“When a monster strikes, the fearful hide, but the brave? They ride” So goes what should be the motto of all Hunters, young and old. Long time fans of the beloved Capcom franchise, Monster Hunter, might have been fearful at the idea of the spin-off “Monster Hunter Stories” when first discovered it would be a fairly large departure from the typical Monster Hunter game they have all come to know and love, but what of those who were brave and gave this Monster a ride? Was “Monster Hunter Stories” a pleasant addition? Or was this a bad egg? A closer look at the game will help you judge if this game is a ride worth taking.
“Monster Hunter Stories” has a completely different gameplay from previous titles. Instead of the real time combat usually associated with Monster Hunter games, Stories offers turn based combat instead. When the players comes against a monster or adversary, you pick from a selection of attacks. You can pick from power, speed or technical attacks and if you are successful in head to head combats with the enemy via a rock, paper, scissors type game you will raise your kinship points and be able to ride your monster and perform a special attack. If you chose to ride without performing a special attack immediately, you can further raise your kinship points and perform an even stronger special attack. Occasionally during battle there is also QTE type events where you must win at butting heads against your opponent by repeatedly tapping the A button. Another event is the air showdown where you press L and R to win and finally we have breath blast that require you to rotate the circle pad quickly. Doing this gains you extra damage and points for your Kinship meter. This may be a compete departure from past Monster Hunter combat but it is a unique, fun and easy going experience.
Another element of gameplay that is new to Monster Hunter is the element of collecting and hatching eggs. Throughout your adventures as a monster rider, you will locate monster nests. These nests contain an assortment of eggs for you to chose from. These eggs can contain herbivore or carnivore monsters and if you collect them, you can hatch them and build up your monster team. Some sub-quests also require particular types of eggs. As with many RPGs, there is a multitude of sidequests you can go on and jobs you can undertake. From collecting the dropped loot from certain monsters, to types of eggs, to specific crafting material there is always something that needs to be done in between main story quests.
The story is cute, even if it is fairly standard for a JRPG. You are a green horn rider and of course, you are now ready to leave your village and see the world. You get caught up in major world changing events and conflict happens within your social circle. It is clear that story was less of a priority than world building and gameplay, but it works for this game. This game aims for easy going fun and it hits the mark. The only minor issue was for non New3DS users, players might have some performance issues, but nothing game breaking as far as my understanding goes. Draw distance has also been a bit of an issue, as even I had the occasional NPC or enemy seemingly sneak up on me as I get closer.
Overall, if you are a fan of cute JRPGs or the Monster Hunter world, this game should be given a chance. It has charm, fun and a sweetness to it that is executed wonderfully. This game could have been a disaster if put into hands that clearly didn’t have a love for the world of Monster Hunter, but luckily the creators of this game showed care and respect for Monster Hunter while putting their own spin on it for a new ride that need not be feared.