It’s not easy being a Monster Hunter. The Larinoths are always getting in the way, the Bnahabras constantly think they can take you, and that Great Maccao thinks you’ll do as a nice snack. Monster Hunter is back, and takes everything that is great in the popular monster hunting RPG into one, in Monster Hunter Generations.
Will Monster Hunter Generations take the Astalos’ head as a trophy, or will it be digested into a steamy pile of monster dung? Find out in our in-depth review, after the break!
Monster Hunter Generations
Nintendo 3DS Family Systems
Developed by Capcom
Published by Capcom
Released: 15th July 2016 (Europe/NA)
Review copy provided by Nintendo
Screenshots/Art Courtesy of Nintendo
Due to the sheer depth of Monster Hunter, and seeing how I have never invested this much time in a game of the series before (or at least actually playing the game properly), I just don’t quite know where to begin with Generations. Monster Hunter Generations acts as a celebration, of sorts, on the history of the series. It takes a bunch of things which makes the series great, as well as some throwbacks, and compiles them in a package which is sure to easily take away many, many hours of your life.
If you aren’t familiar with the Monster Hunter series, then allow me quickly explain what the fuss is all about (or at least try to). In Generations, you start of in the small village of Bherna where you are the new hunter on the block, wanting to join the prestigious Wycademy, the institution which specialises in the research and surveillance of many monsters and their habitats. Once you’ve enrolled, you’ll have access to a bunch of weapons, several facilities (such as the market, the armoury, and the Wycademy Hunter’s Hub), and access to various quests. You’ll start with being able to take on a few quests, but this gradually grows the more quests you complete to increase your Hunter Rank.
Some quests will simply get you to fetch certain items you can find in the various grounds you get to explore, whereas most others will get you to slay a range of different beasts, or to hunt or capture large monsters… Hey, it wouldn’t be called Monster Hunter if there weren’t any monsters. Hunting monsters is where the strategy comes in. Though each and every monster creates a huge amount of chaos, they do so in different ways and require different tactics to hunt down. Take the Tetsucabra for example. This stony toady brute will try to ram you down by trembling the earth or by bashing you with rocks. Hunting this monster will require some heavy weaponry to shatter its stoney exterior, if you aren’t careful enough, you will likely croak. Capturing a monster adds even further strategy, this is because you really have to learn to read these huge beasts. Once they are starting to look like they have had enough, you’ll need to set a trap (which has to be made by combining items before-hand) to stop the monster in its tracks, then knock it out with some Tranq Bombs (which also have to be made from scratch).
That’s just scratching the surface of Monster Hunter, I would need one of those Tranq Bomb myself if I were to continue any further. As I mentioned previously, Monster Hunter Generations takes a lot from the previous Monster Hunter games, which should hopefully give some of the fans a nice smile on their face from the nostalgia. Most of the villages and hunting grounds make a return in Generations, such as the village of Kokoto from the original Monster Hunter, and the Deserted Island (Moga Woods) hunting ground from Monster Hunter Tri. With many of the returning locales, there are also various references to the past, I wonder who this mysterious hunter is, the one who is letting you use his house to stay in at each of the villages. Not only do these nods to the past gratify fans of the series, but it is also a perfect opportunity for newcomers to get a good glimpse at some of the highlights of Monster Hunter.
Unlike previous games though, Monster Hunter Generations has a much improved approach to tutorials. In the past, tutorials were layered into the main storyline from the get go. In Generations, if you are already up to scratch with monster hunting 101, then you can dive right into the deep end as all the tutorials are separated into a new category of quests, appropriately titled Tutorial Quests. If you are new to the series, it is recommended that you play through these quests, it can definitely take a while to get the hang of the core mechanics and gameplay.
If you are still having a lot of trouble hunting down those pesky beasts, you’ll be happy to hear that Generations introduces a brand new mode that is perfect to newcomers, Prowler Mode. After completing a couple missions, the Palico Meowstress will set up shop on the Palico Farm where she can go find Palicos to your specification. For those wondering, Palicos are Felynes which can be hired to tag alongside you during quests to help gather resources and kick some monster booty! Monster Hunter 4 originally introduced Palicos, but Generations takes it a step further with Prowler mode.
