(I searched for a pre-existing topic and didn't see one, but that doesn't mean there isn't one. If I missed it, feel free to link me to it and lock this one)
First of all, I just want everyone to know that I do enjoy this game very much. I went to the midnight release of the new system and MH4/MM3D, and I'm certainly glad I did. However, after sinking over 1000 hours into Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate, I've come to realize that there are things that were executed very poorly. Like I said, I love this game and I will probably put an equivalent amount of hours into MH4. It is because I love this game so much that I feel the need to critique it so harshly. I just don't want anyone to mistake my harsh review for hatred of the game. These are just things that should have never been an issue to begin with.
That being said, lets move on shall we. I'm going to try and organize this review by topic.
The first thing that immediately frustrated me about the release of MH4U was the fact that they weren't porting it to the WiiU. I understand that the Monster Hunter series was mostly portable back in the day, but that doesn't mean anything in the present. MHTri and MH3U were both stellar hits on the Wii and WiiU. In fact, on the Wii shop channel, MHTri was the only game to have a platinum rating for a long time. This is why I do not understand the need to keep the new one solely on the 3DS. It doesn't make sense. I was planning on buying the N3DS anyway, but that doesn't change the fact that Monster Hunter is far more enjoyable on a 60+ inch plasma television. In MH topics everywhere, threads were littered with comments bashing people for whining about it not coming to the WiiU. First of all, blasting people because they'd like to play MH on a bigger screen isn't very cool at all. Secondly, those people (myself included) had a right to feel the way they did. MHTri and MH3U were both console-television games. Couple that with the fact that the camera control is somewhat difficult (even with the new C-stick) in the middle of heated battles. I think Nintendo/Capcom made a huge mistake not porting this to the WiiU, and I certainly hope they see that before releasing MH5 (if they ever do).
Online Player Communications
This is perhaps my biggest gripe with this game so far. I apologize in advance if I get overly frustrated about this. It just makes absolutely no sense. In MH3U, one of the crowning achievements was text and voice chat while hunting. For those that have yet to play MH4U, I regret to inform you that all communications in-quest have been removed. Yes, ALL communications. This means you cannot voice chat or even access a simple on-screen keyboard to type messages. The only thing you can do is send pre-edited shoutouts. This is especially frustrating in MH4U because they added the new monster-mounting feature. Some advanced players still do not know that when a comrade has mounted a monster, hitting said monster will cause the mounter to be thrown off. Some sort of in-quest chat would be nice in this instance, since successfully mounting a monster can stagger it for quite some time. There are far more reasons than that for voice chat to be enabled, though. That was one of the best parts about MH3U. The ability to voice chat while questing made everything go so much smoother. The part that makes this so hard to swallow is the reason there is no voice chat. Nintendo/Capcom apparently got wind of the language that was being used in the online mode, so they canned it in MH4U. I'm sorry, but there is no damned reason they should be trying to control what people say online. I agree that there needs to be a manner of restraint when playing with certain people, but canning one of the most useful features in online multiplayer simply because you don't agree with the way people talk is nonsense. Those who have played MH3U and even 4U can fully relate to how useful voice chat was. Not having it in 4U cripples the online play quite a bit. I'll just go ahead and call it bullshit, because that's what it is.
Bottle-necked Lobby Searching
This is another downgrade from 3U that I just do not understand. At any given time in 3U, there were thousands of players online. You could post a room, ask for help, and ANYONE could join, regardless of hunter rank. This can still be done to a degree in 4U, but you are severely limited on what you can search when first starting out. You can only search for monsters that you have killed, in rooms that are only your current rank. Some people may be wondering why this is such a bad thing. Well, people who go from 3U to 4U will know exactly how much nonsense this is. One of my favorite parts about 3U was getting help from my brother when I first started. He was HR100 when I bought the game, and he helped me get my first set of high rank Azure Rathalos armor, which lasted me all the way until G-rank. In 4U, this is no longer possible, which makes the beginning low-rank quests very difficult. Starting brand new in any Monster Hunter game is always a challenge, but 4U is especially daunting because several things from 3U and Tri were very unnecessarily removed.
Urgent Quest Credit
This falls directly under the no voice chat bullcrap. In Tri and 3U, if more than one person in the lobby needed an urgent quest completed, anyone could post it and everyone that needed it would get credit for it and their hunter rank would increase. In 4U, they took a steaming dump all over this too. Now, only the person that posts the quest gets credit for it. How does this make any sense, and what the hell was the purpose behind implementing this crap? Sometimes you join rooms where people don't have that much time to play. Such is life. Because of that, it would be nice if everyone in the room would get credit for the urgent quest, regardless of who posts it. The other day when my brother and I were playing together, we were in a full room. All of us needed the HR4 urgent quest completed. On 3U, one of us could have posted it and all of us would rank-up to HR5 after it was completed. In 4U, we had to do the quest four separate times for everyone to get credit. I'm sorry, but there is absolutely no damned reason for that. Making the quest poster the only one who gets credit for an urgent is an unnecessary dick move that should've never been added.
As with most Monster Hunter games, when you eat a meal before a quest, it adds temporary skills and boosts to your hunter. You're not always guaranteed to get the skills that are listed though. In 4U, the percent-chance of getting those listed skills is GREATLY diminished. Because I just went into high rank, I eat a fish and a bread for a skill called Felyne Defender (hi). On 3U, you were pretty much guaranteed to get your skills at about an 80% rate or so. In 4U, its more like 20%. In the 20+ quests I did last night, I got the skills I ate for MAYBE three times, if that. Maybe its just because my food ingredients aren't leveled up all the way, but still. Starting from scratch in any Monster Hunter game is always daunting. We do not need the added stress of feeling like eating before each quest is pointless. Starting of in 4U, it pretty much is. You RARELY get the skills you eat for, which in turn makes the quests that much harder. Not getting the food skills in 3U was frustrating as hell, but in 4U its just bullshit galore. There's absolutely no need for it.
All of that being said, there are many positives about this game. For instance, they integrated an item set registration. It's basically the same thing as registering equipment sets. This is especially helpful when you're moving from hunting to gathering because it is helpful to have an empty pouch when you're going on mining, gathering, or fishing runs. You can basically register an mostly empty pouch with just pickaxes, bug nets, fishing baits, and a farcaster and just select that item set rather than having to completely empty your pouch manually and fill it back up when you're ready to hunt a monster. They also expanded on the number of equipment sets you can register, which is a HUGE plus. Back in 3U, I literally had a gunner and blademaster set for every element. Problem was, there wasn't enough slots to register them all. Now there is. Additionally, the gameplay is just as amazing as it ever was. The addition of the charge axe and insect glaive was about the most amazing thing I've seen in the series so far. They also added a monster-mounting feature which allows players to jump onto a monster's back and deal copious amounts of damage while staggering the monster at the same time. When you're not using the insect glaive, you have to actually find a ledge to jump off of. With the glaive, you can literally pole vault yourself onto a monster's back without having to jump from a higher ledge.
As I said earlier, I love this game very much despite its inherent flaws. The flaws are just very large and hard to overlook, especially from the point of view of a die-hard Monster Hunter fan. Lets see if we can keep this thread going. You can also post your friend codes here as well. I'd love to hunt with you guys. I'll post my friend code whenever I have access to my 3DS.