Monster Hunter Generations Ultimate Review: A lovable formula

The latest installment in Capcom's famed series makes its way to the Switch. Does this new title live up to its predecessors?

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When it comes to their famed Monster Hunter Franchise, Capcom is always looking at ways to build on top of their established titles. Because of this, we’ve gotten games like Monster Hunter Freedom Unite and Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate. This brings us to Monster Hunter Generations Ultimate, the upgraded version of Generations (Monster Hunter XX in Japan) on 3DS. What’s really notable about this newest game is that it’s the MH franchise's first appearance on the Nintendo Switch. To those that spent a considerable amount of time in Monster Hunter Generations on 3DS - fret not. All of your progress can be transferred to Monster Hunter Generations Ultimate via the transfer app.

Sticking to their roots

For better or worse, Monster Hunter Generations Ultimate doesn’t reinvent the wheel. It features the same addicting gameplay loop of hunting monsters, using their parts to craft better armor and weapons so that you can go out and hunt an even stronger monster that fans have become so familiar with. You create your hunter in the same fairly lackluster character creator, and then are introduced to your camp. The camp functions as your base of operations and safe haven from any danger. Here you can buy or sell items, craft materials, organize inventory, get food, and more.

On its surface, the game comes off as a generic JRPG, with all the characteristics you would expect from one, but the previously mentioned gameplay loop keeps thing interesting. Those that truly enjoy the thrill of a good monster hunt, coupled with epic battles against fierce behemoths, and the abundance of rewards they drop will find themselves sinking an ungodly amount of hours in Capcom's latest iteration of the famed franchise.

Speaking of epic battles, the best parts of Monster Hunter Generations Ultimate were the moments in which I came face to face with whatever beast I’d been working tirelessly to track down. The music, along with the impressive variety of environments, made each boss fight feel unique. When you add in that each monster has its own personality and behavior, the battles in Generations Ultimate almost always feel fresh. Every monster had a new trick under its sleeve, never allowing me to get too comfortable with one approach to battles.

A new frontier

The biggest benefits in Generations Ultimate are all of the perks that come with playing on the Nintendo Switch. Whether you’re playing in handheld or docked mode, gameplay is much more fluid and natural using the Switch’s control set over that of the Nintendo 3DS. Although the game was originally designed to run on the 3DS, it feels right at home when running on Nintendo’s latest console.These improvements are amplified if you choose to play with the pro controller. Obviously, the Switch has a much better screen than the 3DS family of systems, so Generations Ultimate is a step up visually from its predecessor, but the graphics are ultimately unimpressive, and at times looks like a DS game from 6 years ago.

Another way that Generations Ultimate ups the ante is by introducing the “G-Rank”. Once key and urgent quests are finished, this difficulty will push players to their absolute limit, testing everything you’ve learned. These missions are accessible in the Gathering Hall. This is what I really appreciate about the Monster Hunter franchise - the ceiling for progression is astronomically high. The hardecore players will still find challenging quests with new levels to be reached, even after hundreds of hours into this layered JRPG.

Revitalizing the hunt

This revamped version of Monster Hunter Generations hosts several minor yet notable changes. I found the sheer number of new monsters to discover very impressive. Generations Ultimate adds 20 major monsters to an already lengthy list of creatures. With 93 large monsters running around, with dozens of smaller ones sprinkled throughout the game, Generations Ultimate almost gives off a Pokemon vibe in that there are so many unique creatures to interact with, battle, and capture.

Another notable addition are two new hunter styles: Alchemy and Valor. This brings the total number of hunter styles to 6. While they aren’t the difference between a successful hunt and a failure, they represent additonal variety that gives the gameplay some much needed flavor.

A returning feature in this version of Monster Hunter XX is the way the map is broken up into different segments. Each of these segments are divided by brief loading screens. At first, I found it to be slightly irritating that my adventures were interrupted by pauses in the action so that I could load the next small fragment of the map. This was especially annoying coming off the vastly open and fluid areas featured in Monster Hunter World. However, I started to find tactical purpose in all of it. Being able to escape to another segment of the map during a heated battle gave me an opportunity to breathe, heal up, sharpen weapons, reassess the situation, and then jump back into the fight. It also helped me with maneuvering around the map.

Conclusion

All in all, Monster Hunter Generations Ultimate brings some neat new features and monsters to the table, but at the same time it doesn’t do anything to truly alter the way you experience the Monster Hunter Franchise. The game works very well as a love letter to all of the games that came before it. Because of this, fans of the franchise will eat up everything the game has to offer. When you add all of the sensibilities of the Nintendo Switch to the mix, you’ve got yourself a robust little JRPG to sink your teeth into.


This review is based on the Nintendo Switch release. The game key was provided by the publisher. Monster Hunter Generations Ultimate was made available for the Nintendo Switch on August 28, for $59.99.

Donovan is a young journalist from Maryland, who likes to game. His oldest gaming memory is playing Pajama Sam on his mom's desktop during weekends. Pokémon Emerald, Halo 2, and the original Star Wars Battlefront 2 were some of the most influential titles in awakening his love for video games. Donovan is currently studying broadcast journalism at Bowie State University with hopes to join the Shacknews team full time after graduation. He is a huge Star Wars nerd and film fanatic that will talk with you about movies and games all day. You can follow him on twitter @Donimals_

Pros
  • Epic battles
  • A surplus of content
  • Perks provided by Nintendo Switch
Cons
  • Dated graphics
  • UI clutter
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