In this review we will tell you in detail about Monster Hunter Stories 2: Wings of Ruin, Capcom’s new turn-based JRPG.Monster Hunter Stories is a Monster Hunter spinoff that really differs greatly from the main Capcom series . The fulcrum of this title is in fact the breeding of monsters and, as if that were not enough, it is flanked by a gameplay typical of turn – based JRPGs to which fans of the classic chapters are not at all used.
It has been a while since the launch of the second chapter of this spinoff series and in this period we have had the opportunity to play it very thoroughly . Consequently, in this review you will find our detailed evaluation of the new Monster Hunter Stories 2: Wings of Ruin.
The strength of the bonds
Since we have already covered it extensively in our preview , in this review we will not dwell on the story of Monster Hunter Stories 2. We have already said everything there was to say about the incipit of the game and consequently we prefer to avoid repeating ourselves.
Now that we have tried the title in its entirety, however, we are finally able to make a complete judgment on the story. Initially, the plot of Monster Hunter Stories 2: Wings of Ruin seemed promising to us and now we can say that our expectations have been largely met . Over the course of the game, the story will take an increasingly interesting turn and, apart from a few drops in the middle of the adventure, the narrative will keep really good rhythms . In addition, all the characters you meet will be really well characterized and you will end up immediately fond of each of them. In short, overall we really enjoyed the story of the game, especially when compared to that of the main chapters of Monster Hunter.
Catch Them All – Monster Hunter Stories 2: Wings of Ruin review
In nature monsters are extremely aggressive towards humans, but raiders still manage to create a strong bond with them. To do this, you need to start raising your companions from the very beginning and for this reason your protagonist will be constantly looking for eggs .
Initially you will not have many opportunities to grow your team, but once you pass the introduction you will have the opportunity to explore a large number of many monsters . These locations are small, randomly generated dungeons filled with enemies, treasures and most of all eggs. Of course the monsters won’t let you take their young easily and as a result you will often be forced to fight. Fortunately, however, these creatures will not always be cowards and sometimes you may be able to steal the eggs by stealth when they are not in the nest or while they are sleeping.
Unfortunately, however, even if there are no dangers, the collection will not be easy at all. This is because every time you interact with the pile of eggs you will be able to take one randomly but, since they are all very similar to each other, it will be very difficult to understand which one to take out of the den. To find out which monster they belong to, you just need to learn to recognize the colors and symbols of the shell , but understanding the actual potential of the puppy that hides inside will be much more complex. Fortunately, you can always count on the help of your companion felyne Navirou , who will evaluate the eggs based on smell and weight . The heavier an egg is and the stronger it smells,the more powerful the creature within it will be.
Due to this random component, you will often find yourself having to farm eggs to try and get the best possible version of a monster . This process is very repetitive and can be boring due to the structure of the dungeons . The nests of the monsters in fact will almost always be very similar to each other and extremely linear , so you will soon end up losing interest in exploring them thoroughly.
Genetic manipulation – Monster Hunter Stories 2: Wings of Ruin review
When an egg hatches, the resulting monster will be randomly assigned genes based on the rarity of the egg. These genes are nothing more than passive or active abilities that your companions will be able to exploit both in combat and during exploration. In total, each monster has 9 slots in which you can place these upgrades which, if aligned in a precise order , will have even greater effects. Not all slots will be available right away, but some will need to be unlocked by leveling up your monster or using certain items.
Despite the presence of as many as 9 slots, basically players will not have the ability to freely move their genes as they prefer. In fact, to be able to correctly align the enhancements you will be forced to rely on Shamanic Rituals . This mechanic will allow you to transfer genes from one monster to another , while losing the donor forever.
The Shamanic Ritual is essential to be able to make your companions competitive, as it will allow you to enhance the skills they already have and replace those they do not need . Also, since the two creatures that undergo the ritual don’t have to be of the same species, you can also teach your monsters abilities they wouldn’t normally learn in the wild . For example, you could create amphibians that breathe fire or flying dragons that throw rocks. Experimenting with the Shamanic Ritual is really a lot of fun and will allow you to really customize all your companions.
Rock, paper and scissors – Monster Hunter Stories 2: Wings of Ruin review
The fights in Monster Hunter Stories 2 are very similar to those of a classic turn-based JRPG . Once you have approached an enemy the battle will begin and both your protagonist and the first monster of your team (composed of up to 6 creatures ) will take to the field to fight. Also, in case you are traveling with another raider , he and his partner will also fight alongside you. During the fight you will be able to directly control only your protagonist , but fortunately the actions that your allies are about to perform will be signaled on the screen.
Monster Hunter Stories 2, however, has a particularity that distinguishes it from other titles of the same genre: the combat system . In the game, in fact, almost all the moves are available in three variations: power, technique and speed . These ” attributes ” can easily be associated with the stone, paper and scissors of the Chinese morra , since each of them will have an advantage or a disadvantage in a confrontation with the other two.
