Video Game / Monster Hunter

"In the world of Monster Hunter, you are never alone."
Monster Hunter Freedom Unite tagline

Monster Hunter is one part role playing game, one part action game, one part MMORPG and two parts adventure game, cooked by a pack of anthropomorphic cats and lifted from the flames the second it turns a delicious bronze hue, all to the sound of a surprisingly cheerful jingle. So tasty!

Developed and published by Capcom for the PlayStation 2, the original game wasn't as big a success in the United States as it was in Japan. However, its portable sequels are among the most popular games available for the PSP, and subsequent sequels have been released on the Wii, PSP, Wii U, and Nintendo 3DS.

Monster Hunter is a unique experience. Playing as a hunter assembled from a list of faces, voices, etc., you try to make a name for yourself battling an array of increasingly bigger and nastier creatures that can kick your ass shockingly fast if you're unprepared and/or rush them head-on as if they're Mooks. Each Monster not only has a variety of attacks, but a number of both subtle and overt visual and audio cues to each action, as well as its own status. Recognition of these cues is crucial to properly defeating them. A typical Monster Hunter battle has a graceful Zen-like quality to it, like a bullfight with a 7-ton gorilla (or wyvern, or dragon, or Giant Enemy Crab) should.

The weapons and armor store is pretty weak, and everything they sell will be out of date only a few hours from starting the game. To get better equipment, the player has to assemble his or her own equipment from parts of fallen monsters as well as activities like combining, mining, fishing and bug collecting.

Players can hunt by themselves, and when doing so in more modern games they can bring along up to two CPU-controlled support characters who perform actions like attacking monsters and performing healing and buffing abilities. In console games, players can go online to hunt together in parties, while portable games have historically eschewed online support in favor of local wireless multiplayer, the idea being that you actually meet with your hunting buddies in person to do quests with them. This changed with Monster Hunter 4, the first portable game to feature online multiplayer and the first game in the entire series to offer both flavors.

Also spawned a manga adaption, called Monster Hunter Orage, written by Mashima Hiro of Fairy Tail and Rave Master fame. A second Manga adaptation called Monster Hunter: Senkou no Kariudo trans  is currently being published, written by Keiichi Hikami and illustrated by Shin Yamamoto.

How popular is it? Portable 3rd for the PSP, sold over four million copies in Japan alone in a mere two months, which is more than enough to tell. Also, 4 sold two million copies in mere FOUR DAYS. Cha-ching!. World on the other hand, sold five million in three days. The series currently stands as Capcom's third-best selling franchise at 36 million units sold as of the end of 2015, bested only by Street Fighter and Resident Evil, but beating Mega Man. World specifically is Capcom's current best selling game of all time. In 2017, a female Monster Hunter was added as a DLC character to Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite, with her moveset containing many weapons and items from the series.

The number of games released are classified under "generations". Here's the list of the main series and spin-offs:

    First Generation 
  • Monster Hunter: PlayStation 2 (2004-2005)
    • The original. One of a select number of games to utilize the PS2 Online functions. The servers outside Japan were closed on New Years Day 2008, while the Japanese servers closed on July 1, 2011. The Western release included the Dual Blades weapon class, which wasn't present in the Japanese version.
  • Monster Hunter G: PlayStation 2 (2004), Wii (2009), Japan only
    • An Updated Re-release of MH1 with some new monster variants and the Dual Blades weapon class from the Western release of Monster Hunter. The PS2 version servers were closed down in 2011, while the Wii version's servers went down the same time as the Nintendo WiFi Connection shutdown.
  • Monster Hunter Freedom: PlayStation Portable (2005-2006)
    • An almost straight port of MHG, known as Monster Hunter Portable in Japan. Removed Minegarde Town as the multiplayer hub in favor of a Gathering Hall in Kokoto Village proper and included a Farm for harvesting basic crafting materials.

