Ever since the release of Monster Hunter World, the series has enjoyed a well deserved growth in popularity. Many people have gotten their introduction to the series through it or from the more recent release of Monster Hunter Rise. As a natural extension of that growth, the creature collecting spin-off rpg, Monster Hunter Stories, is similarly getting more attention. I was personally excited for the second entry, being a big fan of the original. Now that Monster Hunter Stories 2: Wings of Ruin is out, the question is, is it worth playing?
There are two things a sequel needs to do in order to be successful, I feel: Improve on what was there and add new and exciting things - Monster Hunter Stories 2 provides you with both. First, let's discuss what’s been improved. As a natural expectation when the series got its start on the 3DS, Monster Hunter Stories 2 comes with a nice visual upgrade. More than just the resolution though, monsters look a lot better in terms of their models. In the first game, they were very small and looked like children. Now, while smaller than the enemy monsters you will face, they have the correct proportions for their species and look like fully matured monsters.
The battle system itself hasn’t changed; at its core, it is still essentially a game of rock paper scissors. For newcomers to the series, most attacks are listed in one of three categories: Power, speed, and technical. When you and an enemy attack each other using manoeuvres in one of those three categories, you will enter a “Head-to-head.” Speed beats Power, Technical beats Speed and Power beats Technical. On its face, it seems simple but I personally find that its implemented in a challenging and satisfying way.
As for what is new, a host of new monsters have been added. The original had 93 rideable monsters (including ones added in patches) while Monster Hunter Stories 2 has 125 monsters at release, with more promised to be added later. The game world is entirely original as well and beautiful to look at.
- Improved Visuals over the previous entry
- Simple Battle System with hidden depth
- A healthy amount of new monsters to collect and train
My complaints about Monster Hunter Stories 2 are few and minor, but they’re there. They’re also really only there because I’m a returning player; new players to the series probably won’t have my same experience. The returning monsters don’t have much change to them; animations and attacks are the same, they just look visually nicer because of the hardware upgrade. While the source material doesn’t change the attacks and behavior of monsters, it’s unsurprising that this would be the case for the spin-off but I was hoping that the kinship skills and the finisher attacks that every monster on your team has would be different for this game. The changes that are there for the returning monsters are minor, like a pose one does at the end or maybe a change in the background of another.
The game’s story also feels very similar to the first. A strange event is taking place that is making the monsters act weird. You and your rathalos, who is unique in a certain way, must find out what is causing the monsters to act out and put an end to it; both the sequel and its predecessor can be summarised in that exact way. My biggest complaint is the fact that your main partner throughout the story, the one who always reserved a spot on your team even when they’re not there, is a Rathalos again. I love the big red dragon as much as the next guy but honestly (and this is a comment on Monster Hunter Stories 2 and the Monster Hunter series as a whole), I feel like the Rathalos gets the mascot treatment similar to Pikachu. Monster Hunter is known for its fantastic creature design, show off some of the other cool ones!
- Returning Monsters don’t have a lot of change
- Story will give returning players déjà vu
Final Score: 9/10
Those that know me well would tell you that I’m a champion for Monster Hunter Stories and that certainly hasn’t changed with this new entry. It is perfect for new players and while the events of the first game are referenced (with some characters making a return), absolutely no knowledge of the previous game is needed to enjoy this one. The Monster Hunter series is a game that requires a bit more commitment than the average game. It requires you to fight the same monsters over and over again, hoping for that one rare material to drop to complete that cool looking armour set or that really powerful weapon. Monster Hunter Stories is a game that brings the core series’ creature design and world without any of the tedium that drives some players away and I highly recommend it to ANYONE, but especially to those who want to enjoy Monster Hunter but, for whatever reason, feel like they can’t.
Thank you for checking out our Monster Hunter Stories 2: Wings of Ruin Switch review, thank you to Nintendo AU/NZ for providing the review code and thank you to our $5 and up Patreon Backers for their ongoing support: