Every Monster Hunter Game Ranked

Check out the rankings for every Monster Hunter game so far!

by Marc Magrini
Monster Hunter World, Best of 2018

Monster Hunter is a popular series lasting for nearly two decades. In it, players battle against powerful monsters to collect materials and upgrade their gear. Despite the gameplay loop being simplistic on paper, the franchise has gone through many iterations and refinements, turning it into an in-depth experience that many games yearn for more of. Because of all the changes from one game to another, it can be difficult to figure out which one to start with. To get an idea of what they’re looking for, players should take a look at every Monster Hunter game ranked in terms of improvements, content, accessibility, and general fun factor.

Due to the difference in gameplay and accessibility, mobile games such as Monster Hunter Explore and spinoffs such as Monster Hunter Stories will not be included.

Every Monster Hunter Game Ranked

12. Monster Hunter, Monster Hunter G, and Monster Hunter Freedom


The Monster Hunter series started with Monster Hunter on the PlayStation 2. The game introduced many concepts players would know today, such as capturing and carving defeated wyverns for their parts. While it’s not a bad game, especially for its time, looking back on it really shows how many improvements were made to the franchise over the years. Clunky controls and vague menus plagued much of Monster Hunter’s early days, and it can be tough for modern gamers to get used to the lack of quality-of-life features present in the current generation.

Monster Hunter G and Monster Hunter Freedom act as alternate versions of the original game’s expansion, adding a few new monsters and new difficulties. Pretty much all the content in these games can be found in future titles. It’s a fantastic landmark in the franchise’s history, but Monster Hunter has been made somewhat redundant over time.

11. Monster Hunter 2 (Dos)


Monster Hunter 2, also known as Monster Hunter Dos, is one of the few Monster Hunter games without an expansion. It added more content to the franchise, including new weapon classes, day/night cycles, and Elder Dragons that would practically become series staples. It was also extremely difficult, with monsters such as Kushala Daora and Rajang being feared by series veterans even today. It has much more to offer when compared to the original Monster Hunter, but it retains many of the outdated features such as attacking with the control stick. It’s worth checking out to see both the unique and lasting changes it made, but it would be difficult for Dos to end up ranked above every other Monster Hunter game.

10. Monster Hunter 3 (Tri)


Monster Hunter 3 (or Monster Hunter Tri) is the first game in the series to release on a Nintendo console. The game features many new monsters as well as the introduction of underwater combat, which would not be featured in future generation games. It’s noteworthy for trying so many new things, but many of these additions came at a cost. There were only 18 monsters total – the lowest amount since the original Monster Hunter – and the game even suffered from the removal of entire weapon classes. While it makes sense for base Monster Hunter games to be ranked alongside their expansions, there’s so much left out of Tri that it can barely stand up on its own.

9. Monster Hunter Freedom 2 and Monster Hunter Freedom Unite


Monster Hunter Freedom 2 is a refinement of all games before it, and its expansion – Monster Hunter Freedom Unite – can be considered as the definitive classic Monster Hunter experience. Every monster from previous entries (barring Frontier) makes a return alongside new areas, weapons, and a massive number of quests to take on. While Freedom 2 lacks much of Freedom Unite’s content, it was also the first second-generation game ported to the west. Many players were able to experience new features such as decorations and unique weapon classes starting with these titles. Between these additions and fan-favorite monsters such as Tigrex and Nargacuga, it’s no wonder Freedom 2 and Freedom Unite are held in such high regard today.

It should be noted that these games offer a much slower style of hunting, even when compared to later Monster Hunter games that still retained loading screens and potion-flex animations. Many players still prefer this style over the modern high-mobility combat of games like World and Rise. Even so, the age between these two Freedom games and present-day titles is heavily felt with odd control schemes and poor conveyance of enemy hitboxes. Many monsters also share attacks between each other, even when they aren’t considered subspecies or variants. These games are still fun despite these issues, but it’s something for new players to keep in mind if they want to see the culmination of classic Monster Hunter gameplay up to that point.

