Recently, I’ve been getting back into Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate. I feel I have a bit of an off-again on-again relationship with the game. I’ll have so much fun with it, then get to a point where I have to farm for materials a lot and get burned out on the game again. Believe it or not though, Monster Hunter isn’t a one-of-a-kind series. Once I get bored with Monster Hunter I usually go and play one of it’s primary competitors and have just as much fun with that game. I’m of course talking about the Monster Hunter clones available on Sony’s handheld consoles.
After all, the Monster Hunter games used to be released primarily on Sony consoles. After Monster Hunter moved to Nintendo, Sony realized that they had made a huge mistake by letting the franchise go and proceeded to make several games capitalizing on Monster Hunter’s success. And these games aren’t pathetic clones, these are legitimate good games. So, I’ve decided to come up with a list of the five best Monster Hunter clones out there. Keep in mind that this is all personal opinion, I know that everyone else out there has their own opinion on the subject. Now, let’s get the party going!
5. Ragnarok Odyssey Ace
Who doesn’t love Norse mythology? Well, apparently this standalone expansion of a videogame doesn’t because it goes out of its way to actively ignore Norse legends. Instead, you get an awesome action RPG full of flinging giant wolves against walls. Most of the bosses in the game are named after Norse figures, but bare little resemblance to said characters. In this game, you play as a warrior in this village and it’s your job to fight powerful gods and monsters in order to protect the world around you.
The story itself is nothing to write home about, heck you could beat the whole story online with minimal effort. That’s right, you can beat the whole game online. Even after completing story mode, there is still stuff to do. You can obtain newer and stronger weapons then you could in the original version of Ragnarok Odyssey. There is a fair bit of stuff to do in this game and the game itself offers up a pretty fun battle system. It allows you to fight enemies in mid-air and even air-juggle them before tossing them into walls. It’s a fun and simple system and when used properly, it makes the game a lot of fun. I found the game fairly challenging on the higher difficulties, especially battles against bosses like Surt and Loki. Still, I highly reccomend this game if you enjoy smacking some monsters around.
4. Gods Eater Burst
I know what you are thinking, “Wait, why the first game? Is the second game not good enough for you?” Well… That’s the problem. The second game was never released in America and I’m not import gamer. I prefer to play RPGs where I can actually read the text and understand what’s going on. There are rumors that the expanded version of God Eater 2 known as “God Eater 2: Rage Burst” will be released in America, but it’s just speculation for now. If the second game does come out here, consider it a replacement for 4th place. However, it’s highly unlikely so for now let’s just talk about the original game released on PSP.
Actually, Burst isn’t the original game. The original game itself is known as God Eater and was a Japan-only release. However, once the expansion pack for the game was released in America featuring the original game plus new content. Gods Eater Burst puts you in the shoes of a customizable avatar known as a “New-Type God Eater”. You see, powerful evolutionary beings known as Aragami (Which is Japanese for “Wayward Gods”) have overrun the planet and killed most of the earth’s population. As a God Eater you are a given a special weapon that will allow you to combat an Aragami known as “God Arcs”. Your God Arc has several different modes you can access, allowing for many variable combat strategies. The God Arc features sword, gun, and shield modes as well as a fourth mode where it turns into a giant demonic mouth to munch on enemies. Once you take a chomp out of an enemy, you are given special bullets that you can use temporarily.
These bullets allow for even more strategy in combat. On top of standard ammunition and Aragami ammunition there is also custom ammunition. That’s right, the game allows you to create your own bullets! It’s a pretty tough system to wrap your head around, but once you get the hang of it you can create some truly badass bullets. The game also features an anime-inspired story along with some great voice-acting provided by anime voice veterans such as Johnny Yong Bosch, Kyle Hebert, and Yuri Lowenthal. After beating the main game, you get a second story arc that picks up where the original game left off. It was created for the US release and was nice bookend to the game’s story. It has a few eye-widening moments in there overall and I found that was an entertaining story from start to finish. I highly reccomend this game if you are into anime or Monster Hunter inspired gameplay, With an anime based off the game on its way, I highly suggest giving the game a shot when you have the time.
3. Toukiden Kiwami
A game heavily inspired by Feudal era Japan, Toukiden serves as a great entertaining action RPG. You play as a demon-slaying warrior in a small town full of fellow warriors. It’s your job to slay Oni (AKA Demons) who threaten the world and the town in which you reside. You slay these demons and purify their forms, which will reward you with new materials to craft better equipment. You will also acquire Mitama, spirits of fallen Japanese warriors who will assist you in combat. You can send your pet fox known as a “Tenko” out to gather materials for you. The fox will then return with all kinds of goodies, depending on where you sent it. There is also an ancient tree located at the back of your house which will reward you with special one-of-a-kind items when you bestow offerings of Haku (The currency in the game) upon it.
