I’ve been on a mission to get through my 3DS backlog and the game I chose to start with was Monster Hunter Stories. How is this JRPG Monster Hunter game that plays similarly to Pokemon?
Take Pokemon and mix it with Monster Hunter and you’ve got Monster Hunter Stories. The big difference is there is no gym badges to win or monsters to catch. Instead, you befriend them by forging a bond and do Monster Hunter stuff. Monster Hunter Stories isn’t your average Monster Hunter game. It’s a spinoff that I wish would get a sequel or at the very least a port to the Nintendo Switch because it’s a really good game.
Just like in Pokemon you have to befriend various different monsters to help you overcome different obstacles in the game. Some monsters will give you the ability to fly while others can help you walk through lava. The battle system is where things get interesting. It’s a rock, paper, scissors system that always had me guessing what move the enemy would do next. You get three types of attacks in this game. Power, speed, and technical. Power attacks beat technical, speed attacks beat power, and techinal attacks beat speed. The trick is guessing which monster favors which type of attacks. Just because something looks slow doesn’t mean that it is and there’s where the trick is.
I’ve been wiped by guessing the wrong type of attack on many occassions. And even when I thought I had guessed their moves I would get surprised when a monster would counter my counterattack with a completely different move. Every monster is capable of doing any of the three type of attacks along with their own unique special abilities. This system is even deeper with the Rite of Channeling. The Rite of Channeling allows you to take the DNA from one of your monsters and apply it to another one. I had a Lagombi (big ass ice rabbit) blasting things with fireballs from its mouth because I took the DNA of my Yian Kut Ku. The monster you use to give the DNA to your main monstie will disappear from your monster collection forever so make sure you want to go through with the process before you commit to it.
Monster Hunter Stories looks really good for a 3DS game. All of the Monster Hunter games are amongst the best looking games on the 3DS so it didn’t really surprise me too much that Stories continued this. Stories is even easier to play than your average Monster Hunter game though. Why? Because it has turn based combat. I don’t have to worry about pressing L or R to move the camera (or use that tiny ass control stick) around so I can see what I’m hitting. The animations are absolutely incredible. Going from playing this to Pokemon was a big disappointment because of how poorly Pokemon is animated in comparison. Every monster in this game has their own unique animations and ultimate attacks. It’s really impressive. Especially when you consider the fact that this is not a main Monster Hunter game. Capcom went all out with this side project and made arguably one of the best games on the system.
I would kill for the animations in Pokemon to look anywhere near as good as they do in this game. It’s better than some games that’s released on the current gen hardware. Graphically, this game is also really impressive. The characters looks fantastic and world is filled with different biomes to explore.
Monster Hunter Stories is particially voice acted and it’s actually really good. I wish there was more cinematic cutscenes in the game because they’re really well done and I was completely immersed in them when they happened. Unfortunately they’re few and far between. The soundtrack (just like in every Monster Hunter game) is incredible. The battle music is nice and I like how every city had it’s own little background song playing. It added to the atmosphere and helped immerse me in the game. A good soundtrack can make or break a game. It definitely helped push this one forward.
Monster Hunter Stories, thankfully, has a pretty damn good story to tell. At the beginning of the game you and your two best friends find a Ratholos egg and decide to bond with it without a kinship stone. The main protagonist (you) managed to bond with the baby Ratholos and all of you decide to take it back home with you. In the next scene your village is attacked by a shadow entity and a bunch of people is killed including your best friend’s mom. This is where your journey begins. You set off in search of your friends and to solve the mystery of the black blight. I really enjoyed this story and that honestly surprised me. I wasn’t expecting a Monster Hunter game to tell what I consider to be a good story, but that’s exactly what this game did. A certain part of the game even blew my mind because I didn’t expect it.
The main villain is very likable and funny and Stories has a nice cast of characters too. It’s also quite long. It took me 52 hours to complete this game and I’m honestly nowhere near done. The end game literally started once I beat the boss of the game. I got access to all of the high rank stuff and can fight even stronger monsters now as well as try my hand at the two end game dungeons that unlocked after I completed the main campaign. There’s a lot of content here to keep hardcore Monster Hunter and JRPG fans happy. I
There’s 61 monsters to befriend. A little less than half of them are variants so don’t get too excited though. That’s really the only reason why I placed this in the good section. What’s here is good, but it could have been so much better if Capcom added more unique monsters and kept the variants to a minimum.
The 3DS is old so you would expect there to be some performance issues. It’s only really noticeable in certain areas, but it happened enough to annoy me. I’ll say that 90% of the game performed like a dream on my New 3DS. Maybe even 95% of the time. When the FPS decides to tank it’s really noticeable though and it has to be mentioned. It’s not as bad as Pokemon, but it’s still a problem that affected my enjoyment of the game.
Monster Hunter Stories is absolutely incredible. I didn't expect to enjoy this game as much as I did. It's become one of my all-time favorite 3DS games. The main campaign will easily run you about 50 hours and there's a ton of end game content to keep you busy too if you decide to invest any more time in the game after completing it. The gameplay is unique and fun, the monster roster is good even though almost half of it is filled with variants, and the story is good too. This is another excellent 3DS game and I can't recommend it enough. If you like JRPGs you'll most likely love this game. If you're Monster Hunter fan you need to play this game. It's different, but it's just as good as the core games in the series.