July 16, 2016
After being hugely successful in Japan for over ten years, Monster Hunter as a franchise is finally starting to get some traction in the west, especially with the recent success of Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate last year. Essentially, Monster Hunter Generations for the 3DS sticks to the tried and true formula; although it does have a couple of new tricks up its sleeve, it doesn’t really address any of the concerns that make the series daunting for newcomers.
The game feels like a ‘greatest hits’ version of Monster Hunter, including areas and enemies from previous games along with some new ones. There are main hubs where you can upgrade gear, gather items and prepare for each quest, and once you do select your mission of choice, you head off to the segmented map to hunt your target within the time limit.
The lack of story or real explanation of how things actually work is still a bug bear of mine; I’ve played these games before so I’m relatively confident to jump in and go for it, but I’ve spoken with others who are newbies that required some serious explanation of fundamental instructions, which is a problem.
“Elation is the only way to describe the sense of accomplishment as you progress from hunt to hunt…”
What does make things feel a lot more mainstream is the addition of Hunting Styles and Hunter Arts in combat, that make your fights feel more customized. This allows you to pick a style that focuses on charging special moves or specializes in counter attacking, for example. The Hunter Arts, then, are special attacks that must be built up to, unleashing a devastating blow; they don’t guarantee victory as they can miss or be countered, but they add some more flash to the battle system and provide more options for toppling gigantic beasts in a genuinely cool way.
Monster Hunter Generations still features the same epic feeling that can only be provided by intensely tracking, fighting and downing huge enemies in what are always challenging and exciting battles. It’s a feeling that is almost unmatched when it comes to combat in any video game, where you always feel like David trying to defeat Goliath with every tool in your arsenal. Elation is the only way to describe the sense of accomplishment as you progress from hunt to hunt, and these moments more than make up for the lacklustre and rather pointless ‘gather 10 mushroom’ type quests, that really should only appear as a side-mission to save time.
Collecting fantastic gear from monsters that can then be worn and upgraded is still addictive, as is the easy-to-coordinate multiplayer that allows you to organize hunts with other players and combine your skills to fight some of the toughest monsters in the game. It’s a shame, then, that the game is still bogged down by a poorly laid out menu system, that still has seasoned monster hunters like myself fumbling through multiple different options trying to figure out what I’m doing at the best of times. The inventory system is out-dated and, along with the general difficulty, seems like the developers just assume we’re okay with it because we keep playing them every year regardless.
- Combat is super satisfying
- Hunting still feels great
- Multiplayer is a blast
- Hasn't changed much
- Menus and inventory still clunky
- Fetch quests annoying
Monster Hunter Generations tweaks the series that I love just a little bit; enough to provide me with more targets to hunt and keep me engaged as a fan. What the franchise truly needs though is a bit of a revamp, and the realization that ‘classic’ does not mean that you are not allowed to change anything for the better. The menu system, the inventory and the insistence on a steep learning curve are all issues that need to be addressed, which would elevate the game to the next level. As it stands, Monster Hunter Generations is a super solid new entry in a much-loved franchise that does enough to be relevant, but not enough to be revolutionary.