Monster Hunter Generations Ultimate was the black sheep of the series to me. Generations was a celebration of the Monster Hunter series up to the point before Monster Hunter World came along and made the whole experience better. From revisiting old locations, both village and hunting grounds, old monsters returning, and familiar faces interacting and giving you quests, this should have easily been one of the best Monster Hunter games to play. I tried. I really tried when it came out. I could not find any enjoyment out of the game. For some reason, it took six years (starting from Generations on the 3DS) for me to appreciate this game for what it is. I now hold this game in a positive light from the dark corner I once casted it into.
Let’s travel back to 2016. Young adult me has been enjoying Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate, when he hears that a new Monster Hunter is coming out that summer. Natural reaction, excited for it! I preorder not only the game, but the New 3DS model that was releasing along with it (I was in the market for a New 3DS anyway). July 15, 2016 comes around and the game…feels mediocre. Monster Hunter Generations starts off incredibly slow. There is a lot of information presented to you about the new mechanics of the game and how you can travel to different locations from previous games. The quests that you go on at the beginning all consist of gathering and slaying small groups of monsters. It isn’t until Village Quest Level 2 that you start to hunt the large monsters; which consist of the beginning large monsters like the Great Maccao, the Gendrome, and Cephadrome. These are good beginner monsters, but it slows the momentum of the game when you want to get to the good stuff. For a game that is a celebration of the Monster Hunter series up to that point, it felt more geared to players who were new to the series.
That was the point where I felt disconnected with the game. I had spent hours in 3U and 4U that being forced to start from square one again felt restrictive. I could have just ignored the village quests and head straight for the Hub quest, but I am the type of person who likes to do all of the quests if I can; and going back to the Village quest after doing the Hub would have been rough.* At that time of my life I was impatient. I knew what I wanted to do, but I couldn’t stand how slow the game felt. To damper my spirits even more, Monster Hunter Generations did not include G Rank in the game. Not only was the game moving slowly, but the challenge I was looking for at the end was not included in the game. This isn’t the first time a Monster Hunter game was designed like this, but after 3U and 4U were released to the West, we would get the definitive version of the game.
*In Monster Hunter, you have a set of quests that you work on solo (Village) or with others (Hub). Village quests are designed to let new players become familiar with locals and monsters that you hunt. Village quests start on low rank and end at high rank. Hub quests are similar to village quests, but have some differences. The most noticeable difference is that the stats of the monster will adjust for the number of participants for the hunt. There are also certain monsters that only appear in the Hub area. In earlier games, the Hub was the only way to access G Rank hunts. This was changed in Monster Hunter World and Rise where an expansion would grant access to Master Rank.
The definitive version of Generations did come out, but not here in the States. Monster Hunter XX (Double Cross) was released on March 18, 2017 in Japan only and would get a Nintendo Switch release later that year on August 28, 2017. With Capcom originally stating that Monster Hunter XX was not coming to the states, my enthusiasm to play Generations quickly faded. It didn’t help that on June 12, 2017, we learned that Monster Hunter World was in development and was releasing early 2018. You could take one look at World and then Generations and decide on which game you would want to spend time playing. For all intents and purposes, my interest in Generations should have died then and there, but it didn’t.
Out of nowhere, Capcom announced on May 10, 2018 (four months after World released) that Monster Hunter Generations Ultimate was coming worldwide on August 28, 2018. To legacy Monster Hunter players, this is what they were waiting for. For me, I was almost done with most things in World. I had no interest in returning to Generations in any shape or form, so I bought the game day one in order to give it another try. My interest in Monster Hunter was at an all time high after playing through World. Surely the momentum would help me see this game in a new light. Can you guess what happened next?
I still disliked the game. Playing World and then going back to the old school style of Monster Hunter did not help at all! I had gotten used to the bounty of quality of life changes in World that most things just irritated me. It also didn’t help Capcom didn’t bother doing anything with the visuals since it looks like a 3DS game with a sprinkle of improvement (3U on the Wii U looked better than this). I managed to get to High Rank in the Village quests, but I couldn’t find a playstyle that felt good to me. I hated the feeling of being slow and constantly forgetting items that I needed for hunts. There was nothing that I could do to make the game enjoyable for me, so I placed it on my shelf and left it as one of the many unfinished games on my backlog. There it sat for the next four years, waiting and binding its time for the right moment. Which brings us to a few weeks ago this year.
