capcom are nearly bankrupt right now. Hopefully we'll see MH4 before the ship sinks.

  10. dangoo87 Wednesday 26th Feb 2014 at 16:55

    so my first thought was, where is the wii u preview? is it even coming to it?

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