Okay, yeah, it didn't sit right with me leaving my journal as just a commission page and nothing more. Way too impersonal. So how about some Monster Hunter shenanigans? I'm sure you're not all sick of hearing about that yet!
*Before I move on, quick note: I've been working on a rewrite of Savage Destiny and will hopefully be getting into that sometime this year. No promises as per usual, but I do have a new Tarrun map that's nearly complete, so that's definitely going up in the near future! Also a new Theraga pic in the works, though that's been slow-going.
Anyway, you might remember that I had a favorite / least favorite monster list a while back. I deleted that a while ago because it was a whiny, snarky rant of a post (which felt especially off-putting considering it was about a series I'm THIS passionate about), and besides that, a lot of my opinions have naturally changed since then. So this time, to keep things fresh, I'm going to split up my favorites by generation. Each has had it's ups and downs, and with the current gen probably coming to a close this winter, I feel like I've had enough time to look back on them again. After that, I've also done a few other short lists just for fun!
As always, I'd love to hear your own two cents and favorite lists, if you have them!
Note: I was going to do a Top 10 for every gen, but in all fairness the 4th gen isn't over yet so there's a lot of monsters we don't know about yet. So I made 4th gen a top 5 and put the other slots toward a top 15 in 3rd gen, since it has more new monsters than the others and I love almost all of them.
--Favorite First Generation Monsters--
1. Yian Kut Ku
2. Lao Shan Lung
3. Rathalos & Rathian
6. Yian Garuga
--Favorite Second Generation Monsters--
8. Daimyo Hermitaur
9. Kushala Daora
10. Yama Tsukami
--Favorite Third Generation Monsters--
12. Great Jaggi & Jaggi
--Favorite Fourth Generation Monsters--
3. Seltas Queen
5. Kecha Wacha
Favorite Generations Overall:
1. Third Gen (2009-2013) - Monster Hunter 3, Monster Hunter Portable 3rd, Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate
2. Fourth Gen (2013-2016) - Monster Hunter 4, Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate, Monster Hunter X
3. First Gen (2004-2006) - Monster Hunter, Monster Hunter G, Monster Hunter Freedom
4. Second Gen (2006-2009) - Monster Hunter 2, Monster Hunter Freedom 2, Monster Hunter Freedom Unite
1. Forest and Hills
2. Old Swamp
3. Deserted Island
5. Misty Peaks
6. Flooded Forest
7. Sandy Plains
9. Old Volcano
10. Primal Forest
Favorite Boss Arenas:
1. Castle Schrade
2. Underwater Ruin
3. Lava Canyon
4. Tainted Sea
5. Polar Field
Most Annoying Small Monsters:
1. Vespoids. No enemy in the history of MH has had AI so frustrating, fickle, and cruel. And they were everywhere.
2. Bullfangos. At their worst in MH1, when they sometimes had infinite respawns... on carry quests.
3. Baggi. Giving sleep element to a fast, swarming monster was just plain evil. At least they were restricted to one map.
4. Rhenoplos. AKA Bullfango Lite. Not as bad as the original, but still aggravating and present on most maps.
5. Konchu. What they lack in aggression, they make up for in speed, adaptability, and sharpness-proof armor.
Monsters I Want Back Least:
1. Vespoids & Vespoid Queen. Vespoids, who are less interesting and more irritating than Bnahabras in every way, are unfortunately coming back in MHX. Hopefully their Queen doesn't follow suit, because she's one of the blander designs of the series, has a pathetically short but very annoying boss fight, and has no unique weapons or armor to make her worthwhile.
2. Bulldrome. Another relatively boring design, but this time with the added bonus of being what must be the easiest boss fight in the history of the series. He's a big target with low health, an extremely severe elemental weakness, and about two attacks. At least he might be getting equipment in MHX.
3. King Shakalaka. While I appreciate the novelty of a really small monster being a boss, the King Shakalaka always felt like a bit of a stretch, especially since it's frail, humanoid, and useless for making armor. The amount of damage it can do feels really off as well.
4. Lunastra. While people were rightly confused about her being absent in MH4, I honestly can't say I miss her. To me, Luna/Teo always felt inferior to ian/los. They never interact with each other or show up as a pair (probably because they're so powerful) and have almost identical movesets. Plus Lunastra has got to be one of my least favorite designs in the series.
