With the recent release of Monster Hunter World making the game more accessible to a western market, there’s been a surge in interest when it comes to the franchise. Of course, what do you do if you like the style of gameplay but aren’t necessarily interested in the type of monsters or the aesthetics of the graphics? Or better yet, what if you’ve played through every single Monster Hunter game and you’re itching for something new?
Well, you’re in luck, because Monster Hunter is a genre in and of itself, and there’s quite a few, surprisingly good games to play around with. These range from your typical single-player, open-world style adventures, to the free-to-play MMOs, the latter of which are pretty good. In fact, the first game on the list, Dauntless, is the one that’s most like Monster Hunter World if you want an alternative to that. So really, there’s a ton of options to pick from.
That being said, if you’re just here because you’re frustrated in dealing with some of the Monsters in MHW, we have some great guides on beating Anjanath, Pink Rathians, Deviljho, and, Bazelgeuse, so definitely check those out.
Probably the closest game that is similar to Monster Hunter, Dauntless is a scaled-down version of the genre that still offers a ton of fun playtime.
Oh, and the best part? It’s completely free!
When first taking a look at Dauntless, you may very well think that the game is pretty shallow, and the monsters you hunt, the behemoths, are very few in number. The reality is, there are over 20 behemoths to fight and track, and while they aren’t as varied as the ones in Monster Hunter, they still present a challenge. Interestingly enough, Dauntless has the multi-phase hunting aspect of the genre, so it’s not a one-and-done deal like what you’d expect for this game.
When you aren’t fighting monsters you’re spending most of your time in the hub, where you’ll be crafting all your gear (as is to be expected). You actually have 6 different weapon types you can select, from the middle-of-the-road sword to the chain weapons that make you feel like the God of War. Each weapon has its benefits, and given the variety, you’ll almost certainly find the weapon that fits your playstyle the best.
Aside from the weapons, there’s the armor as well, and it’s a bit more simplified compared to other games. There are essentially 3 sets of opposing elements that will dictate what armors you’ll be crafting and wearing.
For example, blaze-type behemoths will require blaze-type armor, since they provide blaze resistance, and frost weapons since they provide frost damage. The 3 opposing sets are frost vs blaze, shock vs tera and radiant vs umbral, so it’s a pretty simple system.
So as I mentioned earlier this is a free to play game, which I’m sure many of you must be thinking is just a euphemism for ‘pay-to-win’. While there certainly are microtransactions in Dauntless, they’re only cosmetic and don’t impact the gameplay in any way.
Probably the best thing to go for though, if you want to support the developers and spend some cash, is their ‘The Hunt Pass’ package, which is sort of like a battle royale season pass thing. It helps you unlock stuff as you grind along, and it’s cheaper if you want to collect a bunch of stuff.
Finally, one thing I especially appreciate about Dauntless is that it’s completely cross-platform on PC, PS4, Xbox, Switch and they’re working on a mobile version as well. So really, you can team up with up to 4 players from anywhere, so there’s no need to cut out that one friend who plays on a different platform.
Even so, the matchmaking system is pretty great, and even if you join solo, or just have a two-party hunt, the game automatically alters the difficulty to adjust for the number of people, so it’s a smart system.
#2 God Eater 2: Rage Burst
If you’re interested in a bit more of a JRPG feel to your Monster Hunter genre, God Eater 2: Rage Burst might be up your alley. Originally appearing on the PS Vita, the game has been remade/remastered for PC and the PS4, and yes, it is both a bit of a remake and a bit of a remaster. Try not to think about it too much.
Right off the bat, I really need to point out that the game’s portable roots are pretty obvious here, with the weird juxtaposition of the super-scaled graphics of the Vita version and the HD remake of the character models. The sound is also very much meh, and the jury is out on whether the issue is just a bad bit-rate or just a terrible recording of the audio lines from the characters.
Now, you might find it weird that I started off with the negatives, but that’s only because the rest of the game, especially the gameplay, is just absolutely top-notch.
