Monster Hunter Generations Ultimate was a game never intended to release in the West. This was all but confirmed by Capcom at E3 2017, where a company representative stated that there were no plans to bring the original Japanese-only port, Monster Hunter XX, to English audiences.
Following the global release of Monster Hunter World, which was designed to appeal to fans of classic RPG and adventure games, the popularity of the Monster Hunter franchise skyrocketed. This led to a reassessment of the franchise’s global presence and worldwide appeal. In short order, Monster Hunter Generations Ultimate was announced and released to fill the Switch-sized void in the Monster Hunter franchise.
Essentially, Monster Hunter Generations Ultimate is a remastered port of the 2015 3DS exclusive title, Monster Hunter Generations, with updated graphics, and downloadable content based on popular Nintendo games such as The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Ace Attorney and more.
Despite a clear graphical facelift, the game unfortunately still largely resembles its 3DS counterpart, and often features muddy textures, blurred faces and extreme object clipping (I was able to walk through an entire dinosaur in one quest). While the world of the game is bright, beautiful, and well designed, graphical issues are a frequent distraction and make traversing worlds a somewhat frustrating experience.
An unfortunate layover from the 3DS title is the abysmal world map system, wherein every new area is hidden behind a loading screen. Generally, quests will take place within a particular biodome (Jurassic Frontier, Dunes, Deserted Island, Verdant Hills etc.) and each numbered area with a biodome represents a distinct location to travel within and discover.
These individual areas are usually quite small due to the 3DS’ lack of graphical capability. While loading times are quick and easy, traversing a long distance location across the map while hunting for unique goods can prove a test of patience rather quickly. Without a discovered map, it can also make travel extremely cumbersome and frustrating.
Generations Ultimate takes a minimalist approach to monster slaying, with a return to the classic Monster Hunter formula that World largely strayed from. With very little story or context to guide your customisable character, players are thrust directly into their first fetch quests with a handful of default weapons and very little guidance.
Starting level quests are relatively simple affairs that see players sent on journeys to discover a variety of ingredients including unique mushrooms, fossilized bones and dinosaur amber, while later quests require you to track down and murder a variety unique and beautiful creatures. The game is, after all, called Monster Hunter, and if you were expecting otherwise, I’d question your judgement.
As a game about hunting monsters, you’d expect Generations Ultimate to have a focus on sleek, skilful combat, but in my time with the game, I found the controls to be extremely rudimentary and difficult to control. Higher-powered attacks would often lock characters into a one-directional trajectory that monsters were able to easily avoid, and changing direction was difficult and tended to lag.
This meant my player character would often charge against a monster only to end up fighting air for several seconds before I was able to right them again. Annoyingly, the chained attacks were also punctuated by a high-pitched, repetitive ‘HYAH’ sound that meant I quickly learned to play with the sound off.
Alongside its minimalist story, Generations Ultimate also has very little in the way of level progression, meaning that completing quests rarely feels rewarding. While collected materials can be transformed into better armour sets and high impact weaponry, the designs are less inspiring than former Monster Hunter titles and represent very little change.
As we all should know, it’s dangerous to go alone, and for the optimal Monster Hunter experience, it’s always best to take a friend. Generations Ultimate offers an extensive range of multiplayer quests for budding hunters to pair up and take down more powerful monsters. Players are able to create their own session or join an existing one with the relatively easy to access main world hub, which provides a variety of options. This mode gives the game a depth and injection of fun that wouldn’t otherwise exist in solo mode.
Monster Hunter Generations Ultimate will hardly set the world on fire, particularly after the resounding global success of Monster Hunter World, and while gameplay is relatively fun, the flawed presentation and minimalist approach may not appeal to some players. Overall, it’s an enjoyable title, but one unfortunately limited by its nature as a remastered port and bogged down by reverence towards its classic Monster Hunter roots.
THREE STARS (OUT OF FIVE)
Highlights: Fun exploration; customisation options; range of biodomes
Lowlights: Weak combat; frustrating map system; lack of story
Release Date: Out Now
Platforms: Nintendo Switch
Review conducted on Nintendo Switch using a retail code provided by the publisher.