Game Title: Monster Hunter Generations Ultimate
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Availability: Retail | Digital
Battery Life: 3.5 – 5.5 hours
Download: 11.3 GB
Monster Hunter has been my gaming project, my hurdle, my task. 8 years ago, I bought Monster Hunter Freedom Unite because of how popular it was in the PSP community. I’d had a dip into hunters at that point, with Gods Eater Burst and Lord of Arcana, so I figured I’d try out the big dog of the pack.
Thus began a long cycle of me loving hunting games but just never really “getting” Monster Hunter. Every time I would try Freedom Unite, I’d play a quest or two, not be able to stand the gameplay and lack of a story, and I’d put it down. Couple years later, I’d try it again, and it would repeat.
After not even playing a full tutorial mission of Monster Hunter World, I finally cracked down to learn the series and see if it truly is something that is just not for me, or I just needed to put forth the effort to giving the series a try and actually learning the basics of things.
And here we are. With possibly the largest and most content-rich hunting game ever made, this is my review of Monster Hunter Generations Ultimate for the Nintendo Switch!
Monster Hunter Generations Ultimate doesn’t have much of a story, but rather a setup. You play as a Hunter that travels to a Wycademy, a corporation that studies the monsters that exist in the world. As a liason between the academy and the Hunter’s Guild, you’re sent around the world to observe monsters, collect materials for village residents, and eliminate monsters that stand in the way of the academy’s research.
But, with Monster Hunter, story is pretty much non-existent. I’ve heard that World does have a good amount of story, but this game goes from having a decent amount of academy involvement between quests to an almost non-existent story as the game quickly turns from story-introducing-you-to-the-setting to just doing quest after quest after quest.
If you’re looking for a Hunter with a story, you’d be better off heading over to the PlayStation world for games like Freedom Wars and God Eater. Monster Hunter is focused much more heavily on gameplay and content.
Like pretty much the entire genre, MHGU is a third-person Hunting RPG or Hunting Action Game. Across the entirety of the game, you’ll be going on quests, harvesting materials, and fighting giant monsters with rightfully-giant weapons. It’s the same song and dance as any other hunting game, but with a large number of its own quirks.
First off, this is an expanded release of Monster Hunter Generations from the Nintendo 3DS. Being an expanded release, it has the same base content as Generations, but with a lot more added to its campaign and post-game, from G-Rank to new bosses to fight.
Monster Hunter is a hunter, so progression is pretty simple. You have a Network of Hub Villages brought in from various games of the franchise with unique requests along with shops, where you can buy items and use materials to synthesize new weapons and armor. And you’ve got Quests, where you go out into the world and hunt yourself some monsters.
And with quests, you’ve got a set amount to do during each chapter of the campaign with the goal of preparing you for a boss to clear and unlock the next chapter. And there’s a lot of emphasis on the preparation part. You start with Training Missions to teach you the ways of the game, slowly work your way towards the bigger and more difficult hunts. They handle this in a smart way in that the campaign will teach newcomers the basics and work them up while also offering the multiplayer quests from the get-go for veteran players.
Now, let’s talk repetition. When I first got this game, I was expecting the entire game to be nothing but 20-40-minute hunting quests. Thankfully, I was wrong. I thoroughly enjoyed the first few chapters of single player, which had a mix of harvesting, slaying, and hunting/boss missions. I achieved things quickly while also having those longer missions for the end of each chapter.
However, the further I got, the less variety there was. By the time I got to Chapters 3 and 4, all the Key Quests geared towards unlocking the next chapter were nothing but Hunting/Boss missions. I went from spending short bursts to medium bursts to nothing but long bursts. And, when I was doing nothing but boss fights, things started to feel more and more repetitive, especially when the further I got, the longer the missions took.
Not because of the bosses, though. Unlike other hunters, you rarely ever repeat a single boss over the course of the campaign. MHGU has 93 monsters you fight, so every key mission was a new boss with a unique combat style to learn to fight. But, when you’re doing nothing but 20-30-minute bosses, my long sessions started turning into 1-quest sessions when it started feeling too repetitive. And that’s where the focus of Monster Hunter is. You gotta love combat because the biggest challenge and charm comes from those Boss missions.
