Monster Hunter Generations
We can’t quite credit that anyone in Japan hasn’t yet encountered Monster Hunter, but evidently Capcom still believes it can cast its net a little wider. Admittedly, this may be with an eye to winning over the western players that, despite the best efforts of Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate, still find the series to be abstruse or esoteric. Capcom’s solution is something of a charm offensive, this time offering the irresistible opportunity not only to be joined on a hunt by Felyne allies, but also to play as one. An early difference you’ll notice is that their health bar can be depleted three times before they faint, meaning that, yes, only when new weapon types, seasoned hunters might well wonder what’s in it for them. Happily, four new Hunter styles invite the devoted to get experimental with their favourites, or perhaps try something new. Guild style plays most similarly to Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate, while Striker is a simpler approach, more akin to Freedom Unite. Adept is geared towards those with the keenest eyes for reading enemy tells, rewarding successful evades with a bonus dependent upon the weapon type. And where before only the Insect Glaive allowed hunters to mount enemies without leaping from a ledge, the Aerial style lets you launch a jump attack from a dodge roll. There’s an additional gauge to keep an eye on, too. Hunter Arts add further strategic wrinkles to combat: lucky Strikers can equip three at once, while Guild players get two, and Adept and Aerial hunters are given one apiece. These range from general skills to weaponspecific abilities: Metal Body, for example, prevents you from running, but ensures monster attacks won’t cause you to flinch. Hammer wielders might prefer a Typhoon Trigger to send them into a deadly spin, while Orchestra Soul allows horn users to convey a range of buffs by playing all their songs simultaneously. The Gunblade’s Blast Dash might be the most thrilling of the lot: you’ll fire away from your target to launch yourself towards it, slamming the business end of your weapon down in a gratifying final flourish.
Otherwise it’s a matter of minor variations on existing themes. You’ll now fly between areas via hot-air balloon (the presence of a Flight Cattendant who “apurreciates” our custom proves the punning remains strong) while the village bistro now has a fondue fountain to dip your pre-quest meal into.
A summer launch gives us a few months to brush up on our Charge Blade and Longsword techniques, but Generations’ number of refinements should ensure its predecessor no longer deserves its superlative suffix.
Generations has no fewer than four signature monsters. No prizes for guessing which prehistoric creature Gammoth most resembles, though as the largest Fanged Beast to date, its size at least is noteworthy. Glavenus, meanwhile, wields its huge tail like a Greatsword, while the other two are more physically distinctive. Astalos is a wyvern that is almost insectoid in appearance, with a set of jagged tail pincers and butterfly wings. And then there’s the elegant Mizutsune: part serpent, part fox, it has fur and beautiful, fin-like appendages, and attacks by spitting powerful jets of water. It’s also capable of producing saponaceous bubbles that can slow a hunter’s movement while allowing the beast to move quicker across land; it arrests its momentum by digging its claws into the ground.