Ten times. That's how many times I've bought and bought games in the Monster Hunter Generations series, including Japanese versions Monster Hunter X and XX.
It does not even include all times I've purchased multiple versions of other listings in the general series since Monster Hunter Freedom Unite. Heck, I remember arriving in Japan for vacation several years ago and asked my ex-girlfriend to take me to a video game store so I can buy the newly released Monster Hunter 4. Correction, buy two copies of MH4.
They say The definition of madness is to do the same again and again. If that's the case, I'm totally crazy about the Monster Hunter series. Unlike ordinary people who do the same thing over and over, I did not really get another result every time crazy people should do. No, I usually buy more copies of the game so I can spread the word and share the love by playing it with other people in my family. I mean that if they ever make an embassy to Monster Hunter, they can give me the name of their ambassador.
All that is said, Monster Hunter Generation Ultimate is a bit of a weird time. First I have played this game twice now – only when it came to Nintendo 3DS in Japan last March, and then once when it was released in Japan at the switch in August last year. Technically, you can even say I played it four times when you include my time with MHX and generations. In addition, Monster Hunter Generations Ultimate comes after I've plunked for 600 hours on the newer Monster Hunter World, which I gave 10 out of 10 by the way (only the second time I've given a game so high score since I started make reviews). At that time, I called the world to be the best Monster Hunter game ever released, thanks to the improved presentation and visuals, finely tuned mechanics and many improvements in quality of life. Some may blasphemously call the world the best in the series, but that's something I'm going to stand by. Yes, there are not so many monsters, but neither Tri when it first came out and that game started pretty much the last generation before World. Basically, World Tri is the new Monster Hunter generation and serves as an excellent basis for future games in the series.
It is unnecessary to say that there are a number of factors that definitely affect how I see Generation Ultimate now. Let's just say that my review would probably be a bit different if I wrote it back in early 2017 when MHXX first came out. To be fair, I felt that MHXX began to feel a bit old at that time – and it was even before I knew the world existed. It's strange too, given that I've rated the Monster Hunter Generations a 9.5 out of 10. Even Monster Hunter fans may consider an overly generous score, as I understand. In my case I gave it as a score mainly because of a main reason: hunting styles. Hunting styles, along with the ability to play as Palico, is pretty much the biggest change in the basic mechanics of the series for a long time. Before that are the only major notable changes I remember at the core of Monster Hunter, Tri-Triathlon in Tri and MH4. Otherwise, Monster Hunter has not really had any groundbreaking changes in its base experience outside of the improved hit boxes that Tri has happily brought.
Monster Hunter Generations Ultimate is objectively a better version of generations. First, it has all content, hunting styles and hunting art from its predecessor and then some. It also brings in G-rank missions and the tougher monsters that come with them. Although it has more content, it does not feel as fresh as generations did when I first played it. It's because it's only based on its predecessor as opposed to drastic change of the formula that generations did. It's an interesting gathering point for a reviewer like myself trying to rate a wide range of factors and views in my reviews. This includes factoring in experience and expectations for players who never played generations, those who played it, but never played MHXX, and those who count Monster Hunter World as their first game in the franchise. A review, by definition, is subjective, but I still try to include as many objective items as possible while I anticipate the different views and needs of players who can read my articles. What can feel like an old hat to me can be completely healthy for others.
Given all that, I will try my best to factor in all the varied experiences I dissect MHGU for this review. Now I'm the first to admit that I've always scored Monster Hunter games higher than the norm. I remember giving MH3U a 90-point score back in the day when we still used our old website. It's eight points higher than its metacritic averages. Although several reviewers began to warm up to the series at the time, many still considered the mechanisms clumsy and unmanageable. In contrast, Monster Hunter veterans, like myself, saw a more conscious system that usually encouraged discipline and purpose as opposed to thoughtless hacking. I historically only enjoy this series more than the average person.
The good news is that despite playing Monster Hunter X, Generations and XX to Death – in addition to getting used to the mechanics introduced by the World Monster Hunter Generation Ultimate's weapon mechanics, they still feel good . In fact, I was surprised at how much I enjoyed playing it myself after getting used to the changes made by World. For example, the basic combat mechanics became spot-on, and I was able to adjust in a short time with the time and combinations of weapons, especially those I was most familiar with.
