Hands-On Preview: Monster Hunter Generations Ultimate (Switch)

It’s a win some, lose some situation…

By Robert Marrujo. Posted 08/27/2018 13:00 Comment on this     ShareThis

Before anyone gets too outraged, let me just say that I love Monster Hunter. As a series, it’s one of the most dependable, solid experiences a gamer could ever hope for. Previous entries have been confined to 3DS in recent years, so with the release of Monster Hunter Generations Ultimate, fans can look forward to the first home console entry on a Nintendo platform in quite a few years. This is a good thing… for the most part.

Generations Ultimate is an amped up version of Monster Hunter Generations. Yes, Generations, the 3DS game, meaning that Generations Ultimate is simply that title with some bells and whistles added on. The primary bells being the shimmery glean of HD visuals that Generations Ultimate boasts over its predecessor. Insofar as Switch graphics go, however, this is not a title pushing the system. Rather than build this game from the ground up for Nintendo’s hybrid console, Capcom instead has chosen to polish assets and incorporate new ones into the already existing framework of Generations.

This isn’t a terrible thing by any means. During my play session I felt that the characters and monsters all looked better than ever compared to the 3DS installments of Monster Hunter. Animations are smoother, the resolution is higher, and overall it did feel like the “ultimate” version of Generations. Still, Switch is a much more powerful piece of hardware than even a New 3DS, so to see Capcom not create an entirely new game for the platform is disappointing. For what it is, however, it looks good and performs well.

In terms of gameplay, this is the same Monster Hunter under the hood, as well. The control scheme will be very familiar to veteran players, and Capcom is doing everything it can to make Generations Ultimate as accessible as ever. For fans who have played this series as far back as PlayStation Portable or even Wii, these later Monster Hunter installments are very player-friendly. Anyone who might be playing Monster Hunter for the first time shouldn’t have any issues learning the ropes when they boot up Generations Ultimate.

The elephant in the room here is, of course, Monster Hunter: World on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. Not only is it odd seeing a 3DS game making the move to Switch, it also rankles a bit knowing that the distinguished competition has as ambitious and visually spectacular an installment as they do. Some might be quick to argue that World is a superior offering to anything Generations Ultimate might have up its sleeve, but to them I would say not quite. If you find yourself in the camp that’s hesitant about Generations Ultimate purely because of World, let me ease some of your trepidations.

For starters, Hunting Styles are back in Generations Ultimate, along with two new ones to play around with. Those styles are Brave and Alchemy, which offer the ability to execute consecutive blows and unlock new attacks, and support allies with new items, respectively. Anyone who’s played World knows that for all the fun that game is, in some ways it’s not quite on par with the quality of life improvements and mechanical editions that the series has experienced for years now.

Along with Hunting Styles there are also Hunter Arts, which grant some truly exciting moves to utilize when out slaying beasts. These two elements of the game really allow players to personalize their hunters to suit their own particular preferences, something that has always made Monster Hunter an enjoyable time. Another boon that Generations Ultimate has is the opportunity to reach G rank, something not yet available in World. There are also deviant species to see here that aren’t anywhere else; indeed, Capcom states that Generations Ultimate has more monsters to hunt than any other game in the series.

So what does this all mean? Is Generations Ultimate a game worthy of the average Switch owner’s time? Well, despite the fact that I’m irked that Capcom didn’t bring us a Monster Hunter title made specifically for the console, the improvements here over anything 3DS has to offer can’t be ignored. The plethora of monsters is uncanny, the new Hunting Styles add yet more variety, and the ability to reach G rank remains as thrilling as ever. If there’s any other advantage to be had playing on Generations Ultimate on Switch, it’s that at its core, this is a truly portable title. For players looking to get in some monster hunting on a bus ride or during a lunch break, Generations Ultimate is designed with burst play sessions in mind, meaning Switch’s dual nature is perfectly suited for this.

I can’t say that Generations Ultimate blew my mind in the way that some past Monster Hunter games have, but it’s definitely shaping up to be a solid time for Switch owners. While the absence of World remains a bitter pill for Nintendo fans to swallow, Generations Ultimate is still in many ways able to stand head and shoulders with that title. There’s a lot to do and see, especially for those with save files from Generations, which can be transferred over to Generations Ultimate. In the end, there are more reasons to be excited for this game than not, so definitely give it some consideration when it releases this week!

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