The games always felt great to me, I guess I overcame that "clunkiness". I do know what you're talking about, though- it's very awkward compared to traditional games.
And yeah, totally. Here's a sample of MH2(DOS) from PS2:
Compared to Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate:
Improvements are minimal (mostly only benefitting from higher resolutions). While I'm appreciative that they put function over form, I'm upset that they've completely ignored form for over a decade.
Yeah, I think not going balls to the wall with a big console MH is, IMO, a huge error in terms of appealing to the west. It's a gosh darn ONLINE COOP GAME. It's ALWAYS going to underperforming in the west when confined to handhelds. And Nintendo not pushing as hard as possible for Capcom to do so is a massive missed opportunity. Heck, go in 50-50 funding wise. I really like MH4's controls and feel based on the demo but I have a hard time convincing myself to buy it when I know that every aspect of the experience is hampered by the platform.
Honestly, I'd prefer a PlayStation/PC/Xbox game at this point. Nintendo has not proven itself in the online field enough for me to say "Yeah, I totally want to play an online co-op game on the Wii U or NX." Crapcom needs to get their shit together and understand that if they want to sell in the West, they need to appeal to the West. That means going where their online crowd is... Which isn't Nintendo. Monster Hunter on Nintendo has been a wasted effort since day 1.
There needs to be a new Frontier game including all monsters (yes, including ALL the monsters from previous Frontier games) and mechanics (including swimming, you swimming haters- they can just make every swimming quest optional and unnecessary to advance). Release on PS4/XB1/PC with as much cross-server play as possible and release yearly updates including any new monsters/weapons/mechanics other games may have introduced and charge for said expansion. Heck, they could release the core game for free, but make it so that it only covers G1. That way players can try it, get hooked, and purchase G2-5, with future expansions increasing the difficulty by five tiers each time. Throw in a Real Money fashion shop (only aesthetics, no gameplay changers) and Capcom would be looking at a lovely cash cow.