Each time you attack an enemy who is also aiming at you, a head to head will start and, based on the attribute selected by both of you, you can win, lose or draw. In case of victory you will inflict greater damage and you will suffer less, while in case of defeat it will be the opposite. In addition, in case your monster partner attacks the target of the head-to-head using your same attribute, you can unleash a very powerful double attack capable of inflicting tremendous damage and canceling the opponent’s move.
Damaging enemies and especially winning head-to-head will also allow you to fill your bond gauge . This indicator allows you to perform powerful skills and give some orders to your companions, but above all it will allow you to ride monsters once full . As soon as you get in the saddle, both you and your mount will regain a large amount of HP and then you can unleash a devastating bond ability . Also, should your fellow Raider do the same thing, you can even activate a really powerful double bond attack .
Tactical Battles – Monster Hunter Stories 2: Wings of Ruin review
In addition to the particular mechanics of the Chinese morra, the fights of Monster Hunter Stories 2 have many other very interesting elements . For example, your Raider can use weapons capable of inflicting cutting, blunt or piercing damage , and alternate them during combat to exploit the weaknesses of the opponents . In addition, facing some of the most powerful monsters you can decide to target some specific parts of their body . By destroying them, you can block some of their attacks or even stun them .
In addition, consumable items will also be very useful during the fights . In fact, in addition to the classic cures, you can use explosives, blinding bombs, traps, throwing knives and many other useful tools . These objects are typical of the Monster Hunter series and in many cases will have effects that are extremely similar to those of the main chapters of the brand . Thanks to all these tactical possibilities, during the battles you will have the possibility to use many different approaches.
Since the battles of the main ones are quite simple, you will often not be forced to use all these options, but the situation changes for the secondary ones . Monster Hunter Stories 2 indeed presents many optional activities that very often represent real challenges that require careful preparation. Sometimes you will have to try to finish fights within a certain number of turns, while in other cases you will simply have to beat monsters that are much more powerful than normal.
In addition to side missions, another very fun and challenging activity is fighting against other Raiders . In fact, in Monster Hunter Stories 2 you can cooperate with other players to overcome the most difficult battles, but also challenge them in extremely complex battles with unique rules . This competitive component is really a lot of fun and significantly increases the longevity of a title that is already extremely long-lasting.
Hunting for Materials – Monster Hunter Stories 2: Wings of Ruin review
During our review we told you about how important egg farming is in Monster Hunter Stories 2, but there are also many other items that you will need to accumulate . By exploring the various areas of the game you will have the opportunity to collect a large number of different materials that you can use in different ways. For example, natural resources such as honey, mushrooms and herbs can be combined to create healing items , while minerals and monster parts will be essential for forging and improving both the weapons and armor of your Raider.
The maps will also feature numerous deposits of rare materials and chests containing very useful treasures. However, these items will generally be hidden in hard-to-reach places and your companions come into play here. In fact, many monsters possess particular abilities that you can use outside of combat to reach otherwise inaccessible places . For example, some creatures can tunnel, others are able to swim, and still others can fly.
Using your companions’ unique abilities to explore is a lot of fun, but sadly, the game won’t take full advantage of this feature . In fact, most of the areas will be extremely simple and linear , and alternative routes will almost never lead you to interesting discoveries.
For better or for worse – Monster Hunter Stories 2: Wings of Ruin review
Obviously, from an artistic point of view, the full version for Nintendo Switch of Monster Hunter Stories 2 does not differ much from the demo . We reconfirm that the anime style of the game is very beautiful and manages to make both humans and monsters stand out. Even the settings, despite their simplicity, are truly enchanting thanks to an excellent use of colors . In addition, the animations are very accurate and especially in combat they will always be a joy for the eyes.
Unfortunately, however, the game still suffers from the technical problems we encountered during the demo . In fact, in numerous sections of the game we have noticed a large number of really annoying frame drops . During the battles it seems that the game remains stable at 30 FPS, but in more eventful situations it often drops even below 20 . In particular, the most severe drops are perceptible during cutscenes and in areas where there are many effects such as fire or flowing water . Overall, this issue won’t hurt your experience much, but experiencing it for the duration of the game will be really annoying.
Now the point of our review has finally arrived in which we sum up Monster Hunter Stories 2: Wings of Ruin. Capcom’s new turn-based JRPG is a truly immense title that will be able to entertain you for many hours with tons of activities . Between a great main story , side missions, challenges and online battles, you are sure to have plenty of ways to have fun (especially given the quality of the fights). In addition, farming in search of rare monsters and genes will also be extremely satisfying. The only flaws of the game are related to frame drops and the lack of care of the levels, but overall the title remains more than excellent. In short, if you are a fan of Monster Hunter and this type of JRPG, we are sure that Wings of Ruin will not disappoint you.
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