At an event where I was able to see some of my old college buddies, I was able to reconnect with my old hunting buddy (for the rest of the story I will call him Knivitor). Knivitor loves Monster Hunter as much as I do, but he is definitely more experienced than I am. His go to Monster Hunter game right now is Monster Hunter Generations Ultimate. To him, it is one of the best Monster Hunter games even though he really liked World and Rise. When I mentioned that we should hunt more often, he asked if I wanted to play Generations Ultimate. I agreed with the pretense that this is what I might have been missing this whole time. I warned him that I was at Hunter Rank 1 and that it would take some time before I reached his level. All he did was flex his Hunter Rank 163 badge at me and said “Don’t worry. We got this.”
In one week, I went from doing Low Hunter Rank 1 quest to G Rank level 2 quest. Was this from Knivitor carrying me all the way to this point? Most definitely. However, something along this journey awakened in me. All of my past experience with Monster Hunter came flowing back into me, and suddenly I was holding my own in most fights. While I switched around deciding on the Sword and Shield and the Switch Axe, I finally went back to my roots and picked up the Great Sword again. Once I did that, all the fun I had while playing Tri, 3U, and 4U all came back to me. I was trying so hard to adapt to the new, different ways to play the game that I never adapted back to playing the way I used to. Even though I was rocking the low rank Rathalos armor set during the final fights in High Rank, I was having fun using my skills and experience to become this glass cannon with a big sword. Even when we ended our group sessions for the night, I found myself wanting to play more of it and get some things done on my own just so we could press on through G Rank (he really wants me to fight the White Fatalis). The game has been on my mind constantly and most of my free time now is spent playing this and Rise (just started the Sunbreak expansion on Switch and blazing through the quests on PC).
So what happened? How did this game go from one of my least favorite games in the series to one of my all time highs? I guess the simple answer is that I started to play the game in a different way. I have been a very solo hunter these past years and I can definitely say that playing with others completely changes things. The strategy, the banter, the laughing and reacting to things that happen during the hunt turned the game into a completely different experience. I’m no longer playing the game just to get through the hunts and make it to the end. I’m now eagerly awaiting the next hunt with friends on my quest to regain my lost power. When I’m hunting solo, it is no longer about just checking off quests that I need to do; it’s now about getting the materials that I need to craft better things so that I’m ready for the next hunting session. My mind is all about making myself better just so I can enjoy hunting with my friends without being the one who gets carted the most. A simple change in perspectives helped me realize why a lot of veteran hunters still prefer this game over World and Rise.
The good times will not last forever. Eventually we might drift apart again or another game will come out that takes up our time. I think the best thing this revisit to Generations Ultimate did was help me revisit my glory days of playing Monster Hunter. With a game that celebrates the series as a whole up to that point, the one thing that I was missing with the experience was playing with other people. Now that the package feels complete, I feel like Generations Ultimate is one of the best Monster Hunter experiences that I’ve had after World. It’s too bad that the game feels out of date for anyone who started with World and the phrase “Monster Hunter on Nintendo Switch” makes people want to vomit for some reason. It is hard for me to recommend this game to others since Monster Hunter has become more accessible to people thanks to World and Rise. Believe me, I will not stop playing those games just because I found a new obsession with this game. If anything, I want to enjoy playing this game before the next Monster Hunter completely shadows it and becomes the next definitive Monster Hunter experience. From this point on, I won’t be afraid to open my hub up to random players who just want to hang out and hunt monsters with other players who enjoy doing the same thing. It can help turn a lackluster experience into one of the best times that you can have.
Monster Hunter Generations Ultimate Statistics
Release Date: August 28, 2018
Platform(s): Nintendo Switch
Date First Started: August 28, 2018
Date Finished: September 4, 2022
Platform Played On: Nintendo Switch
Total Playtime: 90 Hours
Number of Quest Completed: 270 (At the time of this writing)
Weapon(s) of Choice: Great Sword, Sword and Shield, Switch Axe
Skills Used: Handicraft, Light Eater, Unscathed
Hunter Arts Used: Absolute Evasion, Lion’s Maw II, Shoryugeki II
Palicos: Nico and Moonlight
Favorite Hunting Ground: Deserted Island (Where it all started)
Favorite Monsters to Hunt: Rathlos, Malfestio, Lagiacrus, Astalos, Gore Magala, Shagaru Magala, Valstrax
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