Monster Hunter Stories 2: Wings of Ruin – Review
Follow Genre: RPG
Developer: Capcom, Marvelous
Publisher: Capcom
Platform: Switch
Tested on: Switch

Monster Hunter Stories 2: Wings of Ruin – Review

Site Score
8.0
Good: Relaxing, Visuals, Story
Bad: Needs a few fixes, Pacing
User Score
10.0
(1 votes)
Click to vote
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 10.0/10 (1 vote cast)

The Monster Hunter franchise is gaining a lot of ground in the Western gaming society, and with good cause. The last few installments of the series received phenomenal scores, be it Monster Hunter: Rise on Switch or Monster Hunter: World on PS4. Now, we get to delve into the sequel of the 2016 spin-off, Monster Hunter Stories, which is aptly named Monster Hunter Stories 2: Wings of Ruin. Even though this sequel has been heavily marketed for the Switch, the game is also available on PC, which will certainly please a lot of fans of the series. Those looking to score one of the elusive Amiibos of this release, be sure to dig deep in your pockets and duke it out on eBay.

Story

With a subtitle such as Wings of Ruin, you know there’s going to be an ominous twist to the story of this new Monster Hunter spin-off. The game puts you in the shoes of a descendant of Red, who was a very renowned Rider. Riders, unlike Hunters, actually try to live in harmony with the monsters surrounding their village, even having their own tame ‘Monsties’. While everything seemed quite peaceful at first, a mass disappearance of the world’s Rathalos occurs, shifting nature’s balance. Everything seems to be heading towards disaster, with the other monsters now also acting very aggressive towards humans. Things get stirred up even more when you encounter an egg that is said to contain a Rathalos that will bring ruin upon the world.

The story is presented via a lot of voiced dialogues, as well as several cutscenes. The latter uses the normal in-game graphics, making sure the transitions are smoothly handled. The overall presentation is okay, but this is thanks to the varied cast of characters and the quality of the voice acting.

Graphics

Graphically the game presents us with a mixed bag in terms of quality. On one hand, we have amazing-looking ‘Monsties’, nice cities to explore, breathtaking backdrops, and other small details that truly get you in the mood to explore. On the other hand, we have frame drops, a whole lot of clipping issues, texture popping, and a lot of empty spaces in the great outdoors. During a lot of the game’s sequences, we noticed a low frame rate, especially during animated cutscenes. Nonetheless, you do start overlooking these flaws the deeper you sink your teeth into this game, and discover and hatch more Monsties. The game draws you in with its colorful and vibrant visuals, as well as the aspects that make other Monster Hunter games great; the over-the-top armor and weapon design and the fantastical beasts you’ll encounter. With a few patches here and there, this game could truly become a powerhouse that runs on Nintendo’s small hybrid console.

Most of the game’s menus are quite clear, but the monster managing part of the game feels a bit basic and unclear. Sometimes you even have to go to a different menu to actually see what your Monsties can do, while you were actually checking the status in another window. It sometimes feels like there are a few too many menus to plow through, that either tell you the same thing, or that could have neatly been bundled together.

Sound

The sound design is top-notch. There is not much more to say that whatever the game throws at you is quality material. The voice acting is handled very professionally, and the over-acting does make a lot of the game’s dialogues feel light and also ideal for a younger audience. The backdrop throughout the game is quite cinematic and does lift your spirits when exploring the vast world of Wings of Ruin. Many sound effects will sound familiar to those that have played other entries in the franchise, which makes it clear that the source material was respected.

Gameplay

Monster Hunter Stories 2: Wings of Ruin is a fairly slow-paced traditional JRPG experience, much in the same vein as Pokémon: Sword & Shield. The game throws you in a fairly big world, where you can dive into pocket-sized dungeons, or explore, all while battling massive monsters from the Monster Hunter main series, while also collecting eggs to hatch your own Monsties. The offset is simple, and most mechanics are as well, but the game also offers a lot of complex intricacies that will also please longtime fans of the main series.

That aforementioned mix of simple gameplay with complex mechanics becomes apparent fairly quickly when playing the game for a few hours. You’ll notice that you’ll have to start thinking about your gear, as well as think certain aspects of combat through, rest occasionally, start preparing other items, etc. All these tiny components give it an authentic Monster Hunter feel while keeping things simple enough to be accessible for casual players as well. The word ‘casual’ is also quite important here, as the pace of the game is very slow, almost relaxing even. You explore the world around you at a slow pace, either going for main quest objectives or side-quests and other explorable pocket-sized dungeons. This means you can either plow through the game or go exploring and collect Monsties in a true Pokémon-esque fashion. Sadly, collecting in this game doesn’t really go that fast, and you’ll often end up with the same critter when finding eggs you can hatch. The game also does not make it very clear what the difference is between a rare egg that spawns the same monster as a normal egg. After a while, you even notice that you start avoiding battles, as they become somewhat tedious if you’re not in need of resources or experience. This is not a bad thing per se, but it does make it clear that this is not a fast-paced monster collecting game.

Wings of Ruin does try to motivate you to try out its side content as well, as by exploring optional dungeons you receive a new type of currency; Bottle Caps. These can unlock new and powerful gear items, as well as upgrades for your stables and other passive bonuses. Other than that, the Monsties you have in your party also have skills that can be used outside of combat. Some may have the ability to swim, others are able to climb, some break rocks, and so on. This is also an incentive to collect more Monsties, to then revisit areas you were not able to fully explore yet. Swapping between Monsties is sometimes a bit tedious to do, as you always get a small dialogue box. In combat, however, swapping Monsties and weapons is incredibly smooth.

The combat is handled by sticking to a very traditional turn-based formula, albeit with its own unique twist(s). Your Monsties can attack each other in a Rock-Paper-Scissors kind of way, where one trumps the other. You can swap your Monsties depending on their type (Speed, Power, or Technical), to then try and overpower your opponent. Nonetheless, outside of swapping your main Monstie, the combat is somewhat limited. You can choose your own actions, as well as choose certain skills, your fellow hunter/rider in the party will basically decide for itself. It’s sometimes a bit annoying to see how limited your control is, but after a while, this also feels quite natural.

Conclusion

Monster Hunter Stories 2: Wings of Ruin is a delight to play through, albeit at a casual and leisurely pace. Sure, there is enough content present for hardcore Monster Hunter fans as well, but overall it’s a fairly relaxing experience that can easily be played in short bursts. Even though the pace is quite slow, and some battles are a bit long, the game does have something that motivates you to press on. We do feel that the game needs a bit of finetuning and some patches to provide a more stable experience, but as a whole, this is a very pleasant experience. If you’re looking to just enjoy the story, casually collect Monsties, dabble a bit with crafting, you cannot go wrong with this one. If you’re looking for a fast-paced JRPG with an overabundance of critters to collect at every other turn, then this one will not be up your alley.

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 10.0/10 (1 vote cast)
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
Monster Hunter Stories 2: Wings of Ruin - Review, 10.0 out of 10 based on 1 rating
Ibuki


Aspiring ninja.

No Comments

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.