Monster Hunter Generations 3DS Review: All the Hits

Capcom assembles the best Monster Hunter content, new and old, for the most refined and accessible take on the formula to date.

Review by Bob Mackey, .

For as much as long-running series have pushed me away with their inability to innovate, there's a certain value in how committed Monster Hunter has been to its singular premise.

On the surface, Monster Hunter hasn't changed very much since its PlayStation 2 debut in 2004. Over a decade later, the core experience essentially remains the same: You suit up appropriately, bring along the right items, and journey through an environment split into multiple chunks to track, pursue, and eventually kill (or trap) one of many massive beasts. By not deviating from this premise, Capcom has been able to steadily improve Monster Hunter in a number of small-but-important ways, all while doubling down on the impressive (and intimidating) amount of depth the series thrives on.

And the latest installment, Monster Hunter Generations, fills the same role as other Monster Hunter sequels by making all preceding games in the series irrelevant with its many improvements. If the meticulous planning and methodical combat of Monster Hunter turned you off in the past, though, Generations won't do much to change your mind.

Thrill of the Hunt

If you've never played a Monster Hunter game, it's essentially an RPG—though one that plays by its own set of rules. Instead of leveling up your character, Monster Hunter revolves around crafting and improving sets and armor and weapons in order to grow more powerful. And, since most of the best equipment comes from the parts of monsters you're tasked with fighting, much of the experience involves rumbling with the same creatures over and over in order to build your dream loadout. While brute force can get you through most of the earlier encounters, equipping gear that can negate status effects and lessen elemental attacks—and take advantage of enemy weak points—soon becomes a necessity.

Monster Hunter's combat feels straight out of a fighting game in that each of its many weapon types have their own movesets, combos, and special abilities, and simple button-mashing can only get you so far. Seeing as most weapons are roughly the size of your character (or larger), successfully connecting with a monster requires a bit of planning, as well as familiarity with said monster's hitboxes and your weapon's various animations. Above all, Monster Hunter's battles are about endurance: While some of the early hunts may take you only 15-20 minutes, felling some of the bigger, more dangerous creatures—even when playing in a group of four—can bring you within minutes of the hour-or-so you're generally given for every hunt. And while spending upwards of 60 minutes fighting a single enemy may seem a little excessive to Monster Hunter outsiders, few experiences in gaming beat the dopamine rush that happens whenever someone lands that last hit and the triumphant music starts playing.

New Tricks

Monster Hunter Generations goes to some lengths to welcome new players without compromising its central idea. "Prowler Mode," in which players take the role of a Felyne (Monster Hunter's cat race), allows newcomers to get a taste of the Monster Hunter experience, but with fewer of the limitations—think of it as the "bumper bowling" version of Monster Hunter. In general, Capcom has done a fine job of making Generations more intuitive than previous installments by incorporating a host of tiny changes and adjustments too numerous to list in a single review (though I touched on some of them in this article). Make no mistake, though: Even if many things in Monster Hunter have been made more convenient, it's still an incredibly complex video game. Generations includes a handful of training quests to walk beginners through the basics, but those fresh to Monster Hunter should still consult a beginner's guide or a friendly veteran of the series before rolling up their sleeves and jumping in.

By far, Generations' biggest change comes in the form of Styles, which allow you to slightly tweak your moveset. There's one that's essentially classic Monster Hunter, one that allows you to use an additional Hunter Art—new passive and active moves that can be activated after charging a meter—one that allows you to jump at any time during combat, and one that enables you to pull off powerful counterattacks if you read a monster correctly and strike at the right time. The Aerial Style definitely makes for the most interesting of the bunch, as your new jumping ability essentially allows you to mount a monster at any time, instead of having to lure them to a cliffside and jump onto their backs from a higher elevation. Even with these additions, I felt comfortable rolling with the standard Monster Hunter Style—though I imagine more adventurous hunters will have a great time playing around with the more experimental ones.

Something Old, Something New

With "Generations" being part of its title (in English, anyway), this latest Monster Hunter isn't really hiding the fact that a good portion of its content is recycled—albeit improved. And while that would be an issue with most other games, Monster Hunter has always had a habit of bringing back fan favorites while gradually introducing new creations. Plus, so much of the core experience of Monster Hunter is built around repetition that I didn't really bat an eye at fighting, say, another Tetsucabra despite killing a dozen of them in last year's 4 Ultimate. And that's a testament to just how well Generations' battles work: It doesn't necessarily matter what you're fighting, since it's always always a rewarding affair—especially if you get some juicy drops as a result.

