Welcoming a new mainline Monster Hunter title is a big deal for gamers like us. Those of you that have managed to penetrate their thick outer shell, will doubtless have been swept up into an obsession with at least one of these games, and will fully appreciate just how much we look forward to the next instalment in the series. With Sunbreak going through its update cycle and the end game being thoroughly demolished by the community, thoughts turn to the next entry in the series. Quite apart from the console generation, format and countless other unknowns, we’ve put together a short laundry list of features that we’d quite like to see in the next iteration.
We should clarify that our first change is directed towards active skills like Hunter Arts and Silkbind skills, rather than passive decoration or gem bonuses. Now, whilst you could argue that it started earlier than this, Monster Hunter Generations heralded the introduction of Hunter Arts, which are essentially weapon specific special moves that either deal damage or buff your hunter, and can be used to better slay your target on a hunt. These were essentially removed in Monster Hunter World, though some were adapted into the move sets of each weapon, but made a return in Rise where they’re more powerful than ever.
You may suspect by now, given the title of this particular section, that we’re not a huge fan of these additional skills, however we should note that we do find them great fun to use and it does allow the developers to push monster design further than ever, but we’re wary of a particular line that Sunbreak in particular is getting a little too close to: Hunters feeling overpowered. In older titles, one weapon feeling stronger than another was somewhat of a rarity, however when multiple models are getting what feels like a free dodge, each of which activate a great deal easier than Adept mode ever did, we’re concerned that things are getting a little too simple. Hunts can now devolve into a waiting game, sitting out the timer until the silk cooldown is gone, before hammering your target with a massive amount of damage with very little risk associated.
Thankfully this isn’t an apocalyptic situation that cannot be resolved, and we’d certainly like skills to remain in some form or another, but they really must be tuned a little better. More of a trade off is required really; the Hunter Arts in Generations required the hunter to deal damage to increase the gauge, which is a great way to incentivise a full blown battle that’s punctuated with skills, rather than revolving around them. More of this please Capcom.
What about the Monsters, then? Well, the latest iteration of the game is Sunbreak, and we have to applaud the developers for making a huge selection of novel and interesting targets for hunters to take down. Things are very varied, targets and well detailed and their attacks are both memorable yet difficult to learn. We’ve aired our grievances with the Rampage system previously, for which we’ll summarise by saying we’re not really enamoured with them, but we’re generally pretty happy with the offerings with this generation of games.
Still, expectations do tend to creep, so how could they improve on the current crop? Generally speaking, the formula includes a variety of monsters in Low, High and G or Master Rank, followed by some kind of virus or fuzz that upgrades them further for the true end game, often caused by the eventual antagonist. What we’re advocating for however, is the return of the Deviants system. Arguably this already exists in some form, what with Stygian prefixes existing and such, but it’s the system that we would actually like to return.
We’re not bothered about the ticket system, that can go, but having to work your way up the difficulty ladder of individual monsters was a great deal of fun. Noticing the differences, carting to them a number of times, and then learning to tackle their new skills and traits was a wonderful system in Generations and GU. Having a few different versions of particular monsters is considered standard these days, but tackling 5 – 10 different levels of power is a great way for players to delve even deeper and tackle ever increasing levels of peril, which is what these games are truly about after all.
There is an immense comfort to the Monster Hunter series of games, so it takes a lot for us to write what we’re about to: It’s time for some kind of meaningful change. Don’t get us wrong, we’ll play another Monster Hunter game for as long as any other, and we’ll no doubt truly enjoy it, but we do think that it’s time to inject something a little different into the series.
We do want something meaningful, but this doesn’t have to be massively significant. Could you perhaps allow 8 or 16 players onto a larger map, filled with events that take place? These could range from small monster invasions to battling your way through a mine for valuable ores. Punctuate these with timed large monster appearances and you have a great way for a larger number of hunters to get together and succeed. Could you even have something akin to Alterac Valley in WoW, where a team of hunters gradually clear out and occupy a map, top to bottom? With the eventual big antagonist being chosen from a pool of possible targets, giving it some replayability. Doubtless the next game will be 90%+ in similarity to those gone by, and we’re not advocating going too much further than this, but it would be good to see something a little more meaningful with regards to change.