Though massively popular in its Japanese homeland — Uniqlo has a whole line of Monster Hunter T-shirts and hoodies alongside its Pixar and Star Wars gear — the 36 million-selling action-RPG Monster Hunter series that launched on PS2 a dozen years ago has always attracted more of a cult following in the West.
That's something of a boon for Generations, which mashes up the past decade of portable Monster Hunter games. Alongside the new creatures, weapons and locales are "returning fan-favourites" to the extent that, of the four villages, only one is new; the other three are old haunts.
I'm normally put off by recycling assets, even in iterative exercises like this, but as the old-timey network TV saying goes, it's not a rerun if it's new to you. Monster Hunter Generations is like that Weeknd compilation of his first three mixtapes, which gathered up his output to date for an unfamiliar audience.
The gameplay, while updated to amp up the action and increase customization, is seemingly as minimalist as the title — you travel to various villages and hunt the monsters plaguing them.
But the game, which can be played solo or with up to three other hunters in local or online mode, requires considerable effort to wrangle its intricate mechanics. The learning curve can be steep, but the more you dig, the more expansive and complex the game becomes.
The micromanagement required to master the new hunter-arts moves and hunting styles sets, upgrade your weaponry and armour and win the endless boss battle quests is not for the casual gamer, but for those willing to put in the time, it can be a rewarding hunt. This particular game, like an "all-new, all-different" Marvel reboot, is geared toward welcoming in new players.
Veterans will be happy with a package that may be familiar but is also comprehensive and boasts combat tweaks that subtly improve the mechanics and plenty of gear to satisfy that jones.
Meanwhile, the net effect for franchise newbies is something like watching the Tragically Hip play a small venue in the U.S. — you get to enjoy a fresh experience but with the production values of an established arena act. (Capcom)