Over the past few years, Monster Hunter has adapted to the 3DS and settled on the platform quite nicely. It takes time for any brand to find a home on such a foreign device from its origins, but Capcom have made this change work – leading to what looks to be a bright future ahead for the already large install base. Monster Hunter Generations drops the numbered entry routine and looks to add some more flavor with new features for fans and newcomers alike, as well as a bit more accessibility. How does it fare? Let’s find out.
It doesn’t take a longtime veteran to step into Generations and realize that this is not the same Monster Hunter that we had on the Playstation Portable. Monster Hunter Generations aims for a more quirky and lovable approach this time around, providing warm and upbeat characters to pull the player in – while the deep combat mechanics keep them grounded. Fans of 3 and 4 Ultimate will feel right at home as at its core, the same stylings of gameplay can be found within this follow-up. You still have to hunt monsters, gather materials, and perform quests to get stronger. That cycle has not aged at all as while the player is still spit into this large world without too much of a tutorial, the main mechanics and layout of the control scheme remain familiar enough to not cause much issue. The change however is found in the more subtle additions that add up just enough to make this title feel distinct.
Imagine taking what we loved about 4 Ultimate and soaking it in fireworks. That is exactly what the new Hunting Arts bring the the party here. Players can charge a gauge while out on a hunt before unleashing a special attack with a bit of theatrics. Despite its already campy design, this does nothing but simply offer a little more pop to the battleground – while delivering just a smidge of assistance compared to the bare-bones combat that we have been accustomed to. Sure, the idea of a special attack is a bit to take in from those hardcore hunters out there, but I don’t feel like it took away from any of the depth that we have received from this stoic series for years.
To sweeten the new offerings, Hunting Styles compliment the arts well – as this other new feature provides a bit of a class system for players that changes the way you attack based on your original selection. Styles come in the form of Guild, Striker, Adept, and Aerial, and are exactly what you would think. Guild is the balanced combat system without a lot of flash. Aerial is over the top and honestly makes combat a breeze as the player can hop into the air to get a bit of an edge over a monster. Adept brings powerful attacks to those who can successfully evade, and Striker allows for more Hunting Arts for those that are all about being a glass cannon.
I remember back when I first played Monster Hunter 3 back on the Nintendo Wii years ago. I was so lost and wanted to quit shortly after starting. Ten to fifteen hours later, it all clicked and I went with it – and have enjoyed the franchise ever since. Generations’ additions don’t require the player to have to swallow that learning curve in order to play, and that is part of what makes it so special. These arts may take a minute to get used to, but unlike other namesakes that added in silliness to become more accessible (looking at you Fable 3), it does nothing more than enhance the already great structure in place. Palicoes are also back as your little semi-customizable sidekicks of sorts, and are better than ever. With new quests that let you take control of these Felynes, the franchise dips its toe into a bit of a humorous field in order to add a light layer of meaning to the already fan-favorite cats.
As far as an overall goal, or “hunt” if you will, we now have four different monsters with four different villages each offering their own unique tasks in order to build up to the big-bad. Is there a difference in these four compared to the flagship beasts of the past? No, not really. But having four mega creatures compared to one definitely is a welcome change of pace that only adds more to the hefty amount of hunts overall. Eventually, I would like a bit of a story in these titles, but as I have stated in past reviews, Monster Hunter‘s story comes through its personality, and no Monster Hunter has more personality than Generations as a whole.
Visuals & Audio
Visually, Monster Hunter Generations is beautiful. The actual graphics have not improved too much from 4, if any. But the colors create a beautiful world and eliminate a lot of that brownish green fauna that kinda set a bitter tone in a lot of dark areas. Villages are more animated and chipper, and the characters just seem more emotive and fun this go around. Most will say that Monster Hunter already had an identity, but I feel like this entry defines it further and may finally open it up for a lot more merchandise sales and marketing in the west when it comes to future installments. It is funny what a few new animations and an upgraded color scheme can do to make a game even more visually pleasing, but Generations hits the right mark in that area by being easy on the eyes.
Ready for some nostalgia? Generations gets its name by revisiting old locales, and nothing sets that landscape up more than a stunning soundtrack. With a phenomenal new Pokke village theme, as well as a good amount of other remastered tunes, this is definitely a game that players who have roots with the series will want to play with that volume slider maxed out. Other than the music, we also have the sound in general which is well done – giving these beasts voices and adding more quirk with the meows on the battlefield.
Monster Hunter Generations is a polished, and more complete Monster Hunter that steps above the numbered entries to deliver a very fulfilling chapter, rich in personality and charm. Its hard to release a game on a regular basis and add “enough” features to make it feel like it is more than a simple expansion, but Generations hits just the sweet spots, sanding down old wood to create a smooth and lovely experience as a whole. If you are a fan of Monster Hunter Generations is absolutely a no-brainer. If you are new and curious, there is no other better starting place than right here.