For example, the customizations you get are incredibly deep, especially since your weapon can go into the different modes of melee and ‘gun’. In fact, there’s a whole deep tree of bullet customization if you’re going for a more pew pew playstyle, to the point where it might seem overwhelming at the start. You also have a variety of skills and combos that you can use with your melee weapon, all of which fill up a bar and allow you to use the God Eater power.
Of course, there is a hub that you spend your time with, and there is a story, although it only really kicks in half-way through the game. Nonetheless, the hub has a large variety of things for you to craft, so if you enjoy that aspect of the gameplay, you won’t be disappointed.
Finally, it’s impossible to really discuss a Monster Hunter type game without including the monsters themselves, and thankfully God Eater 2: Rage Burst has done an excellent job of that. While they aren’t as outlandish as you’d expect, they’re still pretty unique and interesting, with each offering its own unique challenging combat. Again, the graphics are a bit dated by now, even for a remake, but if you aren’t too bothered by that, then you’ll love the look and feel of the monsters.
All in all, this is a great game if you’re looking for more of an offline experience, although that being said, it’s not a solo experience since you still have a party of four to play with.
Companions can be a bit hit and miss on whether you like them, but you can tune them out for the most part if you feel like it. Otherwise, if you’re ok with the lackluster sound and graphics, this is actually one of the best Monster Hunter genre games out there.
#3 Toukiden 2
Another game that’s done the hop between the Vita and the Ps4, Toukiden actually brings an interesting aspect into the Monster Hunter Genre.
Unlike your typical Monster Hunter game where there are a hub and instanced areas where you go and fight monsters, Toukiden 2 is actually an open-world style game. So you’re actually going out and looking for monsters in the world, rather than being tied to a more linear path. It’s an interesting mix that brings in RPG elements into the genre and actually makes it waaaay more interesting.
As for the monsters themselves, the narrative is a bit similar to Pacific Rim, but instead of Kaiju, you have Oni, and much like the former, they come in a variety of shapes and sizes. This is important because while there are major Oni that you fight against that act as bosses, there’s also a lot of smaller ones that act as fodder and as a way to grind materials and resources.
So really, the world does feel alive, and it isn’t just more of ‘go here and kill this’ sort of gameplay . . . or at least, it’s not just that.
When it comes to the big Oni battles though, they’re pretty awesome, as the monsters each have their own unique hitpoints. This is where the ‘Demon Hand’ comes in a sort of mechanical invention imbued with the soul of former slayers that acts as a grappling hook.
You can use that Demon Hand to propel yourself up higher to reach an Oni’s weak point, or, even more amazingly, you can use it to hold an Oni down while your teammates take advantage of this new opening. It’s an interesting mechanic that you don’t really see in most games like this, so I’m super happy to see it here.
Of course, crafting plays a big part in any Monster Hunter game, and that’s equally true of Toukiden 2. There’s literally dozens upon dozens of items you can potentially craft, as well as nearly a dozen different weapons you can pick from, including the more modern guns if you prefer to go that route. The lore is also pretty fun here, since only an Oni can truly kill another Oni, so you use their parts to craft your gear to be able to take them down.
Unfortunately, the game does have some weak points, primarily in the graphics department. Since the game was also made for the Vita, it feels like they skimped a bit on development costs and kept the graphics at the Vita level, rather than allowing for the PS4 version to have more fidelity. That being said, it’s possible that they just wanted both platforms to have a similar experience which is why they catered to the lowest common denominator.
Another issue is that the game isn’t made for English, so it’s subtitled and sometimes the translations can be a little bit off . . . sometimes obviously so. It’s not too glaring though, and you can ignore it for the majority of the time, so it shouldn’t factor into your decision to buy.
Either way, it’s a pretty fun game and the multi-platform aspect isn’t so bad when you consider that the game is cross-platform as well, so Vita and PS4 players can play together if they feel like it. If you want an open-world, JRPG style Monster Hunter game, then Toukiden 2 is the one to go for.
#4 Dragon’s Dogma: Dark Arisen
A bit closer to a traditional RPG, Dragon’s Dogma is an interesting game, mostly because it’s not something you’ll likely be expecting out the gate.
