Let's Talk About: Monster Hunter (3U/4U/Gen/Rise)

If you've been following us for a while now, you'll be well aware that the Monster Hunter series is important to us. When MHRise was announced back in September, I was ecstatic, finally a brand new Monster Hunter for the Switch! We've already shared some thoughts on the demo version, but there's a few more talking point we'd like to touch on that touch back to some of the older games in the series.

I started the series with 3U for the 3DS, solo'd my way all the way up to G rank, then hit a wall. I then decided to buy a Wii U to get the Wii U version for online play, and that alone is the sole reason I don't regret buying a Wii U. After that, I played 4U and Generations on the 3DS, and Generations Ultimate on the Switch.

Each one of these games added something new to the series, which not only helped it feel fresh, but made them stand out from one another. 3U gave us underwater combat, which hasn't seen a return since, but it also introduced some incredible Monsters and Areas along with it. 4 Ultimate showed us that they're more than capable of telling a story (something the series had lacked so far), as well as the new mounting mechanic. Finally, Generations gave us Hunter Arts, which really changed up the gameplay a tonne.

Playing Rise - and having played the previous games - you can really tell they've taken what worked in these titles, and expanded upon them with the new mechanics introduced in World, to produce what looks like a really great game thus far. Still, there are a few things that were great additions to the previous titles that so far are missing from Rise, and it's something I'd like to talk about, since if these were included, Rise would very easily be the best game in the series.

So far, the new Monsters look nice, and are all unique in their own way. Since the start of the series, they've always had their generic starting Monster - the Dromes and Great Jaggi/Wroggi/Baggi - but they never really stood out that much, other than their unique elements. Every single one had a basic bite attack, and could spit an ailment at you. It wasn't until Generations when they introduced Great Maccao that they started changing how these basic Monsters fight, and seem to be expanding on that with Great Izuchi. At first, I was a little iffy on the whole Japanese aesthetic/Yokai design of the new Monsters, but they're really starting to grow on me. Looking at each one, they seem to offer something unique that hasn't been seen in the series thus far.

What I really want are those raid like quests. Fighting the Jhen family on the sandship, Dala'madur on the Speartip Crag, heck, even the small fight with Gore Magala on the in 4U was great. All these hunts make it feel like you're actually trying to defend your village, and the Battlequarter quests in Dundorma in 4U were amazing. Again, what we've seen of the Rampage and Stronghold, it really seems like they're trying to bring this feature back and expand on it, which makes me very excited. There's just something about these hunts that really raise the stakes.

I'm not entirely sure what the general consensus here it, but 4U was hands down the best game in the series so far. It had a tonne of Monster variety, story, unique designs and areas, tonnes of gameplay mechanics. There was just so much to do, and it was also the most user-friendly game in the series, making it much easier for new players to get into the game.

Speaking of story, Gore really did help add a tonne of layers to the MH universe. 3U tried with it's whole Moga Village earthquake, but it still really fell flat - you fought your way up to Lagiacrus, only to realize it wasn't the one causing the tremors, then you fight Ceadeus, the village is saved, the end. There is a little more story after the fight, but the vast majority of the story of 3U ends with Ceadeus. If they gave us more of a connection to Moga Village this could have worked better, but there really isn't a whole lot of speciality to Moga - the most notable feature is that it directly connects to the Deserted Isle, which in itself is just copied from the previous generation with Pokke Village. At least in 4U, you're part of a travelling group and you form bonds and connections with the characters and villages you visit - you even start the game off on the Sandship defending Val Habar from Dah'ren Mohran!

Then there's Generations... Now this was actually a really cool game. All the new Monsters were well designed, the Hunter Arts were great, and seeing all the old areas return was amazing, but something about it just felt flat. I'm not sure if that was just me, and I really did enjoying the hundreds of hours I poured in, but something felt off... Maybe it was the lack of "raid" fights, or even the minimal cutscenes and Monster introductions. The game was created as part of their anniversary celebrations, and was made to celebrate the series. They did give us some cool fights such as Lao Shan Lung, Nakarkos, the Fated Four, and Ahtal-Ka so it's not all bad, but you can really tell a lot of the story and unique hunts took a backseat for Deviants and the like here.

With the mystery surrounding Magnamalo still hidden, plus details about the Rampage feature, it looks like Rise will try it's hand at telling a story. Again, I never played World so I'm not too sure what the story is there, but from what I understand there was some semblance or storytelling in the game, so it would seem like a downgrade not to try one-up themselves with their next title.

Given how much I've read about the lore in World, I'm eagerly looking forward to seeing what they do here. There's even been a tease of Magnamalo giving the hunter a little flare/ailment in a brief shot of a trailer shown in the latest MH Direct. The flare is a purple flame which is reminiscent of Gore's Frenzy Virus... Hopefully this is something for fans to sink their teeth into, helping develop the MH lore and it's world.

4U added the Frenzy Virus, and Generations added Hyper Monsters. I understand World has Tempered/Arc Tempered Monsters, but I've never played that game so I don't really understand what those are. As for 4 Ultimate's Frenzy Virus, it related to Gore and Shagaru Magala, the games flagship Monster. Even though the series has never really been known for it's story, the Frenzy Virus added some more depth to it, and further developed with Apex Monsters in the post game. As for Hyper Monsters in Generations, well there really isn't that much lore surrounding those, other than the "these Monsters are just really aggressive!" angle. 

Of course, there's more I could say, but this post is getting a little incoherent with the more I write, but I'll leave you with this. From 4U it seems they've added in the Rampage and Stronghold to fulfil the voids of those raids, and it also seems the Wirebug's Silkbind attacks have taken place of the Hunter Arts in Generations. We've still only seem a small glimpse of the game so far, but if they can take all the positives out of the older games and reinvent them in Rise, it really could turn out to be the best game in the series.

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