Monster Hunter Stories 2: Wings of Ruin is an RPG developed by Marvelous and published by Capcom. It launched on Switch and Windows PC worldwide on July 9th, 2021. I think it’s important before discussing the game to go over the different versions, as wells as the various add-on products that were launched alongside the game. The Switch version of the game comes with amiibo functionality the PC doesn’t support, and the game launched with three amiibos alongside it. Each amiibo comes with an exclusive armor set in-game which lets you look like various characters. If you are a collector, there is a Japanese exclusive set of 3 more amiibo that unlock outfits in the game as well. Besides the amiibo content, there is almost 50$ in cosmetic DLC available on the PC and Switch versions. On top of the deluxe edition being 70$. I think this level of paid bonus content is way too much and seems to be designed to take advantage of hardcore monster hunter fans. Which to be fair, there are easily hundreds of thousands of those and there are plenty who will pay the over 120$ price tag for all the game’s content.
So with all of the various launches, versions, and bonus content info out of the way, let’s talk about the game itself. The game is a sequel to the original 2016 Monster Hunter Stories, but I have not played this game or any other Monster Hunter game. So I can’t comment on how this one differs or if the stories connect, but I will say I was able to understand and enjoy this sequel without having played anything else. The main Monster Hunter franchise centers on tracking, hunting, and battling massive monsters out in an open world.
The Stories franchise is a spin-off of the Monster Hunter World, with turn-based PRG combat as opposed to real-time battles. The series also adds the ability to collect, raise, and fight alongside friendly monsters. The gameplay is classic turn-based RPG stuff, but it’s still very well done and fun if RPGs are your thing. Lucky for me, I love RPGs and I had a blast with this one. Besides the fighting, there is still an open-world aspect to the game. You spend your time exploring various maps with different monsters, tasks, and collectibles. I feel like the best way I could sum up the gameplay is a crossover of Pokémon, and Breath of the Wild, or Genshin Impact.
Throughout the game, there are dozens of monsters to collect, with tons of various stats and abilities. The entire system and mechanics can go incredibly deep and complex if you choose to dig into it. If you want something more simple or mindless, you can easily ignore the complexities of everything if you so choose I didn’t dedicate a lot of effort to the monster system, and I still was able to play through the game and have a ton of fun. Where the complex system comes into play is in the online or local PvP part of the game. I’m not personally into the PvP or the meta of most games, nor getting super deep into a game system’s mechanics. If that is your thing though, this game would be a blast you could sink hundreds of hours into. If you’re like me and it’s not your thing, it’s pretty much up to you how deep you want to go. The game won’t punish you for how you want to play, and that kind of player freedom always makes for an enjoyable and accessible experience.
There is a much larger focus on an overarching plot, characters, and linearity in the stories series. If you want to ignore the story you easily can, as the game lets you skip pretty much everything. The writing and dialogue are pretty cliche, but it’s still plenty entertaining and doesn’t drag on forever like many plot games fall victim to.
While the characters, dialogue, and tasks are pretty cliche, the plot is pretty engaging and very well-paced. I think it’s also important to note that I played the game with English subtitles and in the English dub, but the game at the start lets you change to the original Japanese dubbing if you want. I always love when Japanese or anime games allow this feature, especially as the English acting or mouth syncing can be pretty awful. I can say confidently though that the English voice acting and dubbing for this game was very well handled and the actors are very enjoyable. So feel free to choose whichever language you prefer, and don’t worry about losing quality one way or the other.
Overall, Monster Hunter Stories 2 is a fun modern JRPG experience, featuring a quality single-player and multiplayer experience. If you’re looking for a great new RPG adventure to sink some hours into, or if you are a Monster Hunter fan, this would be a great pick-up.
Score: 8 out of 10
Reviewed on Nintendo Switch