    Second Generation 
  • Monster Hunter 2 (dos): PlayStation 2 (2006), Japan only
    • A sequel to MH1, with all new monsters and new subspecies of old ones. The servers were closed down in 2011.
  • Monster Hunter Freedom 2: PlayStation Portable (2007)
    • A sequel to MHF1, known as Monster Hunter Portable 2nd in Japan, it is separate from MH2. Uses the same monsters as 2, but has different quests and is set in a different village.
  • Monster Hunter Freedom Unite: PlayStation Portable (2008-2009) and iOS (2014)
    • An Updated Re-release of MHF2, in Japan known as Monster Hunter Portable 2nd G, featured a few new monsters and subspecies. First main series title to hold the record for most monsters in the game at 81. Available on the PS Vita as a digital download via the Playstation Network. The game was eventually ported to the iOS app store, receiving updated graphics, a reworked touch screen control scheme, and the addition of later functions such as the Target Cam from 3 Ultimate and WiFi-based online multiplayer. The iOS port was pulled from the store in 2015 due to the game being incompatible with iOS 9, but was finally re-uploaded on July 13, 2016.
    Third Generation 
  • Monster Hunter 3 (tri-): Nintendo Wii (2009-2010)
    • The third main game. Introduced a bit more three-dimensional movement via underwater areas and battles, a new weapon type (the Switch Axe) and a new weight classification of bowgun (Medium Bowgun), while removing Dual Blades and Bows because of Wii-mote control issues. Bowguns were changed to be much more customizable, their overall weight tied to what parts were used to make them. Many new monsters were added, as were two all new monster types, but only three old ones make reappearances. The servers were closed on May 1, 2013 after the release of 3 Ultimate.
  • Monster Hunter Portable 3rd: PlayStation Portable (2010) and PlayStation 3 (2011), Japan only
    • A sequel to MHF2. Has several new monsters (and another new type) and subspecies (and more returning monsters from the previous generation), but omits the underwater parts. Not a port of MH3, same deal as MHF2.
  • Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate: Nintendo 3DS and Wii U (2011 and 2013)
    • An Updated Re-release of MH3, known in Japan as Monster Hunter 3G, with several new monsters and touch screen features. This release keeps the Switch Axe and underwater combat added in the original Tri, re-adds the Dual Blades and Bow, and removes the Bowgun customization and Medium Bowgun weight class. Released on the Nintendo 3DS and the Wii U with the ability to transfer save files between the two systems and online capabilities for the Wii U version. The 3DS version was originally limited to local multiplayer, but a free app on the Wii U e-Shop lets the 3DS version use the servers for the Wii U version.
    Fourth Generation 
  • Monster Hunter 4: Nintendo 3DS (2013), Japan only
    • The fourth main game. Introduces two new weapon types (Charge Blade and Insect Glaive), and the addition of more three-dimensional movement and combat, although the underwater combat from Tri/3 Ultimate is removed again. The game has more of an emphasis on adventuring and story progression, featuring an actual story and the ability to travel between four different villages. Item management has been changed some: hunters have both the regular item pouch and the gunner's ammo/coating pouch regardless of whether they're a blademaster or gunner, the Field Pouch system from Portable 3rd returns, and custom "My Sets" include item sets as well as equipment sets. The game has online play implemented without the need for additional hardware or software. Also implemented is a quest maker, from which the player can upload Guild Quests for other players to complete. Taking the place of the third gen's Free Hunts are Expeditions, which occur in the Everwood, a unique area that is completely randomized every time it is entered.
  • Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate: Nintendo 3DS (2014-2015)
    • An Updated Re-release of MH4 released on February 13th, 2015 internationally. Underwater combat still doesn't make a return, but MH4's emphasis on jumping and three-dimensional movement is retained, with the new ability to use the knockback from heavier weapons such as the Hammer and Greatsword as a legitimate means to help launch allies onto monsters. G-Rank was revamped for this game, divided into multiple sub-ranks. Second main series title to hold the record of highest monster count at 98. It was released the same day as the New 3DS model, and has a bundle with it accordingly.
  • Monster Hunter Generations: Nintendo 3DS (2015-2016)
