Many players know that in the Monster Hunter universe, monsters are hunted to protect the people of the land as well as farmed for their materials to upgrade a player’s weapons and armor. But in Monster Hunter Stories, from Capcom and Nintendo and developed by Marvelous, monsters are ridden and are a player’s best friend, a Monstie, if you will.
In this wonderful 3DS game, players discover the Monster Hunter universe as well as fill up the Monsterpedia, the book of monsters. Monster Hunter Stories was originally released in Japan in February of 2016, finally coming westward on September 8, 2017. Though this is an older game to review, Capcom has a big platform Monster Hunter game, Monster Hunter Worlds, that came out on January 26 of this year. I’ve never played a Monster Hunter game, but I know how exciting Monster Hunter Worlds looks, so I wanted to give any Monster Hunter game a shot.
Once starting the game, players discover Hakum Village, the village the main character is from, which is then promptly attacked by a Nargacuga, a panther like monster. It is also blighted, meaning that it has a black power inside it that makes the monster more aggressive and powerful. Needless to say, the village is destroyed and a few people are lost in the attack before the Nargacuga decides that it has had enough fun for one day and leaves. This leaves the player in a little bit of a pickle since their town was destroyed. But have no fear! A year passes, the village is rebuilt, and the player is to become a Rider, someone who can raise monsters from egg to adulthood and can battle other monsters in the wild for materials, main quests, or subquests. And by performing all of these tasks, players also break every rule in the village. Awesome. Players also come across a Felyne named Navirou (very annoying and similar to Navi from Ocarina of Time) who joins them in their journey across the world. It becomes the main mission throughout the game to discover the world as well as find out what the Black Blight is, having the player team up with new people, including Scribers and Hunters, to learn more about the Black Blight and how to defeat it so that it doesn’t possess all of the monsters in the world and threaten the existence of humanity
The battle system in Monster Hunter Stories is pretty easy to understand. It works on a turn based system with certain attacks having advantages over others. Red moves, or power moves, are strong and can outpower technical attacks, or green moves. Technical moves can overpower speedy attacks, or blue moves. And speed moves out maneuver power attacks. It only comes down to the player guessing correctly as to what the enemy monster is going to do. This is where Navirou comes into play. He will give players hints about what kind of moves certain monsters are known for or what they often do when in the midst of a battle. It is then up to the player to use this knowledge and plan accordingly. If the player and their monster use the same move against the enemy and the enemy chooses the weakness of the move, then a double attack ensues doing a greater amount of damage. Also, the more moves that each player uses and correctly guesses the advantage move, kinship between the player and the current monster in battle will increase. Once kinship has been achieved, then the player can jump onto their monster and do different moves to do more damage against the enemy. It’s very intriguing to try and make an educated guess based on the monster’s main type of moves and what a previous move had been. The enemy monster and the player’s monster will almost never pick the same moves in a row, so that is where the challenge of the battle system comes in, making for interesting combat.
Out in the wild, players will come across Monster Dens. In the den, players can defeat harder monsters and then collect the eggs to add to their team. All players can have up to 200 monsters in their stables and 12 eggs in the hatching bin at a time, allowing for a very diverse team of monsters that have different skill sets that can be powerful against boss monsters or challenging fights. My personal team is a Velocidrome, Lagombi, Gypceros, Yian Kut-Ku, Aptonoth, and a Rathalos, so a nice variety of specialty monsters who all come in handy at different times. It may seem rather odd to have 200 monsters in the stables at once, but a skill players learn is called Rite of Channelling, which allows for some monsters to transfer powers and upgrades from one monster to another. For example, the Lagombi I have, which is normally an Ice monster, combined with a Yian Kut-Ku, a monster with fire breath, so the Lagombi now knows Fire Breath. By having these powerups, it allows the players to create unique monsters in their party for any situation.
The other part of the game is to explore and have fun. What more can you ask for in an open world monster hunting game? The world that Capcom has built into Monster Hunter Stories is beautiful and filled with many different types of monsters, especially fan favorites like Diablos and Barroth. It’s also really fun to go out into the wild and discover what monsters are usually where and also come across rare monsters. Players can paintball monsters when they are in battle, making it more likely for a monster to run away to their dens so that players can collect the eggs. It’s how I ended up with a Diablos. Locations of dens in the wild change constantly. Monsters are always in different locations and can sneak up on players when they are least expecting it.
Capcom has seriously blown me away with this wonderful 3DS title and I’m sad that it has taken me this long to even pick up a Monster Hunter game. While everyone prepares for Monster Hunter Worlds, I will continue to ride my monsters around the world and fill up my Monsterpedia, discovering new places, items, and upgrading until I have the best armor. If you are looking for a portable RPG game that involves the Monster Hunter universe, then what are you waiting for? Monster Hunter Stories is fantastic and I recommend it to anyone who is waiting patiently for Monster Hunter Worlds but needs Monster Hunter in their life now. Maybe you will discover the joy of riding monsters just like I have.
Monster Hunter Stories is available on the Nintendo 3DS for $39.99 and the reviewer purchased the game for this purpose.
Monster Hunter Stories
- New aspect on Monster Hunter universe
- Lots to discover and complete
- Play with whatever monsties you want
- Slow to get into for newcomers to Monster Hunter
- Can be a lot of info thrown out at once
- Slight frame rate issues when lots going on on screen