Even if I only got into Monster Hunter with 2013's 3 Ultimate, after playing nearly 300 hours of the series in my lifetime, I've yet to be fatigued by Capcom's hardcore RPG experience. Granted, it'd be fun to see Capcom get a little experimental with Monster Hunter by dropping the segmented zones in favor of singular, large area for players to hunt in, but their devotion to improving a somewhat antiquated design has led to a series that can only get better with every sequel. And that's exactly the case with Monster Hunter Generations: Veterans get a superior version of the experience they love, while newcomers have a chance to break into the series with an installment that's somewhat more welcoming. Monster Hunter may not be for everyone, but if it's for you, it doesn't get any better than Generations.

The Nitty Gritty

  • Interface: Monster Hunter's interface remains as complex and intimidating as ever, though it becomes nearly second nature once you get over the learning curve.
  • Lasting appeal: Frankly, there's so much to do in Monster Hunter Generations—and so many ways to do it—you could probably play it forever. Or, at the very least, until the next sequel.
  • Sound: Generations' battle themes provide the perfect accompaniment for epic fights against giant monsters, which each have their own unique roars, grunts, and screams.
  • Visuals: Even though it's working within the limitations of the five-year-old 3DS, Monster Hunter Generations still looks great, and manages to keep important elements visually distinct.

Keeping with the tradition of Monster Hunter sequels, Generations doesn't rock the boat. Instead, it doubles down on the core formula, while tweaking several existing features to make them much friendlier. Overall, it's an experience designed for Monster Hunter veterans—but one that also extends a helping hand to newcomers.

4.5 /5

Monster Hunter Generations 3DS Review: All the Hits Bob Mackey Capcom assembles the best Monster Hunter content, new and old, for the most refined and accessible take on the formula to date. 2016-07-12T13:00:00-04:00 4.5 5

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Comments 22

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  • Avatar for TernBird #1 TernBird 2 years ago
    I'm so excited for this game. I really want to jump into the Aerial Style; jumping is my favorite mechanic in Ultimate, and it was the greatest of fortune that my favorite weapon (lances) were made to take advantage of it. Can't wait to see how Generations takes advantage of it.

    BTW, sorry if this is rude, but it'd be nice if Bob cut out the "And"s at the beginning of his sentences. It makes the entire thing read like it's one big run-on statement.
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  • Avatar for moochan #2 moochan 2 years ago
    Je Suis Monte!

    Let the hunt begins again!

    Wonder what weapon I'll be using this time. 3U I was mostly Hammer and 4U I was Great Sword. Maybe Dual Blades will be my choice.
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  • Avatar for admiralsnackbar #3 admiralsnackbar 2 years ago
    Gimme gimme gimme gimme!

    The devs are going to be at the NYC Nintendo Store on Thursday. Gonna wait in line for far to long to get them to sign my 3DS!
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  • Avatar for bobservo #4 bobservo 2 years ago
    @TernBird Sorry, but it's totally cool to start a sentence with "and" in our current descriptivist utopia.
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  • Avatar for TheWildCard #5 TheWildCard 2 years ago
    Monster Hunter is a series I've tried to get into but have bounced off in every previous attempt. Might give it another try the next time it appears on something besides the 3DS.
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  • Avatar for manny_c44 #6 manny_c44 2 years ago
    @TheWildCard Same here I just can't really ever get into them. However I really want to like it, I like everything about it (except the multiplayer focus--)...maybe this will be the one! I will give it a shot at least!
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  • Avatar for chaoticBeat #7 chaoticBeat 2 years ago
    I am definitely a would-be fan that has never quite clicked with the previous entries.
    I am hesitant to get this because of the skin deep level I played 4U.
    I would love a super fancy version of Monster Hunter on the NX. Capcom would have the potential to create scores of new fans with it.
    Finally, just a thought, but a Monster Hunter X SoulsBourne game would be incredible...
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  • Avatar for KaiserDurdenEX #8 KaiserDurdenEX 2 years ago
    Can't wait to return to Yukumo village ...back to the hunt.
    My 3DS has transformed into the designated MH machine.

