Capcom have already graced Monster Hunter fans with the exceptionally fun Monster Hunter Rise earlier this year on Nintendo Switch. Now fast forward a few months and they’ve done it again delivering another solid Monster Hunter title. This time in the form of Monster Hunter Stories 2: Wings of Ruin.
Monster Hunter Stories 2: Wings of Ruin is, however, not an exclusive to the Nintendo Switch console like Monster Hunter Rise was. Monster Hunter Stories 2: Wings of Ruin is also available on PC via Steam so gamers who would prefer to enjoy their Monster Hunter gaming elsewhere can pick this title up over there.
Monster Hunter, but different
A short history lesson is in order here before I get into Monster Hunter Stories 2: Wings of Ruin itself. The first Monster Hunter Stories game was a 3DS exclusive that only launched in the West a good few months into the Nintendo Switch’s life cycle. While most gamers would probably still be running older hardware at the time, it was quite a strange decision from Capcom not to port it over to Nintendo Switch later.
Thankfully, newcomers can pick up Monster Hunter Stories 2: Wings of Ruin without missing out on too much.
If you do want to play the previous title though, it is available on Android and iOS and the port runs rather smoothly too provided your device is specced well enough.
The first Monster Hunter Stories game followed your playable character and a Rathalos known as Ratha. With the core gameplay revolving around turn-based battles involving “Monsties”, which are monsters from the franchise. The game received quite a favourable reception and now we have a sequel in 2021 that’s available on both Nintendo Switch and PC.
Monster Hunter Stories 2: Wings of Ruin does much of the same as its predecessor. The core gameplay formula is still intact with the turn-based gameplay and adventuring remaining a key component of this JRPG.
Turn-Based Monster Hunter
Players will start off Monster Hunter Stories 2: Wings of Ruin by creating their playable character. Choosing between a male or female base character, players will be able to edit their facial features and change their hairstyle as well as armour colours. Standard fare for any self-respecting Monster Hunter title of course albeit slightly watered down in terms of customisation.
Nevertheless, players will still end up spending quite some time in the character creator crafting their Hero or Heroine.
Once your character is created, you’re slowly introduced to the game’s core gameplay mechanics. Kayna, a more experienced hunter, or rather, Rider, teaches you how to battle and explains the game’s battle system.
There are three different types of attacks players can perform – Power, Speed or Technical. These attacks work against each other in a circular manner. Speed beats Power, Technical beats Speed and Power beats Technical. Pretty straightforward.
Where things get a bit more complicated is when your “Kinship” gauge is introduced. Players battling enemy monsters will slowly charge this gauge in battle and when it’s full you’ll be able to pull off an extremely flashy Kinship attack. Monsters in the game also have breakable parts, which are a standard aspect of the more traditional Monster Hunter titles.
Players will therefore have to target specific parts and these will either break or something else will happen to the monster in question such as toppling over and being more susceptible to critical hits.
When players do battle with some monsters later in the story, there are some incredibly flashy attacks, especially when riding a monstie, and there are other factors to consider such as elemental damage and the use of “skills” which use your Kinship gauge. The battle system is remarkably enjoyable in Monster Hunter Stories 2: Wings of Ruin and the in-depth tutorials and explanations in the game will get even younger gamers up to speed in no time.
The battle system is also further expanded upon since players can swap between weapons on their own character as well as attack with their Monsties or monsters that they have hatched and befriended.
Players can also hatch more than 80 monsties and alter their genes through inheritance for buffs and skills. This means that there is an immense amount of combinations, skills and other attacks to pull off in game and while it all feels familiar to titles such as Pokemon, it delivers its own flavour of enjoyment that’s incredibly in-depth.
These systems will keep you busy for ages as you try to work out the best combinations for you and your team.
The story of Monster Hunter Stories 2: Wings of Ruin will take you a very long time to get through.
This is a full blown JRPG with turn-based battles but thankfully monsters are visible in the world and can be avoided should you wish to not engage and explore a bit more instead. The story itself kicks off with players finding out about a prophesied Rathalos with the “Wings of Ruin” and teaming up with a Wyverian named Ena that’s central to the plot.
The main story is enjoyable and there’s boss battles and various other standard JRPG aspects throughout the game. There’s plenty of side-quests for example and some of these are really great because they show off the world to you some more.
The extended cast of the game add an additional layer to the game’s plot and while it becomes clear that Monster Hunter Stories 2: Wings of Ruin is aimed towards younger gamers, everyone can still enjoy it. Just like its more gameplay intense counterparts, the story does exactly what it’s supposed to do. It keeps you entertained and pushes you forward at a gradual pace while sprinkling in a generous helping of humour and drama throughout.
Players can also play the game’s co-op mode with others if they have a Nintendo Switch online account and there is quite literally a tonne of content to get through in this game. Graphically, Monster Hunter Stories 2: Wings of Ruin is visually gorgeous.
The Monster Hunter aesthetic has been recreated in gorgeous anime-esque graphics and the flashy attacks and cutscenes are a feast for the eyes. Capcom have really outdone themselves in making this game an artistic masterpiece and it shows.
The soundtrack in Monster Hunter Stories 2: Wings of Ruin is fantastic too with the battle music never getting repetitive despite the game’s significant length. Orchestral themes, catchy music and voice acting that’s well done round off the package and players are in for a treat here.
Playing the game on Nintendo Switch, while you’re stuck with 720p visuals, the game still looked great. If you want to have the full visual feast for the eyes though, we suggest picking up the title on PC via Steam. With that said, the type of game Monster Hunter Stories 2: Wings of Ruin is, is well-suited for the Nintendo Switch and playing this title in handheld mode is a perfect match given the nature of the game.
Monster Hunter Stories 2: Wings of Ruin does everything right for fans of JRPGs. There’s an enjoyable main story, multiple side story quests that Monster Hunter fans can dive into, co-op components to play with friends, and an incredibly gorgeous world with a stellar soundtrack to boot.
If you’re intrigued by Monster Hunter, but put off by the other games in the franchise being too difficult to grasp, this is the perfect entry point for you. This is because of the fact that the game, while not being an absolute cakewalk, delivers the perfect balance of adventuring, turn-based battling and story-driven content.
It might not be to everyone’s tastes since it seems to be aimed at a younger audience given the writing and humour but it sure does still deliver a solid adventure that will have you glued to your Nintendo Switch for over 60 hours, or more depending on your playstyle.
The game also has an extensive update roadmap planned so it can only get better from here on out too. Highly recommended!
Monster Hunter Stories 2: Wings of Ruin