I think that Valstrax was the single most impactful monster fight I've had in MH to date. I've played all the other ones, and this fight is built up massively and delivers in every single way.
Firstly, the introduction to valstrax. After seeing it in the ruined pinnacle, that's when the game starts showing you burned husks. This was a neat idea, but nothing that I felt had a real impact. It was the red comet in the sky during other hunts; it was a constant reminder of what you're building up to and know you have to beat, yet never overtly in your face whilst doing other hunts. Just a nod, always reminding you he's still out there and still a threat.
The encounter with him after beating the gravios quest. The warning comes out of nowhere, showing you this thing is unpredictable and can do pretty much whatever it wants. I personally got one shot by him at this point, then he blasts out of there like nothing even happened. This was the second build up to the fight; I now had a vendetta and a fear of this thing, marking a true objective to beat. The red star in the sky after that just motivated me more.
Then a while later you finally get to fight it. The intro does a fantastic job of showing you this things precision and speed, and its mastery of its own abilities. The fight though, good god.
Valstrax itself had a completely unique moveset to it, from the artillery fire of dragon element, to shooting itself across the stage, and the way the range and spread of its attacks morph and shift with it as it re-orientates its wings. It forced me not only to learn its attacks, but positioning is absolutely crucial to fight this monster properly, something you would be hard pressed to get through on its first hunt. The main environment though, fighting it at the top of that tower was breathtaking. The vast emptiness of the space above you as you almost enter the atmosphere, gave the fight in that pinnacle gave such a feeling of singularity. This isn't an area or locale in the typical sense, it is purely an arena. And coupled with that, the soundtrack. The theme music alone is worthy of a whole post, it was giving me goosebumps and had a sense of grandeur and hype all rolled into one.
It took me at least five or six tries to beat him, not to mention the constant resets because I knew I'd fuck up, and it felt like a hard fought, well earned victory above this force of nature, something that truthfully no other flagship gave me a feeling of. Coupled with the unique design and ecology, Valstrax is one of the best monsters to date.
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