8. Monster Hunter Portable 3rd


Monster Hunter Portable 3rd is not an expansion to Monster Hunter Tri; instead, it acts as an alternate game for the third generation with new and unique content. While it removed underwater combat, it also brought back many of the weapons and monsters cut from Tri and introduced some of its own. Portable 3rd redesigned numerous locales and weapon movesets to account for these changes, and it even had unique systems in its village such as a hot spring. Players coming from newer games might find get more enjoyment out of Portable 3rd than previous titles on this list, though it should be noted that much of Portable 3rd’s content – including the village and final boss – eventually made it into localized entries such as 3 Ultimate and Generations.

7. Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate


Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate is one of the largest expansions a Monster Hunter game has ever received. It nearly tripled Tri’s monster roster on top of adding new mechanics and quality-of-life features. The Wii U version also boasts online multiplayer with continued activity nearly a whole decade later. To this day, monsters introduced in this title such as Dire Miralis have yet to appear in any other mainline game. Monster Hunter Tri provided a more unique experience than any game before it, but 3 Ultimate offers that same experience with more content and creativity than anything offered by its predecessor.

6. Monster Hunter Frontier and its expansions


Due to its status as an MMO spinoff, it’s tough to put Monster Hunter Frontier on any ranked list involving every major Monster Hunter game. But considering it’s been recently acknowledged as part of Monster Hunter Rise’s expansion, not to mention its general popularity, Frontier barely manages to scrape its way onto the list. Through years of improvements and additions, this title added more new monsters than any other game in the franchise, as well as unique weapons and weapon styles that completely changed how hunters fought. Some consider its content to be a little too over-the-top, with monsters having extremely powerful moves that can cover an entire area and one-shot many hunters. But the sheer amount of content players get out of Frontier is astonishing in its own right.

Frontier’s servers are currently offline, so the ability to play it is extremely limited at best. But thanks to Espinas being added to Sunbreak, future players might be able to experience more unique monsters – and maybe even weapons – from this title.

5. Monster Hunter 4 and Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate


Monster Hunter 4 is the first Monster Hunter game to get the player so deeply involved in its story. Through travels with a caravan, players face off against the dangerous Frenzy virus being given off by the unknown monster Gore Magala. Old and new mechanics are presented to players through this story, making this title one of the most accessible Monster Hunter games. Additionally, new weapon classes are introduced for the last time in the mainline franchise so far, and missing foes like Yian Kut-Ku and Rajang make their return after being absent for a whole generation.

Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate is a simple expansion of 4, adding even more new monsters and features such as the Apex state. In short, the game was given more challenge and variance for players to overcome. It’s also the only version of the game that was localized for western releases. If players wish to forego World or Rise as their first Monster Hunter game while still having many weapons and features prevalent in the series today, 4 Ultimate is certainly the best choice for them.

4. Monster Hunter Generations and Monster Hunter Generations Ultimate


As the name implies, Monster Hunter Generations is a celebration of the Monster Hunter franchise. Its expansion, Monster Hunter Generations Ultimate, features the largest monster roster of any mainline title. Many of these monsters return from previous entries, but the games also introduce brand new styles and arts to drastically alter the way a hunter plays. The absolute massive amount of content can make it a pain to clear every quest even for long-time fans of the series. But there truly is something for everyone in this title, especially with the addition of Deviants and the return of classic foes such as Lao-Shan Lung.

Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate and Monster Hunter Freedom Unite are arguably the best “classic” games for players to start out with. But Generations Ultimate is a culmination of the franchise, and when compared to every Monster Hunter game up to that point, it’s hard to see it as anything less than the best.

