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There are few games I love as much as Monster Hunter, and I’m thrilled to say that the next installment being released in the west, Monster Hunter Generations, is coming quite soon – it’s hitting the 3DS on July 15th this year.

Capcom was kind enough to send a review code for evaluation, and I’ve been putting some time into it. While it’s still under a partial embargo, there’s no restriction on sharing the basics.

Of course, much of the content and structure here will be instantly familiar to fans of the series –players create a character, pick their favorite weapon, and head out to kill giant monsters – but there’s been quite a few changes. In addition to new monsters, a new home village, new areas to explore and so forth, the combat system is what’s received the most work.

Generations offers the same assortment of 14 weapons that was found in Monster Hunter 4: Ultimate ultimate — no new weapons this time around — but everything has been rebalanced and reworked. In addition, there are all-new systems that give every weapon new life.

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The first system is that a player needs to choose a “Style”. There are four to choose from, and each one has different advantages and disadvantages.

The Guild style is closest to what people already know – it’s just the basics, and the weapons handle essentially the same way as one would expect from previous installments. The next is the Striker style, which is the most flexible because it gives the most access to new abilities called Arts. (More on that in a minute.) The third is the Aerial style, which gives players the ability to jump in order to leap onto monsters’ backs or to perform airborne combos. The final style is the Adept style, which requires that players master their knowledge and timing of monster attacks. When a character blocks or dodges at exactly the right time, it gives the hunter a special dash-run that closes the distance to the monster and usually ends up in a devastating counter-attack.

In addition to the styles, each hunter now has special abilities called Arts that can be equipped at will. Some enable powerful strikes, some let players escape out of trouble, some provide unlimited stamina for a brief time, and so forth. There are a wide range of skills that can be equipped in order to further customize the player’s combat preference and options in battle. Even better, once a Style and Arts are chose, the player is never locked into them – they can be freely switched around with no penalty.

I wish I could share more now, but between the partial embargo and the fact that there’s a ridiculous amount of content in the game that I haven even scratched yet, it’s just not possible. However, one thing I can share is that after spending several hundred hours with the Monster Hunter games and considering myself a fairly seasoned vet, Generations has me feeling like a fresh-faced schoolboy again. There’s just so much to see, and learn, and do.

Monster Hunter Generations will be available on July 15th  3DS, and for those looking to get a jump on things, I highly recommend checking out the YouTube channel for @GaijinHunter. Despite Capcom’s best efforts at making the series more approachable to newcomers in recent years (and I applaud them for it) there’s still a long way to go, and a great need for more concise, useful information on the game’s nuances. As far as I’m concerned, @GaijinHunter has the best Monster Hunter information online. If you’ve got the itch to go after some really big game, check out some of his videos and get ready for the hunt!!

Brad Gallaway

Brad Gallaway

Brad Gallaway has been gaming since the days when arcades were everywhere and the Atari 2600 was cutting edge. So, like... A while.

Currently, he's got about 42 minutes a night to play because adulting is a timesuck, but despite that, he's a happily married guy with two kids who both have better K/D ratios than he does.

Brad still loves Transformers, he's on Marvel Puzzle Quest when nobody at the office is looking, and his favorite game of all time is the first Mass Effect -- and he thought the trilogy's ending was Just Fine, Thanks.

Follow Brad on Twitter at @BradGallaway
Brad Gallaway

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