The Monster Hunter franchise once spanned many different platforms, but that has changed in more recent years where it has remained mostly on the Nintendo 3DS. Last year brought Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate to the US and now the latest is almost here with Monster Hunter Generations, in which we’ve now gotten to go hands-on with for a little bit ahead of its release.
The original name for the game in Japan was Monster Hunter X, pronounced as Cross, which was meant as a way to show that the game would be bringing together elements from the past and adding in some new, which makes the Generations name quite fitting as well. These familiar elements are seen very early in the game as you get to create your own character and are then being thrust into a hub town as per usual.
The Monster Hunter series has never been known for its story and that is pretty much the case here in the early parts of the game, though there are many different NPCs to talk to, as they help to explain this rather intricate game. This does almost create a little bit of information overload at first, which could certainly be very daunting for a newcomer to the series, but thankfully the game features a solid tutorial setup early.
Just like its predecessor, Monster Hunter Generations offers players 14 different and distinct weapon types to play with early. For the most part, these weapons control as they did in the past, with a great selection of both short-range and long-range weapons to choose from. What is new with the weapons though is the leveling system that has been implemented, which is combined with crafting of the equipment to really make the experience feel more customizable than ever, though it is kind of disappointing that at least one new weapon wasn’t added.
Monster Hunter Generations also adds a few very important gameplay mechanics that can greatly affect the way your character handles themselves in combat through what are known as Hunter Styles and Hunter Arts. Hunter Styles are split between four different types, Guild, Striker, Aerial, and Adept, which each bring something very different to the table.
The Guild Style is the most balanced of the group and what veteran players of the franchise will most recognize. Striker Style is very reliant on the new Hunter Arts, which are special abilities that you can charge up and use in combat, with some being being universal and others being weapon-specific. The Hunter Arts are something that also could not be delved in too much at this early juncture of the game, but they definitely add something to the gameplay that has been missing in the past, making the long battles against the tougher creatures more captivating. Aerial Style is as it sounds, with it allowing you to get in the air more easily with a focus on trying to mount monsters in combat. Lastly, Adept is built around being patient and going for deadly counterattacks. Each one of these feels different from the others, which you can see by switching between quests.
Monster Hunter Generations also greatly bolsters the presence of the cat creatures known as Palicoes, which can be used in two different ways this time around. They can be selected to join you on your various quests as support, such as with offensive or defensive support, which definitely is helpful in battle. The other option is to outright switch to one of these Palicoes and control them, which is known as a Prowler. This is a really neat addition that has a lot of room for growth moving forward.
Just as you would expect, the main premise in the game is taking on a variety of different quests and venturing into the different locations in the world and completing them. Early on, you only have the option of 1 star missions, though the tutorial missions are very worth checking out first with how many different mechanics this game has in its gameplay. The quests early in the game are pretty simple, with you mostly gathering items or slaying creatures, but they are bound to get tougher later.
Monster Hunter Generations is off to a great start so far, with new features such as the brand new Hunter Styles and Hunter Arts that really do manage to shake up the gameplay even this early in the game. With the game scheduled for release on July 15, make sure to check back in a few weeks for our full review of the game.