3. Monster Hunter World


Monster Hunter World completely changed the state of Monster Hunter as a whole. Introducing a whole plethora of quality-of-life features, including the removal of loading zones, the ability to hunt without time limits, and even a handy button guide to display usable moves, World is inarguably the most accessible Monster Hunter title out there. A renewed focus on exploration and story takes precedence as hunters visit the New World, a land touched only by nature. Unique abilities and reworked mechanics are the biggest additions to a hunter’s arsenal in World, and both new and returning monsters have better AI than ever before. Whereas even Generations had notable qualities and mechanics that felt lifted from the PlayStation 2 era, World truly does feel like a modern Monster Hunter game.

Sadly, World is not a perfect game. The list of monsters is relatively low thanks to so much time being spent on designing Zorah Magdaros, a walking gimmick fight. The living, breathing world can be difficult and frustrating to traverse at times, and the story can be somewhat intrusive on how quickly a hunter wishes to move through quests. The monsters added in updates are somewhat controversial as well, due to their difficulty. This is especially the case for Behemoth and Leshen; both of these crossover monsters have great references in their quests, but actually battling them makes for some of the worst fights in Monster Hunter history. World is still incredibly impressive and a very fun game despite these issues, and it’s a perfect introduction to the Monster Hunter franchise for any new player. Simply put, there’s a reason Monster Hunter World is among Capcom’s best-selling games of all time.

Monster Hunter Rise and Monster Hunter Rise: Sunbreak


Monster Hunter Rise provides a brand-new method of movement through the use of Wirebugs. With these companions at a player’s side, the game was designed to allow for verticality and speed, upping a hunter’s mobility as well as their moveset. While some might consider Rise to be one of the easiest Monster Hunter games due to this reason, it’s also one of the most fun. The variation in monsters is greater than most games before it, and the additions to players’ abilities allows them to fight with practically no limitations. It also builds off of World’s open maps and improved AI, making for a truly refined experience. It lacks some of the more beloved features of its predecessors, and the increased speed and mobility offer a vastly different hunting experience. But anyone that loved World or wants some intense monster-hunting action is sure to enjoy Rise.

Monster Hunter Rise: Sunbreak is comparatively less impressive than expansions of previous games. However, it indeed solves the issue of low difficulty through new monsters and upgraded movesets for existing foes. Some may argue Sunbreak should be ranked below other Monster Hunter expansions, but it builds off of the great systems put in place by Rise while offering its own unique changes to players’ skills and tactics. In time, especially thanks to upcoming title updates, it’s very likely that Sunbreak’s quality and content can reach higher than other expansions.

1. Monster Hunter World: Iceborne


When ranking every Monster Hunter game, it’s easy to see expansions as separate games entirely. In a way, Monster Hunter World: Iceborne is what Monster Hunter World should have been. Fan-favorite monsters returning from classic entries provide tougher and more enjoyable fights, and new locales allow players to explore the New World further than ever before. The Clutch Claw opens up monsters to more effective forms of attack, even if its inclusion is somewhat controversial due to the questionable weak points on monsters in higher difficulties. Other new additions and mechanics – such as craftable layered armor – bring new ways for players to enjoy the game outside of hunting. With every addition, refinement, and change brought on by this expansion, it’s no wonder Monster Hunter World: Iceborne is ranked above every other Monster Hunter game.

This list of every Monster Hunter game ranked is subjective in many ways. For many players, the older titles have more merit than modern games due to the preparation and care put towards each hunt, while some might simply find those classic games too clunky and troublesome to play through. Players might prefer World due to its realism, while others might prefer Rise due to the increased mobility. Monster Hunter is a franchise with plenty of variations and supported playstyles, and every game is worth checking out in some capacity. Anyone interested in the franchise should check out any game that interests them; in time, they might come to love every game in some way as they become a true Monster Hunter!

About The Author

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Marc has been a freelance writer for Attack of the Fanboy since 2022. He's most familiar with Nintendo franchises such as Mario, Pokémon, and Kirby, but he's well-versed in action-packed titles like Monster Hunter and the Souls games. With each article he publishes, Marc looks to improve his skills and make himself known as a top-quality writer, providing valuable tips and information that others might unknowingly ignore.