Monster Hunter Stories 2: Wings of Ruin PC Review

 

 
Overview
 

Genre: RPG
 
Rating: PG
 
Release Date: Available Now
 
Overall
 
 
 
 
 
4/5


 

Positives


- Plenty of Monsties to hatch
- Combat is highly strategic
- Main side characters are charming and interesting
- Art style is great

Negatives


- The world itself is visually disappointing
- Battles can sometimes run too long
-


Posted July 12, 2021 by

 
Full Article
 
 

For a series as successful as Monster Hunter, it’s surprising how few spin-offs we’ve seen. Despite every main entry selling millions of copies, Capcom have only infrequently expanded the series into other gaming genres. The biggest of those infrequent series offshoots was Monster Hunter Stories, a turn-based monster-collection RPG for the 3DS. Instead of an emphasis on murdering every monster you find (although you also did plenty of that), you collected and hatched monster eggs to create a party of imprinted, friendly monsters. It was an interesting twist on the Monster Hunter formula, but released after the Nintendo Switch came out, and so was missed by many people. Now, almost five years after the release of the original in Japan, Monster Hunter Stories 2: Wings of Ruin is here and it’s an incredibly charming and solid RPG.

The story of Monster Hunter Stories 2 has you take control of the grandchild of Red, a legendary hero who previously saved the world with the help of his Rathalos companion. Your character is a newly minted Rider, who forms bonds with Monsties (the name for friendly monsters) As the game begins, Rathalos around the world suddenly take flight, leaving their habitats behind for an unknown reason. At the same time, some monsters around the world suddenly become aggressive and begin attacking people, all while pits filled with red light begin to appear. Everything lines up with an ancient prophecy that a Rathalos with the Wings of Ruin would appear and cast the world into chaos, bringing about its destruction. After hatching a Rathalos with small, black unusable wings who is believed to be the harbinger of destruction, you embark on a quest to confirm if that really is the case and also stop the end of the world.

As a whole, the story is interesting, but largely formulaic and predictable. I won’t spoil the story itself, but don’t go in expecting any twists or anything particularly deep or meaningful. Where the story is at its best is in its more humorous moments, with a combination of jokes and body comedy that are mostly well done. Whether it’s Navirou’s self-aggrandising monologues or the main character tasting and subsequently collapsing from eating some suspect food, the game does a good job at keeping things light and funny. It’s supported well by a series of companion characters who are generally well written, with interesting motivations and backgrounds. What they do highlight, however, is the fact that most of the game’s characters don’t receive similar treatment. While their lines are almost entirely voiced, most other characters are relegated to simple text. That even goes for other characters who are important to the story, with only their lines in cutscenes receiving dialogue. A little more voice work and depth to other characters would have gone a long way here.

Throughout its story, Monster Hunter Stories 2 has you travelling between different large environments, each with their own biomes and sets of monsters. There’s islands, forests, snowy landscapes and more, with some even introducing unique mechanics, such as needing to warm yourself using items or certain monsters in the snowy landscape. As you would expect in a Monster Hunter game, these landscapes are all crawling with monsters, some of which are hell bent on your destruction. Explore a little more and you’ll find Monster Dens, where you can steal eggs from monster nests to hatch and imprint on yourself (seriously, it’s all a little suspect when you think about it); Everdens, where you can find medals to turn in for unique rewards and also some Monster Dens; and super powerful Royal Monsters who can generally obliterate your party when you first enter an area. Throw in plenty of crafting materials to pick up and craft weapons and armour (along with monster parts), and treasure chests to find, and there’s always plenty of incentive to explore in the game.

If you run into a monster, it’s time for combat, and this is where Monster Hunter Stories 2 feels both unique and familiar as an RPG. The game’s combat uses a system where all character’s enter their attacks at the same time (you can only control the main character) and you’re able to see who everyone is targeting. Layered onto this is an attack triangle system, where Speed beats Power, Power beats Technical, and Technical beats Speed attacks. If you correctly predict the type of attack targeting you and use its weakness, you’ll take less damage from it. On top of this, if your or your companion’s Monstie also uses the same attack type as you in that scenario, you’ll launch a Double Attack that deals extra damage and completely negates the enemy’s attack. Bring in weapon effectiveness – with piercing, bladed and blunt weapons – where only one weapon type is strong against an enemy or specific body part, shifts in enemy behaviour that changes their attack types and more, and the combat in the game becomes surprisingly complex and strategic. Combat is easily the most fleshed out and engaging part of the game, although it can sometimes take a bit longer than I liked.

Visually, Monster Hunter Stories 2 is a bit disappointing on PC. The art style itself is fantastic, with plenty of colour and detail to character and monster models, but the world itself is far from amazing. Many of the game’s textures are relatively basic and low quality, grass and flowers only fill in a few meters away from your characters, and there are plenty of jagged edges and low quality environmental props that pop up. It’s clear that the game was developed with the Nintendo Switch version as the main consideration, with not much of a visual boost to the PC version. Where it does do significantly better is in its technical performance. I averaged roughly 100fps running the game at 1440p with the game’s few visual options maxed out, and it never really suffered from any sudden drops. Overall, the game is solid artistically and on a performance level, but some more environmental detail would have gone a long way here.

It was a pretty decent wait for a sequel to Monster Hunter Stories, but it looks to have been worth the wait. While there are still a few disappointing aspects, Monster Hunter Stories 2 is a solid RPG filled with charming characters, a wonderful art style and all the Monsties you could hope to catch. Whether you’re a fan of Monster Hunter or not, don’t sleep on this game.

Monster Hunter Stories 2: Wings of Ruin was reviewed on a Windows 10 PC with a copy provided by the publisher. The game is also available on Nintendo Switch. For more information, check the official website.


Andrew Cathie

 
Rocket Chainsaw's premier Fantasy-loving Editor. I basically play anything and everything that looks like it could be fun or interesting.