If you're coming off the high that is Monster Hunter: World, prepare to get kicked down a peg. Every single quality-of-life feature you've experienced is now stripped down to the raw bone in Monster Hunter Generations Ultimate, which launches on the Nintendo Switch on Aug. 28.
Despite the steeper learning curve, Generations Ultimate has a lot to offer that World simply doesn't, but you'll still need some help embracing the Old World of monster hunting. So if you're a new Monster Hunter fan who's eager to jump into the new Switch outing, here's what you need to know.
Triple the Monsters, Triple the Difficulty
A key feature that Capcom boasts in Monster Hunter Generations Ultimate is its roster count, which sits at a whopping 93 monsters, making Generations the home to the largest roster in Monster Hunter history. Monster Hunter: World has only 31, and that's with the additional monsters leading up to the Behemoth.
Additionally, whereas World has only Low Rank and High Rank monsters, Generations Ultimate has something the series' fans are more than familiar with: G Rank. If you thought High Rank was hard in the comforting convenience of World, wait till you see what G Rank is like in the barren wasteland of death that is Generations.
My Ultimate Move!
Unique to the combat in Generations Ultimate are Hunting Styles and Hunting Arts. Hunting Arts are basically super moves, such as an extended evasion or a weapon-specific move, like the Dual Blades' Blood Wind, which initiates a powerful, whirlwind-like attack. Hunting Styles determine how many Arts you can equip at one time, as well as grant you specific bonuses.
For example, the Aerial Style gives you a skill, Aerial Dodge, which lets you jump onto monsters in order to propel yourself higher into the air. This makes it easier to mount monsters, which is great for Insect Glaive builds. Styles also change the move sets for each weapon, remapping attacks as well as combos.
Palico, I Choose You!
You can play as a Palico — need I say more? In case I do, let me break it down for you. You don't have just one Palico that sticks with you throughout the game; instead, it kind of works like Pokémon. You can hire, and customize, multiple Palicos with different skills and move sets. You can also train them in the Palico Dojo as well as send them on trader missions, which is how you farm resources.
All of this is easily accessible from the Palico Board, which is located near item boxes and your house. Palicos are incredibly important to take with you on quests, as their move sets and skills will save you from certain death, and it's nice to have a couple of distractions in play.
As for actually playing as a Palico: It's adorable; it's simple; just do it. Their Palico skills can be used based on a gauge that you build up from combat, and the benefits of playing as a Palico are, of course, a smaller hitbox and those neat support skills to help your teammates.
However, there are some downsides as well, like not being able to use all of the items that a normal Hunter can, such as a pickaxe or paintball. But it's still effective even when you're taking on some of the most dangerous monsters.
It's Dangerous to Go Alone! Take This.
Monster Hunter's return to a Nintendo platform means the opportunity for Nintendo exclusives, and Capcom has already started, with its Breath of the Wild crossover.
The crossover brings over some BotW-themed weapons, armor for your hunter and outfits for your Palicos. The best part is that this content will be available the same day Generations Ultimate launches: Aug. 28.
Where Are My Frames?!
As soon as you load this bad boy up, you'll see that it is nowhere near as polished as World — and that shouldn't be surprising, considering Generations is (almost) 3 years old and was designed for the 3DS. And saying that the character creation is subpar to World's is a drastic understatement. However, Generations Ultimate is still pretty charming with the art style it works with, and the colors and environments are vibrant and vivid despite lacking that smooth polygon count.
World was a revolutionary Monster Hunter game in that it was the first game in the series to bring players a seamless and large hunting ground with no loading screens. With that note, I'm sorry to say that each section of the map in Generations Ultimate has its own loading screen.
However, it's not as bad as it sounds, because loading takes only a few seconds. While that can break the immersion, especially if you accidentally roll out of an area while fighting a monster, it does benefit you by respawning small monsters you may need to farm.
The Dark Souls of Monster Hunting
No, it doesn't look as good, and yes, it has loading screens, but those issues pale in comparison to what World changed with Item Boxes. In Monster Hunter Generations Ultimate, you cannot access your Item Box during a hunt. That means no changing weapons, no filling up on potions — nothing.
