The New and The Nostalgia
Throwbacks to older games are nothing new to the Monster Hunter series. Even if it just means including monsters from earlier games. Generations turns up that throwback into full blown nostalgia.
The game includes multiple villages like Monster Hunter 4U, but only the first village, Bherna, is new to the game. Kotoko is from the original Monster Hunter, Pokke appeared first in Freedom 2, and Yukumo in Portable 3rd. Even outside of that there will be character appearances from different games, the Moga Chief and his son from Tri and 3 Ultimate, the Caravaneer from 4 Ultimate and more.
The areas to hunt in are mostly updated versions of old areas. The updated are mostly to accommodate for the mounting mechanic that was introduced in 4 Ultimate. The updates simply adds ridges to jump from in areas that were flat. Other improvements open up climbing portions to the areas that had none before. And past that, the visual updates of improved textures make the areas look amazing.
Even the upgrade system feels to have some throwbacks to the old. This is one that I could have done without. The weapon upgrade system now involves leveling up a weapon. Before it would simply be upgraded into a new weapon. Now to get those new weapons, you’ll need to level up the weapon to higher levels to unlock the other weapon upgrades. And then those other weapons might be weaker than the one you’ve been leveling up! I’ve played most of my game with the weapon I started with at the beginning of the game.
Some upgrades require specific materials, and then, on top of that, a material cost must be met. For example, one weapon I had required 3 Fire Herbs. So I gathered those and got enough, but then I also had to give 3 of my Earth Crystals to get the upgrade. I feel like I’m using twice the number of items as before. In addition to the materials, the upgrade will still cost zenny. Despite the fact that it is much less in that case. One of my joys was building up my weapons to the most powerful version of that branch. To get a newly upgraded weapon or forge the new weapon for the first time once was enjoyable. Now, even when I do that, I can’t use it. The weapon is too low in attack power and sharpness to combat the level of monsters I’m hunting.
Happily, this system was not fully put onto the armor sets. The armor upgrades stick to using Armor Spheres. After Armor Sphere+, there will be an upgrade that has a require material cost but doesn’t call for using any Armor Spheres, too. So there are points where the system mimics the weapon upgrades. Overall, it has a much more standard system.
The big new addition to the series in this game was the Hunter Style and Arts. I was concerned when I was forced to choose which Hunter Style and Arts right off the bat after the character creation. I went with Guild, but to my relief, the style and arts can be switched at any time. It took a while for me to see any value in these. I didn’t really start to use them until hitting the 4 Star Quests, and even then it was rare. Still, this feature is something that I do not feel adds anything productive to the gameplay. I won’t say it isn’t useful to have a super charged move, get extra pials for my Charge Blade, and some extra healing if needed. It just doesn’t have the impact as a game changer like the mounting feature.
To the quest system, the game only goes to Low and High Rank level quests. I was originally disappointed in the absence of G Rank. Tri had a similar structure of only going to High Rank, and that game ended up being much shorter to get through everything. Generations corrects Tri’s short coming. While it doesn’t open up to G-Rank, there are near double the quests you would normally find. The 1 star quests are short, but there are 5 pages of 2 star quests to be completed. The average is usually 1 or 2 pages of quests, so Generations doubles that. And even as you go up, there is at least 5 pages of quests for each star level. Many of the quests come from requests of villagers from any of the 4 villages. You’ll gain points for each village each time one is completed and then reported back to the person that made the request. And these examples are just from the offline portion, the online 1 star quests have 4 pages worth. Even without G Rank, there is still a lot to accomplish.
This includes the Palico quests. Another addition to Generations is the ability to play as one of your Palicos. By going to the Palico board, you can place one in the role of a Prowler. Your human character will be gone upon undertaking these quests, and then you can control one of your cat companions. There are specific quests for being in control of them, so you can’t just decide to hunt anything while in Prowler Mode. But it does give a break from the normal quests. And give more purpose in getting better armor for the Palicos.
As I said at the top of this article, this game is the new and the nostalgia. But there is good and bad with this mix. The good of the nostalgia is throwing back to older villages and areas, but the bad comes in a flawed weapon upgrade system that is overly complex and ultimately less satisfying. The newly introduced monsters and village was great. The Prowler mode was a cute addition that gave something to mix up the gameplay and offered a different challenge. However, the Hunter Style addition ended up being nothing I would miss if removed from later titles, feeling more like a way to make the game easier than a mechanic to the hunts. In all, the game feels like it is the developers testing the waters of ideas, but they pulled from their older games to give something to the long time players of the series.