Greatest Monster Hits.
I’ve been a fan of Monster Hunter for a nice long while now. I started with Freedom Unite on the PSP, and I’ve been hunting giant monsters ever since. The last Monster Hunter game North America received, Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate, really stepped things in a great direction with new weapons, new locations, and a new take on vertical movements and attacking. Cut to a year later, and with Monster Hunter Generations the series adds a good amount to the game play as well as a ton of content to keep every hunter busy for a long time.
Monster Hunter Generations feels a lot like a “greatest hits” game, where numerous things from the previous games make an appearance. Classic monsters, villages, and hunting maps all feel familiar mainly due to the fact they originally debuted in older games in the series. That doesn’t mean everything is recycled, but seeing some new things a bit more frequently would have been nice.
Price I’d pay: $39.99
Multiplayer: 4 player online and local co-op
Usually with every new Monster Hunter a new weapon is introduced. In Generations, instead of a new weapon to master, the game introduces Hunter Styles and Hunter Arts. There are four styles in all: Guild, Adept, Striker, and Aerial. Choosing a certain style will change up how a character acts. Aerial style allows the character to roll into the air by vaulting off other hunters or monsters, allowing players to mount the monster to bring it down to the ground. Adept style is all about waiting to the last minute to dodge incoming attacks. Doing so allows for multiple abilities that can really help out in a pinch. The styles add a lot to the overall play of the game. It can even change up what kind of attacks a weapon has depending on the style the player chooses.
Hunter Arts are special abilities that the player can equip to their character. These special moves require a gauge to fill up before use. This will be filled through attacking monsters. Think of them a bit like a super move from a fighting game. Some arts are universal, like the absolute evasion where a player can easily get out of the way of an attack without taking damage, but other arts are weapon specific. The Sakura Slash is an art just for the long sword that can deal some pretty great damage as well as level up the player’s long sword to deal even more damage. Also, the more quests players complete, the more powerful versions of arts will be unlocked.
The verticality returns from 4 Ultimate. Originally, players using the Insect Glaive were the ones that would do most of the aerial attacks and mounting of the monsters, but now with the Aerial Style, practically anyone can jump off a monster or fellow player and take to the air for an attack. This game is all about giving players a ton of options and letting them choose what they like the best.
A new mode called Prowler mode allows players to play as their Palico cat buddies as they go on specific quests from each village. Here, players will have to navigate the maps as the Palico itself, who has unlimited gathering resources but plays a bit different from an actual hunter. While novel, I found it to be more or less a chore in this mode, but ended up doing a decent amount of them because the game tries to push it a bit more than I would have liked.
Along with all that, the improvements to the overall game in the form of ease of use kicks it up. Players can now hold down the A button to automatically carve and gather. People who have never played a Monster Hunter game before may be thinking “big deal.” No, it is a VERY big deal. Small things like that really go a long way in making the game a bit more accessible.
Much like in 4 Ultimate, Generations eases players into the game itself as well as has extensive tutorials on all the weapons and new arts to show off everything to the player from the beginning. Once again, this is a very nice starting point for players are new to the series and want to get into them.
Online and local co-op play is back, and still the best way to play Generations. Teaming up with three buddies to take down a massive monster is both fun and satisfying. At the same time, I still recommend players use an outside source for voice chat because while the game offers text phrases to use, in the heat of battle, that’s the last thing anyone wants to worry about.
Monster Hunter Generations feels like a slight step forward while changing things up a bit in the formula. The Hunter Styles and Hunter Arts add a lot to the game play, and sometimes it even feels like a new weapon wasn’t needed. The improvements here are a nice welcome, and the numerous quests to take on will keep players busy for well over 80 hours. At the same time, with the reuse of multiple locales and enemy monsters, I was hoping for a bit more variety in this game, but in the end, it still all adds up to a really enjoyable time for both veterans as well as newcomers.
Review copy of game provided by publisher.