I am a pretty big Monster Hunter player. My first experience with the series was with Monster Hunter Tri on Wii before moving on to the 3DS games 3 Ultimate and 4 Ultimate. So I have a good bit of history with the series, and when it comes to Monster Hunter Generations (the localised version of Monster Hunter X) I’ve been looking forward to it. Recently, I was able to get play a demo of the game at a Capcom hands-on event in London.
For the uninitiated, in the Monster Hunter series you play the role of a hunter that tracks down large beasts in various environments by going on quests. This can be done alone with two AI companions or up to 3 other players. The gameplay revolves around using different weapons, items, and traps to either slay or capture it. Monsters do not have any kind of visible health or stamina bar, everything about hunting comes down to learning the monster’s attacks, tells, and behaviour and taking advantage of that as well as which status effects and elemental attacks are effective. After a monster is defeated, parts can be carved from it to create and upgrade better weapons and armour to fight the stronger monsters.
The demo had three monsters to tackle; the Great Maccao, the Nargacuga, and the Glavenus. The first was a simpler beginner quest. The Great Maccao has fewer powerful attacks than the others with lengthier, more obvious tells to its actions. The Nargacuga was the intermediate quest. It is a popular returning monster from previous games, a flying wyvern that is like a big cat. It moves quickly and has to be watched for a successful hunt. Finally the Glavenus is a huge T-rex-like monster with a lot of power. It uses its tail like a flint to incinerate hunters as well as create extremely strong spinning attack when it’s enraged. Glavenus was the expert monster and is difficult to defeat. Once the quest was chosen, it was time to choose from 14 pre-set weapon load outs. The weapons each have their own playstyle to suit players with both melee and ranged weapons available. After that came time to select a Hunting Style, a new feature to Generations that changes the way the game plays.
Guild style is the familiar Monster Hunter gameplay. A good place to learn the game and how it plays. Each weapon has a number of different vertical and horizontal attacks (using the X and A buttons) that can be combed into in different ways depending on the weapons set. Items to heal, buff, and otherwise assist can be used with Y (when your weapon isn’t drawn). The B button is used to dodge while the R button is used to run and other weapon actions, while L is used to centre the camera and navigate through the items. The Guild Style also comes with two Hunter Arts. These are specials moves that can used after filling a meter on the touchscreen while fighting a monster. They can be used as soon as their meter is full
This style is made to be aggressive. It removes some actions from weapons with the payoff being that 3 Hunter Arts can be equipped to use. Arts also become ready to use faster than the other styles. When playing this style the idea is to use Hunting Arts as much as possible. I found it quite fun even with its limitations. Definitely for players who want to pile on the pressure and look good doing it.
In this style, the usual rolling dodge is replaced with a jump. When the jump connects with something, be it a monster, the environment or even another hunter, you will vault of it to gain a bit of height. After that you can use an aerial attack. The focus of Aerial Style is doing damage by mounting the monster. The mounting mechanic returns from Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate, where it was possible with jumping attacks to get on a monster’s back to do damage and send it to the ground for others to attack. Aerial Style also only can equip one Hunting Art. It can be easy to get carried away when playing this style. However, it is really fun an effective (especially on larger monsters such as the Glavenus).
Being adept at this style is all about the Perfect Evade. Dodging a monster’s attack at the right time activates this skill, which is shown with a flash and unique animation. After activating, a hunter will running quickly in a chosen direction. This is useful for closing the distance on a monster or getting away from it as necessary. The Perfect Evade also gives a number of offensive actions that can be used at the end of the run. Again, this style equips one Hunting Art.
The final new addition is Prowler Mode. In this mode, you control a Felyne (a small bipedal cat that have various roles in the series) to go on hunts. Prowlers have a number of unique actions to use on hunts. These can be used for damage on a monster and support for other players. They can also revive themselves twice when running of HP before being carted back to camp (after 3 carts a quest fails). Prowler mode is intended as a more beginner friendly option and is viable option for players as they can be used on any quest in the game.
Overall, Monster Hunter Generations is looking like a great game. It has made some good changes to the series formula creating a nice variety to the gameplay. It is still a fantastic multiplayer experience with feeling of teamwork and accomplishment when a monster is defeated. The full game should be well worth playing on it’s release.
Monster Hunter Generations is released on July 15th on 3DS
Cover image from Official Monster Hunter Facebook page