Here’s another article I’ve wanted to write for the longest time. My original idea for this one was to compare Monster Hunter World and Monster Hunter Generations Ultimate, but I didn’t feel like it would have been fair to do so without Monster Hunter World’s Iceborne DLC. I also wanted to review each game before comparing the two so that readers have a general idea of what I think of the games by themselves. Now that I reviewed those games, it ‘s time to pit them against each other. Which one will triumph, and claim their place as the better game: Monster Hunter World (with Iceborne) or Monster Hunter Generations Ultimate?
Point 1: Story
The story has never been Monster Hunter’s strong point. The typical story of Monster Hunter is: a monster is out there, kill it. Monster Hunter World opted to give the story a lot more attention, which is why it gets the point. I can recall critical characters and pivotal scenes in World/Iceborne. In Monster Hunter Generations Ultimate, however, I remember the monsters I needed to beat to move on to the next rank. While World/Iceborne’s story isn’t spectacular by any means, it at least tried. World/Iceborne gets the point.
Point 2: Visuals.
Another no brainer; Monster Hunter World’s visuals are breathtaking. The forests feel lush and alive. The textures are detailed and dynamic, allowing the player to see the footprints of monsters. The tundra of Iceborne has snow that appropriately interacts with the player. Monster Hunter Generations Ultimate looks like an up-scaled 3DS game… because it is an up-scaled 3DS game.
Point 3: Music
Both games have iconic soundtracks, but Monster Hunter World Iceborne does have the overall best music. At this very moment, I can recall two distinct tracks: the generic theme for fighting monsters, and Bezelgeuse’s theme. The song that plays while fighting Bezelgeuse is what I think grants World/Iceborne the point here. As for Monster Hunter Generations Ultimate, other than the monster specific tracks, which most of the songs are staples to the series, there isn’t a particular song I remember from that game. As such, the point goes to World/Iceborne.
Point 4: Gameplay
This is where we get to the nitty-gritty. Until now, it was easy giving out points. Where I start to question which is better, is with the gameplay. On the one hand, Monster Hunter World Iceborne introduced many quality-of-life improvements, is far more ambitious in scale and is much more forgiving to solo players and newcomers. On the other hand, Generations Ultimate has the style system which lets players capitalize on their hunting style. Is the hunter the aggressive type? Then the Striker style is where it’s at. Do they prefer dodging monsters then punishing them for missing their mark? The Adept style will have the player regret the monster’s impatience. Heck, there’s even a style that allows players to create items for their teammates. This might make some people angry, but I am going to give the point to Generations Ultimate. It is a close call, but I feel World/Iceborne’s fights are much slower than Generation Ultimate. I feel like World/Iceborne’s battles take longer, despite it not being the case. It is much easier to track the monster in World/Iceborne, but the map is so vast that it takes almost as long to find it as in Generations/Ultimate. Also, World/Iceborne likes introducing monsters with one-hit-kill moves, with one way of surviving it. I’m not too fond of this idea. It makes the battle feel like a gimmick rather than a real monster versus man battle. In Generations Ultimate, monsters are insanely powerful by themselves. If they one-hit kill me, it’s because I wasn’t sufficiently prepared to take it on, or I didn’t read the monster correctly. Generations Ultimate is better at making it feel like it’s my fault when I die than World/Iceborne. It was close, but the point goes to Generations Ultimate.
Point 5: World
I touched on this briefly in the gameplay section, but I do like the map design, and thus the world design, better in Generations Ultimate. To expand on this opinion: World/Iceborne looks much better and is much more convenient to explore, since the player doesn’t have to dedicate item slots to pickaxes and bug nets, but it is enormous. World/Iceborne has all of its areas combined into one big world. While it is true that it removes inter-zone loading screens, it makes the map massive, which, when it comes to battling monsters, makes it feel much slower and less intimate. Generations Ultimate’s smaller zones do make it feel more game-like, but that works in its favor. At no point in Generations Ultimate do I feel like the monster takes forever to die. Ninety percent of the time, I am fighting, dodging, strategically ducking out to heal/sharpen, and using tricks I learned in previous Monster Hunter games to help conquer the beast. While World/Iceborne has better-looking visuals and is better with engrossing the player into the idea of a more vibrant world, as a game, Generations Ultimate is more enjoyable to play, as the action is much closer and more in the player’s face than World/Iceborne. Generations Ultimate takes the point.
Point 6: Convenience
I did mention previously that World/Iceborne introduced a lot of quality of life improvements. While it does make in-game tasks more convenient, the fact of the matter remains, Monster Hunter World Iceborne is a console/PC game, meaning it has to be played on a TV/monitor, and the most portable way to play World/Iceborne, is with a beefy laptop. Generations Ultimate, on the other hand, is on the Switch. Sure, one can play it on TV, but they can also take the system itself and play it on the go. One other key feature that Generations Ultimate has over World/Iceborne, and the one that will award Generations Ultimate the point, is the ability to pause the game while playing offline. I have a baby to take care of; I have to drop my game at impromptu times to take care of him. World/Iceborne’s best solution for this is to use a Farcaster to return to camp. While it is a solution, it does take me out of the fight, meaning I have to find the monster after returning. What’s more, since World/Iceborne can’t pause, the time limit on the quest keeps ticking, making it more stressful to use this solution, as I now have significantly less time to defeat the monster. Generations Ultimate allows me to pause the game, tend to my child, then pick it up right where I left off, time and everything. Generations Ultimate’s pause feature (while offline) swipes the point from World/Iceborne.
Despite it only being our second Game Vs. Game, we already have a tie. I do feel like a tie is appropriate, though. Objectively, I think Monster Hunter World Iceborne is slightly better since it has better visuals, awesome music, and game-changing quality-of-life improvements. That said, the game I always find myself inclined to play more frequently, is Monster Hunter Generations Ultimate. The ability to pause while offline, the portability of the console it is on, and the fast-paced, style based gameplay make Monster Hunter Generations Ultimate stand out. As such, I love both games equally. I would recommend Monster Hunter World/Iceborne to people who are new to the series and have more time to dedicate to it. For a faster moment to moment gameplay on-the-go, and for people looking for a challenge with limited time on their hands, Monster Hunter Generations Ultimate is the way to go.