Much like Gods Eater Burst, the game features two story modes. I found the first to be rather forgettable, there wasn’t a whole lot to it. However, the second story arc was a lot better. It delved into the history of the Slayers and gave backstory on how the order came to be. It also featured some cool bosses (Even though a lot of them felt rehashed from older creatures) After beating the second story arc, you can go back and upgrade your character even more. I had a pretty powerful dude by the time I got bored with the game. There was a lot to the game, and 9 different weapon types to master. I stuck with a Chain & Sickle the whole game, mainly because I liked being able to do insane aerial combos. Combined with my defensive Mitama (That allowed me to put force-fields that made invincible for 30 seconds) I became a force to be reckoned with! I will totally get Toukiden 2 when it comes out, because I gotta say that the game was totally worth it.
2. Freedom Wars
There are many games out there where you are a prisoner, but few games are actually good at depicting you as a prisoner. And there are even fewer games out there where you remain a prisoner throughout the whole game. And then there’s Freedom Wars, the first game to actually make you feel like a prisoner. Freedom Wars was a game designed to play like God Eater and is made by the same people. The setting and plot of the game was created as social commentary on today’s society.
In the game you play as a prisoner who has committed one of the most grievous crimes a person could commit: The simple act of being born. Yes, this game is a crazy one! You see, in the future being born is a crime punishable by a million year sentence. The only way to get out of this bizarre imprisonment is to shave years off your sentence by completing missions. There is also a story mode that has you completing a story that just isn’t super interesting. It’s still fun and I enjoyed it, but I was expecting a better plot for a game with such a unique setting. One feature of the game is that the prison you are in as known as a “Panopticon” and you can choose from real-life locations for your Panopticon. I chose Calgary, but on subsequent playthroughs I chose Edmonton and New York. You can choose from one of over 50 Panopticons from all over the globe, each one is based off real cities.
The game plays identical to God Eater in many ways. For one thing, the game is part third-person-shooter and part action RPG, just like God Eater. The game offers many different weapons such as rocket launchers, spears, swords and machine guns. You are allowed to choose two per battle and can upgrade and modify weapons outside of battle. You are also given a robot that acts as your jail warden known as an “Accessory”. Your Accessory is fully customizable, much like your player character. You can also equip your Accessory with a weapon, just don’t expect him to be super useful in a fight.
The game also features some fine online modes and some nice graphics. Combat is fun, fast, and enjoyable despite the immense difficulty spikes halfway through the game. The character customization gets better and better the further you venture into the game as you can gain new outfits and decoration options. It’s a very fun game with a unique and very insane setting that I highly reccomend you check out.
1. Soul Sacrifice Delta
Possibly the best Monster Hunter clone out there and the best Vita game made thus far period, Soul Sacrifice Delta stands as a pinnacle of gaming pioneering. I have logged more hours into this game than other game on the console, it stands as one of my favorite games and I love it. Soul Sacrifice Delta is yet another expansion pack, featuring all the awesomeness of the original game plus a ton of new content. You play a character trapped inside a prison made out of thorns and you are to be sacrificed to a dark sorcerer at some point in the near future.
Your only hope for escape is a strange book that will grant you magical abilities, but only if you listen to and read through the story contained with the pages of the demonic-looking book. At this point, you are allowed to create a custom character to use within the pages of the book. You are also asked to choose from one of free factions, despite the fact that your created character will always remain with Avalon. Choosing one of the other factions just allows for different rewards and bonuses, it doesn’t change the plot of the story or side-quests.
The story itself is like something out of a novel, it draws upon fairy tales and novels and depicts it’s story as the ideals of sacrifice and consequences. You battle against gods, against your best friend, against members of your order and the end of existence itself. The only important battle though is your fight with Magusar as you’ll find once you play through the game. The game makes you ask questions such as “Can one achieve victory without sacrifice?” or “Is there any other choice besides sacrifice?” It makes you question what you’re doing and it’s something that few other games do. I may be bold in saying this, but this game has one of the best stories I’ve ever seen in a videogame, rivaling plots you’d find in some Bioware games.
It’s not just the story that is memorable. The gameplay is fast, fun, and enjoyable. You are given six spells and you can swap them out on the spell screen in-between Phantom Quests. Choosing the right spells are important and each spell has a finite limit of how much you can use it. You see, once your spell runs out of uses, it breaks and becomes unusable for the rest of the quest. However, you can recharge your spells by sacrificing monsters , saving them, or letting fate decide. The game gets even more hectic in multiplayer as you’ll often question whether or not you should save or sacrifice your allies.
The game itself features over 30 different spell-types for you to use and choosing different combos of spells can become overwhelming, especially because the abilities of certain spells can allow you new attacks and abilities. For example, having a spear and a quick movement spell equipped allows you to teleport in front of your enemy with a quick strike. Things like this really add to the combat and make it the most fruitful out of all Monster Hunter clones. Heck, I’d even say this game surpasses that of Monster Hunter itself.
Well, that was my list, I hope you enjoyed. There are lots of Hunting games out there like Lord Of Arcana, Phantasy Star Portable 2, and Valhalla Knights 3. However, these five were some of my all-time favorites. I haven’t played games these good on any other console and I hope Sony keeps producing these amazing games. I look forward to the inevitable Freedom Wars standalone expansion / sequel as well as future games.