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Monster Hunter Generations

Score: 85%
ESRB: Teen
Publisher: Capcom
Developer: Capcom
Media: Download/1
Players: 1; 2 - 4
Genre: Action/ RPG

Graphics & Sound:

Monster Hunter Generations is all about fighting monsters to gain loot, so you can improve your equipment in order to fight bigger monsters for better loot. Generations adds a few new features to the series that give players more flexibility in how their hunter fights, and with that comes a greater level of depth to the fighting itself, but it also adds to the learning curve for anyone trying out the series for the first time with this game.

Monster Hunter Generations presents itself really well. Both visual and audio details are spot on and really help to draw you into the creature-filled world. While the various monsters are the centerpiece of Monster Hunter's visuals, these beasts are not the only aspect of the game's graphics that are worth taking note. The variety in clothing and armor found in the game means that there is a lot of variety in the looks of the NPCs, and that same breadth of style gives your hunter a wide range of looks when it comes to outfitting it for the battleground.

The world of Monster Hunter Generations is also commendable. While the hunting grounds are broken up into many interconnected areas, the feeling of a vast wild world is easily conveyed by the transitions between each area's style and the openness that each location imparts.

Monster Hunter also has a very pleasing soundtrack. The background music sticks to the standard fantasy-film fare, which feels right at home given the nature of the game. Voice acting only comes in the form of various exclamations triggered during action, but Generations provides a ridiculous amount of options, both male and female, during the character creation stage, and none of them sound bad, it's just a matter of finding the right voice for your hunter.


Confession time: I haven't played a Monster Hunter game before Generations. As a result, this review will definitely be from the perspective of a new player who hasn't been watching the series evolve over the years.

Monster Hunter Generations doesn't have much of a story, and what attempt at a story there is seems to only be an excuse to send you out in the wild to kill or trap monsters. I guess that's the life of a professional monster hunter, though. The good news is, you get to keep most of the spoils of your kills. Sure the NPC that has sent you out on the quest might be looking for something in particular, but the rest of the loot is yours.

While these random drops can be a wide variety of things, what you, as a monster hunter, really want are the various materials necessary to upgrade your weapons and armor to make your character stronger. Of course, as a stronger hunter, you gain access to tougher quests, but tougher quests yield more valuable loot to make your equipment even stronger. The game quickly falls into this cycle, and while there are times when it can get a bit repetitive, those wanting to work their way up to the most bad-ass armor will find enough variety in the quests to keep the game from feeling like too much of a grind.

There isn't a lot of story to drive your character from battle to battle, but what it has is an incredible number of quests. Upon unlocking the next tier of missions, the player is practically flooded by NPCs wanting your hero to go out into the world and perform various tasks. Some of these are required in order to get to the next level and harder missions, but those looking to milk every fight out of Monster Hunter Generations will have a lot of missions to work through before considering the game complete.

The Monster Hunter series takes an unusual approach to the action-RPG genre. Specifically, your character never really grows. Instead, it's the weapons, armor and skills that can be associated with the character that makes it a stronger hunter. This feels very odd to me, but there are some advantages to this approach. For instance, since you never apply points to a particular skill or weapon, you don't have to worry about your character getting locked into a specialty. It also means that you can essentially dress for the occasion and use the best weapons and skills for the quest you choose to tackle, but more on that later.

Generations adds several new features to the Monster Hunter series, two of these are Hunting Styles and Hunter Arts. The former changes your hunter's overall attack strategy, while the latter gives you special feats that can really help in a pinch, but have cool down times to help balance out their powerful nature.

There are four Hunting Styles: Guild, Striker, Aerial and Adept. Guild apparently lets the character act similar to how the previous games played. Striker Style lets you assign more Hunter Arts than the others and lets those of us with less experience in the game get away with less technical skills. Aerial Style lets the hunter perform acrobatic feats to deal more damage, while Adept is all about mastering the timing of your moves in order to perform counterattacks. Each Style not only gives the hunter some different abilities, but it also allows for subtle changes in how each weapon is used, which just adds a massive amount of depth to finding the best Style/weapon combination for your quest.

