Tag: Malfestio

Preparing for the Big Hunt

Preparing for the Big Hunt

Yesterday I slept for about 17 hours. Was real sick when I woke up, enough so that I wasn’t able to make it out to the SPJ Long Beach Post tour. Or write a blog post at all.

Frankly the only thing I’d say I accomplished yesterday was sending a few emails and binging the Emma Stone and Jonah Hill show Maniac on Netflix.

Which was worth watching, but probably a subject for another day.

While I’m feeling better today, I’m still not feeling better enough to go spend a whole bunch of hours at the Finals competition for the RUHS band. So I’m going to have to neg on that promise I made last week. Sorry Aly.

Thus, between bouts of sleeping and tending to a nosebleed, I figured I would finally do something fun and show you all what an obsessive freak I’ve become about Monster Hunter armor planning.

Armor planning in Generations Ultimate fills a very similar niche to Pokémon team creation for me in that it extends a game’s lifespan through a strategic planning task.

There are dozens of skills a hunter can utilize in battle against titanic beasties, each applied by a combination of a base armor piece’s skills, a talisman that can be equipped and all of a set’s supplemental skill decorations.

Building the full armor set for a specific monster yields skills matching their play style. For instance, the ephemeral electric unicorn Kirin’s armor applies Divine Blessing (to occasionally reduce damage) and Elemental attack damage buffs.

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So if a monster matches the play style you like, or works well with one of the game’s 14 weapon types (like the hammer-tailed Duramboros armor works with a hammer weapon), it’s an easy build.

However, if you’re someone like me that enjoys a challenge and wants to build armor with varied skills for a specific task, mixed sets are the way to go.

As a Hunting Horn main, I made it my goal to create a separate set of armor for every element and status type. The actual in-game armor forge isn’t very conducive for planning, so I turned to armor listings on Kiranico and my phone to generate ideas before wasting the materials.

Here’s my written plan for the horn that would apply a sleep element:

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Some key details to note. There are five armor pieces, one weapon and one talisman for each set. The armor pieces have pre-determined skills:

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As seen in the ‘Skill Tree’ box above.

Talismans have random skills when you find them, so planning out an armor set is partially about luck.

Also, note the asterisks near each piece’s skill listing. Those indicate the number of available decoration slots. Each piece can have up to three slots, and I’ve indicated what decor I’m putting in the slots though the subsection.

Most skills are applied when they reach 10 points on your overall armor, with a stronger version at 15 or 20.

Here’s how the fruits of that planning labor translated in-game:

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Sleeping and bombing at a quick pace!

In Generations Ultimate, a feature called armor transmog was added that allows hunters to put a decorative armor on top of the armor they’re wearing.

That way you can have your cake and eat it too: Make an armor with fantastic skills that also doesn’t look super ugly.

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Yikes.

Sometimes the armor planning process isn’t so simple. Multiple different monsters can give the same skills, and it’s important to balance that with the defense statistic, elemental resistances and the slot count.

For instance, when I recently pivoted to try out the Lance, I tried to build up an armor set that had the Guard and Guard Up skills applied. Thanks to having a few useful talismans, I wound up comparing three potential armors:

 

Obviously the one I wound up with had the most work put into it, as everything just fell into place.

Between those guard skills and Divine Blessing, I aimed to be more defensive for the Lance play style. Plus a status attack buff, considering all of the lances I wanted utilized those statuses: Sleep, Poison, Paralysis and Blast.

Even if Blast does not technically count as a status attack anymore and is only buffed by Bomb Boost. But I still put them together.

Here’s how the final armor came out:

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This one I transmogrified using G-Rank Basarios armor. Its bulky-looking stone armor appeared aesthetically perfect for a defensive set.

Because in Monster Hunter, aesthetics are just as important as powerful skill sets.

Out of all the builds I’ve planned so far, this Status Lance set is probably one of my most immediately gratifying and successful. Having never used the weapon before, coming in with a well-designed set made the learning process pretty painless.

Especially when it allowed me to discover the best killing blow in the game:

That’s a satisfying hunt right there. Even if my MicroSD card wasn’t pulling the video off properly.

I’ll figure that out eventually.

While I’ve built plenty of armor sets going from Low-to-G-Rank status, I still have plenty more planned out that I’m continuing to work on.

