I’ve been playing Monster Hunter games since Freedom 2, so it’s not like I’d entirely forgotten how we used to play Monster Hunter… but I still experienced a bit of system shock when I fired up MH Generations Ultimate yesterday. Maybe playing so much MH World had softened me up a bit, but suddenly all of the changes it had made to the formula were thrown into stark contrast.
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I figure we have a lot of new Monster Hunters this year, thanks to World, and they should probably be forewarned, lest they buy MHGU thinking they’re getting more of World’s gentle touch.
Obviously, it’s not entirely fair to compare the two games, as Generations Ultimate came out nearly two years ago, but it’s also impossible not to draw comparisons given that World came out right before this port.
Personally, I’m finding myself a bit torn between the two approaches. On the one hand, I loved MH World. I recognize a lot of ways in which World streamlined things for the better, little things that I didn’t realize how much I appreciated until they were taken away from me in Generations Ultimate: Lack of zoning. Drinking while moving. Always having a whetstone. Not having to pack pickaxes, etc. Part of me sees the way in which these things smoothed out the whole experience, made it more fluid and comfortable.
The other part of me, however, having now played a bit of MHGU, can’t help but feel that they contribute to making MHWorld feel… too easy.
Maybe that sounds a little snobbish, and maybe that’s partly coming from a place of nostalgia because it’s just how I played Monster Hunter for the past decade (“When I was your age, I hiked to school uphill in the snow, both ways…!”), but I do feel like there’s something about the restrictions of the classic formula that really made you have to strategize and hone your hunting skills in a way that being able to run back to the tent and swap gear, re-food, re-up potions, etc doesn’t do.
There’s also a pretty big contrast between the monster count (thirty-something in World to 90+ in MHGU!) and of course, the big one: G-Rank hunts. It feels to me, at least at the moment, that MHGU is overall a better Monster Hunter game. But if you’ve only played World, you should be aware of what you’re getting into: it’s a less pretty, slightly clunkier, slightly grindier, and less forgiving than MHW. That said, if you’ve conquered all World has to offer, then MHGU is definitely going to provide a better challenge, and lots more of it. And regardless of the bells and whistles (or lack thereof), when you get to the meat of it, the monster hunts, it’s just as exhilerating as anything World has to offer.
And speaking of G-Rank… I’m still curious to see if/how MHWorld will handle G-rank; typically it’s been the domain of a title re-release, but I’m not sure if that will sit well with the scores of Monster Hunter newbies who aren’t used to buying multiple issues of the same game. If they patch them in via downloadable content (which seems likely but also seems like something they’d want to charge for), I think that would be a great opportunity to also include the classic restrictions for maximum challenge. No changing gear during the hunt, you bring what you can carry and that’s it, etc. That would provide a nice ramp-up through World’s easier, hand-holding early game into what myself and many others consider Monster Hunter’s true end-game, G-Rank.
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