    Still playing MH3U and MH4U till Friday.
    Party up: 2509-5402-9302
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  • Avatar for frobakikan #9 frobakikan 2 years ago
    Deleted July 2016 by frobakikan
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  • Avatar for Hero-Protagonist #10 Hero-Protagonist 2 years ago
    This is probably a stupid question, but is it possible to solo this game?

    I'd love to play the series but none of my friends are into handhelds.
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  • Avatar for daysofstatic65 #11 daysofstatic65 2 years ago
    @Hero-Protagonist I'm in the exact same boat. As an alternative, does anyone know if I can form a party with randoms online without it negatively affecting the overall hunting experience?
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  • Avatar for moochan #12 moochan 2 years ago
    @Hero-Protagonist They are all soloable. But you might want to go to social sites and get people to play with you. The game goes from enjoyable to pure fun with the addition of more people. Also it makes farming monster parts faster with more people which means moving on to different monsters quicker.
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  • Avatar for himuradrew #13 himuradrew 2 years ago
    @Hero-Protagonist Yes it is possible. I've been doing MH4U all by my lonesome and it's doable.

    I can't wait for this game to come out. I'm actually not buying 7th Dragon no matter how much I want to because I know that when MHGen comes out, I won't be touching 7th Dragon for a very very long time.
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  • Avatar for brionfoulke91 #14 brionfoulke91 2 years ago
    @Hero-Protagonist It's a lot of fun in a group, but to be honest I've done the majority of my playing solo. Mainly because I don't like playing over the internet, so I only do groups with other players in person. It's a game that works perfectly well solo, and most of the time you can still get a lot done. And there's so much content that you'll easily get your money's worth.
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  • Avatar for TernBird #15 TernBird 2 years ago
    @Hero-Protagonist I played the entirety of Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate all on my own, and I got a significant amount of progress in Monster Hunter 4 done all on my own. The game is so much better if you play in a group, like you wouldn't believe, but it's perfectly accessible to play on your own.
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  • Avatar for bobservo #16 bobservo 2 years ago
    @Hero-Protagonist It's pretty easy to jump into a game with randos.
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  • Avatar for grappler51 #17 grappler51 2 years ago
    Always wanted to check out this series, and this looks to be a good place to jump on! Just worried I'm gonna get sucked in and ignore all my other half-completed games...
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  • Avatar for himuradrew #18 himuradrew 2 years ago
    It's going to release at 9:00AM PST on Friday. Just a few more hours.. :)

    As a side note: I think Gamecenter CX should do an episode where Shinya Arino attempts to play Monster Hunter. ;)
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  • Avatar for Minmat #19 Minmat 2 years ago
    Awesome game. Looks at plays well even on my normal 3DS.
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  • Avatar for Tommy88 #20 Tommy88 2 years ago
    So is this for 3DS exclusive? That would be a shame. I wanted my next purchase to be Xbox One but it seems the big money spender needs to wait. I like this game too much just to turn my head ;)

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  • Avatar for Zenbojay #21 Zenbojay 2 years ago
    I have played every Monster Hunter to end game and loved every single one, this one is no exception. The quality of life improvements and the ability to play as a Palico are AMAZING!!!!!

    If you own a new 3DS XL, order a PSP 1000 analog stick nub replacement because it makes the game soooooo much easier to play.Edited September 2016 by Zenbojay
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  • Avatar for Fox-gamer2304 #22 Fox-gamer2304 A year ago
    I really want to jump into the Aerial Style; jumping is psn plus maio 2017 my favorite mechanic in Ultimate, and it was the greatest of fortune that my favorite weapon were jogos ps plus maio 2017 made to take advantage of it. Can't wait to see how Generations takes advantage of it. BTW, sorry if this is rude, but it'd be nice if Bob cut out the "And"s at the beginning jogos gratuitos psn maio 2017 of his sentences. It makes the entire thing read like it's one big run-on statement.Edited April 2017 by Fox-gamer2304
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  • Avatar for regular131 #23 regular131 4 months ago
    Is this also available on other platforms like PC etc, Visit this page for Property valuation in delhi by Government registered valuers for tax purposes.Edited June 2018 by regular131
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