Anyone who knows me probably knows how much I adore Monster Hunter. I’ve played well over three thousand hours between the different games. I skipped Monster Hunter Tri and only played a little bit of Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate. I was not fan of the decision to bring the games exclusively to Nintendo platforms, but eventually I accepted it and bought in. I doubled down with Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate by buying the *New* 3DS XL and I haven’t regretted doing so one bit. The right analog nipple is a godsend for these games.
Here we are just over a year after that game and Capcom has graced us with a very quick translation of their celebratory Monster Hunter x (Cross), titled Generations for the Western release. Both are equally telling names as this is a mash-up of some of the best missions, stages, and characters from previous games. Being able to revisit Kokoto, Pokke, and Yukumo villages really hit me in the feels. For some, this may be their first time visiting these villages, but they do a great job of making them seem purposeful outside of nostalgia spikes for those of us who have been playing since the beginning. While you can visit these old villages, you will spend most of your time in Bherna. It’s a quaint place that’s based on Switzerland and Tyrol.
Generations isn’t just a mash-up of previous villages, but quests, and maps have been brought over and updated. From the moment I walked onto the ice in area Area 4 of the Snowy Mountain Peak, I was kind of in awe of how far the graphics had come. The ice was clear to a point. Revisiting Verdant Hills (Forest and Hills to those of us who have been around the block) was like riding a bike. I killed over 1000 Kut-Ku in Area 9, and when I got the mission to take it out, I ran to Area 9 and wrecked him like days of old. That bastard was the breaking point for many people in the original game as the difficulty ramped up from 0 to 100 in a single mission. Ah! The memories… As you can tell by my ongoing nostalgia trip, there’s a lot for long-time players to pick up on with the old areas and old missions, but for those who began with Tri, 3U, or even 4U, much of what’s here will be completely new.
If you have been playing since the early days, you’ll probably have noticed a trend. I noticed as early as MHF2 that the difficulty was declining. I didn’t review MH4U last year, but I may have mentioned in one of my Now Playing posts that the game felt much easier than the PSP games. From what I am told, the US versions of Tri and 3U boosted the player’s base defense by 50 from the onset, so that may be the easiest game to come Stateside. A lot of what originally appealed to me and many others was the high difficulty and sense of accomplishment you got when you overcame something that was giving you trouble. While that sense of accomplishment still exists from time to time, it seems like it’s less frequent, but I’m glad to see the series get a foothold in the US. I also feel that much of the perceived decrease in difficulty comes from new options given to the player. The controls have tightened up with each new game, which allows you to dodge and strike with precision much more reliably than in the older games.
In Generations, the player is given even more options than ever before. Not only are you given four styles to choose from for each weapon, there are a handful of special moves you can use. Each weapon has 3 unique specials as well as some universal ones. These range from perfect dodges, to healing stations that heal everyone in the vicinity over time. The unique specials tend to capitalize on each weapon’s strength. As a hammer user, you want to be at the monster’s head constantly, so one of the unique moves for hammer is a paladin-like provoke move which gives you a little more attention than you may want. The move most hammer users will go for is the super duper pound because the third move is pretty much just a better spinning hammer move which hammer users try to avoid as much as possible. As a hammer user, I find myself almost never using the specials. Beginning in 4U, I started using the switch-ax, but I felt that it was a tad underwhelming. Hammer had been incredibly nerfed from the PSP games, so I was looking for something different. While hammer is back on top as the k.o. king, I found that the switch-ax coupled with the aerial style was incredibly fun. In fact, if styles stick around (and I hope they do), I think this weapon combo might get a bit of a nerf itself. I swear to all that is holy, this combo seems ridiculously easy. If you just want to cruise through the village quests, this is an excellent option and it even has really good hunter arts to boot.
For those who fell in love with the insect glaive or the charge blade, they’ve both been revamped. The kinsect now levels separately from the weapon and you no longer have to balance feeding it in a specific order. They’ve altered how the kinsect grabs your power-ups, too. I didn’t really get into the weapon in either game, but I hear it’s mostly the same. The charge blade, on the other hand. Big changes have come to this powerhouse of a weapon. In 4U, you could use your most powerful move right after blocking or from the infinite sword combo. This, coupled with guard points, which remain a huge part of the weapon, made it the very best weapon in the game without a question. It out hammered the hammer, out cut any of the swords, and out damaged everything. The weapon’s damage is still among the highest in the game, but the changes have made it much more balanced when compared to the other weapons. It really shines when used with the adept style.
For anyone who isn’t in the know, Monster Hunter is an action game wherein you…hunt monsters. It has some RPG elements, but it’s really just a series of boss battles with some other missions thrown in to mix it up. It’s story-lite, and lore-heavy. You choose your weapon, learn how to wield it, and go out and beat up some animals. Then you carve them up and take their bits to the smith who will gladly make you new armor and weapons out of the parts you find so you can fight bigger and meaner beasties. This, in a nutshell, is the flow of the game, and it’s so rewarding. You’re not rewarded with levels, but with new gear and the knowledge that you’ve gotten better. The biggest draw to the game is being able to play with up to 3 friends either locally or online.
I can honestly say that this is the best Monster Hunter game yet, and I haven’t even told you about being able to play as the cats. I really like the direction they’re taking the series, and I hope they have something in the works for Nintendo’s NX. I’ll be there when and if they do.