Pokémon this aint.
I really liked the original Monster Hunter Stories game on 3DS, blending together Pokémon and JRPG elements within the Monster Hunter universe created something that was so charming, yet so Monster Hunter that it was a fantastic experience from start to finish.
But for some reason, I can’t seem to replicate this sense of charm with the sequel. Everything is there from the previous game that’s telling me I should love this but it just feels that something is missing from the predecessor. There is still a lot to love but quite a bit I just don’t care for.
I will get all my negatives out of the way in one paragraph though.
Firstly, the story is so incredibly JRPG Cliché that I found I was able to guess the story beats long before they happened simply because I have played a JRPG before. I get that the story isn’t the main focus for the bulk of Monster Hunter games but I feel there needs to be a great story there if you want me to invest in a JRPG variant of your game. One other thing I don’t really care for is elements of the battle system – specifically I really don’t like titles where I can’t control my team members in battle – I know I can choose my Monsties specific attacks every now and then but it still annoys me, and yes it did annoy me in Persona as well.
Okay moving on.
I actually really like the battle system outside of this, I enjoy blending together the JRPG elements with choosing the correct weaponry and attack type to suit the situation. You can choose between 3 weapon types of Slash, Blunt and pierce weapons and the various Monster Hunter weapons you will be accustomed too will fit into one of these 3 types.
Also on the battle system, you can also choose from 3 different attack types of Power, Speed or Technical – these attack types can pit you in a “head to head” with different monsters and if you choose the correct attack type, you will win this and deal additional damage to the monsters. All of this is detailed in the games many, many, MANY tutorials in the early hours of the game but will also feature right in the battle menus at all times… Okay I know I said I would get all the negative stuff out the way first but this also sort of annoyed me as it removed all challenge within the battle system and absolutely smacks of “baby’s first JRPG” from start to finish.
If you are wanting to kill monsters and harvest their organs to create weapons and armour then you are in luck because all of that is still prevalent in Stories and is, of course, a huge feature of the game.
One thing I absolutely adored was the way in which you gained new “Monsties” (the tamed monsters) in that rather than fighting them in the field and capturing them a la Pokémon, you instead raid a monsters nest, which can be found by looking for big piles of rocks in the field, beating up the mother and stealing one of her eggs which you then store in your egg carton (no I am not joking) and hatch back at your home base – this remains consistently exciting and I genuinely got excited every time I got back to the home town to see what kind of Monstie I was able to hatch. I know it wouldn’t work but I do miss levelling up monsters to a point they evolve though.
Like I say, there is a lot to love with Monster Hunter Stories 2 and if you haven’t played too many JRPG’s before in your life or just want a casual experience you can session on the toilet as you steal some eggs then you are going to have a lot of fun with this game, however if you are a bit of a JRPG fanatic like me then you will feel there is quite a bit missing here, but likely still going to have a fun couple dozen hours nonetheless.
So with all of this in mind, I am still having quite a bit of fun on Monster Hunter Stories 2 but there are elements of the game that my 30 year old self just hasn’t gelled with – so I give it a SOLID 7/10.