Updated at: 09-03-2023 - By: Leo Hall

The action-RPG franchise Monster Hunter has been gaining traction in Western markets since Monster Hunter World’s release.

Capcom has released six main Monster Hunter Games and five significant international spin-offs since 2004 when the franchise first spread its wings.

However, the series is challenging to understand because the Japanese and international versions are often inconsistent with one another. Additionally, there are both original and spin-off works that are exclusive to the Japanese market.

In conclusion, there are distinct “generations” of Monster Hunter games. There is always a Japanese release, and then improved ports for other systems and regions. There are spin-off games for some generations.

This is because we excluded spin-offs that were only available in Japan (like the original Monster Hunter Online).

  • There are four primary entries that can only be found in the Japanese version.
  • Four remodeled global seaports
  • One enlargement for a global release.
  • Two major releases on a global scale (including the series’ breakout title, Monster Hunter World).
  • The development of a single global gateway expansion
  • There were five spinoffs produced for international audiences, but one of them is no longer in production.

The Slayer of Monsters series is a long-running franchise for Capcom, and newcomers may have a hard time getting in. The games in this series are notorious for their challenging boss rush missions, in which players decimate the native flora and fauna of a wide variety of biomes. This manual is intended to serve as an introduction to the Monster Hunter series for those who are unfamiliar with the series. We will discuss how many MH games exist, how to get started with them, the best order in which to play them, and our personal recommendation for the best overall game.

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How many Monster Hunter games are there total?

Five main Monster Hunter games have been released so far. Soon to be released Rise will make that total six. There are still games out there that use the tried-and-true formula of having the player travel to a location in search of a monster or resources. In addition to these nine mainline games, there are another eight games that are either expansions or reimaginings of the original material.

In addition, the MH series has ten spinoff games, and Stories 2: Wings of Ruin will make that number eleven by the end of 2021. Mini-expansions of established series sit alongside massively multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPGs) like Frontier G and the defunct Frontier Online. One recent offshoot is the MH Stories series, which allows players to ride and tame monsters in a turn-based setting.

Every Monster Hunter Games in Order

The action role-playing game Monster Hunter features a hybrid closed-and-open world design. The player takes on the role of a hunter tasked with capturing or eliminating various large monsters located across the world.

The resources and loot dropped by these monsters are formidable. Furthermore, most monsters drop bounties that can be traded for various items.

To contrast with other role-playing games, however, the hunters in this one have no special abilities. Instead, your character will only level up if you equip better equipment. However, there are around 14 different types of weapons in these games, and the vast majority of them deal elemental damage or affect the player’s status. The stronger the foe, the better the gear you’ll need and be able to loot.

This is the basic loop of the game. You battle stronger foes as you gain experience hunting monsters. The cohesive element of these games is, of course, their fluid, action-oriented gameplay. Hunters have access to a wide variety of tools, potions, abilities, and defensive maneuvers.

The final point is that every Monster Hunter has a primary mission. You can play the game again, but this time with harder difficulty settings after you’ve completed the story once. Newer games in the series feature four-player cooperative hunting, ramping up the challenge even further.

First Generation

Monster Hunter – 2004 (Main Series)

The original Capcom game came out in 2004 for the PlayStation 2. Although it was originally released in Japan only, the improved port allowed it to make its way to other markets.

Kokoto is the protagonist of this work; he is a hero who has set out to defend a village from the Wyverns, enormous winged monsters. Kokoto is currently in the hunter training program and must pass several tests before he can advance in the hunter guild.

In sum, the title effectively conveyed the series’ central elements. It added the ability to loot monsters for supplies and eight different types of weapons (melee and ranged).

Monster Hunter (PS2) Throwback Thursdays - YouTube

Monster Hunter Freedom – 2005 (International Version / Enhanced Port)

In 2005, the development team released Monster Hunter Freedom, an improved version of the game. The PlayStation Portable version features enhanced graphics, additional content, and new monster types.

Second Generation

Monster Hunter 2 – 2006 (Main Series)

Launched in Japan for the PlayStation 2 in 2006. About 24 new foes made their debut in the game, and some familiar monsters made a return. By and large, it was a step up from the original game. The series’ initial entry, however, was not well received outside of Japan.

There was a character customization screen in Monster Hunter 2 where players could make their own unique characters. Kotoko himself can be found in the game at any time in the Kotoko Village.

