|Release: July 15, 2016|
|Players: 1-4 Players|
|Screen Resolution: 480p-1080p||Blood, Crude Humor, Fantasy Violence, Mild Suggestive Themes|
by Jenni Lada
Monster Hunter games used to be unapproachable behemoths as intimidating as the creatures that lurked within. They were wonderfully intricate and involving games, but expected a lot from people. They were hardly intuitive affairs. In the last few years, they’ve been opening themselves up more and more. Monster Hunter Generations might just be the most approachable and accommodating installment yet. Instead of throwing people into the game and expecting you to play by its rules, it’s practically saying, “Hey. Listen, this is going to take time and maybe even be an uphill climb. But we’re going to do this together and, by the end of it, you’ll be a master with your own skills and strategies.”
As usual, you begin as an apprentice hunter. The Hunter’s Guild has sent you to Bherna to help with the Wycademy, an organization that investigates the area’s ruins and researches monsters. As the Chief Researcher’s assistant, you’re there for muscle, not your mind. Your job is to go into the field and provide firsthand information on the world’s most dangerous monsters.
The people in Bherna are warm and welcoming. They offer you introductory quests that get you accustomed to gathering items, exploring the maps, and facing some basic enemies. You’re immediately given access to a customizable Palico (think Felyne) friend. All four new Hunting Styles (see below) and weapons are available from the start, so you can spend these early hours finding one that fits you. You’re bombarded with choices, but it never feels overwhelming. It’s more like all of these things are here ahead of you, waiting for you.
I’ve been playing Monster Hunter since Monster Hunter Freedom 2 and am fairly comfortable. I rely on Gunlances and Dual Blades. While Monster Hunter Generations didn’t convince me to switch to a new specialty, the Hunting Styles helped me get more comfortable with the weapons I already know and love. These are new skillsets that can be changed at any time within the game. Each lets you equip certain attacks and styles.
For example, Aerial Style is for people who like to mount monsters for additional damage. I found it went very well with my Dual Blades and used it when heading out on major hunts. If I was going to be on my own, I’d use the Guild Style that offered more diverse attacks for my Dual Blades or Gunlance. I’d stick with the Striker Style, which focused on arts, and my Gunlance when I knew I’d be in a group. Monster Hunter Generations’s adaptive nature lets you look at the quest you’re going out on and be more specific.
But, as I mentioned earlier, you aren’t just customizing yourself. Bherna also offers a Palico Ranch. There, you can immediately recruit Palicos to your cause. The Meowstress Palico Scout gives you a Palico creation menu as extensive as the one used to create your avatar at the beginning of Monster Hunter Generations. Up to two can join a hunter as allies, or you can choose a favorite Palico to act as a Prowler. It’s basically the Palico version of a hunter, and you’ll actually play as the cat on missions. They’re faster gatherers, don’t have a stamina gauge, and can dig to temporarily hide, but also aren’t as strong as a human and don’t have the same arts and weapons available to them. It’s a whole new way to play the game, offering additional challenges. Personally, I prefer (or should I say purrfur?) to use the Prowler to gather.
Even more importantly, gathering is vastly improved in Monster Hunter Generations. As any established hunter knows, much of your time in these games is spent repeating quests and hunting creatures you’ve already defeated in search of very specific drops for new equipment. You were limited in how much you could take back after a hunt and always had to keep in mind specific lists of items. Both of these are fixed. You can skip animations by holding down the button to keep gathering from a specific spot. You can send a Felyne to carry what you’ve collected back to town, allowing you to take back more from each outing. When it comes time to upgrade, weapons and armor have a leveling system that raise attack and defense. You can use any material from a list to upgrade, knowing better materials raise levels faster.