Do you love relaxing trips into nature, to view the local wildlife, watch their habits, how they act, and then wonder how cool they would look as a suit of armor? In the Monster Hunter series, you can do just that, and Generations is a riveting installment into the franchise. In this title, you're actually getting a lot of the old, brought into a new light. Generations takes the premise of being a sort of crossover between the Monster Hunter franchise, giving you locations and monsters of games past, while mixing in some new monsters to boot.
One of the first things I noticed about Generations is that they made what you do just look better. Animations are, for the most part, tried and true, and they work perfectly fine. The real bread-and-butter of visual design is that they have greatly improved the VFX of the game. This includes stuff such as the ‘particles’ that appear when hitting something, from flames, ice, water, and general gunk, and best of all, the weapons. Upon swinging your sword, hammer, or lance, you're treated to wonderfully vibrant and active animations drawn alongside your weapon, that give your actions some extra power behind them, and gives your weapon a much more defined arc. On top of this, the UI has been overhauled to look much more pleasant, and stand out where needed. As usual, you can customize your bottom screen as you see fit, including being able to choose what UI you’d like for your hunter arts - from having them all three shown horizontally or vertically, or have a single one shown at a time, being able to scroll between other arts via arrows. Only thing I wish is that they had an option to show just two - either horizontally or vertically - to be more efficient for the Guild Style.
Speaking of, one of the biggest features added into the game is the addition of Hunter Arts, a new way to fight those big beasties. You get to choose between four different Hunter Styles, being Guild, Striker, Aerial, and Adept styles, all with different upsides and downsides. Some styles work better for certain weapons as compared to others. For example, Aerial isn’t very useful for a gunner, and is very useful for someone using Greatswords, Dual Blades, etc. The differences between Hunter Styles are movesets, dodges, and number of hunter arts available. Guild Style is the most ‘default’, and usually contains the most in terms of moveset, whilst only giving you two Hunter Arts to play with. This is good with pretty much any weapon, and makes a weapon feel most like they did in 4U, with some weapons having minor differences. Striker Style usually removes or changes some moves, but gives you 3 Hunter Arts, and makes them charge quicker. This is best for weapons that have multiple powerful Hunter Arts, and don’t lose anything important to you in terms of moveset. It’s good on Long Swords, Great Swords, Sword and Shield, and a few others, but is inefficient on the Large Bowgun, due to it losing crouching fire, and may be worse for others depending on your playstyle. It’s also weak on weapons like the Insect Glaive, due to it not having powerful arts or a good moveset, losing combo potential, which lowers the DPS drastically, only making it slightly easier to harvest.
The Aerial Style is an interesting one, because it turns your dodge into a jump dodge, and if you press the dodge button again mid-air, you can bounce off of a monster to enable different moves in the air, and have an opportunity to mount. The downsides to this style are that you lose moves, only have access to a single Hunter Art, and turn most signature moves on weapons into ones you can only activate in the air. For example, the Greatsword can’t charge on the ground anymore, and must be done mid-air, the Long Sword can only do its Spirit Blade mid-air, and can only special draw mid-air, and the Charge Axe loses its combo into Sword Form through the forward slash. It’s good on the Gunners as a style in general, because none of them lose anything other than the forward dodge, but it’s not the most efficient since you shouldn’t be spending much time trying to mount as a gunner, and you don’t have anything necessarily strong that you can do mid-air as one either. For some weapons it’s a good choice, such as the Insect Glaive, which turns its vault into a forward vault, which lets you close gaps or dodge more easily than with the default vault. In exchange, you still have the potential to mount from anywhere.
The final Hunter Style is Adept, which is one of the most powerful, if you don’t mind losing most of your Hunter Arts and some of your moveset. Like Aerial, you only have access to a single Hunter Art if you make use of this Hunter Style. You also lose some easier moves to pull off, and some weapons combo slightly weaker in normal combat. However, you receive a powerful ability - the Adept Roll. This gives you a higher set of invincibility frames during your roll, equatable to having Evade +2 slotted into your armor, and gives you a chance to counter attack, if you dodge ‘perfectly’. If, during any of your roll i-frames, you would be hit by an attack, you instantly dodge farther than normal, then run in a given direction, and you gain a bonus effect or attack, depending on what weapon you’re using. In example, the Long Sword can’t raise the spirit gauge through a Spirit Blade combo by using R repeatedly, but if you pull off one of these dodges, you have the chance to raise it by hitting a monster with the right attack. A bowgun will reload as soon as you perform a dodge like this, and increase your damage slightly for a short time. It’s a strong style, if you can use it properly, and don’t mind losing Hunter Arts. It’s usable on pretty much any weapon, but takes some time to get the feel of if you’re used to the weapons’ normal uses.
In Generations, you’ll find a lot of familiarity if you’re used to having played prior games in the series. As mentioned earlier, this is basically a compilation of past games, with areas and monsters brought back into the game that were previously removed the game prior, to make way for others. It’s an interesting take, and a great placeholder game until we get the series 5 games. However, one thing to note, is that it’s still, more or less, a 4th gen game, with the same engine as 4U, with previously mentioned additions. There are new monsters added in, however, enough to give a reasonably fresh experience, and stronger versions of previous monsters, which is a way of adding endgame difficulty, despite this not being a G-Rank entry. In odd fashion for the west, because we normally get every other entry, which always contains the G-Rank, but this time around, got the same game, just later. In place of G-Rank quests are Deviant monsters, which give an additional challenge to the monsters we’re used to fighting.
They have a unique appearance and fighting style, which makes you have to relearn fighting them. These are monsters that have survived previous Hunter encounters, and are hardened from this experience. The rewards for slaying these beasts are much greater, however, with special weapons and armor that give effects stronger than that of normal enemies. Weapons made from Deviant monsters charge the Hunter Arts faster than normal weapons, and the armor sets gain additional effects at level 6, in addition to what they normally give. One downside to this equipment is that you can’t slot your own abilities in, so you’re stuck with what they give, but they’re extremely powerful in their own rights, so if you can build around that, you’ll be a formidable force.
Overall, this game is a great entry into the series, with very few flaws. With the addition of Hunter Arts and Styles, you can customize your playstyle in a large variety of ways, with over 50 combinations of Hunter weapons and styles, not even counting Arts. With a few additions of new monsters, and a large selection of older beasties, there’s more than enough content for this game to be a flagship title, and it’s certainly a must-buy for anyone that loves Monster Hunter, and definitely worth looking into if you don’t already love the series. With a wonderful set of visual upgrades, and even some new challenges to overcome, there’s no reason not to pick this game up.
Article by Chris H.