As stated above, Hunter Arts are one-off moves that you use during combat that can either get you out of a tight situation or perform a devastating attack. Interestingly enough, Arts can either be generic enough that you can equip them regardless of the rest of your loadout, or specific to weapons, once again adding a new dimension to your character's fighting style.

Another new feature found in Monster Hunter Generations is that Palicoes aren't just NPCs anymore. There are special quests that let you take control of these catlike creatures. While they don't have quite the robust customization that human characters do, there is still a good bit of depth and variety when it comes to armoring and fighting as one of these creatures.

Generations offers both single player and multiplayer experiences. When you want to team up with other players, you either post a quest that you want others to join, or you join one that someone else has already set up. These quests have a lot of configuration options that range from required skill level to what the players are supposed to do once on the quest. The game also seems to handle what to do when there isn't a full four-person team available to play. If there aren't enough human players, then those participating can call upon their Palico companions to join in the fight. How many Palicoes per player is determined by the number of humans joining the quest.


Monster Hunter Generations is all about outfitting your fighter for the quest at hand. Since you aren't ever allotting points to any particular skillset like most RPGs, you don't have to worry about having specialized in a particular weapon or fighting style. This means that you can change everything out on your hunter, even the Hunting Style and Hunter Arts, and it becomes, essentially, a different type of fighter, just one with the personal experience of all of the battles that have come before.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that as soon as you open up a new level of missions, you can beat all of them without any effort. There will be some in the tier that are easier than others and some that are harder, but the only detail that really needs to change in order to get past those tougher missions is how well you've equipped your hunter.

Monster Hunter Generations is all about finding, or improving, the right loadout for the job. If a mission is too hard, reconsider the Style and Arts you have active. Maybe the weapon isn't the right tool for the job, or maybe you simply need to do some resource-gathering in order to improve the armor and weapons you have. I never found a quest that felt impossible, just one that I wasn't quite ready to take on.

Game Mechanics:

Here's where my lack of Monster Hunter experience could get me in trouble. I really don't like the combat mechanics of Monster Hunter Generations, and I don't know if it's objectively clunky, or if the issue is with me because I didn't play through and train myself on the older games.

In general, I don't have a problem with the combat mechanics found in Generations. It's you, your weapon, and your foe. Simple, clean, and typically good, as long as I either have two analog sticks (or Circle-Pads in this case), or a target-lock system. To me, there is nothing more frustrating in a hack-and-slash game than to kick off a combo attack only to miss the creature because I wasn't quite lined up with it or because it simple lumbered off just before I started my attack. This is especially sad in the early training quests when most of the monsters are big and slow.

With either more fluid camera control, or the ability to stay targeted on a particular monster, this annoying detail could be resolved. Instead, it left a sour taste in my mouth for a lot of the early quests. As you would expect, I eventually got better at the combat style of the game, but it still feels like it's a core feature that is lacking, and considering how important combat is to Monster Hunter Generations, it's a very noticeable one.

On a side note, Generations does support the Circle Pad Pro peripheral. I hope, but have not verified, that with the addition of a second Circle-Pad, my complaints would be resolved, but reliance on a peripheral isn't a good design strategy, not when there is a commonly used alternative like a lock-on system, that could be put in place.

That all being said, this fighting style might be the expected mechanics of the Monster Hunter series, especially since this isn't the line's first foray into the handheld market. If that's the expected and accepted experience, then it could very well be what fans of the games want, but it can be a hindrance and a learning curve for anyone coming into Monster Hunter with Generations.

Overall though, Monster Hunter Generations can be a fun game. The only thing that drives you to completing it is the desire to upgrade your equipment and to take on the different monsters, so if that is what you are looking for, this is the game for you.

-J.R. Nip, GameVortex Communications
AKA Chris Meyer

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