Monster Hunter Generations adds new flavor to the popular franchise without deviating too far from the formula that has made it a hit for over a decade.

Like previous titles in the series, Monster Hunter Generations revolves around battling monsters for materials to create increasingly impressive weapons and armor, which are in turn used to take down even bigger creatures. The draw comes from the thrill of bringing these dangerous beasts to the ground, either solo or in somewhat coordinated attacks with up to three other players online.

Monster Hunter Generations

To pull of these impressive feats, players will have to navigate a plethora of menus in towns and prepare as if their digital lives depend on it, because that’s actually the case. If you don’t bring enough food for health boosts or other buffs, or opt to go for a sword instead of a bow because it “looks cool” despite being a less effective in a particular battle, you’ll have no one but yourself to blame.

Speaking of weapons, Monster Hunter Generations gives you the ability to choose one of four Hunting Styles at a time to give you an edge in the wild. While the balanced Monster Hunter style can get many jobs done well enough, I was a fan of the flashy aerial style that let me bound off of the monsters themselves before laying in my licks. Other Hunting Styles include one that grants extra special moves, and another that focuses on well-timed evasions and counters. The latter took a little getting used to, but it rewards skill and knowledge of the game with gnarly damage.

Monster Hunter Generations

As flashy (and useful) as the familiar cat companions are, they’re no match for the new Hunter Arts introduced in Monster Hunter Generations. These useful moves often make the difference in a battle, but they’re not to be solely relied upon. I’ve fallen prey on more than one occasion to my own ego, thinking I can charge in to deal spike damage to a fierce monster for the win, only to be countered and sent flying back. Once you get your timing down, taking down even the biggest foes will be manageable. Tough, but manageable.

If you’ve never had the joy of playing a Monster Hunter game, Generations is an approachable entry point that even gives grizzled veterans lots to look forward to. The fetch quests kind of drag things down at times, but they’re worth it if it means crafting another weapon of the 14 categories available.

Monster Hunter Generations

Gamers who have ever dreamed of engaging in battles with monsters while showing off flashy moves of their own will fall in love with Monster Hunter Generations. With so much replay value and quality, this entry continues will keep players on the hunt for some time to come.

Monster Hunter Generations is available for the Nintendo 3DS.