Monster Hunter Stories Review

I want to go where I go, and not stop there!
This journey will take me, from all the Monstie!


As is well known, only in recent years the Monster Hunter series has taken root in the West thanks to the titles released on Nintendo 3DS, so much so that a Capcom to bring the new main chapter to the home console, accompanied by a nice simultaneous worldwide launch. Before these triumphal releases, fans of the monster hunters series had to adapt to the long waiting times necessary for the adaptation and localization of the game in various languages, so much so that some chapters were skipped in favor of the "Ultimate" versions. ". To the announcement of Monster Hunter Stories, spin-off of the main series, many of the fans were ready to put their souls in peace believing they would never see this new title centered on the figure of the Rider arrive in our country. As usual, for the series "the exception that confirms the rule", Nintendo during one of its Direct dedicated to 3DS announced the arrival of the Capcom game in Europe, scheduled for September 8, obviously on its little one, and tireless, portable console.
But no more chatter and let's discover together the world of Monster Hunter and the adventures of the Rider in Monster Hunter Stories in our review.

Mom, when I grow up I want to be a Rider
Stories differs from the main series not only for the dynamics of the JRPG but also for the story

In the world of Monster Hunter, there are not only monster hunters. In the small and remote village of Hakum i have been raised and trained for generations Rider, subjects able to create, through special stones, a unique bond with the Monstie, the same monsters we learned to love (and in some cases literally hate) in the main series. In this spin-off we will play the role of a young Rider (Lute in the anime) who, driven by the desire to get this important "title" and start exploring the world, he will be able to forge a bond with a Monstie, a "puppy" of Rathalos, without the need to resort to a stone of the Bond. Together with his inseparable friends Lilia e Horses, our enterprising protagonist will begin his journey that will finally see him fulfill his dream and become a real Rider in all respects.
Unfortunately, however, in the world of Monster Hunter Stories a plague is about to strike that seems to subvert the laws of nature and change the normal behavior of monsters, making them aggressive and highly dangerous. It will be the attack on the village of Hakum by a Nargacuga infected by the Black Scourge that will bring havoc in the lives of our protagonists and will be the "the" for the beginning of a journey in the footsteps of an ancient legend to find a solution that can appease the Black Scourge and restore serenity to the world. During the adventure, however, we will not be alone. Although the paths of our friends separate, each driven by their own motivation and their own ideals, at our side we will have a nice and mysterious Felyne, Navirou, which will act as a moral support (and not only), while it will be intent on recovering the lost memory.

Monster Hunter Stories differs from the main series not only for the dynamics of the JRPG but also for the story, which introduces the figure of the Rider into this universe for the first time. Contrary to hunters, Riders harness the power of bonding with Monstie to fight and defeat other monsters, which will allow them not only to use them in battle but to ride them, thus using their potential to 100%.

Stories draws heavily from the main series, bringing all (or almost) of the monsters of Monster Hunter to the small screen of 3DS, choosing a formula that brings it closer to the concept of "catch them all" exploded with Pokémon and recently taken up successfully by Yo- kai Watch.

In the game there will be over 60 Monstie that we can obtain and use in battle, and they can be captured by finding the respective eggs, each characterized by a specific pattern depending on the species. Once in possession of an egg, just hatch it in a stable and that's it: the Monstie will bind to us. The eggs, however, will be well kept in the nests of the monsters, and it will not be easy to get hold of them, since in order to enter one of the lairs we will have to push the monster to retreat and this will not always happen (although going to exploit special items). The lairs then appear as mini dungeons generated in a completely random way, inside which we will find the nest where the monster rests and where the eggs are placed.

To learn more:
Monster Hunter Generations
Monster Hunter JRPG
Compared to the classic Stories series, it looks like a title for everyone

Compared to the classic series Stories is presented as a title for everyone, also suitable for those players who have always been afraid of punishing mechanics and unfriendly gameplay, even before the world discovered the mainstream concept of difficulty with Dark Souls. Despite this, Stories is quite multifaceted and layered, showing solid gameplay and full of activities, not just a simple maneuver to squeeze a series, which at least in Japan, manages to make millionaire numbers at every release.

For example, the hatching of the eggs we just talked about is linked to a sort of minigame which will serve to increase some of the basic statistics of the Monstie, starting point for the training of the creature.