Throughout the course of the story, you’ll travel to various settlements and towns, each with its own set of dangerous monsters that you’ll need to defend the citizens from at all costs. There are a wide variety of quests and characters to meet in these outlying settlements that weren’t in the base game.

Monster Hunter Freedom 2 – 2007 (International Version / Enhanced Port)

Monster Hunter Freedom 2 was released by Capcom in North America and Europe in 2007 for the PlayStation Portable and iOS.

Monster Hunter Freedom Unite – 2008 (International Version / Enhanced port)

Capcom released a new add-on for the PSP version in 2008 called Monster Hunter Freedom Unite.

It expands the game by 50 hours and includes new tools, foes, and terrain. Additionally, it added a multiplayer co-op mode where up to four players can go on a hunt together.

Third Generation

Monster Hunter 3 Tri – 2009 (Main Series)

In 2009, Monster Hunter 3 Tri for the Wii was released. Because of financial constraints, it was not a PS3-only release. To clarify, this is the Japanese release; the English, European, and Australian versions all debuted in 2010.

The third installment is like the previous games in the series. To help the Hunter Guild, players must create an avatar and enter the game world.

Fundamentally, there are three distinct types of missions: hunting, capturing, and recalling. In addition, it featured a multiplayer component where players could compete for high scores by completing various tasks. Hunter’s rank can be raised as a result, leading to more desirable assignments.

The solo mode encouraged players to roam freely across a barren island in search of enemies, supplies, and other players.

Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate – 2011 (International Version / Enhanced Port)

Capcom released a revamped version, Monster Hunter Portable 3rd, for the PS3 and PSP in 2010. Unfortunately, that’s a Japanese-only game.

As a result, Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate was released in 2011 for the Nintendo 3DS and Wii U. The English language version is used internationally.

Monster Hunter Dynamic Hunting – 2011 (Spin-off)

It was a spinoff arcade game for mobile devices, and it was called Dynamic Hunting. It was released in 2011 and had both multiplayer and solo options. You won’t find it in any official shops right now.

Fourth Generation

Monster Hunter 4 – 2013 (Main Series)

2013 saw the release of Monster Hunter 4 for the Nintendo 3DS in Japan. It’s the first major installment in the series to come to the Nintendo handheld system, and the second game in the series overall for the 3DS.

The fourth game emphasized platforming more than the previous ones. This allowed players to effortlessly scale walls in any direction. And the hunters could use the monsters’ own strength against them by grabbing onto them.

Capcom listening to fans' Monster Hunter 4 localization requests

As a result, the games’ settings shifted as well. The maps grew in scale and featured more mountains and skyscrapers. The difficulty of the monsters in the game was ramped up with the help of a Frenzy Virus mechanic.

Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate – 2015 (International Version / Enhanced Port)

In 2015, Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate made its debut in North America and Europe for the Nintendo 3DS.

Monster Hunter Generations – 2015 (Spin-off)

Released in Japan as Monster Hunter X, Monster Hunter Generations first appeared in the West in 2015 on the Nintendo 3DS. The product did not, however, hit global shelves until 2016.

The gameplay in this spinoff is very similar to that in the main series. Among its many new features are a variety of unique attacks and ways to fight. In addition, players can take charge of Felines, a magical feline that frequently assists the main character.

Finally, similar to Monster Hunter 4, Generations features the same 14 weapon archetypes, as well as returning enemies and locations.

Monster Hunter Stories – 2016 (Spin-off)

Monster Hunter Stories was developed by a fantastic studio. The game was first released in 2016 (Japan) and 2017 (elsewhere) under Capcom’s distribution. The Nintendo 3DS can play it.

The protagonist of this game is a Rider, which sets it apart from its forerunners. A Rider is someone who has forged a connection with a monster, allowing them to ride the beasts, employ them in battle, and even become friends with them.

The antagonists can be fought by monsters the protagonist has raised from the womb. In addition to being able to ride them, he can also modify their abilities and use them to perform unique attacks.

Egg pilfering from the monster’s nest is the main objective of the game. And instead of action gameplay, Stories features turn-based battles based on the classic strategy game Rock-Paper-Scissors.

Monster Hunter Generations Ultimate – 2017 (Spin-off)

The latest iteration of the Monster Hunter: Generations series is Ultimate. Release dates for the Nintendo Switch version were 2017 in Japan and 2018 elsewhere.