Thankfully, combat is done very well. You move around a multi-area map like in Toukiden, wandering and gathering materials until you find your target. And that’s when you really see why Monster Hunter is the king of hunting games. It’s the only hunter I’ve played where I truly felt powerless against all of these giant monsters. They’re fast, somewhat unpredictable, and hit like a truck. Learn their patterns and how to fight them or you’ll be quickly sent back to the village in shame.
This is part of what I didn’t like about MHFU. The combat felt slow, clunky, and had a severe lack of variety. In MHGU, it’s a bit more fresh, with different combat styles for each weapon and charge-able super skills you can use to showcase flashy and very-powerful attacks to damage enemies and buff your party at the same time. To fans, it may feel a bit enhanced, but to me, it feels like a completely different game.
Now, let’s talk time. I’m used to every other hunter that has quests and a lot of story to take around 20 hours or so before post-game happens. Despite having a light story, Monster Hunter is big and involved, through and through. This game is packed with so much content, not even veterans will know what to do with it all. To put this into perspective with just how massive this game is compared to other games of the series:
Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate – 400+ Quests
Monster Hunter Generations – 600+ Quests
Monster Hunter World – 140+ Quests
Monster Hunter Generations Ultimate – 1,100+ Quests
So, if any of you were worried that a game ported up from the 3DS wouldn’t have enough content to justify the higher price, just think of it like this. It’s got almost twice as much content as the original Generations did. For time, you should gauge the campaign to be around 40-60 hours and doing everything there is to do at around 200 hours with minimal grinding for materials and repeating almost nothing.
Controlling the game isn’t too hard, though I will say that no matter what you do to the controls, there will be a little awkwardness involved. The hunter arts are always mapped in a way that is awkward, be it on the D-Pad to bring back a slight claw-hand configuration for using skills or the R trigger and multiple action buttons instead of just a single button press.
By default, you move with the Left Analog Stick and move the camera with the Right Analog Stick. The L and R triggers are used for lock-ons and various features of certain weapons, like aiming with the bow. ZL is also used in the lock-on system while ZR is used for one slot for the Hunter Arts.
The action buttons are used for a lot. X is used for melee attacks and pulling out your weapon. A is used for melee attacks with the bow, and special attacks with other weapons. B is used for dodging. Finally, Y is used for putting your weapon away when you need to evade an incoming attack or use items.
All in all, I won’t say it’s terrible. It plays much better than the PSP and 3DS games do, but the hunter arts configuration never seems quite right.
Graphically, the game looks good, but it’s clear that this started as a 3DS game. A lot of the textures don’t have much detail to them, even down to some characters’ hair being flat colors instead of being textured. Granted, all of the renders look very polished and smooth. It looks great in handheld mode, but in Docked/TV Mode, it’s pretty clear that these are upscaled 3DS assets.
Performance I can’t complain about. The game has a locked 30 frames per second, which never dropped for me and continues to be flawless. I haven’t had any errors or crashes, either, so the optimization was done quite well. It even allows for downloading in the background, which I expected it to not allow, like other 3D games don’t.
With these being upgraded 3DS assets, I expected pretty good Battery Life. Here are my times, from 100% to 0%
Max Brightness + Wi-Fi – 3 hours, 36 minutes
Max Brightness + No Wi-Fi – 3 hours, 52 minutes
Low Brightness + Wi-Fi – 4 hours, 46 minutes
Low Brightness + No Wi-Fi – 5 hours, 20 minutes
That’s quite the range. The game may be using upscaled 3DS assets, but the Battery Life definitely benefits from it.
In conclusion, Monster Hunter hits the Switch with an absurd amount of content to keep any hunter happy for hundreds of hours on end. Although the game is brought down by some control hiccups, if you can get into Monster Hunter’s combat, it’s 1,100+ quests are more than worth the selling price.
Final Score: 9.5/10