Monster Hunter Generations Review: Sound The Horn!

Monster Hunter has always been a niche title for Capcom. It was never a true, story-driven RPG, or just a hack-and-slash action game. At its very core, Monster Hunter was a simple game of hunting huge beasts and gathering materials, using the monster’s body parts and gathered materials to build better armor and weapons to hunt bigger monsters and gather more rare materials. Around the time of Monster Hunter Tri for the Wii (and later remade for the Wii U as Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate), Capcom began adding a story to the game, and by the time Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate hit the Nintendo 3DS, that story was a full-fledged epic tale that saw the story expand by leaps and bounds.

Now, with the next release, the aptly titled Monster Hunter Generations, Capcom has taken three legendary villages from previous games, and combined them with a brand new location, to create one solid entry into the franchise. But the additions don’t just stop there, as brand new Hunter Skills and Hunter Arts have been added, which gives the player choices in how their hunter progresses and plays, while seeking out the Fated Four beasts, and saving the four villages from cataclysm.

Monster Hunter Generations Review

Monster Hunter Generations retains all that makes the series great. New monsters and new locations join some classics, but the true nuts and bolts are in the hunt itself, and the Hunter Style truly gives the player options. Four styles are available to choose from: Guild, Striker, Aerial, and Adept. Each style has their own pros and cons. Guild focuses on a balanced hunter, giving two Arts slots; Striker is for the offense minded hunter, and allows for three Arts slots, Aerial is for the hunter that likes to get air, either by jumping on monsters’ backs, or teaming up with other hunters to be tossed. It’s a fluid, always moving style; and finally, the Adept, which is for seasoned hunters, and focuses on patience and dodging, looking for the right opening to absolutely devastate your prey.

These new additions to Monster Hunter Generations add so much to the simple hunt, collect, repeat mechanic of the franchise, as now hunters have options on how they want to play. And getting together with a group of hunters online, who each have a different style is pretty incredible. Coordinated attacks are a sight to behold, with guild hunters and strikers causing major in-your-face damage, aerial hunters leaping off of ledges to latch on to the targeted monster, and adepts drawing attention, and dodging with devastating counter attacks.

Monster Hunter Generations Review

In addition to the Hunter Styles, Hunter Arts can be assigned to each style. These are powerful moves that are tied usually to the hunter’s weapon of choice, though there are many Arts that work for all weapons. During the course of a quest, attacking monsters of any shape and size builds up the meter for the arts. Once all are full, I become an absolute force.

As a example, I personally use the switch-axe, and the Arts I have unlocked have completely changed my hunt strategy. I’m a Striker, so I get three arts. I use Demon Rush, which powers up the blade portion of my axe, and then I have Trance Slash, which pulls me into an animation where I swing my axe, chopping the monsters up in front of me (and around me), and it ends with the axe transforming to the blade and unleashing that built-up power for one mega strike. When these two arts are stacked — and they can be stacked — my hunter suddenly has an incredible finishing move that takes down even the biggest beast.

Monster Hunter Generations Review

More arts are unlocked as you progress through Monster Hunter Generations, so there is plenty of variety, and if you are a hunter who uses different weapons, you will find so many more arts to play with. Both Hunter Style and Hunter Arts can be switched at any time, so the player can find some favorites and prepare for hunts situationally.

The story of Monster Hunter Generations focuses on the four villages: Bherna, which is the new one, Pokke Village, from Monster Hunter Freedom Unite, Yukumo, from the Japanese-only Monster Hunter Portable 3rd, and finally Kokoto, which is from the original Monster Hunter game on the Playstation 2. Each village is ruled over by a legendary monster, collectively called the Fated Four. These are master-level monsters, and taking all four down will save each village, and earn you some really cool armor and weapon sets.

Monster Hunter Generations Review

There is no restriction as to how and when you can visit the villages, and the quests are shared between the guild girl in each location. Each village does have its respective quests, given by the village elder, or the Palico cook, or even random people on the street, so there is never a lack of quests to accomplish.

Bherna is also home to the new Palico Ranch, where players can manage their felyne companions, train them, send them out on quests, and even go into Prowler Mode, which means, for the first time ever, players can hunt as their cat. This is as insane as it sounds, and you will never again complain that your Palico is not helping during a fight. Walk a mile in someone else’s shoes — er — paws, indeed. Players cannot use items while playing as a Palico, so taking the time as a hunter to make sure your Palicoes (you can hunt with two) are well equipped and armed now takes on a whole new meaning.

Monster Hunter Generations Review

Other than the new Fated Four monsters, Deviant Monsters are a new twist to Monster Hunter Generations. These are special monsters that have survived previous hunts, so they are scarred, and have learned, so they have different attacks and abilities than their base species. Instead of just fighting a Rathian (one of my favorite hunts), the deviant version is called the Dreadqueen Rathian, which is as terrible as you just imagined. Deviant Monsters are sometimes worse than the Fated Four, and taking them down is a true challenge.

Monster Hunter Generations also gives some love to the multiplayer mode. A central hub — central to all four villages — is where players go to hunt online or off, with friends and/or strangers. The hub’s lobby seems to have been overhauled making it easier to find hunting companions of similar skills, and getting a group together has never been easier. And brave hunters can even go into multiplayer as their Palicoes in Prowler mode. The benefit here is that, for the first time ever, hunting parties can have a dedicated healer joining them, which changes the dynamic for some of the more challenging hunts. Seeing as the multiplayer experience is the true bread and butter of the franchise — and for good reason — Monster Hunter Generations makes it even easier to jump in with a group to take on the game’s toughest challenges and to get that Hunter Rank up faster.

Monster Hunter Generations Review

Monster Hunter Generations will also continue the tradition started with Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate, and will have a full year’s worth of free DLC drops each month. These drops will have Nintendo and Capcom-related armor sets (Link, Mario, Mega Man, Street Fighter, and even Fire Emblem, to name just a few) and guild card background and titles. This free DLC was one of the most pleasant surprises last time out, and seeing it continue in Generations should make all hunters happy hunters.

There is also a bonus for players that played Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate, yet I have not been able to get it to work, but my associate did. Not sure if its an issue with Capcom or what, but I’ve seen others online saying the same thing already, so it may be an issue.

The Monster Hunter franchise is mega-popular in Japan, and finally found traction in the west with MH4U. Monster Hunter Generations is a celebration of all that came before, and hints of what is to come for the versatile franchise. The Nintendo 3DS is proving to be the perfect system to play on, and Generations looks and sounds incredible. The second (touch) screen frees up the main screen from clutter and is 100 percent customizable to suit each player’s taste and preference.

Monster Hunter Generations Review

With so many quests to take on, and new monsters to farm over and over for the best armor and weapons in the game, Monster Hunter Generations is a solid entry to the franchise, and one of the best games to play with friends and strangers, online or off.

For years Monster Hunter was one of Japan’s best kept secrets. It’s not like Capcom wasn’t trying to share it with the west, it was just the west maybe wasn’t ready. Now it seems that we’ve finally caught on, and Monster Hunter Generations is the perfect example of all that the series has offered, and sets the foundation of what is to come. The hunting horn has been sounded. Suit up, grab a weapon, and join the hunt.

Monster Hunter Generations is available now on the Nintendo 3DS in both retail and digital forms, and has a MRSP of $39.99. The digital version comes with a free Nintendo 3DS theme. This review is based off a review code provided by Capcom.

Monster Hunter Generations Review
out of 5

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