    • Titled Monster Hunter X (Cross) in Japan, Generations is a spinoff that acts as a crossover-esque game celebrating the history of the series. Brings back the same weapon selection as 4 and retains its newfound emphasis on three-dimensional combat, but replaces Frenzied and Apex Monsters with Hyper and Deviant Monsters. Monsters that didn't make the cut in 4th Gen, such as Plesioth and the Leviathan class, return alongside newer 4th Gen monsters and four new flagship monsters collectively known as the "Fated Four". Introduces Hunter Arts, powerful Limit Breaks, and Hunting Styles, a Character Class System that augments a Hunter's abilities in exchange for certain weapon moves. Introduces Prowler Mode, where players take control of the Series Mascot, the Felynes, and hunt alongside other Felynes or regular Hunters. Upgrading equipment have been changed a bit: armor requires monster materials in addition to armorspheres for certain upgrade levels, while weapons require "group" materials such as ore and insects in addition to specific materials. Originally succeeded Freedom Unite as the holder for the record of highest monster count in the main series at 105 until the release of XX. Released alongside a themed New 3DS model in both the US and Europe, with the blue US version being just the system while the red European version comes with the game pre-installed.
  • Monster Hunter XX (Double Cross): Nintendo 3DS and Nintendo Switch (2017), Japan only
    • The Updated Re-release of Generations. In addition to adding G-Rank, using the tiering system first introduced in 4U, XX adds several upgrades to the gameplay, including the Brave and Alchemist Hunting Styles, new moves for Prowler, brand-new Hunting Arts, a variety of Anti-Frustration Features, and the long-awaited "Armor Synthesis" mechanic. The monster list has also expanded, introducing a new flagship monster alongside new Deviant varieties of the Fated Four and other monsters, as well as bringing back Variants that originally appeared in 4U. There is also an Old Save Bonus packed in that enables Generations players to import their Hunter from the original game. Currently holds the highest number of monsters of the main series. Like Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate, there is save file and cross-play compatibility between the two Nintendo platforms.
    Fifth Generation 
  • Monster Hunter: World: PC, Xbox One, Playstation 4 (2018)
    • The fifth main game, focused on open-world exploration. Boasts one of the biggest overhauls in the series yet, with a major graphical upgrade to take advantage of the consoles' vastly superior power, as well as new items, overhauled mechanics, and a slew of new monsters to hunt. The single player and multiplayer modes have been intertwined, with the player's Hunter Rank advancing as they progress through the storyline rather than grinding out the multiplayer quests. Multiplayer is now drop-in drop-out, meaning you can request help from other people in your online session if need be. DLC quests have also been changed, now being timed global events rather than permanent downloads. In-game squads are a new feature, functioning as a set online session for up to 50 friends, with players being able to join 8 individual squads on a character-by-character basis. While having a noticeably smaller roster of monsters to hunt, Capcom have announced that they're going to extend the lifespan of the game by gradually patching in new monsters after release, starting with the Deviljho. World is also the first game in the series to have paid DLC, although Capcom went on record amid the late-2017 pay-to-win loot box controversies and stated that said DLC would be cosmetic-only items that had no impact on the gameplay. Notable for also being the first game in the franchise to be announced at a Western event (E3) as opposed to a Japanese one. Released worldwide on January 26, 2018 for Xbox One and Playstation 4, with a PC release sometime later.
  • Monster Hunter Frontier: PC (2007), Xbox 360 (2010), PS3 (2013), Wii U (2013), PS Vita (2014)
    • Japan, China, and Korea only, but region free. An MMO spin-off (earlier simply a PC port of the multiplayer from MHF2) of sorts that has mostly exclusive monsters. Major updates repeatedly changed the title to (in order): Monster Hunter Frontier Forward, Monster Hunter Frontier G, Monster Hunter Frontier G Genuine, and Monster Hunter Frontier Z. Also has an exclusive weapon class: the Tonfa.
  • Monster Hunter Diaries series: PSP, mobile phones, 3DS
    • Japan-only spin-offs focused solely on Felynes.
  • Monster Hunter Dynamic Hunting: iOS (2011)
    • Released internationally for the Apple iPhone. Still available on the iOS store, but cites compatibility problems with iOS 8.
  • Monster Hunter Online: PC
    • A second MH MMO spin-off developed by Tencent using Crytek's CryEngine 3 and officially backed by Capcom. China only, although the game is region free and there is an ongoing unofficial English patch. The earliest known version of the game was a leak in 2012 for a version on the PS Vita, but that version was cancelled and what work was done was transferred to the PC version.
  • Monster Hunter Stories: Nintendo 3DS (2016-2017)
    • A story-oriented Role-Playing Game entry in the franchise that focuses on "Riders" who befriend and ride monsters as opposed to Hunters of the mainline Monster Hunter world, and the relationship between the Riders and said monsters. Features a vastly different art style based around Cel Shading. Has a currently airing anime adaptation aimed towards kids called Monster Hunter Stories Ride On that premiered in Japan's Fall 2016 anime season. Ride On has an official English subbed simulcast on Crunchyroll and an English simuldub on Funimation.

Here is the list of monsters you will inevitably encounter. Not to be confused with Monster Hunt.

This series provides examples of: