Not only do cat puns abound in Monster Hunter Generations, but your furry friends are also bounding around the field. Palicoes - as they are called - are your friendly Felyne companions on your quest to hunt giant monsters, gather rare items and level up your battle-scarred Hunters. In this guide we provide key information and tips for making the most of the expanded (and playable) role of these buddies in the latest of this popular series from Capcom.
As you progress through the early stages of the offline single-player game your hunter can visit the Palico Ranch in the Village of Bherna; this happens early, and you can start recruiting your Palicoes!
Before we get onto the nitty gritty of preparing a Palico and taking them out on a hunt in Prowler mode, below are key points on the facilities in Palico Ranch:
- Meowstress - This character is found towards the back of the ranch and is vital early on. You employ her to scout Palicoes, from which you then choose which ones to hire. It takes a 'turn' (a hunt) for lists to populate from fresh searches, but we suggest getting your numbers up to at least 8, as this gives you freedom to rotate and keep them all busy. Scouting by abilities and 'support bias' is a good idea, and you should aim to get at least one Palico per category.
- Palico Dojo - Found next to the Meowstress (and also accessible from your housekeeper's menu), this is where you can teach Palicoes new skills and abilities in Lessons. 'Special Training' is also hugely helpful - Intense Training helps to level up your little pals quicker, Catnap reinvigorates those with low enthusiasm, and Meditation allows you to change their target monsters (small only, large only etc). Lessons play their part, but you'll often have three Palicoes at a time on a catnap, because of the following...
- d'Artanyan - After a little progress this character activates at the back of the village on the right. He sends teams of four Palicoes on hunts to an area of your choice, useful for accumulating 'scraps' (more on those below) and other resources. Once unlocked you send your buddies off with a simple catapult minigame, trying to match colours to areas where possible; the spot where they stop is the part they'll harvest for resources. This is very useful, but each quest takes away the affected Palicoe's enthusiasm, in which case the quickest way to get them back up to speed is with the aforementioned Catnap option at the Dojo.
- Neko (Means "Cat") - This feisty fellow is to the right when you go into the ranch and is the new resource farmer / trader in Generations. It is here that Villager Requests will be filed and completed, while you can also spend resource points on some special items. The key option here is 'Order Items', in which you assign a Palico to visit a trading spot to pick up vital resources like herbs, blue mushrooms and many more besides. You can choose how many turns of trades there'll be, and even use a special item (a Lagniapple) to boost the odds of good trades.
It's a good idea to put all of these facilities to constant use, utilising a full team of Palicoes. Now, let's get to Prowler mode.
Once you have a Palico recruited (we suggest that you recruit several...) you can visit your house, attend the Palico board and Switch to "Prowler" Mode. This enables your Palico of choice - or "Prowler" - to be controlled and used in quests.
Once you've done this head out of your house and over to the Palico Armoury on the left side of the main village - here you will be able to forge weapons and armour.
Compared to the normal Hunter options your Palico weapon and armour types are greatly simplified - arguably a smart decision by Capcom to remove an extra layer of complexity from the game. You only have 2 types of main weapon - Blunt and Cutting.
You also only have two separate armour items that you can forge - Head Armour and Body Armour - and, again, these are greatly simplified and don't have individual upgrade trees. You just forge new and better Palico items, armour and weapons as they become available through materials that you hunt from monsters and on the quests via d'Artanyan.
Palico / Prowler Items are forged through using 'scraps'. These scraps are generated when your main Hunter uses materials to forge new weapons and armour - scraps can also be found when out hunting and they may also be traded with your other box items at the Palico Armoury - in case you are short of a scrap or two to complete an item. Some other field items or Village Tickets may be required in addition to scraps. As per usual Hunter weapon and items crafting practices - you are told what you need to unlock each item in the Palico Armoury menu.
Before heading out into the field - also make sure your Prowler is equipped with Skills and Support moves - these can be accessed from the Palico board in your house. Support moves and skills can be gained through levelling up your Palicoes.
Finally - you can also select up to 2 Palicoes to accompany your Prowler when out hunting.
So, once you have your Prowler equipped, skills and support moves in place, you can head out into the field for a Hunt.
Go to see the Bherna Gal to get your quests; your Prowler has access to all the quests that your hunter does. In addition to this for 2 star quests and above there are Prowler specific quests (marked with a paw and found at the end of the list) that you can take on. These are mostly gathering quests up to 3 star quests with a couple of minor monster slaying quests thrown in. Nothing too demanding, but some of the larger monster quests might end up in your Prowler getting mashed!
At this point - it is worth running through the Prowler Training quests as there are quite a few differences here from your normal Hunter:
- Prowlers do not have a stamina bar - you can sprint as much as you like without becoming fatigued!
- Prowlers do have a support bar - this fills up as you attack monsters and perform actions like gathering items; when your support bar reaches certain levels you will be able to activate your special moves. The bar will tell you how much you need to fill it to use the currently selected support move.
- Prowler special moves are very much like a Hunter's items - you can select them by pressing L and skipping left and right with Y and A; the Y button activates the special move.You can also activate special moves with your weapon drawn - an added bonus!
- Prowlers get 3 main attacks - Side Swipe (X), Boomerang (A) and Overhead Smash (R+X) for bopping monsters on the head. Prowlers also have the ability to block a monster's attack with their weapons drawn or sheathed!
- Prowlers can burrow and move underground - protecting them from attacks and damage and also allowing them to sneak up on monsters to place traps and bombs - we haven't had a chance to try this out in Multiplayer yet but it looks like this will really affect how a hunting team will operate!
- In battle, should a Prowler lose all their health they are granted access to one of their 2 Acorns - eating these restores some of your health so that you don't end up on the Cart of Shame back to base camp. this means you stay in the battle and get another shot at the monsters. On your 3rd faint it's back to base camp.
- Prowlers can mount monsters in the same way as hunters.
- Prowlers can choose a Support Bias (as mentioned in the Meowstress section above) - this can be changed at your Palico Board in your house - They include Charisma, Fighting, Protection, Assisting ( great for trapping and capturing monsters), Healing, Bombing and Gathering. This can dictate what support moves your Prowler will have.
- When trapping monsters Prowlers with the correct support moves have Poison, Shock and Pit Purr-ison traps - again , these are unlocked through the build up of the support bar. Make sure you have the right Prowler for the right job.
- When capturing monsters Prowlers have unlimited Tranq Balls - these pop us a support move once the monster is trapped.
- When they've taken enough damage Prowlers can enter Felyne Fury Mode - this enables the Prowler to automatically access extra abilities such as increased Dash speed and a faster filling support bar. It also unlocks the Furious Flurry Attack! This is great fun to trigger but difficult to control as it involves your Prowler constantly rushing forward; be careful to steer your Prowler into the enemy to cause maximum mayhem.
- And one final point is that Prowlers can always see Large Monster postions on the map screen.
The Prowler Training and Tutorial missions (via the Bherna Gal) cover these main points in enough detail to help get to grips with playing as a Palico. Make sure you run through all of them, remembering to press the start button and cycle through down to the "Advice" option - as well as covering the various Support Biases - the Trainer's instruction text can be re-read here.
Playing as a Prowler is a great, fun alternative to the more serious hunter characters - it does take a little getting used to, however, as it's essentially a support class, but as there are so many Support Biases to try out we can't wait to see how this affects multiplayer modes and co-operative gameplay.
As an extra, remember to also speak to your housekeeper to check out the free DLC. The first range of extras - including some Palicoes and a hugely helpful starter pack, is available now.
Keep cool, cats! We'll see you out in the field.