5. Dah'ren Mohran. This one's at the bottom of the list because, to be fair, he's a cool looking monster with cool looking gear. My problem with Dah'ren is that there's no reason for him to exist. Compared to Jhen Mohran he has very similar gear, mostly the same animations, and a near-identical fight complete with the same boat/area and music. This replacement only gets more confusing when you remember that Jhen was one of the most popular monsters of the third generation and already had a subspecies... what was the point?
Monsters I Want Back Most:
1. Amatsumagatsuchi. It's a real shame this guy hasn't made it outside of Japan, because he's easily one of the most unique endbosses in the series. Aaaand his name is nearly impossible to say. Hopefully the trade materials for White Fatalis clear that up soon. Anyway, he'd also be perfect for the new vertical gameplay introduced in MH4; there's really no monster better suited to it. The potential is almost limitless!
2. Lao Shan Lung. I'll be crossing my fingers for Lao every time a new game is announced. As the first truly giant monster in the series, he was one of the most memorable parts of MH1 and started the tradition of kaiju-sized beasts in MH. He had a great design, powerful and cool looking gear, and an awesome soundtrack. Unfortunately, his fight has aged really poorly with time and feels fairly boring in comparison to stuff like Jhen Mohran and Dalamadur. With all the advancements the series has made since MH1, this guy could be made into something really special- practically a new monster.
3. Volvidon. A low level monster that borrows a fair number of moves from Arzuros and Lagombi, sure, but it's got a really awesome design, and I've always wanted an armadillo in MH. Plus, I never got to fight it! Maybe he could get rid of all the Vespoids in MHX...
4. Yama Tsukami. I'm always torn on this monster, because the design is one half doofy-looking and one half fascinating. What the hell IS Yama Tsukami, really? A fish? A cephalopod? A really bizarre mammal or dragon? It'd be worth seeing him remade in HD just to study him some more. Plus he's a really unique monster that, like Amatsu, could really take advantage of the new vertical gameplay.
5. Anyone from the Third Generation. Yeah yeah, it's a cop-out. And a no brainer! The third gen introduced more new monsters than any other, and a ton of them have great fights and designs... but when MH4 "all stars" rolled around, it got mostly ignored. I guess the logic was those were all fairly recent monsters, and the goal of MH4 was to really shoot for old-gen nostalgia. Makes sense, but a bummer all the same. I feel like leviathans and brute wyverns just got introduced, but I already miss them!
Favorite MH themes would go here... but I could never narrow it down to five or ten!
Wishlist for the 5th Generation:
(in no particular order)
1. Add more fanged wyverns. This group debuted five years ago and still has only one member. I could understand if it was just some lame, largely forgotten thing that nobody cared about- but that sole member is Zinogre, one of their most popular monsters of all time. This is a Flagship monster who's likeness has shipped on boxart, advertisements, and frigging consoles- multiple times! He has one of the coolest designs, themes, and subspecies ever, and his strange mix of mammalian and reptilian anatomy leaves the door wide open for all sorts of crazy new monsters. So why in the world is this the most neglected creature type in the history of MH? Are they trying to build mystique? Are they afraid they can't live up to the hype? I have no idea, but it's definitely driving fans crazy.
2. The return of swimming. Underwater combat was a big belly-flop with longtime MH fans, and to a certain extent I can understand why. The controls were more sluggish, certain weapon types became very hard to use, and a lot of the scenery just didn't compare to what was above the surface. All of this could've been remedied with some more work, but instead of doing that the MH team dropped swimming completely and tried climbing- which I also can't fault them for, because that turned out to be a lot of fun and was a big hit with both hardcore fans and the general audience. The only thing that sucks about this is there is a MASSIVE amount of potential being ignored in the water. Beautiful coral reefs, forests of kelp, arctic seas, underwater volcanoes, the deep ocean, countless new monster types, maybe even new elements and status effects. In my mind, the perfect 5th generation would be a fusion of 3rd gen's swimming and 4th gen's climbing: an MH world where you can literally go anywhere and fight anything.
