Monster Hunter Stories Review
When I first saw Monster Hunter Stories in the Nintendo eShop, it was right around the day the demo landed, and everybody kept saying online, “It’s Pokémon, but Monster Hunter.” I was intrigued immediately, but that excitement was quickly quashed when I realized that Monster Hunter Stories is almost nothing like Pokémon at all. Then I played the demo, and a new wave of excitement passed through me. Monster Hunter Stories is not a game without a number of faults, but the overall package work really well, making it one of my favorite 3DS games this year.
Story is King
Unlike most RPG adventure titles, Monster Hunter Stories actually has a really great storyline, with character growth, shocking twists, and more than one plot line running throughout. While your ultimate goal will be saving the world from evil – what game doesn’t ultimately have this as its end goal – there are a number of other plot twists weaved into the narrative, the most important and intriguing being that of your friends.
Not Your Average Monster Hunter
If you are a long time Monster Hunter fan, then Monster Hunter Stories will appear very foreign to you. While all other Monster Hunter titles are defined by open world, action packed battles, Monster Hunter Stories takes a more relaxed approach, allowing battles to play out in turn based actions. Like many turn based style games, Monster Hunter utilizes a paper-scissors-rock battle mechanic. Whether you use Speed, Power, or Technical moves, knowing what you opponent will use is the key to victory.
Throughout the numerous battles you will take part in, mini games within the battle are bound to happen. Some are automatic – like head-to-head, where whoever picks the dominate move will win – while others require button presses from the player. The mini games add a bit of flavour to the battles as you never really know when they might happen, but none of them are particularly hard.
Accessible Monster Hunter
The simplistic battle system is part of Capcom’s attempt to make Monster Hunter Stories the most accessible Monster Hunter ever. Even my seven year old was able to quickly make his way through the game, with little resistance from any of the enemies he fought. Sure, he often had problems reading the enemies moves and knowing which type of attack they would use, but he soon realized that specific enemies prefer a specific attack type, so he quickly learned to counter.
With it’s coloruful graphics and easy gameplay mechanics, however, Capcom really has succeeded in being the accessible title it obviously hoped it would become. Anyone can play Monster Hunter, anyone can be successful at it. Despite being accessible, however, their is a certain degree of challenge that keeps even the hard core Monster Hunter and RPG fans coming back.
Monsters, not Pokémon
When people kept telling me that Monster Hunter Stories was like Pokémon, they were definitely referring to the ability to find and collect various monsters. Dotted around the map are monster nests, and when entered, players face a small dungeon that they must make their way through before getting to the end, the monster nest.
At the monster nest, players can search for monster eggs, and when they find one they want, they must safely carry the egg from the nest. Should they get attacked while leaving the nest, players will have to successfully win their battle in order to preserve their egg. After leaving the nest, players will need ot head to the nearest stable and hatch their egg, and see which monster is inside.
Collecting monsters is actually fairly addicting, and I quickly found myself skipping the main story in order to hunt down more nests, and hatch more eggs. Through the adventure, you will also collect egg fragments, which when put together, will give you a full egg. Regardless of how you get your egg, hatching it to see what you got is great fun, although incredibly disappointing when you get your 3rd or 4th monster of the same type!
Having a variety of Monsties at your disposal is incredibly important, as you will need specific monsters to perform specific tasks. Whether you are using the Tigrex to climb vines, or flying around on the variety of airborn monsters, having variety will make completing Monster Hunter Stories much easier, and much more enjoyable. Many of these monsters will be required to reach areas of the map otherwise inaccessible, and rare and valuable times are often hidden in these areas.
You Determine Your Playtime
Monster Hunter Stories is a pretty big game, and you can expect to spend well over 30 hours on average exploring the world, finding Monstie eggs, and so much more. Frankly, Monster Hunter Stories can be as long as you really want it to be. The Monster Nests continue to pop back up around the world, meaning you can continue to explore them in search of new eggs. How much you decide to delve into the weapon crafting system, side quests system, and more will determine how much you get out of this experience.
If we are talking about price, than Monster Hunter Stories offers a lot more than many AAA games on modern home consoles, Nintendo Switch included, and at the slightly lower price point of 39.99 USD (49.99 CAN), you will actually get more game play for your dollar.
Monster Hunter Stories definitely won’t be for everyone, and if you are a longtime Pokémon fan coming in and hoping to find something similar, you will be sadly disappointed. But Monster Hunter is different, the good kind of different, and is definitely worth your time and money. If turn based, collection RPG games are something you’ve enjoyed in the past, I cannot recommend Monster Hunter Stories enough!