Published on September 12th, 2017 | by voxx0
Monster Hunter Stories
Developed by Marvelous and published by Capcom, Monster Hunter Stories is a spin-off game from the popular RPG series. And it’s a fun one to sink your teeth into, despite the new turn-based gameplay style shaking things up. Combat sees you taking turns setting up your attacks, allowing you to choose from three battle styles (Speed, Strength, Technical) that work in an advantage weapon-triangle format. These encounters trigger when you cross paths with a monster in the open world setting that can be freely explored throughout.
In terms of plot, you take control of a child hoping to one day become a rider, as you go on a journey hunting dens for monster eggs and hatching them into a collection of beasts you can use to ride and battle with to advance further through the story. It’s a simple concept, but that’s kind of why it works. Not only do you get to customise your monster army by choosing which to take along and even giving them their own names, but you also get to work on solving the mystery of a dark threat and saving your people from what is known as the ‘Black Blight’, an infection that’s spreading fast and affecting monsters, causing them to become violent – not to mention tracking down your missing friend at the same time. It’s a pretty linear story, but it offers a wealth of side-quests to complete as you go along.
Monster Hunter Stories does have a free demo that offers up the first few hours of the game so you can get a taste for yourself before investing in it, and what’s more you have the option to transfer this demo data into the full version so you don’t have to start again from scratch. Still, it’s hard not to fall for the colourful charms of befriending these battle-hungry beasts, and as long as you’re not expecting the most epic tale ever told of love and loss and everything in-between, you’ll be fine. In short, it’s a bit of fun, something that you can become strangely addicted too and idly whittle away the hours on. You don’t need to rush through the story as there’s so much else going on in the background, meaning everyone’s experience will be slightly different.
Granted, the slow battle format can occasionally get a little stale in monster-heavy areas and it can be slightly frustrating when you keep hatching the same monsters over and over again instead of new ones, but the Pokemon series is living proof that despite these flaws, such a game can work and become a staple in your 3DS library. At least it adds something to strive for, a bit of challenge, and while the concept is simplistic you suddenly find yourself needing to know what’s going to happen next and what new areas you’re going to be granted access to.
Overall, despite deviating significantly from the rest of the series, Monster Hunter Stories is a solid game and one you can access having never even heard of Monster Hunter before. It offers plenty of hours of gameplay, keeps you entertained for hours, allows for player choice and emotional connections, and the graphics, while cartoonish, are absolutely beautiful. As long as you go in knowing what to expect and not setting your sights too staggeringly high, there’s no reason you can’t fall in love with this game like I have.
- By Victoria Hydes