3. Add more exotic locations. To the MH team's credit, the 4th gen maps are already starting to do this! One of the series' minor (but recurring) problems is that a lot of area types get recycled every generation: the forest, the desert, the volcano, etc. Of course there are a lot more biomes than that in the real world, and I'd like to see them explored. A few ideas off the top of my head, not counting what I already listed for the water: a monster graveyard, a completely fall-themed map, a geothermal spring, a totally dark area lit by bioluminescent animals, or an area where the minerals have stained all the plants and animals one color. An area that's nothing but ancient ruins or a recently lost city could be pretty great too: there's lot of potential there for new quest types and ways to interact with the environment, and it'd be cool seeing how MH monsters adapt to urban environments. Wyverns roosting in clocktowers, leviathans in the sewers, that sort of thing.
4. Make a non-dragon the final boss. This one's just a pet peeve of mine. I get that "elder dragon" is a catch-all group for all the biggest and most powerful things in the world, and it must be some kind of tradition to make a giant dragon the final boss... but please, please just do something else, just this once! A mammal, a bird, an arthropod, something! I love reptiles more than the next guy, but there's a whole universe of other creatures out there and it's starting to bother me that they never get a shot at being finale monsters.
5. Add new monster types. This is the biggest no brainer of them all. A few I'd like to see: turtles, griffins, fish, cephalopods, (more) dangerous herbivores, big cats, terror birds, and heck, maybe even something along the lines of the humanoid monsters from Dragon's Dogma, like the MH version of ogres and trolls. Some kind of multi-headed monster could be cool too, if they could come up with a believable explanation for it... a mutation or a regenerating invertebrate, perhaps? Might be going too far, but I'm just spitballing here.
6. Port to consoles in HD. This is another purely personal one, I'll admit. I like MH best on a home console, with a big screen, a controller, and graphics that do the art direction (more) justice. It's more enjoyable for me and I get way more immersed that way. My online experiences with them have also been leagues better than the ones I've had with handhelds. The lack of good online communication in 4U in particular has been a massive headache and makes the whole social experience pale in comparison to Tri or even MH1. Of course I understand why Capcom is sticking to handhelds right now, especially in Japan, so all I can really do on this one is twiddle my thumbs and hope I get lucky for some odd reason.
7. Shift focus from the past to the future. Now, I don't mean they should chose one over the other completely, and I'm not saying they haven't been innovating. My point here is simply that the 4th generation games have really been focusing on the return of old monsters, and I'd like to see that trend change next go around. Old standbys are always welcome, especially when we haven't seen them in a while, but new content is what keeps moving the series forward. Last gen the MH team took a big gamble in MH Tri and dumped 95% of the old roster in favor of brand new monsters, and while it was a controversial move that took some getting used to, it wound up being one of the best things they've ever done. They got to start from the ground up, totally revamp and streamline their mechanics, and introduce a whole new cast of creatures for us to get attached to. Didn't do too shabby in sales, either. I think starting over or shifting focus like this again would be a solid idea for the near future.
8. Let us choose our starting village. This is an idea that's been thrown around in my group a few times and resurfaced with the reveal of MHX. How about a game where there are multiple villages (new, old, or both), and we can choose which one we start at offline. Each "hometown" would have it's own unique shops, starting gear, and impact on the story. If we're really thinking next gen with the details, maybe your starting town even changes how your HUD and gestures look. Could be a fun way to add variety and make your offline story feel more personal.
9. Expand on multiplayer. Kinda grasping at straws here, but there's always room for improvement. Local multiplayer that doesn't involve multiple consoles would be a much appreciated first step. New features online wouldn't hurt either. Maybe implement some kind of real guild/team mechanic, even if it's just for show? How about the ability to trade Rare 4+ stuff for items of equal rarity? Or send zenni to other players- maybe just people on your friend list? You could always add stuff that should've been there in the first place, too, like being able to specify in towns if you want a subspecies or apex quest, or voice chat for future handheld games... just sayin, Capcom.
10. Deeper environments. Things have been gearing more and more toward this every generation, so I think it's only natural to keep pushing the envelope. An MH game with fully dynamic terrain is something I've always wanted. For example, Tri added pillars that monsters can destroy as a brief distraction- but what if those pillars could actually fall on the player, or the monster? What if the way you interacted with the environment really had an impact on your strategy and how the fight plays out? Excessive bombing causing avalanches, monster breath spreading fires, uncarved monster bodies attracting scavengers, etc. Weather and seasons could also become a thing, factoring into the way the area looks, what you can gather, which monsters you'll see, and how you traverse the terrain. The series is all about humans' interactions with nature, so I really hope these could become key points some day.