When compared to the original game, the port did introduce some new features. It added a new weapon movement, a new monster type, a new game mode, and more.

Additionally, new features such as daily objectives, advanced weapon levels, in-game courier services, and the Transfiguration system were introduced. When it comes to the latter, it’s all about putting together different pieces of armor to make a unique item with a variety of different abilities and a stylish design.

In Japan, we refer to Generations Ultimate as Monster Hunter XX.

Fifth Generation

Monster Hunter World – 2018 (Main Series)

Available for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Windows. The 2018 Capcom release is widely regarded as a benchmark among role-playing video games.

World is a significant step forward for the franchise. Better, more refined, and more fluid than ever before in the series.

You’ll notice improvements such as increased size, improved visual quality, and new content. Also, there are no loading screens between different parts of the world map, making global travel a breeze.

Because the game is set in an open world, players can choose how they want to interact with it. You have the option to either follow the main questline or go off and explore on your own.

Finally, the game features 14 distinct classes of weapons and a few unique skills. Monster-slaying weapons, improved means of movement and attack, and more.

Monster Hunter World: Iceborn – 2019

For Monster Hunter: World, Iceborn is a downloadable content add-on. It added new areas, new enemies, and new ways to use weapons.

In addition, there’s a mystery at the heart of the story. Hoarfrost Reach Locale, a brand new region where our tale unfolds, is integral to the ongoing World storyline.

There is a ton of new content, items, loot, and monsters in the Iceborn downloadable content pack. In addition, a new difficulty level has been added to provide the toughest enemies yet seen in the series.

In addition to the previously mentioned offensive tool, the DLC also adds a new mobility tool.

Monster Hunter: Rise – 2021 (Main Series)

In 2021, Rise was released for the Nintendo Switch all over the world. It’s very much like Monster Hunter World, but it’s only available on the Nintendo Switch.

In Rise, we meet a new avatar hunter who is on the lookout for monsters to capture, defeat, or harm. Bounties, loot, and materials can be gained from killing these monsters.

There aren’t a ton of new features in the game. To the contrary, it shares its weapon types with World and the vast majority of its monsters from the previous entry.

Finally, it supports both local co-op play and online battles. A maximum of four party members are permitted. There’s also a “Rampage” mode, where players work together to protect a village from waves of monsters.

Monster Hunter Stories 2: Wings of Ruin – 2021 (Spin-off)

Second in the series of turn-based Monster Hunter spin-offs is Wings of Ruin. Released initially for the Nintendo Switch in 2021.

In this re-roll, players once again assume the persona of Rider. Just like before, Riders can form bonds with monsters and use them as mounts and weapons in combat.

He is the hero’s grandson, the original Rider Red. Ena, a Wyverian girl, is introduced shortly thereafter. It’s up to the protagonist and Red to keep the egg safe, but if it hatches, a powerful monster will be unleashed.

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All Hunter Monster Games in Chronological Order

  • 2004 Japanese release of Monster Hunter.
  • the 2005 international release of Monster Hunter: Freedom.
  • Japanese release date: 2006
  • Monster Hunter Freedom 2: International Version (2007).
  • Video Game. Monster Hunter Freedom Unite – 2007.
  • The 2009 Japanese release of Monster Hunter 3 Tri.
  • Game Released Abroad in 2011 as Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate
  • Global Hunting in a Changing World (2011)
  • 2013 (Japan) Monster Hunter 4
  • 2015 (International) Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate.
  • Released Worldwide in 2015, Monster Hunter Generations
  • 2016 International Edition of Monster Hunter Stories
  • 2017 (Japan) Monster Hunter Generations Ultimate.
  • In 2018, worldwide, Monster Hunter World was released.
  • 2019 (Global) Monster Hunter World: Iceborn.
  • The International Version of Monster Hunter: Rise Is Set To Release In 2021
  • International release date for Monster Hunter Stories 2: Wings of Ruin is 2021.

Which Monster Hunter should I play first?

Despite the glut of Monster Hunter titles, picking one to dive into is surprisingly simple. Currently, only MH 4 (3DS), MH: World (PC and Home Consoles), and MH Generations Ultimate (3DS/Switch) are available for modern consoles.