Each Monstie will be born with gods Geni, abilities that characterize a particular monster. During the game it will be necessary and necessary to intervene on these Genes through the Shamanic Ritual, which will allow us to "merge" the Genes of a donor Monstie with those of the Monstie that we will decide to improve. By doing so we will be able to donate new skills or improve some basic statistics, thus allowing him to acquire powers that otherwise, given his nature, he could never learn. The maximum number of Genes obtainable will be 9, and everything happens through a grid (3 × 3) in which to place the various upgrades. Not only that, in addition to some tools to be used in the free slots it will also be essential to decide carefully the position to activate the Bingo Effects, for example by lining up Genes of the same shape or color in the same row, which will provide us with additional bonuses both in statistics and in battle. The careful use of the Genes then becomes a fundamental part of the meta game if you decide to venture into the multiplayer mode, available both locally and online, where the development of the monster will be a must.

Once the Monstie is properly prepared we will have to worry about the battles and even here, despite the simple idea behind the gameplay, not everything is as trivial as you might expect.

Rock, paper, Rathalos
the Monster Hunter atmosphere is palpable from the very first game screens

The fights, based on the turns, involve the choice of an action on our part, whether this is the simple attack, which Monstie to use, the use of a special ability or an object present in the bag. The peculiarity of the combat system lies in the "Head to head”Which will happen when, going to select a target, a“ battle line ”will appear. In this case, the opponent will also launch an attack on us, and to get the better of him we will have to respond using one of the 3 attack types available.

This system is nothing more than the classic revisitation of the triangle system based in turn on the Chinese morra.

Here we will have a shot focused on Power Speed and Technology, and each of them will be strong with respect to attack, but weak with respect to another. By doing so we will have to be able to read the battle developments well, since each monster will have recurring strategies and knowing the opponent will mean having victory in hand, allowing us to come out with our heads held high in Head-to-Head clashes.

On the field, only the Rider, on which we will have direct control, and a Mostie (on the 6 available in the party) will be able to go down, which will act independently according to the characteristics of the species. While not being able to give direct orders, we can still decide whether or not to use special attacks, which they will harness the energy of the Bond bar. This will fill up as the fight progresses, hitting enemies or winning "Head to Head". Usable as magic points, once full we can use all its power to create the bond between Rider and Monstie, allowing us to ride it and exploit all our "war" potential. When we are in the saddle the two energy bars will merge, as well as the damage dealt will increase considerably. In addition to the basic attack we will be able to launch a special one, which will be unique depending on the Monstie used and able to turn the tide of the clash. Although in the "united" form monster and Rider are stronger, we will not have to lower our defenses, as taking too much damage could put the new formation in crisis, forcing us to break the bond and return to fight separately. To never get bored, there will also be activities during the battles QTE who will ask us to quickly press some buttons to win quick fights and take the match home.

Drawing heavily from the Monster Hunter universe, despite the change of registry, the atmosphere of Monster Hunter is palpable from the first game screens. Many of the features of Capcom's hunting game have remained unchanged, from monsters to usable items, e represent a plus for the most avid fans of the series. For example, the crafting has remained practically the same (skimmed only by all the necessary consumables) and the collection of materials will necessarily be used to improve your equipment or complete the hundreds of quests present, or even use the combinations to create healing items.
Precisely the part linked to the paraphernalia will take you some time to search for the materials necessary for their creation or enhancement, which will happen gradually over the course of the game, as we find new areas and new monsters to defeat. Although the main series offers 14 different classes within Stories we can only rely on 4 types of weapons, divided between Broadswords, Hammers, Hunting Horns o Sword and Shield, cutting out many of the most loved and used weapons in Monster Hunter. Odd choice, especially if you focus on excluding certain classes like Bows or Crossbows that would surely deserve a place in the game.
The creation of Armor is simpler and more affordable, which will allow us, as soon as we have defeated a new monster to make the corresponding payment at the blacksmith, which will offer us missions to be able to create that choice.

Sull 'eShop by Nintendo 3DS A demo of the game is available which will allow you to play the first part of Monster Hunter Stories, which will serve as a tutorial. The demo saves can then be imported into the full game, so as to continue the adventure and not lose the progress made. 
Monster Hunter Stories also takes advantage of amiibo, which through the appropriate function will allow you to unlock some content. Although no distribution in the West is planned at the moment, the Stories amiibo released only in Japan are also fully compatible. that will unlock the protagonists' Monstie in the game. Compatibility is also extended to all the other amiibo, which will limit themselves, however, to giving us only some consumable items. 
As in the tradition of the series, we also find online features related to multiplayer, both to receive new missions and free content, which will be released over the next few months. 