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Especially with friends around to help, I should be able to keep the train going for a long time. Unless a game like Pokémon Let’s Go or Smash Ultimate kills my current Monster Hunter addiction.

But I don’t have either yet, so no worries!

Hopefully this pseudo-instructional post on armor pre-planning has been helpful — or at least interesting.

If you did think this was cool, let me know. I’m thinking about also doing a post showing off a bunch of cool armor sets I’ve created that might make an excellent companion piece.

Just not right now. Because I think it’s about time I go back to bed and nurse this cold some more.

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How Capcom made a great game demo

How Capcom made a great game demo

Monster Hunter Generations Ultimate comes out for the Nintendo Switch on August 28.

Personally I am beyond excited about it!

I’ve been a bit of a Monster Hunter junkie since my first experience playing Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate on the 3DS, with interest lingering into Monster Hunter Generations. The game series scratches every conceivable itch that I have related to collectibles, crafting, sweet monsters and all of that fun stuff.

Unfortunately I have not put any significant time into World. Don’t have the proper hardware to play it, despite a great interest in the more open world experience.

Ironically, a lot of my friends who had never played Monster Hunter before got into the series because of World where I technically lagged behind. But that’s another story.

Generations Ultimate promises to be an even more hype version of the 3DS game that I put hundreds of hours into, for three primary reasons:

  1. More monsters — There are supposed to be 93 large monsters to hunt in the game, with over 30 small ones to round out each area. That’s so many armor and weapon sets to collect that I just. Can’t.
  2. Continued mobile fun — One of the great things about Monster Hunter on the 3DS is how easy it is to segment hunts on the go. The Nintendo Switch has the same capabilities, but also…
  3. Better graphics — The Switch has far better graphical capabilities than the 3DS. Like insanely better. Not quite Monster Hunter World levels, but still insanely crisp for someone like me who has been on the 3DS market for forever.

With those details in mind, I’ve been hyped up going into this new Monster Hunter game for some time.

But after playing the demo that launched for the game, I’m even more hyped. Being able to try the game essentially confirmation biased my impressions coming in. Yet, it also did much more.

In my point of view, Capcom created a near-perfect demo for their game that showcases basically everything veteran hunters and fledgling players need to know to understand what’s new and better about Gen Ultimate.

There are three main reasons why I’d make that argument. So, here they are in detail (featuring images from the demo that I finally pulled off the Switch).


Diverse Play Options

If there’s one thing the Monster Hunter series is known for, outside of its wildly creative monster designs, a large variety of ways people can play through a number of weapons arguably tops the list.

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It would have been silly for Capcom to only feature, say, five of the 14 weapons (15 with Palicos included) available through their demo. So they didn’t. They let players try out any weapon they want.

That seems like an obvious thing in hindsight, but it really does mean a lot to let veterans — particularly those coming back from World — try out how each weapon works on a new system. Plus, more importantly, brand new players get early access to the diverse range of weapons so they can decide what they want to main once buying the full game.

On top of all that, each weapon features an armor/weapon set from a different monster in the game, slyly giving players the chance to see how much customization the overall experience will offer outside of the demo.

Sure there are some slight problems, such as the Malfestio Hunting Horn not inflicting sleep status… But only losers like me will notice that.

Plus, it’s a demo. So they don’t want to make you too overpowered. But I’ll get to that point in a bit.

If presenting a wide range of weapon and armor possibilities wasn’t enough to convince players that Monster Hunter Gen Ultimate has a lot to offer for fun, the demo also has this:

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Multiplayer.

Yeah, Capcom could have just made a simple single player demo so people could try out the gameplay.

But they went so much further in the right direction by adding multiplayer so everyone can try out playing with their friends — arguably one of the biggest draws of the Monster Hunter series. It’s way more fun to hunt giant beasts as a team.

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Just saying.


Showcasing the Maps and Monsters

The biggest draw of Monster Hunter Generations was the fact that it was an anniversary game. The four hub worlds in that game were four maps from previous MH games updated to 3DS graphics. On top of that, there were a range of monsters both new, classic and long-before unseen filling the game’s roster.

Like I mentioned before, Gen Ultimate is taking that same concept to the extreme with nearly 100 bosses to conquer.

