Once you feel like you've got a handle on your character and are well-stocked up, you really should try the co-op, because it's not only fantastic, I'd say it's the only true way to play a Monster Hunter game.
If you're ready to play with friends, head on over to Tanzia port (make sure to select the Multplayer version if you want to do local co-op or select Online to, well, play online), and prepare yourself for some fun. It's important to note that if you want to play local co-op, you can only play with friends using the 3DS version of the game. Bummer.
When playing online, you can create a room and select your hunting target/style, max player count, and whether to keep the game public or private. If you're feeling randy, you can just hop into a random room and hope for the best. Either way, up to four players can work together. Taking on quests from the Hunter's Guild in this area places them on a Quest Board in the area, allowing other players to grab the same one. Once everyone's ready to leave, you'll be transported to the proper zone and be ready for some jolly co-operation.
Almost all of the gripes I have about the combat and grind melt away when playing in co-op. Since monsters will shift focus to your teammates from time to time, you have larger windows to do things like chug a potion or use a whetstone to keep your weapon sharp, things that would be very dangerous to do mid-fight while playing solo. Quests scale up slightly in difficulty based on the number of players, and the thrill of taking down one of the badass monsters is just great.
You can use the WiiU GamePad to set beacons on the map, use text macros to communicate, type out messages using the touchscreen keyboard, or simply activate the microphone and voice chat to your heart's content. Most people I played with were content to use the chat macros, since they're easily accessible.
If you can get over the initial learning curve (or are a series veteran), Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate contains absolutely fantastic co-op. Playing the game solo is a bit of a chore, but if you're buying this sucker to play alone you're doing yourself a disservice. With the addition of online co-op, cross-platform play and the ability to copy your WiiU save to a 3DS to keep your hunts going on the go, this is a seriously compelling experience.
Differences in the 3DS Version
The 3DS version of MH3U is exactly the same as the WiiU version, content-wise. Even the DLC is cross-platform. However, there are a few notable differences that exist. First, online co-op is not available without the use of a separate helper application and a WiiU that is connected to the internet via a wired connection (which requires an adapter, sold separately).
Second, the readability of text on the 3DS is also problematic. Where on the WiiU it’s too small, here it’s blurry. If you don’t want to play the game in 3D, disabling it outright in the options will sharpen things up nicely. These things aside, if you’re a gamer on the go and you have friends with the 3DS version nearby you’ll be slaying monsters in no time.
Utilizing Cross-Platform Saves
One of the best features of the game is the ability to send your WiiU data to the 3DS and vice versa, allowing you to take your hunts along for your daily commute or flight to the latest and greatest PAX. To do this, you'll need several things:
- A 3DS with a copy of MH3U
- A WiiU with a copy of MH3U
- On the 3DS, the MH3U Data Transfer Program (available in the eShop)
It’s important to note that if you intend to transfer data, you can only keep one set of data and it must MATCH the characters on the receiving system. Since I had to test the cross-platform play as well, I ended up needing to delete one of my characters in order to test the transfer functionality. In any case, once you’ve got the Data Transfer Program running, simply turn the WiiU on and select “Data Transfer” from the main menu, then follow the prompts on your 3DS. The transfer is a one-way trip, so you will lose ALL of your save data on one system by transferring it to the other.
The Co-Op Experience: Wii U players will be able to enjoy the hunt with up to three other Nintendo 3DS players via a local wireless connection, or up to three other online Wii U players. The 3DS version supports four players via a local ad/hoc connection. Gamers that own both a Wii U and Nintendo 3DS can take advantage of the inter compatibility of save data between the two consoles, taking the hunt from the living room wherever they go.
Co-Optimus game reviews focus on the cooperative experience of a game, our final score graphic represents this experience along with an average score for the game overall. For an explanation of our scores please check our Review Score Explanation Guide.