Review: Monster Hunter Stories 2 – Wings of Ruin


Posted on June 18, 2024 by Michael Merchant

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9/10

Summary

The Monster Hunter gameplay with the added Pokemon style of collecting monsters and building a well rounded team to help you along the way is an excellent way to experience the Monster Hunter franchise that I think is easily accessible as well to those that are put off by the more hectic and less forgiving nature of Monster Hunter in general. If you are a fan of Monster Hunter, or even turn-based RPGs in general, I think Monster Hunter Stories 2 will be an excellent addition to your library.

Developer – Capcom Co., LTD.

Publisher – Capcom Co., LTD.

Platforms –  Playstation 4, Nintendo Switch, PC (Reviewed)

Review copy given by Developer

Monster Hunter Stories 2: Wings of Ruin is the direct sequel to the turn-based RPG, Monster Hunter Stories, which was released back on the Nintendo 3DS/Switch in 2018. The basis of the game is to take the beloved formula of the Monster Hunter series and mix it with a splash of Pokemon. You can capture eggs from the monsters you encounter and hatch them, battle with them against other monsters to gather their materials to craft stronger weapons and armor which in turn will allow you to hunt for strong monster eggs. This formula is very similar to Monster Hunter and you will find a lot of familiar concepts at play here, but the added depth of raising your own monsters, or Monsties as they are called, and the rock-paper-scissors balance of the battle system is a refreshing take on the series.

Monster Hunter Stories 2 begins with a simple character creation tool that allows you to create a very cartoonish version of a hunter of your own. For instance, you can change the hair styles, face, skin color, eyes, and mouth of your character. Once you are finished with designing your character you are thrust into the adventure. It starts off quite quickly as you are introduced to all of the concepts of the game and all the mechanics that you can utilize to make your hunts easier. There are the familiar quest boards, crafting items, forging and upgrading weapons and armor that fans of the series have grown to love. You are given your first monstie and can set out quickly into the open island to begin completing your quest and forming your team to succeed.

While I am a fan of the action that Monster Hunter series is known for, I was really interested to see how the turn-based gameplay would impact my enjoyment of the series. Never playing the first entry of this series, I was happy to find that they made the system work really well! Each weapon has a different base damage type, either slashing, piercing, or blunt but on top of this there is also an attack type that you can select with those weapons known as a power, speed, or technical attack. Some monsters are more likely than others to use different style attacks and are weak to specific types of damage based on the weapon type and the trick is to use the correct weapon with the correct attack type to defeat the opposing monster.

For instance; if the monster you are facing is a fast attacker that is susceptible to slashing damage, you might find yourself using a greatsword with a technical attack to beat the quick attack the monster will launch against you. However, monsters can also change the attacks they are more likely to use when they are enraged or, for example, the Kula-Ya-Ku will grab a rock and you will need to start using a blunt weapon such as the hammer to break the rock and knock the monster down. Not only changing the weapon is important here but also changing your attack type is important because when the Kula-Ya-Ku grabs a rock, he changes his attack type to Power which requires a Speed type attack to be more effective. Power beats Technical, Technical beats Speed, Speed beats Power. Just like rock-paper-scissors. Learning these patterns is critical to your success.

The Monstie you choose to battle with also have their own attacks that they are more likely to use as well. Say you wanted to use Kula-Ya-Ku on your team with you, they more often will use a Technical style attack, so you will want to make sure to use him against Speed style monsters. When both you and your monstie use the same attack type against the same monster, you will both perform a double attack which will cause even more damage to the monster you are facing. By performing a series of attacks with your team, you will boost your Kinship Gauge which is basically being able to perform an ultimate move once full. You will hop on your Monstie and perform very powerful attacks together for one turn. This may be a lot to take in, but let me tell you it is fun!

Outside of battle, exploring the maps is equally enjoyable in my opinion. On the Playstation 5 the environments, although cartoonish, are beautiful! There are randomly generated monster dens, collectible materials and resources, and chests scattered throughout the landscape. Certain monsters that you have on your team will also be able to traverse different areas of the map that are blocked off until you have a monster on your team that can perform that mode of transport. I love traveling every square inch of the map when I go out each time to make sure I have the most available materials so I can craft the best items, armors, and weapons. You will see in real time the monsters roaming the landscapes as well and you can sneak up on them to perform surprise attacks, or sometimes they might catch you from behind and have the advantage during the fight.

As I mentioned, there are monster dens on the map and this is where you will find your monster eggs to bring back to camp. You can go inside these dens for a much smaller area that have more chests and monsters in them and at the end of the cave there will be a nest with a few eggs to select. Sometimes these eggs will be free to grab without any trouble, or there might be a monster sleeping on top waiting for you to make the wrong move, and others they will be standing guard right there and you have to fight to get your egg. Either way, once you make it to the top of the nest, you can search the egg pile and see what luck you will have in finding the perfect egg. When you grab the first egg, it will have a smell and a weight that your companion will notify you of and you can make the decision to grab a different egg or keep with the current egg. Be warned though, once you decide not to take an egg you can’t grab it back you are stuck with the next choice. Once you get back to the camp with your eggs, you can hatch each of them and see what skills and stats each monster is born with to see if they will make a perfect addition to your team.

Technically, the game ran wonderfully. The draw distance of the landscapes was perfect, not a ton of pop-in that I noticed. The game ran pretty consistently in terms of frame-rate and everything worked well. In terms of sound design, sometimes it felt like the game lacked music where it should when exploring. It would get pretty quiet sometimes in the middle of my exploration, but once the battles began it would get where it should be and provide the backdrop for some excellent engagements.

Overall, Monster Hunter Stories 2 definitely has a new fan! I was hesitant at first if this would be a game for me since I was so used to the traditional Monster Hunter experience. Everything was well thought out and worked in its own way. The Monster Hunter gameplay with the added Pokemon style of collecting monsters and building a well rounded team to help you along the way is an excellent way to experience the Monster Hunter franchise that I think is easily accessible as well to those that are put off by the more hectic and less forgiving nature of Monster Hunter in general. If you are a fan of Monster Hunter, or even turn-based RPGs in general, I think Monster Hunter Stories 2 will be an excellent addition to your library. Now if you will excuse me, I have some more hunting to do!

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