Trying to determine the best Monster Hunter games of all time can be a daunting task, but with the strides that the series has made over recent years, it’s becoming easier to really separate the wheat from the chaff. But let’s be real, there’s no chaff here. Here’s our take on the five best Monster Hunter games of all time.
Monster Hunter Freedom Unite
One of the older games in the series, Monster Hunter Freedom Unite first debuted on the PSP back in 2008 in Japan before being localized the year after for Western audiences. Before 4, Freedom Unite was the most expansive installment in the series, adding a wealth of new monsters and subspecies that fans hadn’t seen before. Similarly, the older beasts had gotten some new moves and attack reactions, adding a slight twist to the hunt.
Freedom Unite also gave more importance to solo hunting by adding the Felyne Comrade system. These adorable little critters join players during missions and help out with their own little attacks and abilities. Freedom Unite acts as a great foundation for the series and is still pretty fun to play if you are looking for a challenge. The only downside to the game was the strange control scheme on the PSP, especially since the handheld only had one analog stick.
Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate
Capcom’s made its fair share of blunders in the series, especially with underwater combat. It wasn’t just boring, but plain frustrating as well. Luckily, the developer decided to scrap the idea in Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate and added a number of improved features instead. There are some notable highlights from the fourth entry in the series, starting with the inclusion of an actual story mode. This is the first for the series, and while the plot wasn’t mind-blowing, it did a great job of prepping players for the big hunts in Ultimate’s post game.
Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate also added more lateral and vertical movement, including cliffs and smoother climbing animations. Players could now jump and attack from ledges, allowing them to actually mount monsters and deal some heavy damage. The fourth game also added an interesting new weapon to the series, the Insect Glaive. This rod comes with a special Kinsect that can draw essences from enemies, providing some useful buffs depending on which monster you extract from. With so many new features, the fourth installment is easily one of the best games in the series.
Monster Hunter Generations
Monster Hunter Generations is a big step up from the fourth game in the series. While it brought back most of the series’ core features, Generations added more flexibility with Hunting Styles. This feature added four new play styles to each of the 14 weapons. Players could choose to hunt traditionally with the Guild Style or take a riskier – yet rewarding – role in battles with the Adept Style. Hunts felt far more exciting this way, expanding the possibilities and strategies when playing with others.
Similarly, the developer also introduced the flashy Hunter Arts, which were basically super moves that could provide useful buffs or shell out massive damage. These mechanics gave players the freedom to choose their own preferred hunting methods, making Generations one of the most diverse games in the series. Unfortunately, the game didn’t have a proper story (AKA tutorial) mode to help newcomers ease into the series. To make up for it, though, they added a new mode where you could finally hunt as a Felyne.
It’s also worth noting that Monster Hunter Generations Ultimate has since been ported and released on the Switch, giving new players a chance to jump into it for the first time. Hunting Styles continue to be a little divisive among fans, but at least it’s something new to shake up the formula.
Monster Hunter Rise
If Monster Hunter: World is the definitive entry for all newcomers, Rise is the next logical step for that target demographic.
Monster Hunter Rise is by far the smoothest and most fast-paced entry the series has seen yet, thanks to the introduction of Palamutes and wirebugs. Traversing levels is made easy by just hopping on your Palamute to ride around quickly, or if you’d rather hoof it, you can always make use of the wirebugs to zip across from one point to another.
Throw all those elements into a regular hunt with a monster, and you’ve got one of the most frantic games in the series. Players can now use the wirebugs to zip straight onto a monster’s back to start whacking away at them, and while the combat is still rather clunky and deliberate, it’s a huge step up from its original roots.
The Sunbreak expansion helps to flesh out the world even further, with the introduction of Master Rank hunts and a lot more endgame monsters to test your mettle.
Monster Hunter: World
Monster Hunter: World is by far the most accessible game in the franchise. Having launched on the PS4 and Xbox One, World boasts the best visuals of the entire series and even adds some nifty new features as well. Players take on the role of a hunter who travels to the “New World” to join the Research Commission. Nothing’s changed, though, since it’s still your job to get out there and hunt some deadly beasts.
While all 14 weapon types return to the game, Capcom has removed the flashy Hunter Arts and Styles. Instead, players get some new gear, including the handy Slinger you can use to distract enemies with. All that said, World is the most accessible Monster Hunter game yet, and its the perfect entry point for newcomers looking to jump into the series for the first time.
Of course, once you’ve mastered the base game, you can try your hand at the Iceborne expansion, which offers a significant challenge even for veteran players.
That does it for our picks for the best Monster Hunter games of all time. What did you think of our choices? Let us know in the comments down below.