I’ve been playing Monster Hunter titles for around 10 years now. My first Monster Hunter title was Monster Hunter Freedom on the PlayStation Portable and although I begun my hunting adventure alone I soon built up a guild upon the release of Monster Hunter Freedom 2, also on the PSP. Since then a few close friends and myself have possibly put in over 5000 hours into the franchise. Indeed, Monster Hunter is definitely one of my top three video gaming franchises next to Fire Emblem and of course Pokémon. And although Monster Hunter Stories is a spin-off from the main line franchise, I’m still quite excited to play it. Thankfully I did not have to wait long thanks to Nintendo.
Nintendo recently released the demo for Monster Hunter Stories and admittedly I have never been this excited for a demo before. See, next to my three favorite video gaming franchises there is another thing I like more than anything else and that is the RPG genre. And since Monster Hunter Stories combines both the rpg element as well as one of my favorite franchises, this title is expected to be a dream for me. So here’s the question, after playing the demo, is the dream still alive…let’s find out.
Of course I’ll try and keep it as spoiler free as possible but cannot promise anything.
Upon starting the demo I immediately noticed elements from the main line Monster Hunter franchise. Music, gathering, mining, fishing mechanics and even some of the menu styles all draw from the main line titles. The familiarity is quite welcoming and yet the game itself enters a new space in the series, how you ask. Well first off we’ll be hatching eggs in Monster Hunter Stories. Yep you heard right Monstie Eggs to be exact. The Monsties that appear from these eggs will become your partner and will accompany you on your journey through the land, air and sometimes water. You’ll be able to swap your Monstie on the fly while travelling through the ‘open world’ as well as in battle as you do with Pokémon. They’ll also battle along side you, selecting their own attacks. Which leads us to an interesting feature in the game, the battle system. Unlike the real time battle systems you find in the main line series, Stories has a turn based battle system with an interesting concept, three different types of attack options namely power, speed and technical. Its up to the player to determine what type of attack the enemy will use and counter with the appropriate attack. And if you and your Monstie select the same attack and the counter is correct, well I’ll have to leave that for you to discover including Kinship skills formed with your Monstie while riding during battle. The game also offers players the option to buy and upgrade their weapon and armor sets, although this feature is not as intricate as it usually is in the main line series. Another returning feature is the items. As mentioned above, players will still gather items such as mushrooms and herbs which if combined will create another item more potent than the previous.
Apart from the battle system, hatching eggs and riding monsters the game seems to have a pretty deep story line in terms of love, unity, trust and betrayal. I really enjoyed the demo quite a bit and thought it was generous of Nintendo and Capcom to give fans such a lengthy play-through. The animations during battle are fun to watch and I enjoyed the elements that they’ve added while in battle, such as the enemy monster being knocked down or a struggle occurring at a certain point as if you’ve just mounted the monster and have to tap the “A” button furiously. I honestly cannot wait for the full game to be released so that I can dive deeper into the world of Monster Hunter Stories and its Riders.
Check out the epic trailer below also released recently by Nintendo and mount up Riders!