Released on: August 28 2018
Available Platforms: Nintendo Switch
Price: $69.99 CDN ($49.99 US)
Those who read my review of Monster Hunter World I posted a little while ago will know that I love Monster Hunter. To the uninitiated, I got into the series since Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate. I put in at least eleven hundred hours into 4 Ultimate, and even Monster Hunter World has a few hundred as well. Back when I was well into Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate, I heard that they announced Monster Hunter X (released in the West as Monster Hunter Generations) in Japan, where they brought back all the famous monsters and added new ones, along with adding special abilities. When Generations was released, I thoroughly enjoyed it but felt like it was missing that little something that made 4 Ultimate special. The lack of a G-Rank (Monster Hunter’s extra hard mode) left me wanting more. Sadly, Monster Hunter World released worldwide before Monster Hunter Generations Ultimate released in the west, so I skipped it until I got it on sale. Is Monster Hunter Generations Ultimate a game worth playing even with its fully high-definition cousin Monster Hunter World out there killing it?
Monster Hunter Generations Ultimate does not place anywhere near as much influence on the story as World. In Generations Ultimate, the story is simple: there are monsters, they are causing trouble, deal with them. Some cutscenes introduce the monster when players haven’t fought it yet. The rest of the story plays out in text form. If the player is looking for a game with an engaging story, Monster Hunter Generations Ultimate is not that game.
The presentation of Monster Hunter Generations Ultimate is passable. If we compare Monster Hunter World’s graphics to Generations Ultimate’s, then World would win by a landslide. Generations Ultimate looks like an upscaled 3DS game because it technically is an upscaled 3DS game. Despite the graphical prowess being underwhelming compared to World, Generations Ultimate still gets the job done. Monsters are still big, bad, and scary, they have impressive, yet telegraphed attacks and armors still look spiky and impressive. If the reader doesn’t mind the graphical downgrade, Generations Ultimate gets the job done.
The gameplay is what set World and Generations Ultimate apart. In Generations Ultimate, the map splits into a dozen sections. These sections are more compact that World’s expansive terrain. Generations Ultimate also has Hunting Styles, which emphasizes gameplay styles. If the player has a counter mentality, they can use the Adept style. Is the player a fan of jumping on monsters? Then the Aerial style would be the perfect fit. Along with Hunting Styles, Generations Ultimate also added Hunting Arts. Hunting Arts are powerful special attacks that either boosts the hunter’s abilities or unleash a destructive strike. With how many weapons and styles Generations Ultimate has, it’s easy to choose a play style to optimize. Players can even play as a Palico (the hunter’s feline companion in the Monster Hunter series)! While Palicos play differently than the hunter, they have hidden potential that I feel people overlook too frequently. With how the sections divide, quests feel more compact and less drawn out than Monster Hunter World.
Multiplayer is much more streamlined in Generations Ultimate. The entire Gathering Hub fits everything the player will need before compactly starting their quest. While this Gathering Hub only holds four people, it still serves its purpose as a place to gather a team to take on ferocious monsters. Multiplayer is much more appealing in Generations Ultimate, as all Gathering Hub quests should be taken on by a group of four hunters. If the player takes these on solo, the difficulty won’t change, meaning all Gathering Hub quests are harder than the solo ones.
With every Monster Hunter game, I am always looking forward to G-rank, since that is where all the most powerful weapons and armor reside. Thankfully, Generations Ultimate reintroduces G-rank after being absent in Generations. The monsters hit hard, hit fast, and will destroy any hunter not ready for the onslaught. If the player has a copy of Generations on the 3DS, they can transfer their save data from Generations to Generations Ultimate. In my case, this is amazing, as I have a few hundred hours invested in Generations, so being able to continue my game in Generations Ultimate is immensely appreciated.
One minor compliment I must give to Monster Hunter Generations Ultimate is the fact that playing solo allows the player to pause the game. If the player has an emergency (like having to deal with a crying baby), they won’t be left vulnerable to monster attacks. Pausing might sound trivial, but in the age of games designed to be online, being able to pause is a godsend.
Another neat feature Monster Hunter Generations Ultimate has is its portability. Being on the Nintendo Switch, players can start a quest in docked mode, then keep it going when they are on the go.
Despite being a strong entry in the series, Monster Hunter Generations Ultimate does have its flaws.
As mentioned earlier, Generations Ultimate’s presentation pales in comparison to World’s. If the player is expecting an expansive map filled with endemic life, then Generations Ultimate will disappoint. The small size of the maps works for those who want to fight the monster exclusively. For the explorers, though, there isn’t that much to discover. The presentation is not bad, but nowhere near as detailed and gorgeous as World’s.
Before Monster Hunter World, Monster Hunter was a series that was difficult to get acclimated due to the slightly archaic controls and formidable monsters. While World did its best to improve its user experience, Generations Ultimate wears its classic challenge and odd item management with pride. Generations Ultimate is what people refer to as a “classic Monster Hunter,” meaning that it is missing the myriad of quality of life improvements introduced in World. For example, where World allows the player to use bug nets and pickaxes with impunity, in Generations Ultimate, they take up valuable inventory space and break all the time. World lets the player gather herbs and berries while moving. Generations Ultimate has the player stop at a gathering point to pick up as much material as possible until the spot runs dry. Finally, players can use most items while moving in World. Generations Ultimate, however, makes the player stand still to use items. Those who have played older Monster Hunter games will be familiar with Generations’ limitations. Players coming from Monster Hunter World might find themselves struggling with Generations Ultimate’s more classic approach.
While multiplayer is a more streamlined process and has much more precedence in Generations Ultimate, it does lack the drop-in option of World. Once the quest starts, hunters can no longer join that quest, meaning if one player disconnects, the other three are left to take down the monster with a disadvantage.
Monster Hunter Generations Ultimate is a fantastic title in the Monster Hunter series. It has loads of quests, engaging gameplay, cool monsters, and is a wonderful experience docked or portable. I would highly recommend Generations Ultimate for those who played Generations on the 3DS and for those who find it on sale (which happens quite frequently).