Conventional Monster Hunter titles are all about hunting monsters – go figure! The mainline titles span many generations of hunters and cover a whole lot of land (and sea). The franchise lore is rich and there seems to be no end to what may be discovered – another one of the main tenets the license is built upon. With this in mind, it stands to reason that hunters are not the only elite group of warriors in both the Old-, and New World. Therefore, as lore-rich as the franchise is, it makes sense for every aspect of it to be adapted to video game wonder. Enter Monster Hunter Stories 2: Wings of Ruin.
While not exactly realistic, Monster Hunter games have always found some roots in realism (to an extent). Everything may be magical and fantastical, but crafting, hunting, and scavenging (not to mention surviving) were designed around real world scenarios. This has also always extended through to aesthetics of the games – despite Monster Hunters Stories 2: Wings of Ruin showcasing otherwise. Hot off the heels of Monster Hunter Rise (the official “current” mainline entry), a live-action flick, and an animated film, Stories 2 looks and plays like a completely different kind of game… because, well, it is.
In Monster Hunter Stories 2: Wings of Ruin, the protagonist is a Rider. Where Hunters are equipped with all kinds of armour and gear to make hunting all the easier, Riders take a page out of How to Train Your Dragon’s book. In this way, they raise monsters from birth and fight alongside them in battle a la Pokemon. Another interesting similarity, which Pokemon fans will find amusing, is a character named Red; but that is where the surface level comparisons stop, for the most part.
Narratively speaking, the player-character is the grandson of Red, a famous Rider who once rode a mighty Rathalos into battle. This Rathalos entrusted an egg to a mysterious girl, who brings it to the protagonist. Thereafter, a flightless Rathalos is hatched. Word of the Rathalos’ flightless nature spreads quickly, and it becomes something of a sensation. Ultimately, however, it is up to the protagonist to figure out, once and for all, why this egg was entrusted to him in the first place, and whether or not it has any ties to the prophecies of old.
Players who missed the first instalment of the Stories spin-off have nothing to worry about. Much like how all of the mainline Monster Hunter titles have no direct bearing on one another; Monster Hunter Stories 2: Wings of Ruin follows suite as its own adventure. The only real link is how it takes place in the same world, and in the same timeline. With that said, however, it is highly beneficial if players already do know about Monster Hunter as a whole. The lore and backstories made available here have a lot more presence this way.
Similarly, any veteran of the franchise will instantly recognise all of its core aspects. From the various consumables available at any given time, through to the very fabric of how players traverse the wonderful world, there is much fans of the franchise will recognise and appreciate. With that said, Palamute riding from Rise is sorely missed in this entry. However, given how the main character is a Rider, this initial worry becomes extremely trivial in the long run.
With the above in mind, mainline entry veterans may not necessarily understand how Monster Hunter Stories 2: Wings of Ruin conducts its battles. The game is, for all intents and purposes, a Japanese Role-playing game – and a classic one at that. In this way, it utilises turn-based mechanics. These mechanics are extremely simple as well, with easy movement and actions dictating the overall experience. Combat, especially, looks eerily similar to that of older Final Fantasy titles; whereby every being on the battlefield takes a turn by choosing from basic attacks, skill attacks, or using items. Skill attacks make use of a “charge meter”, which builds up as the protagonist uses their weapon. Items range from normal heals and buffs through to the use of traps and elixirs, grenades, and more.
The entire premise of Monster Hunter Stories 2: Wings of Ruin focusses around how the player-character is a Rider. By way of this, tamed monsters fight alongside the player in battles. Similarly to Pokemon once again, monsters level up by going with the player into battle or taking part in side quests. The game also features a “Rite of Channeling” feature, which is essentially a Yu-gi-oh! Sacrifice mechanic where players can permanently discard one monster to pass their genes on to another. There is also a kinship meter that unlocks “ride attacks”, which are basically cool mount double attacks. Two guesses which attack I used almost every time it became available?
Players who are not too keen on battling with their monsters will be happy to hear how collecting is just as amazing of an experience! Monster Hunter Stories 2: Wings of Ruin features dens littered throughout the explorable world. Each den contains a dungeon which, once finished exploring, will reward players with an egg. Every egg has a random rarity assigned to it based on how challenging the randomly generated dungeon was, and depending on the rarity, the “monstie” inside is either stronger or weaker than before. There are also 128 total monsters, each of which are unique with their own set of abilities. Perhaps the biggest and most significant complaint I have regarding this mechanic is how the dogogama is not a catchable or tameable monstie. DISAPPOINTED!
Monster Hunter Stories 2: Wings of Ruins stands tall as one of the better entries in the franchise. It features excellent turn-based JRPG gameplay hearkening back to the classics. Battles also ‘feel’ incredibly good! While everything else is somewhat odd when compared to mainline Monster Hunter entries (specifically in look and feel), it ultimately comes off as quite an enjoyable entry. Catching monsters and looking after literal monster eggs is also a truly unique experience, adding a wonderful Pokemon-like element to the franchise. The game is a lovely departure for fans of the franchise, and should also serve as a novel entry point for newcomers. Overall, it is a good game serving to scratch the itch of a ‘Pokemon Hunter‘ mashup.
|128 Monsties to collect!||Very little of the authentic Monster Hunter charm|
|Turn-based combat works exceptionally well||No dodogama wtf is this even I cant deal|
|Dual attacks with monsties are incredible.|
Title reviewed on Nintendo Switch Lite with code supplied by Nintendo.