‘Monster Hunter Generations Ultimate’ Review: Return to the Brave Old World

Dom Peppiatt
Game Reviews Games
Game Reviews Games Nintendo
of 5
Review Essentials
  • Three times the content of Monster Hunter: World
  • Not friendly to newcomers to the series
  • Updated suite of set piece battles/single-player content
  • The most rewarding (and satisfying!) action gameplay on Switch
Reviewed on Switch

Monster Hunter Generations Ultimate is nothing like Monster Hunter World. That’s the most important thing you need to keep in mind if you want to get a handheld MonHun fix in 2018. This game, to some, might feel like a step back: maps split into zones, messier quality of life elements, lower-resolution graphics. But if you can get under the skin of the game, peel back a layer of regression, you’ll find a game that celebrates everything Monster Hunter is – and has way more content than what you ’d find in World.

Booting up Generations Ultimate will offer players that owned the title on 3DS the chance to import their save and unlock most of the game’s content right away (if they’ve made progress in the previous version, at least). Even for returning players, there’s a whole new suite of single player content in the form of Village G-Rank quests that adds new monsters, new flagship fights, and – of course – new gear.

Village People

This may be less ambitious than February's 'Monster Hunter World' but make no mistake, this is the best portable Monster Hunter to date.

The new difficulty rank in Village quests makes the story content in the game a little more robust. The point of Generations when it was first released on 3DS was to be a game that celebrated the history of Monster Hunter over its first four mainline releases, like a Greatest Hits album before it moved onto the next stage of its career in World.

The result is an absolutely packed quest list, over a variety of maps, that offers fights and hunts that frankly embarrasses World’s release build. From rock-jawed frogs to angry lizard chickens, Generations includes fights that are functional and fun, and because there are so many ‘key’ quests per level, your meandering tour of the in-game world gives you ample opportunity to sample the rich platter that Capcom has been cooking up in the series over the past 14 years.

New additions – landing in the form of stunning, ridiculous set piece missions against newly introduced Elder Dragons that would look more at home in a Yu-Gi-Oh! Card – are the carrot that keeps you playing through the punishing G-rank difficulty levels. Monster Hunter’s gameplay loop has always been ‘learn in Low Rank, refine in High Rank, survive in G Rank’ and Generations Ultimate basically gives veteran players the chance to test themselves even further if they completed Generations on 3DS.

So, for masochistic hunter maestros, Generations Ultimate is absolutely worth the price of entry – new fights, better multiplayer UI/connections and enhanced end-game content absolutely make the release a worthy investment.

State of the Arts

It may be a visual downgrade from 'World' but 'Ultimate' still looks wonderfully vibrant on the Switch's small screen.

But what about newer hunters, or those that fell in love with the series in World and are salivating at the prospect of a handheld version of the game that introduced ‘hitbox porn’ to a whole new audience? Well, Monster Hunter Generations Ultimate is a phenomenal game with a frankly ludicrous amount of content, but that comes with a few caveats.

Frame rate enthusiasts will be upset if they insist on comparing the game to World, for example. This is a 3DS game built three years ago, and it shows. But the vibrant artstyle, the readable silhouettes of the monsters and the diverse selection of hunts you get to experience more than makes up for the lower framerate.

The port is astonishing, though. The graphical difference is night and day: Monster Hunter Generations Ultimate makes the game look better and perform quicker than the 3DS version – and in a title all about making yourself look as badass as possible whilst skinning huge monsters to wear pieces of them on yourself, that’s a pretty big deal.

It also means you can read and respond to monster attacks and movesets better, making the whole gameplay loop that little bit more approachable and enjoyable, even to new players.

Hunting Styles and Hunting Arts were introduced in Generations Ultimate, another tool for newer players to take advantage of. These let you customise your playstyle to extract the most out of the game in terms of how you play: Aerial Style, for example, allows you to use mid-air attacks (a personal favourite, it lets you dodge or set up damaging air attacks on a whim). Getting to know this systems paints another layer onto a game already struggling to keep its massive content offering from bursting at the seams.

Brave Old World

Slaying some of the higher rank beasts is a serious challenge.

It’s worth noting that Generations Ultimate doesn’t let you access your Item Box mid-hunt – so you have to think ahead about what you’re taking with you. Also, when you chug a healing potion, you’ll stand still – and act like a big, vulnerable magnet for the quarry you’re hunting.

You’ll also have to paintball monsters to track them when they fly off to other zones, sharpen your weapons with consumable whetstones, and deal with poorly optimised control systems for ranged weapons and the insect glaive. Ranged and melee armour sets are separated in this game too, so you’ll have to think about that when setting up how you want to commit your super rare monster drops when establishing your builds.

Unfortunately, these are all hangovers of the 3DS era of MonHun games, and for players that cut their teeth on World, this will be really strange to go back – effectively putting another difficulty hike on an already challenging game.

But you shouldn’t be intimidated by it (too much). Monster Hunter Generations Ultimate might not hold your hand or lower the difficulty plateau for you in the way World does, but it’s still a solid game that is perfect for group players that like to get their teeth into dense content offerings on the go.

Talkin’ bout my Generations

Like with the rest of the series, taking down some of the game's more formidable foes will net you access to some awesome-looking armour.

Monster Hunter: Generations Ultimate is an absolutely massive game. Think of it this way: World currently has 30 monsters in it. Monster Hunter Generations Ultimate has three times as many, with the final monster count resting at 93. And though some of those may be ‘palette swaps’ in design, movesets, behaviour and AI are different for every monster, at every difficulty.

Stack that on top of a bare-bones-but-effective single-player offering and a mode that lets you play as your pet cat (or Palico), and you’ve got a game that offers something meaty, satisfying and seemingly endless.

Monster Hunter: Generations Ultimate has some of the best kineticism and game feel of any game you can play on handheld consoles right now. Its graduation from 3DS to Switch is nothing short of mind-blowing. Grated, World introduced many quality of life improvements to the series as a whole, but compared to  Generations Ultimate, it barely scratches the surface of what Monster Hunter has to offer.

Dom Peppiatt
After cutting his teeth on magazines at games™, Dom has written for everyone from Xbox Achievements to The Daily Star. Terrible puns. Obsessed with dogs. Somewhere between Squall and Ignis.