Here’s the synopsis of this Anime (this game is for you weeb little boys that I know are reading this), you’re in highschool and your hot anime crush, Monster Hunter Stories 2, doesn’t want to date you. She’s superhot or whatever, with her deep Monstie collection mechanics, above average combat system, and a seemingly endless well of content. Everytime you try to form a connection with her, she just looks at you with a blank face. “Ooooweee senpai please stop, I’m so boring,” Monster Hunter Stories 2 says. “No,” you say with superiority in your voice, and a # on your forehead or something. You take her by the hand, respectfully, and proceed to walk her to class for the next 3 hours before you realise that she might actually be as boring as she is so desperately trying to convince you that she is. But she’s so hot, and you’re just a little anime boy, so everyday you fall for it and walk her to class just hoping that she says something interesting, or smiles, or… just anything.
Monster Hunter Stories 2 is a game that is begging me to stop playing it. The story is uninteresting, the progression is slow, I just get bored, but I will not concede. I will not be broken. I will continue to play this boring game because I like it. This may sound pretty harsh, and maybe it is. In fact, you might even like this game too. I’m going to try and explain myself, but beware, even I’m a little confused.
Monster Hunter Stories 2 is a love letter to Monster Hunter fans. If you know Monster Hunter, this has about every single monster you could pull from your memory. For the first few (or maybe more than a few) hours you could be disappointed with the simplified armour/weapon crafting system or the deceptively simple turn based combat system. And while it takes entirely too long to reward your patience, these simplified yet familiar systems are complimented with an immensely customisable “Monstie” collection system. This is a deep game. A damn near endlessly deep game. I have not finished it, and to be honest, I probably never will. The amount of monsters to collect and fight is staggering and absolutely impressive.
So if you don’t know, this is CAPCOM’s attempt to win over the bewildering loyalty of the Pokemon fan base. They do this with mechanics that do not constantly insult the player’s intelligence, unlike Nintendo’s recent attempts. This is the tried and true Pokemon formula that little weeb babies know and love. Run around a sort of empty landscape, while collecting materials, fighting monsters in turn based combat, and literally stealing their unborn children from under their sleeping noses. This game is obviously aimed at a younger audience than it’s big boy counterparts and constantly preaches to you to “respect your monsties, they’re your friends!” Make no mistake though, Monster Hunter’s disturbing morality is here in full force, if not a little more intense than usual. Once in a monster den, you need to “deal” with the mother and select the finest specimen of their offspring to strengthen your collection of Monstie “friends,” who are entranced by their love for you because of the kinship stone you keep on your wrist. Once you bring those stinky eggs back to your stable to hatch them, you can either add them to your collection of “friends,” or you can siphon their genes from their body, killing the Monstie in the process, and inject them into the other Monsties that you happen to love more. This system has a lot of depth and variety. It definitely demands a grind from you, but when you’ve got a party of Monsties that you’re really proud of, it’s pretty satisfying.
Combat is classic party turn based combat with as many Monster Hunter combat mechanics integrated in as possible. You still have to break different parts of monsters to collect more valuable crafting components. You still have to use different attack and damage types to counter certain monsters. The difference here, other than the obvious, is that you are not locked to one weapon type in a battle. So instead of locking you into a playstyle, each monster is vulnerable to different weapon types and attack types. The same for your Monsties, except each Monstie is better at a certain attack type, so you need to make use of all of the Monsties in your party for different situations. Just like the mainline games, the knowledge you collect throughout your playtime make you feel like you’re actually learning how to hunt unique animals, and that’s something not a lot of games have the balls to trust the player with. The dudes who make these games know how to make an addictive gear grind too. It’s just as satisfying as the other games, albeit much simpler, but the addition of the Monstie’s really help make up for that simplicity.
So why is this game boring sometimes? First of all the story is so simple and uninteresting. And to add insult to injury the entirety of the dialogue involves your “buddy” Navirou, your felyne traveling companion. And when I say he is the worst character I have ever seen in a game, keep in mind I have played Borderlands 3. This is the kind of shit that you fear your conservative father walking in on you playing. He single handedly makes this game nearly not worth playing if the cutscenes weren’t skippable. Secondly, the introduction of new game mechanics is slower than any game that I have played. It’s done at such a pace that I can see a lot of people dipping out before this game becomes even remotely enjoyable. It’s really a chore to make it to the 6 hour mark, so if you’re interested in this be ready for a hell of a slow start. Lastly, this game is repetitive, mostly thanks to the fact that other than fighting and collecting materials, the world is really not very interactive. There are some Monstie specific secret areas to find, but it’s pretty bare bones, and it lacks the dynamic combat of the mainline games to distract you.
So should you pull the trigger on this? I don’t know, If you get hooked and make it to the end game, I’m sure you’re rewarded with some bad ass stuff, but I’ll probably never make it there. if you like Pokemon, it’s sure as hell better than that.