About the missions that will go alongside the main quest, these will offer a leisure compared to the main activity, allowing us to hunt monsters or collect objects, and will focus more on the exploration of the game world (a task then made easier by the presence of a rapid journey that allows us to reach the desired destination quickly). It must be said that in the chaos of sub quests, available by the hundreds, none will be really inspiring and will just send us to a certain area to exterminate a monster and so on. These are divided into 3 types: those of the board, in a similar way to what happens in Monster Hunter, and which can be replayed several times, those collected around the various villages and that will be given to us by the citizens, or more stimulating and fun , those of fellow adventurers, who will allow us to deepen the bond with them and discover further details about the story. Of the 3 types, only the last are successful, and it is a pity that we are only offered towards the end of the game.

Monster Hunter Stories is a rich and deep title, a JRPG that manages to stand up to some of the cornerstones of the genre and does so with the right amount of adventure and storytelling. Completing the game will not be a walk in the park, especially once you have started towards the conclusion, where a well-trained Monstie team and equipment that meets the needs will be required. Everything can be completed within 40/50 hours, timing that can vary based on how much time you decide to spend training your team, completing missions or simply exploring the world, perhaps dedicating yourself to the search for the 100 Poogie, the iconic pigs scattered in the most unthinkable places.

Monster Hunter for poser
Also on the technical level Monster Hunter Stories offers a good performance

Also on the technical level Monster Hunter Stories offers a good performance. All in compliance with the series, re-proposing some of the characteristic elements that made it famous (monsters, equipment, etc.), but using a more caricatural style. Precisely from this point of view the Monstie represent a reduced and "super deformed" version of the original monsters, choosing a decidedly different trait, but which nevertheless does not betray the atmosphere of the game. Here, also thanks to the animated series that develops on the history of the spin-off as a cross-media project (along the lines of Yokai Watch) we find an apt and winning character design, with well-defined and likeable characters at the sight alone. Even the game world, although it offers a simple design and limited to the features of Nintendo 3DS, offers beautiful landscapes and well-built environments. The ability to access certain particular areas using the unique powers of some Monstie also shows some level development, prompting the player to retrace his steps to access new areas in which to find materials and monsters to hunt. Cities also feature graphics from the Monster Hunter series and it will not be strange to “feel at home” when we visit the villages present and talk to the inhabitants. The only big limitation of the game engine is perceived during the exploration, and it is not difficult to notice a certain delay in loading the models of the characters (in the case of cities) or monsters, making it annoying, especially in the first case, the search for side missions.

Beautiful and well made movies that will accompany the story of the game, with a quality CGI that does not suffer too much from video compression. To report the presence of Stereoscopic 3D, a feature which has recently disappeared from some of the most recent games, which in Stories is able to further enrich the graphics sector giving the Capcom title greater visual "depth", with a pleasant effect to use, both in battle and during the cutscenes.

Even in terms of sound, the production draws heavily from the world of Monster Hunter, as it should be and leveraging the fanservice factor, with many of the original music, including the main theme, adapted for the occasion.

Monster Hunter Stories presents a complete adaptation in the Spanish language, being careful to stay faithful to the translations used in the main series.

Verdict 8.5 / 10 Gotta Hatch'em all. And no, he's not Florentine! Comment 2018 for Nintendo 3DS might have seemed like a flat and novelty year. In recent months there have been many titles that have made us change our mind and many will have to arrive in the coming weeks. Monster Hunter Stories is an excellent JRPG that joins the softeca of Nintendo's small portable console and brings with it all the atmospheres of the classic series, but opening up to a new audience thanks to the change of genre in the gameplay. An honest and well-built JRPG, which shakes off the fears of a product built at the table just to earn on the shoulders of the name it bears, but which instead offers the opportunity for the beginning of a new and promising series. If in all these years the Capcom hunting game has intrigued you but at the same time scared for the often punitive mechanics, Stories could be an opportunity for you to get closer to this world, and why not maybe open the door to the future Monster. Hunter World. Pros and cons Quality gameplay
Well written story
The Monster Hunter universe is well present x Slow engine in loading elements
x Diehard fans might find the spin-off indigestible

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