Monster Hunter was a series that I never really got into till the 2nd generation of games and even then, I was only ever mildly interested in it. It wasn’t until I started playing Freedom Unite on the PSP with other people that I began to see the real beauty of the game. Hunting and crafting became an addiction and I have fond memories of being kicked out of physics class in university because a few of us were too busy trying to kill Rathalos. It’s truly amazing, that over a decade later, this series is still bringing people together from all around the world to hunt down monsters.
Monster Hunter Generations is a homage to previous titles and a look back at the series’ rich history. There are a ton of returning Monsters and locations, and you cannot help but feel a bit nostalgic facing off against Nibelsnarf again from Monster Hunter 3. There are new additions though with the most notable ones being the title’s four new flagship monsters. They’re interesting from both an artistic and design point of view and I enjoyed them quite a bit. Glavenus is a menacing T-Rex looking monster while my favourite of the four, Mizutsune, is a bubble spewing leviathan that oddly reminds me of Dark Souls’ Seath the Scaleless from some reason. There is also a new type of monster variation called Deviants that you get to fight later on, and they’re no cake walk, providing a great challenge for late online play.
At first glance Generations doesn’t seem to be that much different from last year’s Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate, and for most newcomers, the two titles may seem interchangeable. I wouldn’t blame anyone for feeling that way as I myself felt like I was playing a modified and extended version of 4, but even if Generations’ changes don’t really do that much in making this game feel like a new title on its own, they do however help in making the Monster Hunter experience much more enjoyable.
The first and most notable new feature comes in the form of Hunter Styles and Arts. There are a total of 4 styles to choose from, namely Guild, Striker, Aerial and Adept. The Guild style is the most vanilla of the 4 and provides a playstyle that is mostly in line with what players are used to with previous titles. Striker allows you to equip up to 3 arts at once and like Guild, it doesn’t stray too far in terms of playstyle but it does however modify the moveset of weapons. The most radical of styles are most definitely Aerial and Adept. The former changes the dodge into a jump move that allows you to hop off of enemies and allies and allows for aerial combat which makes mounting monsters easier much in the same way that the Insect Glaive did. The latter however is a pretty hardcore style focused solely on dodging and delivering powerful counterattacks.
Alongside styles are hunter arts, powerful special moves that you can activate during your hunts. There are a total of 42 weapon specific arts and 10 general arts. How many arts you can equip depends on the current style you’re using. General arts are mostly support features, granting you specific buffs and combat advantages whereas weapon arts are used to dish out major damage. Arts usage relies on a gauge that fills up as you deal and receive damage. You have to be careful however as if you miss, you’ll you have to fill the gauge up all over again. Weapon arts grant certain benefits as well aside from dealing damage. For instance, using a long sword art immediately levels up your spirit gauge, allowing you to instantly gain a damage boost without filling the bar up beforehand. These are wonderful complimentary options that open up the door to a ton of build experimentation.
Styles and arts changes up the way I played in subtle, yet important ways. There was a lot to consider when it came to the Great and Long Sword, two of my favourite weapons. For instance, Striker allowed me to equip 3 arts at once, which seems like an enticing option, but it also removes the long sword’s ability to Fade Slash to the side, which is a move I generally rely on to quickly get out of a monster’s way mid-combo. The Aerial style on the other hand removes ground charged attacks for the Great Sword in favour of using them only while airborne, but also reducing charge time. These new features and modifications adds a little something extra to what is already an extensive combat system, and if I have to be honest, it’s probably one of the most in-depth system’s I’ve ever come across.
Another major feature that’s been added to Generations is the ability to actually play as a Palico. The new Prowler mode (adorably named Nyanter mode in Japan) puts you in the shoes of the adorable little cat creatures that inhabit the Monster Hunter universe. Playing as a Palico is a great way to get into the game and learn Monster patterns as well as the game’s various locations. They’re nimble, have unlimited stamina and comes equipped with an array of skills. On top of that, there is crazy amount of gear to craft for them as well, making them a viable option to play as in hunts. I never used Prowler mode that much, but Palicoes in Generations are the perfect companions during solo play. Not only do they help tremendously during gathering expeditions but the added customization and crafting options makes them incredibly useful when hunting larger monsters, resulting in a much more enjoyable single player experience.
For the most part, there hasn’t been any drastic change to the Multiplayer and the overall experience remains largely the same as before. That said, party composition is much more interesting with the introduction of styles and arts. There will undoubtedly be a lot of experimentation in finding out how styles and individual playstyles synergizes within a party, but that’s all part of what makes the experience so much fun. Creating powerful builds and joining other hunters with their own playstyles to take down menacing monsters is what this series is all about, and the new gameplay additions opens up avenues for players to approach hunts in new and fun ways. One change I did appreciate however was the fact that everyone can now join in on the attack when one hunter mounts a monster and all attacks will now add to the mounting gauge. So instead of the one hunter using the Insect Glaive (or in this game, Aerial style) getting all the mounting glory, everyone can now participate in the monster bashing, making it feel much more engaging.
The biggest issue I have with this game is that it feels like I’m playing Monster Hunter 4.5 most of the time, and while most of the new features and additions help in alleviating the overwhelming sense of familiarity, Generations never truly goes beyond the precedent set by 4 Ultimate. That said, playing what feels like an updated and upgraded version of 4 is not really a bad thing because that game is just so damn good. While Capcom has played it fairly safe with this one, it’s still a wonderful homage to the series’ legacy and it feels like a sweet love letter to fans. They have refined the experience to create what is ultimately the best Monster Hunter game to date.
Last Updated: July 12, 2016