It isn’t often when you have two games from the same series playable at the same time. It can be a fun occurrence when it happens, but perhaps when it does, one game gets overlooked by the other. With Monster Hunter, this is a unique situation we find ourselves in. At the time when Monster Hunter Cross came out in Japan, the series itself was going through a Renaissance. Fans out of the west were showing their support for the series after Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate and after the game launched in Japan, Capcom announced that Generations would come to the west. It was an exciting time since not only did it show that Capcom recognized the west at long last, but Generations was as big as you can get with Monster Hunter.
So imagine that after the west got Monster Hunter Generations, that a short time later, Capcom said the expansion Monster Hunter Double Cross will hit Japan in 2017. The “G-Rank” (or a higher difficulty for those who don’t know) of the game that would introduce more hunting styles and even a jet-flying dragon. This was a crazy announcement as those in the west thought after Japan got it, we would be next! Then we found out before E3 2017 that there would be of the Nintendo Switch version of Double Cross! It would be the return of console Monster Hunter after five years! Then when we got to E3… we got nothing. Or at least we didn’t get what we thought as instead, the thunderous announcement of Monster Hunter World took its place at Sony’s E3 conference.
It is in this part of our story one can say the Monster Hunter community split into three groups. Those who had to get their hands on Monster Hunter World. Those upset that the West got snubbed out of Double Cross (going as far as making the joke that Capcom “Double Crossed,” the west). And those who didn’t care either way since Monster Hunter’s status in the world of gaming was rising to new heights. After the Switch version came out, fans threw up their arms in defeat; knowing the only way they could play Double Cross now was to either import a copy or get a Japanese Nintendo account to play it. It was a sad time for the west. Or at least it was until earlier this year when World came out and became the biggest game in Capcom’s history.
Monster Hunter World got universal acclaim from reviewers as the game not only kept the feel of the series but improved on just about everything and making the game feel new again. The game held its hands out to both veterans and newcomers and since that time, has seen close to 8 million sales. With ongoing events and more monsters on the way, nothing would throw off the momentum this game had built for itself. And then… Another unthinkable thing happened.
The West rejoiced. Capcom didn’t forget us! Many did think because of Monster Hunter World, the focus would be on that game alone and not trying to localize what we now will call Monster Hunter Generations Ultimate (or MHGU for short). That was no longer the case as MHGU will come on August 28 and will allow Hunters to carry over their progress from the 3DS over to the Switch. For as wonderful and fantastic as this was to hear, this news sparked a new problem: Why now?
Perhaps back at E3 2017, had Capcom announced both World and MHGU, one of those games would get overlooked (and you don’t have to guess which one that would have been). But to bring MHGU when World established itself almost as the definitive Monster Hunter experience, it would be almost daunting to have the other game make its way to the west. So much so we have to remember MHGU is still a part of the “older” group of games that didn’t have the quality of life changes we know in World.
However, some online didn’t waste time in stating how we were lied to about World. That the definitive Monster Hunter experience is the one that is jam-packed with content and not the one that is still seeing updates. For as crazy as it sounds, the debate of “World vs Generation” was a big talking point in the Monster Hunter community; now more than ever with Generation Ultimate‘s announced port to the west. Can it be the case that a game that began on the Nintendo 3DS is the better Monster Hunter game than the console version you can play on the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One? Or is this an issue of those who played on portables don’t want to move on towards a better experience of consoles?
For the sake of a debate, let’s look at these two games. If we think hard, you could come up with three fair reasons one game is better than the other. If you are a fan of the Monster Hunter series, chances are you already made your choice to get both if you already haven’t. For everyone else, it’s time we do a fun comparison between Monster Hunter Generation Ultimate and Monster Hunter World. If you had to pick just one game, what would it be?
When you look at Monster Hunter Generations, it is a giant celebration of all things Monster Hunter. Not only do you get to revisit some previous villages of older titles, but it had one of the biggest rosters of monsters ever. There are tons of returning monsters, and four original flagship monsters to represent each of the game’s four locations. It also brought us brand new “Deviant Monsters” remixed versions of original monsters which were even more dangerous than their original counterparts. With MHGU, the overall size of the roster grew further to give us a grand total of an astonishing 94 large monsters. Much more than World’s current roster that sits at about 30.
A fair counter-argument to this is just how many of the same kind appears on that list. For example, out of the 94, there are three separate Rathalos and Rathians each. Perhaps with Deviant Monsters, it was a quick way to make the roster size seem bigger rather than offering several unique hunts. That said, means those hunts mean nothing? Never. If you are a Monster Hunter Veteran, you know Deviant Monsters are the hardest monsters to put down. It is an even bigger challenge when they all possess extra abilities that make them a bigger nightmare to deal with than their regular counterparts. Whether if you stay with the main roster, or go deeper with the harder deviants, there’s no denying that the roster is worthwhile.
Monster Hunter World development saw a rather big overhaul in terms of its gameplay. While the feel of the game was still Monster Hunter, the changes made to improve the game caught many veteran hunter’s attention. These changes not only made the hunts feel more fluid but also to help welcome in newcomers so they weren’t scared off or annoyed. It would be mad to list all those changes in just a paragraph. If you played the other games before World, you can attest to this yourself. For now, we can cover a few of the more noteworthy examples.
