Despite borrowing significant content from previous games in the franchise, Monster Hunter Generations is faster, flashier, and more satisfying than ever. If you weren’t into Monster Hunter before, however, Generations won’t do much to win you over.
What Is It?
The Monster Hunter series has a history of releasing expanded versions, known as Ultimate versions in the West, between major releases. Monster Hunter Generations is basically an Ultimate version of the entire series. It includes locations, monsters, and equipment from the previous four main entries with only a handful of brand new additions.
This isn’t just a cheap re-release in disguise, though. Revisiting older content with the vastly improved combat and ease-of-use features of Generations changes the experience enough to feel more like seeing an old friend than rehashing the same material.
Why Should I Care?
The additions to combat are fantastic. The sheer variety of choices in combat were already staggering, with fourteen different weapon types that each feel significantly different, but the addition of four Hunter Styles offers even more variety. Any weapon type can be used with any Hunter Style, and each weapon type is balanced differently depending on the chosen Style.
Guild Style is classic Monster Hunter with little change other than the addition of Hunter Arts, which are new special moves that unlock as you land attacks on monsters. Some Arts are specific to certain weapon types, while others are universal. They’re a great addition to the formula that provides yet another tool during combat.
Striker Style allows three Hunter Arts to be equipped while limiting some functionality of weapon types to maintain balance. Since some Arts are designed to be used in conjunction with each other, this is the only Style that fully utilizes the Arts system.
Aerial Style changes the dodge mechanic to a short leap. A dodge towards any monster or ally causes you to vault into the air to strike from above. This Style revolves around the mounting mechanic, which returns mostly unchanged from Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate. Like Striker Style, some other mechanics are limited in order to balance against the ease of vaulting.
Adept Style revolves entirely around timed dodges and counterattacks. It’s by far my favorite Style and creates some incredibly satisfying moments. For example, the Longsword is traditionally powered up by landing the last hit of a particular combo on a monster. In Adept Style, however, that combo can’t be triggered without first dodging a monster’s attack and getting in close for a counterattack. Dodging feels amazing—with proper timing, your character leaps through the attack in a whirlwind and comes out the other side sprinting for a few paces. If you attack during the sprint, you unleash a counterattack, which is generally a more powerful version of a normal attack. Given that you’re invulnerable during a properly timed dodge, it makes for some incredible close-quarters combat with a great sense of risk and reward.
What Makes It Worth My Time And Money?
Although Generations isn’t actually an Ultimate version, it has just as much content as one. It lacks post-game G-rank content, but Capcom has already announced the Ultimate version of this game in Japan, which is where G-rank will be introduced. Even without it, though, Generations can provide hundreds of hours of play for those who want it.
The new monsters, although few, are fantastic, including a dinosaur with a sword as a tail that sharpens it by grinding it through its teeth. Some of the old monsters have new attacks and improved animations that make them feel a little fresher, as well.
The bottom line is that Generations is a game for Monster Hunter veterans. The first few hours are still a bit of a slog, and the overall pacing of the unlockable features is odd. However, the new combat mechanics are clearly designed for veterans who want to master new aspects of the game if the basics of the weapon types are old hat.
Monster Hunter Generations isn’t as tight of a package as Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate, but it’s good to see Capcom is try new things in such a popular franchise. In this case, it definitely paid off.