The hunt is on for a new breed of beast-battlers; MONSTER HUNTER GENERATIONS 3DS.
Byline: games& gadgets With Cheryl Mullin
THE Monster Hunter series has been something of a cult hit since it first emerged on the PS2 back 2004.
Developed by gaming giant Capcom, the fantasy-RPG it instantly became a massive success in Japan - garnering a huge following in the west.
As the name of the series suggests, the game is all about hunting monsters. Starting out as a novice, you gain skills, weapons and attributes as you slay your way through an increasingly difficult variety of weird and wonderful beasts.
The early games, while fun to begin with, did start to slide into tedium - until Capcom joined forces with the mighty Nintendo and began to focus its efforts on developing the game for the 3DS.
There followed Monster Hunters 3 and 4 which elevated the game beyond its cult following and forced it into the bright, shiny lights of mainstream gaming.
Monster Hunter Generations marks the 12th year of the series, and the developers were keen to prove they still have a few tricks up their sleeves.
The storyline isn't scintillating by any stretch - and after your fourth repetitive march out into the fields to slay some easy prey, you'll wonder what the hell you're bothering for.
But this game is well worth sticking with. Once you get beyond the proving grounds of the first few challenges, Generations opens up into a veritable orgy of beast-battling.
There are new combat mechanics, such as Styles and Hunter Arts (effectively special moves) which open up a host of new tactical options when fighting to bring down the giant creatures you're hunting.
As well as new combat features, there are also four new 'flagship' monsters for you to try your improved fighting skills on - as well as cameos from 'signature' monsters from other games in the series.
Newcomers to Monster Hunter - and, as an infrequent player, I count myself amongst them - may find themselves at a loss to begin with.
Generations shuns a spoonfeeding opening tutorial, instead dumping you into the action where you literally have to sink of swim. I sank. Many, many, many times.
While there's absolutely nothing groundbreaking about Generations, there are so many little nods and winks to past titles, there are times when this almost feels like a greatest hits compilation.
And what's wrong with that? HHH HH SPLASH THE CASH: Hunter Generations Edition Nintendo 3DS XL - giving greater customisation options for serious fans of the series - is PS209.99 from game.co.uk
Generations opens up into a veritable orgy of beast-battling
Monster Hunter Generations can feel a bit like a greatest hits compilation but there is nothing wrong with that