Monster Hunter Stories 2: Wings of Ruin - Launch Trailer
Who it Caters to
Monster Hunter is an exciting and successful franchise, but some people still find it hard to play or even boring and repetitive. If that's your case, then Monster Hunter Stories may be a better fit for you, a spin-off where monsters—monsties, actually—are not hunted but considered friends you can tame and ride!
What to Expect
Instead of raiding huge bosses and finding the best tactics to beat them and loot their resources, Monster Hunter Stories 2: Wings of Ruin is closer to what you would expect in any JRPG, with an actual plot to follow, several friends to make along the way, and dozens of monsties to train. For that reason, you can expect a compelling story about friendship and destiny that can be enjoyed even if this is your first time with a Monster Hunter title. In terms of combat style, this is a turn-based strategy game, but we'll get to that later in the Gameplay section!
The first Monster Hunter Stories had really childish graphics. This sequel, however, comes with a "mature" design as well as a beautiful and way more detailed world to explore... always within the limitations of the Switch, of course. Unfortunately, we've seen reports of fps drops in TV mode, and we experienced noticeable drops in console mode, too. If you want better graphics, go for the PC version—duh!— since the Switch port seems to be quite poorly optimized.
Monster Hunter Stories 2: Wings of Ruin's soundtrack is remarkable, as always happens in the Monster Hunter series. It's a really good OST but it works as any other JRPG OST, featuring songs for each zone and more stressful variants of the same tunes for bosses or difficult encounters in general. As for the voice acting, we really enjoyed both the Japanese and English casts, but it's hard not to notice the original JP voiceover goes better with the animations.
On the small island of Hakolo, there's the Mahana Riders village, protected by the mighty Guardian Ratha, former "monstie" of the now-deceased heroic rider Red and a mythical creature in its own.
During a festival deep in this forest, the Wyverian Ena comes face to face with Ratha, who presents her with a mysterious Rathalos egg. Their meeting is short-lived, as some hunters arrive and begin to attack. This short yet brutal combat concludes with the apparent death of some hunters, the disappearance of Ratha, and a change of plans for Ena, who decides to protect the egg at all costs. Shortly after, the village is besieged by angry monsters and a rider who didn't even complete the Rite of Channeling becomes the unexpected hero. Turns out this guy is Red's grandson!
After some events, Ena, the protagonist, and their traveling companions end up in Rutoh, a village that will sound familiar to all of you who played the first Monster Hunter Stories. Will this new hero be able to complete the Rite of Channeling and hatch this strange Rathalos egg?
Creatures have different stats you can improve to make them better in battle, but the most important thing to keep in mind is that this game follows a rock-paper-scissors formula. Similar to the first game, all attacks are divided into 5 possible elements: Fire, Water, Ice, Thunder, and Dragon, as well as 3 attack modes (Speed, Power, and Technique) that decide both the damage inflicted/resisted and who wins or loses Head-to-Head matches. However, in this second installment, new types of damage are added—Blunt, Slash, and Pierce—that dictate how effective each type of weapon is according to the monster and what part of their body you are targeting. Speaking about weapons, your available options are great sword, sword and shield, hammer, hunting horn, bow, and gunlance.
All in all, combat and training in Monster Hunter Stories 2 feels like playing a Pokémon game. Instead of capturing opposing monsters, one of your objectives will be to steal eggs from their nests, so you can later hatch them and become friends with the newly-born creature. Of course, not all monsties are equally effective in battle, but that's just part of the fu. Building a team that's strong enough and looks cool to the eye? Yeah, we're into that!
Although it's possible to change a monster's element, just like in the first Monster Hunter Stories, it seems extremely difficult to do so given how high their regular elemental value—which grows proportionally to the monster's level—is. Good luck grinding for the perfect monsties!
Honey's Gameplay Consensus:
We had over 50 hours of fun with Monster Hunter Stories 2: Wings of Ruin, and that's without really fully exploring all min-maxing options or grinding for rare monsters with better genes! In all honesty, this sequel is by leaps and bounds a better spin-off than the original Monster Hunter Stories and a perfect game for all those looking for an entry point to one of Capcom's hit franchises. Time to find your new best friend and train it to be the most powerful monstie!
A complex JRPG that can be enjoyed by hardcore gamers and casuals alike, even if this is your first time with a Monster Hunter title.
Too many monsties to hatch, train, and use in battle!
Poor graphical performance on the Nintendo Switch.
Several bugs and game-breaking bugs in both single-player and coop modes.
Honey's Final Verdict:
The Switch version of Monster Hunter Stories 2: Wings of Ruin is far from being unplayable, but if you want better graphics, buy the PC version on Steam. It will definitely look better, but sadly, that doesn't mean there aren't game-breaking bugs in both versions... watch out for future updates and patches!
Author: Rod Locksley
Hey! I'm Rod, and when I'm not watching anime or playing video games I'm probably writing about them, but I'm also a graphic and web designer, and I even published a comic book and worked like 4 years for a well-known MMORPG. Curiously, my favorite series are quite different from each other, so I'm still trying to understand what I really like in an anime...