Therefore, if you're not fully prepared to every extent of your being, you will die. I failed my first two hunts because I simply forgot that this was a thing. The most infuriating part can be running out of health potions, sure, but that can also be avoided via Palico buffs and just getting good.
However, what really got under my skin was the whetstone fiasco. (Yes, whetstones were an item before World.) The Maccao I was hunting had extremely low health, but my weapon was so dull that it bounced off its body. And because there were no whetstones in sight, I was sentenced to death.
Monster Hunter: World effectively put the kid gloves on in order to welcome newcomers to the franchise. Generations Ultimate, by contrast, is a product of the Old World, where monster hunting is for the patient and strong-willed.
Prepare to Heal (Then Die)
Speaking of Dark Souls, trying to heal in this game is like waving a red flag to a bull on steroids. Every single item, from health potions to stamina-filled steak, requires you to stand still, use the item, flex those brolic muscles — oh wait, you’re dead now because you chose the wrong time to heal. With World, you can heal and walk around, simply avoiding danger. However, Generations takes the cake on difficulty with the amount of time it takes to complete any animation when you use an item.
The 3DS Can Get Rid of You, but You Can't Get Rid of the 3DS
The gameplay in general is definitely slower-paced and a little clunkier than it is in World, but it's still familiar. However, range users and Insect Glaive fans are going to have a particularly hard time adjusting to Generations' mechanics, which were built with the 3DS in mind.
To put it into perspective, there are still a significant number of 3DSes in the wild without a right analog stick, so the ranged mechanics weren't fully designed to focus on it. Just imagine Resident Evil 4 stylized aiming — standing still, hitting the aim button, aiming and then firing, which is time-consuming and risky in the midst of combat. That's why the prefered method is to shoot without aiming, but you can aim at your own risk.
Inventory Management: The Game
World also improved on plenty of other similar issues that plagued old Monster Hunter games. For example, there's more than just the whetstones that count as items, such as the pickaxe, bug net, BBQ spit and paintball (used to track monsters).
Additionally, combining items isn't a guaranteed success anymore. You must carry the sacred Book of Combos around with you, which has multiple variations taking up multiple inventory slots. Don't worry; it gets worse.
What if the Fire Nation Attacks?
One of the biggest disappointments of coming back to the Old World is that the armor is divided into Blademaster and Gunner classes. This means that melee and ranged users have two types of armor. That's incredibly annoying, because Blademaster gear prioritizes raw defense, and Gunner gear focuses on resistances. Therefore, you have fewer customization options, which can put you in a dangerous spot on either side of the fence.
The village quests (campaign) and the hub quests (multiplayer-enabled) are completely separated, so you can't play the story with your friends. But you do have to complete the hub quests in order to unlock village quests, so they aren't pointless. Unlike World, however, Generations doesn't really try to deliver a story. It's basically, "There's a bad thing; go kill it," and that's all we really need.
Where Are They?!
Some other neat features that World embraced and Generations Ultimate hasn't realized yet are things like bounties, investigations, mantles, a slinger and damage numbers. While convenient, those aren't all that important, but the lack of a training room is an absolute killer. More than anything, I want to test out a new weapon with all the combos listed on the display, but instead, I have to play footsie with a monster until I figure out what I'm doing.
The Little Things
Despite the clunkiness, there are a few neat features that you can utilize to make your Generations experience more pleasant. You can fast-travel anywhere in the hub and village via the menu. There are subquests that give you extra Zenny for doing things like mounting a monster a certain number of times or delivering specific items to the delivery box.
There's something called the Pawstel Service, which is basically a way to deliver resources back to your house to clear up your inventory, even though you can use it only once per quest. Additionally, there are Hunt of the Day Quests, which give you extra rewards if you complete a specific quest you already have in the hub.
Despite missing a lot of the features World has, Generations Ultimate is an amazing Monster Hunter experience. It's harder, it has more monsters and it's a hell of a lot more intense than the training-wheels version World gives you, which is why some would say it is, in fact, better than World.
If this is your first time embracing the Old World, you don't have to suffer alone, since the best way to die is to die with friends. Overall, if you've played Monster Hunter before World, then Generations Ultimate is a perfect fit for you. If not, then get ready for a whole new learning curve.