The best Monster Hunter to date on a portable platform.
Time is slipping by. The prey I’ve tracked, studied, and battled just refuses to die. Time is running out. I’ve used all my potions, but still I must endure. The temptation to abandon my carefully developed strategy is strong; stay the course I remind myself. As hope begins to fade, a final, desperate blow at long last brings down the beast. A rush of adrenaline takes over my body and all that remains is the feeling of pure jubilation.
The thrill of the hunt is the driving force behind the first Monster Hunter title available on Switch in the west. Generations Ultimate may be devoid a carefully crafted story or an interesting cast, but the excitement stems from tracking down a ferocious monster, analyzing its behavior, and committing to a strategy that keeps you alive long enough to take pleasure in watching the beast take its last breath.
Having never played a Monster Hunter title previously, I was surprised by the amount of strategic thinking required to succeed. I’ve become accustomed to the tried-and-true RPG formula of grinding for experience and overly elaborate cut scenes so the lack of either took some getting used to. Your time is pretty much spent on either going on a hunt or preparing for one. Some smaller quests to fetch items or take down a group of small animals provides an opportunity to farm for the resources needed to take down the big guys. Strengthening your hunter is done by upgrading equipment and building up an inventory of potions, buffs, and traps.
Once you’ve completed some easy quests and have built up a respectable inventory of goods, some important preparations for the big hunt are in order. New weapons and armor can be forged or upgraded at the smithy, but if you’re missing a resource required the local merchant has a small inventory to purchase equipment from as well. What cannot be emphasized enough is that success or failure often is determined by what you bring with you. Before starting a hunt of a large monster you better make sure you have a healthy amount of resources on your person before heading out. The large monsters can dish out some brutal attacks, using several mega potions is a common occurrence. Running around in that big, bulky equipment can drain your hunter of stamina so you’ll want a few well done steaks for that protein replacement. It doesn’t take long for weapon to lose it edge after bashing an armoured opponent several times, a few whitstones are a must to make sure each attack dishes out the maximum amount of damage.
Once the hunter is adequately prepared, and you’ve mustered up the confidence, it’s time to go looking for some big game. A hunter ranking system will make sure you don’t bite off more than you can chew. The easy part is finding the target. As long as you picked up the map at the base camp you’ll be able to methodically track down the monster location. The hard part is bringing it down. An all-out attack is a sure fire way to have your carcass carted back to base camp. Each monster has patterns and behaviours to study. Engaging the beast with a defense-first mentality will allow time to study its attacks and strategize the best method of attack. As the hunt goes on, the monster will go through different stages. First it will become exhausted and begin to pant. After a while the monster may try to escape and mend its wounds. Victory is at hand when it begins to limp, indicating its quickly running low on health. Some of the hunts can take a good amount of time and commitment, so that final blow that brings down the monster provides a welcome feeling of satisfaction.
Maybe the only thing more fun than chasing down a monster twice your size with horns longer than your legs is doing so with a friend. Connecting online is a simple process and so far has worked well. A friends list in the multiplayer hub shows who is online and once connected friends will appear together in the village. Friends will have an opportunity to stock up on supplies and get a quick bite in before a leader will decide on which hunt to take on. Even with my comparatively weak internet connection at home, I didn’t experience any disconnects or lag. An online chat option wasn’t available so the Switch was also sharing the connection with my phone while I chatted with my team on Skype.
How you traditionally consume your Monster Hunter is going to determine whether Generations Ultimate is worth your time. The graphics and gameplay are closer to last generation consoles so if you’ve already graduated to Monster Hunter World, this will feel like a step backwards. If picking up World isn’t an option, or if you prefer to take your Monster Hunter with you on the go, then Generations Ultimate is your best bet for the premiere portable experience.