In Prowler mode, your hunter can take a much needed vacation as you play as one of your very own Palicos. Prowler mode, though sound devious, actually modifies the gameplay to make it easier for newcomers. The biggest change involves acorns. As a Palico, you have two acorns, though these may look like your average acorn, they can actually be consumed instantly after you have fainted to bring you straight back to good health. This means you are able to faint nine times before you can fail the quest, they do say cats have nine lives for a reason. That’s not all, Prowlers also have unlimited stamina for running and dodging, as well as unlimited gathering tools to mine ore and catching bugs or fish. Prowlers are also equipped with a range of support moves, which can be learnt as you progress through the game. Gathering resources and slaying enemies will increase your support meter, and once a certain amount has been filled, you are able to perform a certain skill. Here can range from healing yourself and team mates to unleashing a powerful attack. Another plus… You get to fight huge monsters as a small, fuzzy ball of cuteness, wouldn’t wouldn’t love that?
Another way Generations switches up the gameplay is through Hunter Styles and Hunter Arts. Arts are special moves which can be performed once you have charged up the Art’s meter. Some of these focus on attacking, some on healing, and some even on evading; it’s the perfect way to turn the tables on a battle. Styles, on the other hand, determine the way you hunt, and there are four to choose from.
If you are just looking for balanced hunting, the Guild Style may be best for you, it allows you to equip two Arts and that’s about it. If you are all about the Arts, the Striker style is your best bet, it allows you to equip up to three arts and even boosts the charging the of the Art Meter. Love soaring high into the air to mount monsters? The Aerial style is the way to go as it propels you into the air with a special dodging move, you can even launch of players and barrels. Perhaps you are more of a daredevil. Choosing the Adept style lets you perform a difficult, yet powerful, last second counterattack. The addition of the Styles and Arts sees a deeper customisation that the Monster Hunter series has yet to see, until now that is.
If you really want to put Hunter Styles into good use, you can join other hunters, both locally and online, through the Wycademy Hunter’s Hub. From here, you can participate in multiplayer exclusive quests with both friends and strangers alike, this is where most of the fun is to be had. Best of all, you can now access your item box straight from the Hub, before, if you started a session but forgot to pack a trap for a large monster, you would have to disconnect from the session before you could access your precious items, now you don’t need to. Speaking about items, Generations adds another new feature to aid all the hoarder hunters out there. Once you have started a quest, you are able to hand over most of your items to a friendly Felyne who will deliver those items straight to your item box. Though this service is free, you can only make one delivery per quest.
Though there aren’t any new weapon types to choose from, there are still a wide range of weapons and armour to build up to, both old and new; there’s nothing more satisfying than carving off a Bulldrome’s mane and wearing it on your head for protection from the icy winds of Arctic Ridge. Unfortunately, there isn’t a lot more that has changed in Generations, so if you are starting to think the franchise is getting stale, then you may not enjoy Monster Hunter Generations as much as I have. One thing to point out is the fact that there are a lot of quests to complete, and I mea a lot! Seeing how these quests are usually either fetch quests, or monster hunter quests, the gameplay can start to become fairly repetitive, especially the fetch quests… Saying that however, there have still been plenty of times where I have been in bed at three in the morning promising myself that this will be the last quest for the night for the fiftieth time. There’s just something about hunting those large monsters which makes me want to come back to it again and again, it’s almost as addicting as a Jaggi’s addiction to naw on my head.
Though the story is on the thin side with Generations, the game is filled with absolute charm. Almost every character, no matter how small their role is, adds to the charm, especially the comical Felynes. All the locations are also very visually pleasing, especially for a 3DS game.
Overall, Monster Hunter Generations is the perfect ode to the series’ past. It still retains that addicting and deep gameplay, the charm, and even expands on it by including a deeper form of customisation with Arts and Styles, and offers the perfect option for newcomers with the brand new Prowler Mode. The only thing that lets it down is the fact that there are very few new additions to Generations when compared to previous titles, and that some of the quests may start to feel repetitive.
If you are looking for a game which has hours upon hours of gameplay to offer with deep and strategic battles against huge monsters, then we would definitely recommend Monster Hunter Generations!
Monster Hunter Generations releases exclusively for Nintendo 3DS Family Systems on the 15th July 2016 in Europe and North America.
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