Monster Hunter XX Nintendo Switch Ver. review
Monster Hunter on the big screen again!
My first Monster Hunter was 4G on the 3DS, and then I played more than 100 hours of Monster Hunter X also on the 3DS. So Monster Hunter XX Switch Version is my first Monster Hunter on the big screen, and my first Monster Hunter on a device with more power than the 3DS. I’m only about 20 hours in, but I’m loving it. As of writing Monster Hunter XX for Switch is only available in Japanese. Also, as you’ve surely heard, Monster Hunter XX Switch Version is simply a port of the 3DS version. So… do you need it?
To cut to the chase, if you want to play Monster Hunter today, Monster Hunter XX Switch Version is the best way to do it. If you’ve already put tons of time into Monster Hunter XX on the 3DS and feel done with it, you probably don’t need to spend money on this Switch port. It’s the same game only prettier. With that, let’s discuss a bit more.
But it’s the same as Monster Hunter XX on the 3DS!
Yes, it’s fundamentally the same, but it’s so much more pretty! The water shimmers! The weapons shine! Sparks fly! The backgrounds have more depth and the world feels bigger and more alive! That’s how it feels. In regards to the technical differences, reports say that it runs at 30 frames per second, 1080p docked and 720p on the Switch built-in display. Some say the 30 fps is a disappointment, as it’s the same as on the 3DS, but those same people will usually follow that up by saying that regardless, it looks extremely smooth. I’m no expert when it comes to frame rates and resolution, and I would say that to laymen it will still look great. I’m enjoying checking out all the armor sets in the beautiful Switch resolution — it really feels like I’m looking at the game with fresh eyes.
There was no noticeable difference to online play. If you enjoy online play on the 3DS Monster Hunters then this will be fine as well.
There are plenty of comparison videos online (such as) if you want to see how the 3DS visuals stack up against the Switch visuals.
Note, I know that Monster Hunter World looks far better than Monster Hunter XX Switch version, but we’re not getting Monster Hunter World on the Switch.
How does it handle?
I have played more than 300 hours of Monster Hunter on my 3DS LL, and that’s the only place I had ever played Monster Hunter prior to this. I do not have a Switch Pro controller. Now that you know where I’m coming from, let’s talk about how the game handles.
When I play Monster Hunter XX Switch Version I either play in portable mode with the Joy-Con attached, or on a TV using the Joy-Con Grip controller. The controls are fine in both of these modes. I do not plan to buy a Pro Controller and don’t think it would be necessary. Lock-on is done with one of the top trigger buttons and I think this works better than it did on the 3DS. When I first imagined Monster Hunter on the Switch I was worried that I would miss the second screen on the 3DS. After a few plays I learned that I’m fine without it. The map appears in the upper right of the screen on the Switch and isn’t intrusive at all and is very functional. The all important “kick” is mapped to the tiny minus “-“ button on the left Joy-Con… fun!
I only have one control aspect that continues to trip me up. You’ll know that Monster Hunter X introduced special arts. On the 3DS one way to trigger these special attacks would be to touch a button on the lower screen. With the absence of the lower screen the special arts are by default now assigned to the buttons under the directional stick on the left Joy-Con. So, to push these buttons you’ll need to take your thumb off of the directional stick. I haven’t been able to get used to this yet. Perhaps there is another way to map the controls, but I haven’t taken the time to look. Other than that gripe the Switch control schemes feel more comfortable than on the 3DS.
But the Japanese is so dense!
If you know Monster Hunter then you’ll know that it is a text heavy game. Even native Japanese speakers have trouble pronouncing the whimsical names of all of the items and weapons that you can collect. If you do not know Japanese then it will be pretty tedious to play through this. However, if you’ve already played a Monster Hunter game in Japanese then you’re all set and know what to expect. As of now there has been no announcement of a US release, so if you want to play MHXX on Switch, currently the only option is to play it in Japanese.
There’s a demo! Give it a shot!
If you’re still on the fence, there is a demo available in the Japanese eShop that you can try! Go grab that and give it a shot. You’ll be able to get a good taste of the game from the three quests and 15 character sets that you can try. You can find several tutorials online on how to access the Japanese Nintendo eShop on your Switch even if you do not live in Japan.
Is it worth the price of entry?
If you have already played Monster Hunter XX to death on your 3DS you’d have to be pretty hardcore to want to buy it again to have it on your Switch. I passed on MHXX on the 3DS just to take a break, so luckily my first time playing MHXX was on the Switch. I would highly recommend picking this up to anyone in a similar situation. If you’re moving from X on the 3DS to XX on the Switch the upgrade feels really significant. Playing Monster Hunter on the big screen is great, and playing on the Switch in portable mode feels like such an upgrade from Monster Hunter X on the 3DS that I’m sure you won’t be disappointed.
The download for Switch is around 9.8 gigs, so plan accordingly!
If you’re looking for another opinion, GaijinHunter went to check out Monster Hunter XX for Switch early on and left a solid video review (here).
Monster Hunter XX on Switch is a great way to hunt while we wait for a fresh Monster Hunter entry for Switch! Here’s hoping that Monster Hunter 5 will be on the Switch and also be available in the West.
I give Monster Hunter Switch Version a solid 9/10. It’s the best way to play Monster Hunter right now, hands down. The only problem is that many people will have already played Monster Hunter XX to death on their 3DS… But if you haven’t, you’re in luck, this version is excellent!
* You can find me on Twitter tweeting about Japan, Japanese, and games among other things.- JapanNewbie Twitter: @japannewbie
** Editor’s note: please check out JapanNewbie’s review for Monster Hunter X on Nintendo 3DS here.