For starters, there was no longer “Loading Areas” as you can go from one side of a map to the other without having to wait for the areas to load in-between. Alongside with that, item management is simpler with separate bags for gather and monster parts, pickaxes and bug nets not falling apart and resupplying items during the hunt. Even the act of gathering is quick and easy and not as tedious as in previous titles. Chances are that for those who may be interested in MHGU after they played World will be in for a rude awakening. It isn’t impossible, but you will see just how different the two games are (and how grateful fans were with everything they did).
Alongside with the massive monster roster, Generations brought new mechanics that changed the way we can hunt in games. Known as “Hunting Styles,” this would change the way your hunter played in-game. If you wanted to keep it the same as before, then you could do the regular Guild Style. Want to jump high in the air and do powerful hits? Go with Aerial Style. Do you want to have access to powerful abilities more often? Use Striker Style. Want to capitalize on monster attacks through dodges counter attacks? Take Adapt Style. If you want to experience Monster Hunter in a way never seen before, you can switch to Prowler mode and take control of your Palico. With their own set of moves and abilities you can customize, you can tear monsters apart while meowing the entire time.
With the expansion, we also got two more hunting styles to further expand what your hunter can do. One gives your hunter a “Mystery Alchemic Barrel” that help provide support to your team. With Alchemy style, you can help boost your team’s art gauges, add or remove statuses, and even attack the monster. Then we have Valor Style that would allow you use special dodge to avoid monster attacks. When your meter masses out, you gain access to a significant better move set to take the fight to the monster. Regardless of Hunting Style you use, you have a wide selection of ways to hunt to go with your weapons.
While World introduced no new weapons to the series, the roster of 14 weapon classes saw a variety of changes to enhance each of them. Depending on which weapon you look at, this may continue the Quality of Life changes. For most weapons though, they gained new attacks or abilities to further enhance the damage they can dish out. These ranged from enhanced guards and counters for Lance, an extra powerful attack for Great Sword and several new Long Sword options to name a few.
If any weapons got a massive boost in these reworks, it would have to be the Gunner-Class weapons. Besides being able to use any armor with any weapon rather than two separate classes, the ranged weapons got the one ability that so many had wanted for a long time: Strafing. In older games, you couldn’t move and shoot at the same time. In World, you can aim and fire while moving around so you’re not stuck in one spot until having to evade an attack. This also allowed weapons to have evasion attacks too. With these new abilities at our disposal, there’s no denying that the hunting got (and felt) better than ever.
When you play Monster Hunter games, there are two difficulties in-game called Low-Rank and High-Rank. Once you complete High Rank, that would be it for the game. Or at least it would be unless if you’re playing the expanded version that brings in a third difficulty called “G-Rank,” which makes hunts even more intense. With some hunts, these fights can bring a whole new set of challenges as some monsters have different and faster attack patterns from before. For those who want a true challenge in hunts, G-Rank is where it’s at.
A new difficulty also means even more customization options. The weapons and armors you can craft out of G-Rank monsters surpass what you can have in High Rank and allow for even more skill customization options. It is an endgame that keeps on giving and is worth exploring to see how you stack up with the best the game has to throw against you and other hunters. While Monster Hunter World doesn’t have a G-Rank of its own at the time of this editorial, there’s a great chance it will get it, eventually. The question that fans ask will be if this too will be a free update, or if it will come with a cost. Until we know for sure, G is for Generations Ultimate.
When Capcom called the next Monster Hunter game “World” instead of “5,” they did it for more than just a fancy sounding title. When you visit each of the five locations, you can feel the difference between each of them and how wildlife conduct themselves. Capcom went all out to have the locations in the game stand out. No longer are they placeholders for you to bash over the head with your oversized weapons, but actual living beings. Monsters in the world go among their business doing whatever they want while also fighting among themselves should they come across each other.
To go with the brand new world you find yourself in, there is one last significant change to mention of World: The story itself. If you are a veteran of the series, chances are you know the story isn’t much to write home about. You can say the same thing about Monster Hunter World too. The difference though is that it feels like there was a much bigger effort put into the story this time around compared to previous titles. The characters in the game can now talk (English or Japanese), and during story quests, cutscenes play out to tell the story of the giant mountain-size Elder Dragon you tracked to this new world. While there isn’t much else to say about the story, it is a nice touch they didn’t need to do, but a welcome inclusion to an already fantastic game.
While we can argue which of the two games can be better, there is one fact that most fans can agree on: Both games are amazing. Whether if World was your first taste of Monster Hunter or if got your hands on Generations and have your eyes on MHGU, we can agree that the series is getting the love and respect it rightfully deserves. For so long, the series was overlooked and underplayed for being a “Game with poor controls.”
While there is a learning curve, once you understand it, you can hunt for hours on end. For Monster Hunter to have a higher notice compared to other Capcom games, including Street Fighter, it shows that the long journey was worth it, and we haven’t even begun. World will only get bigger and with Generations Ultimate in at the end of August 2018 is the year of Monster Hunter.
Will you be checking out Monster Hunter Generations Ultimate when it comes out August? Were the changes in Monster Hunter World enough to keep you from going back? Or jump between two different Monster Hunter games to get the best of both games? Leave your thoughts down below and be sure to follow us here at Culture of Gaming for more editorials on Monster Hunter and other games.