I started with the last weapon I had provided in my old generation file, sword and shield, which I have rarely used in 3U, 4, 4U and generations. See, I usually have Bowguns and Insect Glaive, but I did not have a good status-based Light or Heavy Bowgun to test with my Level 10 Dreadqueen Rathian Gunner or a good paralysis Glaive to use with my Level 10 Dreadqueen Rathian Blademaster set. So I decided to test the status-based armor with a Viper Bite 4 paralysis SnS instead. Despite the fact that it was now more used to the world and its more forgiving Spiral Slash mechanic for Sverd and Skjold, the SnS match with MHGU continued to feel good and I quickly found myself adapting to it soon. I especially loved the synergy of the weapon with Striker Style, which allows you to use three hunting art at the expense of losing your back, which is a smaller victim. I ended up having a blast using Chaos Oil to attack my attacks with exhaust, stun, affinity, party breaker and Mind's Eye to prevent weapons jumping, so weaving in Sword Dance in my attacks and finally to knock out monsters with Shoryugeki.
There are some shades with some weapons where I miss the changes that are caused by World. I now find Kinsect control and essence collection, for example, much easier in the world than MHGU. Marking a body part on a monster with Insect Glaive in World, for example, guarantees pretty much that your error will extract that part's color. This is not the case in MHGU, where your error can get the wrong color if the monster moves, which almost always does. I also find the aim and hit ideal spots with Light and Heavy Bowguns easier in the world thanks to the latter more intuitive controls and increased mobility. For Sverd and Skjold, I miss the world's spiral slash, which allowed you to adjust the direction of your attacks on the fly and made the SnS match feel much more fluid.
Such niggles should not be as big of a deal for veterans of classic Monster Hunter games, who have invested countless hours using the old mechanics and can restore them the same way you can always ride when he or She learns how, even after you have not used a bike for a long time. If Monster Hunter World was your first game, even small changes in combat mechanics can be annoying. This is especially true when you factor in older mechanics like bending your arms while rotten on the spot when you drink a potion or have to handle pickaxes that break when mining. If you are used to changes in quality of life from the world, the mechanics of MHGU can feel uneven and archaic, maybe even trollish. In fact, I can actually see some people quit because they find it too cumbersome.
Again, it would be a shame because players who decide not to stick to Generation Ultimate will miss the biggest benefit the game has over the world. Hunting Styles. I know I already mentioned them, but I can not tell you how much a game changer they are, especially given how the franchise has got stuck in the tried and true "Guild-style" mechanics pretty much throughout their lives. 19659003] As much as I love the finely tuned Heavy Bowgun mechanics used by World, it still has no compensation for airborne scattered shots in Aerial Style introduced in MHG, which can do short work with a Zinogre horn. It also has no alternative to replicating MHGU's new Valor Style capability to let you literally make a power source with your HBG pulled out, then push into a special Siege Mode that shoots balls on an ever-increasing fast clip. For people who liked the crazy dodge counters of Adept Style, the closest thing you'll find is that in the world you see the special dodging animation when using Temporal Mantle.
When you multiply the six hunting styles with the 14 weapons, there are many combinations to choose from. It is not even a factor in the so-called "15 weapon", Palicoes, which comes with different weapon subtleties by itself. You can hunt like a cat specializing in boomerang, bombs, healing or one that even becomes a Wolverine-style miniature. There is literally something I miss in the world, and wish will be added in the future, especially considering how nice cats look in the new game.
Another advantage of MHGU is its crazy monster counting, making the world's number of creatures piddly in comparison. Granted, that's not really a fair comparison, since MHGU is the culmination of a new generation that technically started in Tri, so it has the advantage of being able to build on assets that have been gathered for several years. However, sample counting is still a clear advantage for MHGU over World. Add the ability to play it on the go, and you have the true spiritual sequel to the portable Monster Hunter experience that thrives on PSP and 3DS.
After saying all this, MHGU shows its age for this Monster Hunter tab. While World enhances the benefits of Generation Ultimate, it also makes its warts more obvious. It's not even the graphics like MHGU, while it's not as visually impressive as World, looks surprisingly good at Switch for an older game. Instead, life quality changes make it possible to handle some of the game's older mechanics and limit a bit more difficult than before. It's almost ironic how a recent Monster Hunter game eventually ends up showing us what MHGU can do better. It's still a great game, and in my opinion it's cooler mascot (I think Nergigante looks cool, but Valstrax is a freaking jet-driven dragon). At the same time it also seems to be a suitable bookend to the end of an era, even for a fan who would like to see Capcom continue the old series, at least on portable systems.
Monster Hunter Generations Ultimate is like my old 300ZX from years earlier. It's not as comfortable or as fast as newer sports cars. But the boy was having fun running that thing. Let's just hope that Monster Hunter World or its successor incorporates the fun parts of MHGU, whether it's some of the fun aspects of hunting styles or being able to play as a cat. Like this flagship monster, if this is the last hurray for the previous monster hunter generation, it's sure to be a jet-driven stroke.
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