For example, unlike most RPGs, the story here is pretty bland, or even going so far as to say that it’s non-existent. That being said, the gameplay itself is pretty incredible, and even manages to make spellcasting a viable class choice. In a way, this game lies somewhere between a traditional RPG and a Dark-Souls game, so it has a little bit of both.
The combat system is pretty deep, with several classes to choose from, and the game even encourages you to multi-class if you want. What makes it interesting though is your companions, of which you can have three, with one of them acting as your ‘main’ companion, one that you can level and alter how you wish.
The other two are actually ‘borrowed’ from other players who’ve played the game and is in-fact their main companion, built to their own needs for their game. It’s an interesting way to include an extra bit of community to the game, and adds a ton of replayability factor.
Of course, there wouldn’t be any point putting a game like this on the list if we didn’t talk about the things you’ll be fighting, and I’m happy to say, they’re pretty great.
Most monsters don’t exist as they do in other games where they’re essentially just XP fodder, but rather they present an actual challenge. In fact, some of the more insane monsters like large hippogryphs, or this weird lion/goat/scorpion hybrid, can be climbed and scaled, a la Shadow of the colossus. There’s something just super visceral about climbing on a giant cyclops-looking’ monster and whaling on their weak spots.
Finally, one thing that also helps set the game apart is the excellent environment design, because let me tell you; when it’s dark, it’s dark. The game doesn’t fool around with ambient lighting, and if you walk into a cave, you’re not going to be able to see anything without a lantern, literally. This actually adds a ton to the atmosphere, as even with the lantern you can only see maybe 10 or 20 feet in front of you, so it ratchets the intensity up quite high.
Ultimately, this is a hard game to review and give a synopsis for, because it has some really annoying downsides, but some really excellent upsides. Regardless, if you’re a fan of monster hunting and great RPGs, then Dragon’s Dogma is definitely one you need to check out.
#5 Dark Souls 3
While not 100% Monster Hunter-esque, it can’t be denied that Dark Souls 3 has some of the best monster fights you’re going to see in an RPG, which makes it an especially great alternative if you’re more interested in that genre.
Aside from the 12 main bosses, each with their own unique style, gameplay, and really interesting lore (in-fact, I lost about a day and a half watching Dark Souls lore vids on YouTube), there’s also another dozen or so optional side-bosses you can also choose to tackle.
I really can’t stress enough how intense and one-of-a-kind each boss is, and with some of the harder bosses having several phases, you can easily get caught off guard thinking you’re done. In-particular, Dark Souls 3 does a good job of multiple-enemy bosses, which is it’s own frustrating, yet awesome, challenge.
Of course, aside from the dozens of bosses, you can go up against, the game has a pretty deep armor and weapon system, although the first items you get are actually pretty good for at least the first few hours of the game.
What’s particularly cool is that each weapon comes with its own buff that you can apply using ‘magic’ points, and thereby add an extra little bit of strategy for you to consider. You also get a class system which unfortunately tends to favor the more tanky builds, with mages continuing to not be super viable, yet much better than previous entries in the franchise.
If you’ve played the previous entries into the franchise, then you’ll be happy to know that DS3 is really, really well done. While slightly less linear than DS2, it sits somewhere between DS1 and DS2 in terms of the world and it’s pathing. Otherwise, DS3 is a clear improvement on the formula of the franchise, and with the DLC and graphical patches of the past few years, the game looks and performs amazingly.
All in all, Dark Souls 3 is a middle-ground between Dragon’s Dogma and Monster Hunter, giving you the RPG elements and story of an open world, with a bigger focus on boss encounters. Granted, you aren’t really going to be hunting these bosses down, but they’ll offer a similar challenge to the monsters in a Monster Hunter game.
Incidentally, if you do enjoy DS3, there are a few games like Dark Souls, including the next entry . . .
