The monsters have evolved! And I’m not talking pocket-monsters or some kind of digital equivalent, I’m talking straight out evolved — survived the former hunts and have now grown to be even more ruthless than they were previously. Ever since the third console installment to Capcom’s Action RPG series debuted on a Nintendo system via the Wii in 2009, Monster Hunter has seen a steady growth in success, both commercially and critically. With its new home now all-but-confirmed to be on Nintendo’s handheld equivalent for this current generation in the 3DS, Monster Hunter now has the audience as much the player-base to expand itself from that of a lone adventurer out tackling the need to take-down monsters on their own.
Monster Hunter Generations undeniably strives to get players working together — to build tactical relations and uncover more of the World bundled in the palm of either hand — this time round yet isn’t making any deliberate move away from the single-player experience the series has been respected for. Sure you can go off on your own and slay the big-nasties to your heart content, but seeing Capcom approach co-op in the way they’ve demonstrated thus far with Generations deserves some noticeable discussion. What’s more, with new gameplay mechanics such as attack Arts and further expanded-upon character perks to delve into, Generations feels exactly that: a culmination of different eras our multitude of character classes have emerged from.
To that end, Generations’ mix of fighters — though still confined to the traditional funnelling-down into priortizing armor/defense, weapons/attack — on top of the variety of weapons at one’s disposal to take into combat, are now added to by what is described as Hunting Arts. These moves require the player to wait for their moves to charge up before they can be activated. Once charged, these moves can be activate to deliver increased attributes such as higher damage, buffs and even healing nearby allies at the cost of a cool-down shortly thereafter. On top of this, the game also introduces a system called Hunting Styles. Hunting Styles act as alternate modes for selected weapons with each weapon having four base forms.
Regardless of what traits you pick or even which weapons you prioritise, Generations — like previous iterations before it — are about maintaining patience and keeping check on how your fellow players are doing in the field of battle. That’s not implying Monster Hunter is somehow degrading into a stat-heavy, numerically-dictated simulator of sorts where percentages and success rates take away from the core mechanics on show. More it’s crucial to keep tabs on how the battle is proceeding at present, as much as it’s working out how to better accompany fellow players’ own choices when suiting up before a big battle.
You will of course find certain monsters will try and evade you when near-death and as always the sectioned-off aspect of the game’s overworld will mean players will find keeping track of your soon-t0-be-defeated prey as important as maintaining their own state of consciousness. Beyond this though and it’s up to the player to reap the materials and rewards left in order to further upgrade your character’s tools and clothing — a comfort to know Monster Hunter remains focused on keeping responsibility firmly in the player’s hands. We won’t have long to wait to find out how extensive or even complex this latest outing’s crafting system will fair compared to previous offerings. Monster Hunter Generations is out July 15 on 3DS in both North America and Europe.