Review: Monster Hunter Generations

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I spent a long time waiting for that Eureka Moment within Monster Hunter Generations. You know what I’m talking about — that instant when everything clicks and it all just works. It took far more time an effort than I expected, but I’m very glad I saw it through.

As a newcomer to the franchise, I found it took a long time — and plenty of patience — before I could even consider Monster Hunter Generations fun. Having now spent so much time with it and its mechanicsit’s far easier to see why series is so beloved. That’s because Monster Hunter Generations is tough. You have an option early on just to dive right in. I was eager to get into the meat of the game (and was honestly just cocky), so I didn’t bother with offered tutorials. I assumed I would be fine — and optional tutorials seemed to reinforce that; if I needed them, why would I be able to skip them? Turns out, I’m an idiot.

After an hour or two of getting slammed into the ground and having no idea what the hell I was doing, I returned to the NPC handing out tutorial missions with my tail between my legs. It was a mixed bag; simply put, the quests are optional because they are horrible. I desperately needed the knowledge I gained from the introductory missions, but I certainly didn’t enjoy the hours they took me to complete. To add insult to injury, the outrageous amount of slightly blurry text is almost twice as long as it need to be because the NPC explaining everything thinks he’s hilarious. Spoiler alert: he isn’t.

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With the tutorial finally out of the way I was ready to get back into the game proper. I had learned the value of various items and the importance of being prepared. I thought I was ready to take down some huge monstrous thing, and once again, I was way ahead of myself. This is not an easy game and I wasn’t even remotely finished learning. After a few more embarrassing defeats, I actually started to get the hang of hunting. It wasn’t quite that Eureka Moment I was hoping for, but pieces fell into place and I started to enjoy myself.

Challenge and reward is the core of Monster Hunter, an endless loop that keeps players interested for countless hours. It sounds simple, but that’s why it’s so genius. The stakes — and difficulty — keep getting higher and higher; the loot you’re rewarded with scales alongside it. More importantly, so does the satisfaction. Monster Hunter reminds me of Dark Souls in many ways, good and bad. It starts as a seemingly insurmountable challenge that slowly comes within reach. Once you finally take down a huge beast, the feeling of elation that comes with it is hard to beat.

The real meat of the game is built around boss battles, but variety is where Monster Hunter Generations shines. Each monster has its own personality and style; while you will learn things from killing previous monsters, you have throw away that knowledge and start from scratch once you start questing after a new one. This is paralleled with your adventurer through Hunting Styles and Arts, allowing you to be just as versatile as the cunning monsters of the world.

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Styles allow some freedom and variation in play style and can really change things up. You can focus on mobility with flashy aerial attacks, timed attacks and parries or go for the simple charged attacks. Arts are more specialised strikes that can really help in battle. There are plenty of different types ranging from power moves to sneaky evasions. Choosing when to use each for the best effect is the key to using them all properly. If you mess up, you’ll miss out on an opportunity and possibly take considerable damage from your target.

My 3DS gets a ridiculous amount of attention (mostly because of Pokémon) so it’s fair to say I’m familiar with it. I’ve upgraded a bunch of times over the years and I’m current sporting a new 3DS XL. I’ve always wanted something to test out the nub… thing so I was keen to give it a go with Monster Hunter. It was a disaster. It doesn’t reflect poorly on the game itself as it’s completely a hardware problem, but I would suggest a Circle Pad Pro instead, or just avoiding the nub altogether. The controls are tricky enough as it is and take a bit of getting used to without the headache of using the damn thing. There also is another control system for people without either that works almost as well as the Circle Pad Pro. You’re spoilt for choice.

I really struggled early on with Monster Hunter Generations, but I’m glad I kept with it. I got an immense amount if satisfaction from its gameplay loop, but it’s worth noting that the pay off is proportional to what you put in. If you’re a fan of the Monster Hunter series, I’m sure you’ve already made your choice; enjoy playing. If you’ve never experienced a Monster Hunter game before and wondering if this is a good place to start, I can tell you you’re in for a hell of a ride. It certainly won’t be easy, but if you stick it, the RPG can be incredibly rewarding.

Monster Hunter Generations was reviewed using a promotional code on 3DS, as provided by the publisher.

 

Review: Monster Hunter Generations
8 out of 10

The good

  • Incredibly rewarding.
  • Arts looks amazing.
  • Hours of entertainment.

The bad

  • Walls of text.
  • Controls are tricky at first.
  • Gameplay can be daunting to newcomers.

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