If you thought Dark Souls was pretty grim and dark, then you probably haven’t seen/heard of Bloodborne. It takes everything that makes DS dark and multiplies it by 11 . . . then adds an extra two just in case. Taking place in a sort of Victorian-era town rather than the typical medieval fantasy, the maze-like world is both thoughtfully put together and really freakin’ scary.
What really makes Bloodborne stand out from the Dark Souls games, is that it’s a much more streamlined version, at least when it comes to combat. Defense doesn’t play as big a part in Bloodborne, as is evidenced by the fact that there are only two shields in the game, and they kinda suck. Instead, the focus here is on more fluid dodge-based mechanics and parrying, so that the action is pretty much non-stop.
Another interesting change is that the average mob you run into is much more ‘monstery’ (aside from the villagers, who are monster-like, but not as terrifying as a traditional boss). Speaking of bosses, there are absolute tons for you to fight, and being made by the same developers of Dark Souls, they are just as unique and interesting to fight.
Actually, one could even argue they are a bit more difficult and different than what you might expect in DS, although that’s part of the theme when it comes to Bloodborne.
Before jumping headlong into the game though, you should be fairly warned that it’s much more frustrating than Dark Souls, so if this isn’t your game type, then you should maybe skip it for one of the other games on the list.
That being said, it’s totally worth it if you find the souls-like genre interesting and enjoy the monster fights more than anything else. There’s also the rather deep item system like you might find in DS, and weapons even have two different modes to choose from, so there’s a lot to explore in terms of gameplay.
Either way, it’s a great alternative to the Monster Hunter genre, and even though it’s a PS4 exclusive, it’s one of the best ps4 games around.
#7 Nioh / Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice
If you’re looking to fight slightly more realistic enemies, rather than monsters, these two games are slightly more grounded in reality and follow the same path in terms of gameplay and narrative.
First, there’s Nioh, and if you’re a big fan of samurais and their fighting styles, then you’ll probably love this game.
Interestingly enough, the combat system revolves around a 3 stance system that each weapon has, with the lowest stance giving the least amount of damage and taking up the least amount of Qi (which is this game’s stamina), and the highest stance lying on the other end of that scale. As such, each fight has to be carefully considered depending on your playstyle and the equipment that you’re wearing.
As I mentioned, the fights here don’t really involve grotesque monstrosities as you might expect in a Monster Hunter game, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t any more complex. The majority, if not all of the enemies you meet, will be human, and therefore mechanically function around that scale. In a sense, it makes any fight with a boss a much more thought-out affair, with a win giving you a sense of relief with a sprinkling of pleasure.
Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, is a game that has a similar feel to it, except that it’s made by From Software, so it does have that Dark Souls touch to it . . . at least more than Nioh.
Again, the game takes place in a more realistic and grounded world, and it does involve samurais and feudal Japan, but it’s not as focused on stances and styles so much as it is on the prosthetic gear that you get. That’s not to say that there’s no pure combat in this game, there is, but certainly, your gadgets play a bigger part, which is not surprising given who this game comes from.
Of course, you do get a pretty deep skill tree to explore, and there’s a lot of great content otherwise, but the big stars are the AI of the bosses. While there isn’t a stark contrast to Nioh, the bosses in Sekiro require much more strategy and thought as to how you want to move forward with each fight. Combine the need for using your prosthetic gadget, and it’s not an all-out brawl like you would expect in something like Bloodborne.
All in all, both games are great and ultimately it’s up to you which one speaks to you the most, although they are very similar.
#8 Hunt Showdown
Going back to multiplayer games, Hunt Showdown is a little bit different from your traditional MMO, in so much that it’s a bit tactical shooter, a bit battle royale, and a bit monster huntery.
You see, the way the game works is that you load in with 11 other players for a total of 12, but you’re never told if they’re in groups or how many there are at any time. All 12 of you need to find the map’s boss using clues, kill it, and then banish it. Problem is, while you’re banishing, all the other players become aware of where you are . . . and then you become the hunted.
It’s an interesting concept to say the least, flipping the hunters to the hunted, but it really ramps up the intensity. Adding to that is the perma-death progression system since anything you lose in a match gets lost for good, including your character. That’s right, your hunter levels up and gains access to different weapons, and if they die during a match, that’s it, you basically have to start a new character.
