Monster Hunter Generations is upon us! I have picked up my copy! But for those of you that have never played, or maybe played one of the older titles but haven’t gotten one of the more recent games, this isn’t a guide that will teach you how to play. Simply put, I will be sharing my experience, love and some observations of the series, which might spark your own interest.
I’ve mentioned in my review of Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate that this series is what sparked my use of the tag “Xaliv”. So that is just one of the reasons it holds a place in my heart.
Let me say that my introduction to this series was odd. I had barely seen the commercials for Monster Hunter Tri for the Wii when my friend informed me they were playing it. The main detail they informed me of was that they were killing cats, which sounds horrible out of context. It was during a trip to their house that they showed me the game and gave me a clear view as to what it was really about. And as for the cats, they were Melynx that would steal items from you if you didn’t kill them first or Felynx that would try to blow you up with bombs.
A short time following that, after hearing more details from other friends, I dove in as well. I learned that this spark of interest among the group that originally had banded around Super Smash Brothers Brawl was lit by one member. He had long since been into the series. Thanks to that first spark, I have played multiple installments of the series; Tri, 3 Ultimate, 4 Ultimate and even a brief time going back to play Freedom Unite.
So in a small way, this article is me hoping to spread his recruitment efforts.
Before I get too deep into why I enjoy this series, let me tell you what Monster Hunter is about:
Hunting Monsters. Not too complicated and the title gives it away. Monsters roam the world of these games and hunters are contracted through the Hunter Guild to deal with them. These contracts are done as quests with different goals and possibly sub-quest goals.
There are different types of quests: hunting, capturing and gathering. Hunts are usually marked for when killing monsters, whether multiple of the small enemies or taking on larger monsters. Some of the large monsters will also have capture quests where you need to catch them in a trap and tranquilize them. Finally, and hopefully the easiest, there’s the gathering quests. Gathering quests might involve killing small enemies and carving for their materials or just finding mushrooms and herbs. There can be some obstacles to these quests that are usually introduced in harder ranks of the game.
The Quests from the hunter’s guild are marked with Stars to show their difficulty. The ranks move from Low to High to G-Rank. The more stars, the more difficult the quest. With each rank, the monsters you fight will have more health and do more damage. G-Rank is not always included in games; Monster Hunter Tri only went as far as High Rank.
Even if High Rank is unlocked, there is still the option to play through Low Rank. And the same quest can be repeated multiple times. The materials given from monsters and gathering areas will also become more advanced because, just like the quests, armors will have Low, High, and G-Rank forms. That is some of the basics of the game’s structure, so now let me get into my love of the series.
Design with Heart
I have a few more reasons besides the sentimental value and playing with friends as to why I love this series. One would be the design of the monsters, armors and weapons. I wouldn’t consider Monster Hunter to be huge in its graphical feats. You will not see Monster Hunter leading graphical evolution as much as games like Final Fantasy might. The area textures are not perfect, despite still improving over the years. The areas, while important, seem to be in second place to the developers when it comes to getting the monsters, armors, and weapons modeled. And this isn’t a complaint. When facing down a large monster in a hunt, my eyes aren’t looking at the grass, thinking, “That’s not what grass looks like.” I’m focused on the monster that’s about to hit me with a fire ball.
As for the armor and weapons, the looks and designs of each are all fairly unique. Similar monsters usually get a similar design with mild changes. The monster Green Nargacuga will make armor look close to the regular form of the monster, just green. It isn’t the look alone what will change – stats will differ, too. But there will also be appearance and stat changes between building a Blademaster armor or a Gunner armor. Also, there are different appearances between male and female armors. I’ve had at least 3 of my male friends make female files due to liking the female armor sets more. Gunner armors can only be used with gunner weapons and vise-versa. Gunner armors are usually lower in defense because they are not as close to the monsters, so in theory, they’ll be out of range of most attacks.
After each new monster I hunt, I always enjoy running to the blacksmith to see what armor that monster’s materials looks like. I will admit that a majority of my personal armor choice come down to how they look. I will actively pursue armors that I think look cool, even if I have little chance of ever using them. I also tend to make full sets of armor, though it isn’t necessary to play the game. You can use the headpiece of one armor, the torso and arms of another, and the legs of the third to protect your character. Mixing and matching can allow you to maximize the armor skills of a set, with some skills being better with certain weapon types and play styles.
Getting more into weapons, there is a good variety to choose from, especially in the more recent titles. Eleven different blade options are available to choose from: Great Sword, Long Sword, Dual Swords, Sword and Shield, Lance, Gun Lance, Hammer, Hunting Horn, Switch Axe, Charge Blade, and Insect Glaive. Then if you’re up for the task of playing a gunner, there is the Bowgun that can be Heavy or Light, and the Bow. I have tried all these weapons at least once. And while my go to will remain with Charge Blade, I do find there is some advantages to variety, like using Hammers and Hunting Horns on certain monsters to stun them can make the fight go easier. Plus, it can give a break to the routine if, like me, you stick to one weapon.
This game has a lot of variety. Despite having the repetition of needing to fight a monster multiple times for their materials, how you fight and who you choose to fight multiple times is up to you. I’ve mentioned the variety with the weapons; there is also choice in who you grind for materials. I’ve had monsters that I’ve fought 50 times or more. I’ve had a monster that I’ve fought less than 10 times. You can breeze through levels to get to the more challenging areas of the game by focusing on Key Quests over finishing every quest. Key Quests will be what is needed to unlock ‘Urgent Quests’ to get to more difficult levels and more difficult monsters and quests. There is a lot that can be done; whether you choose to do it all is up to you.
Lastly, this game is good for those who care about time, whether you’re looking to kill an hour or play all day. I’ve done both with these games. I’ve gone on long binge sessions, grinding for materials to get that final piece to make a new armor set or weapons; I’ve turned it on with a short time to play and crank out one or two quests before I need to be somewhere. I believe that Monster Hunter can have something for everyone.
Now It’s Your Turn
If hearing my passion for the game has made you curious, try out the Monster Hunter Generations demo. It’s totally free and will give you the chance to try out the different weapons. If you enjoy that despite the demo’s limitations, then pick up the full game when you have the chance. And if you see a “Xaliv” online, then that’s probably me. Happy Hunting!