The demo for the game is honestly genius in how it subtly displays what the new game is going to offer through only three missions.

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I’ll get more into how the difficulty tiers themselves are a huge plus for the demo, but for now I just want to discuss what is involved in the three difficulties, and how those additions display the complete range of what players can expect in Gen Ultimate.

The first mission involves fighting a Great Maccao.

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Great Maccao is a variant of the velociraptor-esque monsters that frequently appear in Monster Hunter games. He, along with the Jurassic Frontier stage you fight him on, were both new additions to the original Monster Hunter Generations. Thus, fighting him is a showcase of how the developers updated even recently added parts of the experience.

The second mission involves fighting a Barioth.

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Both the Barioth and the map you find him on, the snowy mountain, are things that had been in Monster Hunter games prior to Generations. In fact, the Barioth didn’t even appear in that 3DS title, making it a perfect example of bringing back older monsters into the newest adventure.

Plus, the snowy mountain is just so dang pretty.

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Isn’t it?

The third mission involves fighting a Valstrax.

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The Valstrax is the box art monster for Gen Ultimate, and by god is it an absolutely perfect selling point for the game as a whole.

It’s literally a gryphon fused with fighter jet parts that has a signature move where it flies into space and then comes down like a comet. There’s almost nothing cooler than that.

While Valstrax is a new monster, you also fight it on a brand new map.

Thus, through just three missions, the Monster Hunter Generations Ultimate demo shows off old monsters and maps updated, modern monsters and maps updated as well as totally brand new content.

All of which will be featured in the main game.

If that’s not simple and inherently genius, I don’t know what is.


Difficulty

Obviously there are three different difficulty levels in the Gen Ultimate demo: Great Maccao, Barioth and Valstrax.

The monsters Capcom chose honestly represent the range of possible difficulties in the final game quite well because of the restrictions put on player’s armor and weapons.

You only get one kind of armor/weapon based on the weapon you choose, and those set-ups don’t improve based on the difficulty of the monster you are fighting.

As a result, Great Maccao is a total pushover. Barioth is a challenge that’s easy enough to surmount with some friends as support.

But Valstrax?

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That boy is bending fools over left-and-right, let me tell you.

I’ve attempted the fight twice. Once with a group of three other random strangers and once with two of my friends. Both times the fighter jet gryphon took so long to whittle down that the 25-minute time limit ran out as it only just started limping away, close to death.

It deals an insane amount of damage, enough to occasionally one-shot players even with a Hunting Horn’s defense buff.

Valstrax truly is a difficult challenge, as one would expect when taking on the cover art elder dragon of Gen Ultimate using intermediate gear at best.

Some may find this difficulty spike a frustrating turn-off. But in my opinion it draws on the same kind of motivation as Mega Man X did.

If you haven’t seen Egoraptor’s Sequelitis video on Mega Man X… Well first of all, what are you doing with your life? Even seven years later I’m still not over the ‘fucking genius’ joke.

But more importantly, watch it for his discussion on the relationship between X, Zero and Vile that’s established in the introduction stage of Mega Man X. He essentially says that Zero is so well-versed at defeating an enemy you couldn’t touch, that it becomes your motivation as a player to go through the game and become strong enough to defeat Vile.

For Gen Ultimate, the Valstrax is so tough with the armor and weapons you’re given, that it feels like the ultimate motivation to buy the game, craft your own gear and use it to take down this monstrous beast in a more even playing field.

Because that’s one of the best parts of Monster Hunter as a series. Building new gear to take on challenges that at one point seemed impossible, only to inevitably hit a point where those super intimidating bosses are quick to dispatch for spare parts if necessary.


Those are my thoughts on why the Monster Hunter Generations Ultimate demo is so successful in portraying why the Monster Hunter series is so popular in the first place.

What do you think? Are you a Monster Hunter fan? Or are you brand new to the series, with things like this demo making you interested now that it’s hitting a major Nintendo console?

Also, what are some of your favorite video game demos? Obviously I think this one in particular is great at embodying a game’s core strengths, but some may just be great because of how effectively eye-catching they are in some regard.

Let me know in the comments down below! Because I’m off to go spend some time with my friends, where we’ll be bashing our heads against the wall trying to finally beat this damn Valstrax.