Monster Hunter: Generations Ultimate and Monster Hunter: World are the true finalists. Generations Ultimate, a collection of the first four MH games, is a good option. There are a whopping 93 different enemies to take down, and plenty of challenging late-game content to boot. The classic MH format can also be enjoyed in Generations Ultimate. This Switch game is an excellent entry point for those who want to sample the Monster Hunter series in its entirety with a single purchase.

There are fewer monsters and environments to discover in MH World (and its expansion Iceborne) than there are in Generations Ultimate. The game may not play like Generations Ultimate, but it certainly looks better. Quality-of-life enhancements have also been implemented, such as being able to predict a monster’s escape route without resorting to paintballs. It’s also a good place to start if you’re new to the series and want to get a feel for the controls and the basics of monster fighting, as it’s generally considered easier than previous entries.

Monster Hunter World is the better choice if you can’t decide between the two. The game’s difficulty has been reduced without making it too easy, its online features are slightly more robust than those of the Switch, and the overall experience is more refined.

Is there an order to play Monster Hunter games?

There is no wrong order to play Monster Hunter games in because they are not interconnected. They may make fleeting allusions to prior games or feature recurring characters, but these are the only ways in which continuity is maintained. Since there is no overarching plot in the MH series, it doesn’t really matter.

There isn’t much point in reliving the past in main series games. The original MH games are charming, and MH Tri introduces underwater battles, which haven’t been seen since. It’s great to do something like that! If you’re interested in trying out some classic gameplay elements, the earlier entries in the series are the way to go.

The realistic order of games to play is, however, quite straightforward:

  1. Video Game Consoles and Personal Computers Can Play Monster Hunter World
  2. The Final Chapter of Monster Hunter Generations (3DS, Switch)

The following are some options to think about if you’re interested in traveling further back in time:

  1. The 3DS sequel Monster Hunter: Ultimate
  2. Ultimate Monster Hunter 3 (3DS and Wii U)
  3. The PlayStation 2 and Sony Portable Game System sequel Monster Hunter
  4. Defeating Monsters on the PS2’s Monster Hunter

For the most part, MHGU succeeds in recreating the feel of the original games. While replaying older games can be fun, it isn’t required for a complete MH adventure. There hasn’t been much of a shift in the core experience because the new games use the skeletons and draw inspiration from the old games. If you haven’t played the earlier games, you’re missing out on the vast variety of settings. However, compared to newer releases, older games are usually more clumsy and have fewer features to offer players. As a result, the games that came before are usually not that relevant unless you’re doing some serious research into the history of video games.

If you’re interested in trying out the spin-offs, you’ll need to play the Monster Hunter Stories games in order, beginning with the first and ending with the upcoming Wings of Ruin. Apart from that, each game can be enjoyed on its own merits.

Which Monster Hunter is best?

Those interested in hunting monsters should check out any of the excellent games in the Monster Hunter series. However, fans are divided over which is superior. When it comes to review aggregators like Metacritic, they’re evenly matched.

The Monster Hunter franchise consistently receives high marks from fans and critics alike, as evidenced by its high Metacritic score. It’s worth noting, however, that critics appear to take greater pleasure in the games than players.

To give just one example, Monster Hunter World received a score of 90 from critics. Users, however, were not fond of the game due to its clumsy development cycles and numerous bugs. Users were much more enthusiastic about the World expansion Iceborne.

Though critics weren’t quite as enthusiastic about Generations Ultimate as they were about World or Iceborne, players generally had more positive things to say about the game.

Monster Hunter Generations Ultimate has incredible lasting appeal, even if most players would rather play World or Iceborne due to their tighter controls and slightly better graphics. It’s a time capsule of Monster Hunter history, and there are a ton of monsters to kill and places to go late in the game. There are more fan-favorite monsters in that game than in both World and Iceborne combined. For die-hard series fans, the game’s challenge will be a major selling point.

What About Rise?

But now with Monster Hunter: Rise World and Generations are releasing in just two months, so how long they can hold off the competition is anyone’s guess. There’s hope that Rise will combine the best of both worlds. Whether or not it can accommodate all 93 monsters from Generations Ultimate, it is sure to bring back some of the most popular monsters from that game. It’s got all the conveniences of World and Iceborne, plus improved controls and a wealth of new ways to improve your standard of living and get around. Let’s hope that these two games can be combined in a way that pleases everyone.