Monster Hunter Generations, previously known as Monster Hunter Cross in Japan, has reached North American shores this week. Nintendo 3DS players have a wonderful chance to explore mountains, plains, and find dangerous (and beautiful) monsters that usually are found only in the imagination realm. The Monster Hunter series’ concept is simple: hunt down notorious monsters, use the materials found to create armor and weapons, then fight against even more difficult monsters.
And yet, there is so much more underneath the concept’s surface. Villagers are in need of assistance. Requests are submitted to the Hunter’s Guild which then are presented unto the player. These quests range drastically from trade routes being blocked by large-clawed creatures to a mother in need of specific materials for crafting a water-prof bed-sheet for her child. Reading the quest sheets and speaking with the NPCs give Monster Hunter Generations a rich experience and purpose for hunting each individual monster.
Veteran players will notice right away the vast graphics improvement. The visuals are sharper and clearer than previous titles and gives Generations a realistic fantasy charm. Simply looking around your surroundings, it is easy to see the great lengths the developers took to include small details. In the brand-new Bherna Village, the game’s starting village, the influence of Scotland is prevalent with the tartan patterns and the village chief’s tam o’shanter cap.
The various cultural influences blend seamlessly, especially in the breathtaking music score. Each village and area has its own score that reflects the individual village’s feeling. Three returning villages (Kokoto, Pokke and Yukumo, along with the new Bherna village) have distinctive quests and areas for hunting. Plus, each village has one of the Fated Four monsters associated with it. The Fated Four are beasts from previous Monster Hunter games that are Deviant. They evolved and mutated into unspeakable forms. Obviously, you won’t be fighting them right away. One must be trained and equipped to handle these quests.
Capcom’s developers decided to include a beginner’s weapon for each class-type: Great Sword, Long Sword, Sword and Shield, Duel Blades, Hammer, Hunting Horn, Lance, Gunlance, Switch Axe, Charge Blade, Insect Glaive, Light Bowgun, Heavy Bowgun, and Bow. New players will have an opportunity to try out each weapon to determine the ones they want to focus on upgrading and crafting. Returning players will be able to use their favorites ones or try out something new. An entirely new system of upgrading is introduced in Monster Hunter Generations. Instead of specifically grinding for rare materials to upgrade weapons and armor, hunters can use a leveling up system.
Generations features Hunting Styles which allows you to obtain special abilities that work with the types of Hunting Arts you earn as you progress. Thankfully, Hunting Styles can be changed whenever you want by using your house’s item box. Each Hunting Art works with specific weapon classes. These special abilities are so much fun to use during quests. As confusing as it may seem for a new player, there are a few NPCs that explain the Styles and Arts to you which clears away the fog. The only difficulty I personally experienced was remembering to change my Arts after switching weapon classes.
Weapon and armor statistics increase when crafting the gems/monster parts needed based on their value with the Smithy. This offers a flexible option by letting the player level up their weapon. However, once hunters want to branch out to craft a new type, for example a Charge Blade, the player needs to obtain the correct items required by the Smithy. Monster Hunter is a game series that lets the playable characters become walking trophies.
The area titled Hunter Hub replaces the old Gathering Halls. The Hub is an outdoor fair ground-like setting that hunters can eat for buffs and choose/embark on quests. Once a hunter enters the Hub, players can see how far the hunter has come along in the game by viewing the armor and weapon. Playing online is a core feature of the franchise. Hunters work along side each other to complete quests and battle against the monsters. A surprising new feature introduced in Monster Hunter Generations is the Prowler Mode. Hunters can now become a Felyne and take on special quests. Felynes are special cat-like helpers and by becoming one in the Proweler Mode players can play with unlimited stamina and use Felyne-specific skills.
Its a treat to play as a Felyne for returning players and newbies who want to explore every aspect of Generations. This game incorporates many changes to the past Monster Hunter experiences and is refreshing. So many new armors and weapons are craftable, terrifying monsters are returning, and the lands are waiting to be seen by fresh new hunters and old veterans alike. It is time for you to begin your own journey as a monster hunter and there is no better game to begin than with Monster Hunter Generations.
A 3DS review copy of Monster Hunter Generations was provided by Capcom for the purpose of this review.