Monster Hunter Generations Ultimate Review
A worthy upgrade for veterans and a meaty introduction for newcomers.
There’s not much more we can say about Monster Hunter Generations that wasn’t said a couple of years ago when the game released on the Nintendo 3DS. Generations was, for better or worse, more of the type of Monster Hunter game that series veterans had come to love. It expanded on some of the core systems of the franchise with Hunter Styles and Arts, and it added a host of connectivity features. With the release of Monster Hunter Generations Ultimate, Capcom takes a similar approach to what they’ve done in the past with the series. They’ve layered even more gameplay features on the already robust systems of Generations, including new Hunter styles, a G-Rank mode, and a bunch of other stuff that will make Generations Ultimate feel fresh for those who’ve already sunk a ton of time into the 3DS version of the game.
Since that original release, Monster Hunter went mainstream with the early-2018 release of Monster Hunter World on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and more recently, PC. Generations Ultimate is not Monster Hunter World, and that’s important to know if you purchased a Switch and caught wind of the Monster Hunter hype earlier this year. Generations Ultimate is a much different game than that, the base of which was considered to be the pinnacle of the series prior to the release of World. But what does that mean exactly? Monster Hunter Generations Ultimate is a far more complex game that is seemingly designed exclusively for Generations veterans. It does not welcome newcomers with open arms, and I don’t think fans of this brand of Monster Hunter would want it any other way.
Since the game is only going to be available on the Nintendo Switch in North America, there are going to be some things to get used to here. There’s a refreshed control scheme given that you’re losing the second screen capability of the handheld. While Capcom carves out a decent control scheme for Generations Ultimate, you can definitely feel the 3DS influence all over the design of the game from the use of camera angles all the way down to the quality of visuals.
While Monster Hunter Generations may have been the pinnacle of the series in terms of gameplay, launching originally on the Nintendo 3DS did limit its graphical upside. The Nintendo Switch version of the game has seen a huge upgrade from the 3DS release, but it’s not even close to the visual fidelity found in Monster Hunter World. The most obvious improvements made to the game come in the form of completely overhauled textures and resolution for Generations Ultimate. The game looks incredibly sharp in both handheld and docked mode, with improvements to things like water and shadows. The extra horsepower definitely allows Generations Ultimate to pull off a more believable, lush world whether playing in docked or handheld mode. That’s really what we’re looking for here with this game. There was a good bit of work put in to making Generations Ultimate play the part of a game worthy of playing on your living room T.V. in full resolution.
For those that did put their time in on the 3DS version you can transfer your save data from that version to the new one, but there’s a ton of new stuff that’s been added to the game as well. Alongside the aforementioned visual overhaul, you’ll find that there are two new styles to master in Valor and Alchemy, all-new challenges with G-rank quests, a series high in total monsters to battle, as well as solo, online, and local co-op play. That is alongside the gameplay that hasn’t been changed much at all if just for the added styles. You kind of know what you’re getting into here if you played a bunch of Generations. Do you want more Generations, just a better looking version with the ability to play both on-the-go and in your living room? Well, this is it.
For newcomers, Monster Hunter Generations Ultimate isn’t quite as easy a sell. Unlike Monster Hunter World which streamlined the many complex systems of the Monster Hunter franchise, Generations is a more cryptic experience that will have you scratching your head trying to piece it all together, that’s even after you’ve sunken hours into the low-level tutorial missions of the game. The franchise is incredibly popular for a reason though. Once you get the basics down and start putting together the crafting, collecting, and hunting elements, Monster Hunter Generations Ultimate shows why it’s been such an incredibly popular franchise over the years. That said, if you catch the Monster Hunter bug and persevere through the learning curve, Generations Ultimate is a game that you can sink 100s of hours into.
If there’s one thing that’s bad about a game compelling you to spend that much time in it, it’s the fact that all this goodness was cramped into the tiny form factor of the 3DS. A lengthy play session in Generations could certainly lead to some serious hand cramping. Generations Ultimate feels absolutely great with the Switch’s multiple ways to play. The handheld mode is a serious improvement over the 3DS version, not only in the visuals but in the way that the game plays. Sure, there will be some new navigation elements to master and it doesn’t all translate perfectly, but on the whole it’s an improvement when you consider the trade-off. There are options though. Generations Ultimate is equally enjoyable to play from your couch in docked mode as well with the Joy-con or Pro Controller options.
Regardless of the power of the Nintendo Switch, which type of Monster Hunter experience you prefer (World vs. Pre-World), and the myriad of other hypothetical situations regarding the franchise that you can come up with, the reality is that Monter Hunter Generations Ultimate is the only way to play Monster Hunter on the Switch. The good news is that it’s a worthy upgrade for veterans to return to, and a meaty introduction for newcomers.
The Monster Hunter franchise debut on the Switch is nothing short of phenomenal. Significant visual upgrades made possible by the more powerful console accompanied by a slew of gameplay additions make this a must-own for Monster Hunter fans.
- Available On: Nintendo Switch
- Published By: Capcom
- Developed By: Capcom
- Genre: Action RPG
- US Release Date: August 28th, 2018
- Reviewed On: Nintendo Switch
- Quote: "The Monster Hunter franchise debut on the Switch is nothing short of phenomenal. Significant visual upgrades made possible by the more powerful console accompanied by a slew of gameplay additions make this a must-own for Monster Hunter fans. "