It might come as a surprise to some people that there are, in fact, more Monster Hunter games in the franchise than Monster Hunter: World. Due to the fact that Monster Hunter has traditionally been more popular in Japan, you might not have even come across these previous games.
If you’ve come to love your experience in Monster Hunter: World, you’ll be pleased to know that there are four other great Monster Hunter games out there waiting to be explored – although one of these was only released in Japan.
The rich world mixed with an epic amount of monster-slaying quickly got many gamers addicted to the franchise. While the learning curve is a little bit steep, the end rewards are worth it and you can easily spend over a hundred hours on each of these games.
Today, we’re going to have a quick look at how the Monster Hunter series got started, what each game offered, and what has kept fans playing all these years.
Release Date: September 21, 2004
Platforms: PlayStation 2, Wii
First on our list is the game that started it all, Monster Hunter. Released all the way back in 2004 on the PlayStation 2, this is a game that definitely shows its age. That’s not to say it isn’t fun though, there are over 40 monsters to be found as well as a whole host of events and quests to tackle.
There was a huge emphasis on online play in the original Monster Hunter, with many rewards being tied to it. You can still play this game offline though, but it’s a shame that the rewards are reduced.
You’ll spend most of your time hunting monsters, completing gathering quests, and even capturing certain monsters. There is also some player customization in the first Monster Hunter game too, your hunter can either fall into the Gunners or the Blademasters class. The Gunners can use either light or heavy bow guns and the Blademasters have the choice of either a sword and shield, greatswords, lances, hammers, or dual swords.
Release Date: February 16, 2006
Platforms: PlayStation 2
Unfortunately for a lot of gamers, Monster Hunter 2 didn’t see a worldwide release. Arriving in Japan back in 2006, Monster Hunter 2 brought a lot of new features to the franchise including new weapon types, new monsters, seasons, and a day and night cycle.
This is the first time that crafting made an appearance in the franchise. With this game, you are able to create gems by combining different types of monster parts or ores. These gems are used to slot into weapons and armor, unlocking additional skill points for the player.
There are 24 new monsters to find in Monster Hunter 2 along with 45 that return from the first game. The flagship monster for this title is the massive Kushala Daora, an elder dragon with a metallic skin who can manipulate strong winds.
Although this game didn’t reach an audience outside of Japan, there does exist a spin-off game based on its content – Monster Hunter Freedom 2.
Release Date: April 20, 2010
Platforms: Wii, Nintendo 3DS, Wii U
The third game in the series was the first title not to make an appearance on the PlayStation and instead was released solely on Nintendo consoles. Monster Hunter Tri shakes up the formula a bit as the third game in the series, opting not to include most of the monsters that fans will already be familiar with, apart from a select few.
There is also a new underwater environment that allowed players to explore another ecosystem, with its own set of monsters to slay. The main aim of your monster-slaying here is to help revitalize Moga Village. This small village is threatened by monsters and as the player hunts them, they’ll be able to use their resources to improve the village.
As with other Monster Hunter games, you’ll be spending a lot of time tweaking and upgrading your equipment. There are ten weapon classes on offer this time around, ranging from swords and hammers to bows and bow guns. Each of these weapons has its own distinct style and can be upgraded through socketing gems into them.
Release Date: 13 February 2015
Platforms: Nintendo 3DS
The most notable feature of Monster Hunter 4 was the fact it featured a fully-fledged online multiplayer. This made the game feel a lot more open and led to some great moments with friends.
Monster Hunter 4 also placed more emphasis on three-dimensional movement during gameplay. This allowed players to climb walls more fluidly and allowed for height advantages to be used during combat.
The number of available weapon classes was also expanded to 14 and allowed players to utilize the Charge Blade and Insect Glaive during combat. Aside from this, the general gist of the core gameplay is mainly the same. You’ll be exploring areas and hunting monsters, with the aim of improving your equipment to hunt even bigger monsters. Along the way, you’ll unlock different base camps and NPCs that you can communicate with. The underwater sections from Monster Hunter Tri didn’t make a comeback in this title though.
Release Date: January 26, 2018
Platforms: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Microsoft Windows
The most recent release to date is the hugely popular Monster Hunter: World. This is perhaps the first game in the series that caught the eyes of a large Western audience. Being the first game released on home consoles in eight years, Monster Hunter: World features a great number of positive changes for Monster Hunter fans.
In this title, players explore the largest open-world seen in the series so far. Each of the locations is impressively detailed and has different types of monsters to look out for as well as plenty of quests to complete.
The story follows the journey to the “New World” where the player joins the Research Commission to study the land and, of course, hunt down monsters. Just like the other Monster Hunter games, there are no character skill trees to follow, instead, you’ll choose a weapon class and upgrade it as you progress.
If you are looking for even more content, Monster Hunter: World also has a pretty large DLC called Iceborne. This massive expansion nearly doubles the amount of content seen in the base game and brings the total monsters to 66, the total story assignments to 50, and a whole new ice-themed area.
So there you have it, a complete list of all the main Monster Hunter games to date. We’re not too sure when we’ll be seeing another addition to this list, especially as Monster Hunter: World seems to be as popular as ever and still receives regular content updates.
Which was your favorite Monster Hunter game from our list? Are you a fan of the older PlayStation 2 titles or is Monster Hunter: World where you spend most of your time? To keep up to date with all the latest content, be sure to follow us over on Twitter. If you want to chat about Monster Hunter with your fellow readers, why not head over to the Community Hub?