Honestly though, it’s not as bad as it sounds, since there’s a separate level meter that allows you access to weapons and gear, which you’ll still have to buy, sure, but at least you have access to them. The in-game currency also comes in at a good rate, so the loss isn’t massive, but it can certainly be demoralizing if you aren’t ready for it.
The biggest thing though is that the game is designed to be slow-paced, mostly due to the truly incredible sound design. Every footstep over broken glass, walking past chains, creaking floorboards, everything makes a noise and can potentially give away your position. Even gunshots can be heard for miles around, so it’s always best to stealth, especially when killing the lower-level enemies on the map.
Overall it’s an interesting game that hasn’t made that many waves due to its difficulty and intensity, but if you’re looking for something much more hardcore, this is a great option.
#9 Destiny 2
You’re probably surprised to find Destiny 2 on this list, but the truth is, if you enjoy complex boss battles, this does an excellent job of doing that.
Not only that, but the game is also completely free with two expansions you can buy, each providing a bunch of extra narratives and a raid or two to play around with. Of course, there’s something which generally trips players up, which is how Destiny is divided by the ‘campaign’ experience, which essentially just acts as a tutorial kind of thing, and the ‘end-game’ content, which is the actual majority of the game.
Most of the fun parts of the game are in that end-game portion, which you’ll get to reasonably quickly considering how easy the campaign is. It’s in this part that you’re going to find the complex raid bosses, several of which have their own set of unique environmental puzzles you’ll need to solve, either to get to them or to defeat them.
I don’t want to go too much into details here, because there’s a lot of fun in discovering the raids yourself, but suffice to say they’re really enjoyable if you like boss battles.
Let’s not forget about the loot though, and if you’re a big fan of that, then you’ll love Destiny 2, especially since it’s one of the best looter shooter games out there. There’s dozens upon dozens of weapons, armor, and customization you can throw into your character, so much so that you might never see two people looking the same.
Thankfully it’s not just visual though, and the weapons you chose can play a big part in how well you do with battles, especially when it comes to doing the elemental matching.
Related: Games Like Destiny
As for the previously mentioned expansions, they’re reasonably good, and you can probably get them both for around $50 or so if they aren’t on sale. Given that Destiny 2 is free to play though, I’d suggest you download it and check it out before investing that kind of cash into the expansions.
#10 Shadow of the Colossus
The game I would have called ‘The OG Monster Hunter game’ if it hadn’t come out a year after the first Monster Hunter, Shadow of the Colossus is a slightly dated yet excellent monster hunting game.
If you haven’t played the game already, it’s very, very straightforward: You’re a Link-type character who’s plopped on a world that’s populated by 12 different colossi. Your task is to go ahead and kill each one of those because a young boy is clearly the best option for doing that. There actually is a story here, and it’s pretty interesting, so if you like some narrative with your monster hunting, then this is the game for it.
Each of the 12 different colossi poses a different challenge, with even some of them existing in different environments, such as a water-based one that’s pretty tricky to kill.
Similarly, each colossus has a different weak point, usually placed somewhere high up that requires you to climb on top of them. That’s right, this game involves Assassin’s Creed-like climbing over a hulking colossus to hit it’s tiny weak spot so you can bring it down. It’s truly awesome.
The best part about this whole thing is that you’re free to go and kill the colossi in any order your heart desires. Want to start with the water one? Go ahead. Prefer to go for that huge hulking one instead? Sure, no problem! While some colossi are easier than others, you aren’t necessarily directed to go after a specific one, so there’s a lot of freedom in the game.
Oh, and did I mention, the game’s been remastered for PS4, so you can enjoy it in high fidelity like the game deserves, because it’s actually quite gorgeous.
Well, there you have it folks! A variety of Monster Hunter like games from you to pick from, some incredibly similar and some maybe slightly not so similar yet are equally fun and awesome.
Whichever you pick though, go out and enjoy yourself. Oh, and try to leave enough monsters around for the rest of us!