Monster Hunter Stories 2: Wings of Ruin manages to pack all the weird quirks from the Monster Hunter series into a Pokémon-like turn-based RPG for Nintendo Switch and PC. It’s a bizarre combination, but it works.
I have the first hours of. played Monster Hunter Stories 2: Wings of Ruins on switch with a code from Capcom. But despite the game’s focus on the story, the grind of Monster Hunter Stories 2: Wings of Ruin was the most convincing and gripping aspect for me.
What is Monster Hunter Stories 2: Wings of Ruin
Wing of the ruin is a turn-based JRPG in which I play as a rider whose village lives in (partially) harmony with the monsters nearby. In the early parts of the first chapter of the game, I take my huge great sword and a borrowed monstie – Stories‘ Term for domesticated monsters – and adventure in the world. But I don’t; I drive around Ranmar, the velocidrome that I borrowed.
Ranmar and I roll through the area outside my small village with my teacher and her velocidrome. I collect special stones and mushrooms, monster bones, bugs and anything that isn’t pinned down; I’ve played a Monster Hunter game before so I know I’ll need it all. I stuff all this junk in my pockets, use some of it to make potions and the like, and continue my adventure.
Our small group encounters a group of Aptonoth, a simple monster. The game screen shatters in classic turn-based style, and now we’re fighting; there are four and three of us. I have three options when attacking: strength, speed and technique. Not only do I have to choose the best weapon for the job – switching between blunt, sharp, and penetrating weapons depending on the prey – but also the type of attack.
The fight works like rock-paper-scissors and I have to choose the best move to use against any monster that targets me. If one of the Aptonoth attacks me with a power attack, I’ll have to choose speed. When our fight is over, we go into “head-to-head” mode. Because speed beats power, I win the duel, do a lot of damage to my opponent, and only get a few knocks. Speed beats performance, performance beats technology and technology beats speed.
My monstie Ranmar does his own thing. I can only determine which movements my monstie makes by showing the kinship meter – which I earn by performing well in combat – or by exchanging it for a monster that prefers a different attack flavor. Ranmar is a speed monster, but something like a Pukei-Pukei is more technical. My teacher and her monstie are completely on their own, beyond my control. I can control my rider which monster I have by my side and that’s it.
As we fight, my monstie and I strengthen our bond. When our kinship indicator is fully exhausted, I hop on his back and we combine our powers to deliver a powerful blow.
When the fight is over, I will have strengthened my relationship with a monster and ended the lives of some others. We collect some XP for the whole group and I grab some monster parts that I will need later. Had this been a fight in a monster’s lair, I would have collected an egg to hatch in town and add to my list.
It’s an elaborate but satisfying grind
So far, Monster Hunter Stories 2: Wings of Ruin has maintained a loop similar to the mainline games. I start in town, speak to our village elder, make new equipment and take on side quests. I get a little story and then go out to hunt down some monsters. Occasionally my allies will interrupt our mission with some light dialogue, but the actual grind is pretty pointless and requires just enough brain power to play power-speed-tech with the monsters I come across.
Mindless might not be the nicest term, but I mean it in the most positive sense. There’s also no point in hunting down a simple monster to collect extra pieces or complete a side quest Rise of the Monster Hunters
I spend a lot of my time in Wing of the ruin Collect trash from the floor, run through monster caves, search for eggs and engage in turn-based battles with the same monsters over and over again. These trips can last thirty minutes or more, and I rarely come across major developments outside of the city. As long as I have my remote control or phone close by, I can quickly pause anything I hear or watch to aid in the game’s story.
This isn’t a feature I expected from a game with “Stories” in the damn title, but I applaud it anyway. I usually don’t consume other media while playing story-based games like this Mass effect: Legendary edition or the new Yuffie DLC for Final Fantasy 7: Remake. I don’t want to miss the parts of the story that I crave. But if games like Monster Hunter Stories 2 Making such a big difference between story time and grinding time really gives me the freedom to catch up on a new show or revisit something I love.
i don’t know how captivating Wing of the ruinThe story or battle will persist throughout what is believed to be a long campaign – although battles with larger monsters look like they’ll get more complex over time. But during the first chapter of the game, I was just happy to have something fun while watching my Stories on television.
Capcom will publish Monster Hunter Stories 2: Wings of Ruin for Nintendo Switch and Steam on July 9th.