Monster Hunter Stories 2: Wings of Ruin manages to pack all of the odd quirks from the Monster Hunter collection right into a Pokémon-like turn-based RPG for Nintendo Switch and PC. It’s a weird mixture, but it surely works.

I performed the primary few hours of Monster Hunter Stories 2: Wings of Ruins on Switch utilizing a code from Capcom. But regardless of the sport’s deal with story, the grind of Monster Hunter Stories 2: Wings of Ruin has been probably the most compelling and gripping side for me.

What is Monster Hunter Stories 2: Wings of Ruin

All the main characters from Monster Hunter Stories 2

The Rathalos, the rider, and a number of different characters from Monster Hunter Stories 2
Image: Capcom

Wings of Ruin is a turn-based JRPG the place I play as a Rider, whose village lives in (partial) concord with the close by monsters. In the early elements of the sport’s first chapter, I take my big greatsword and a borrowed Monstie — Stories time period for domesticated monsters — and journey out into the world. But I’m not hoofing it; I’m using round on Ranmar, the Velocidrome I’ve on mortgage.

Ranmar and I, together with my instructor and her Velocidrome, roll across the space exterior of my little village. I choose up particular rocks and mushrooms, monster bones, bugs, and every part that isn’t nailed down; I’ve performed a Monster Hunter sport earlier than, so I do know I’ll want all of it. I stuff all of this junk into my pockets, utilizing some of it to make potions and the like, and proceed on with my journey.

Our little social gathering runs into a gaggle of Aptonoth, a primary monster. The sport display screen shatters within the traditional turn-based model, and now we’re battling; there are 4 of us and three of them. I’ve three choices once I assault: energy, velocity, and technical. I would like to decide on not solely the very best weapon for the job — swapping between blunt, sharp, and piercing weapons relying on my prey — but in addition the kind of assault.

Combat operates like rock-paper-scissors, and I would like to pick the very best transfer to make use of towards no matter monster is concentrating on me. If one of the Aptonoth is concentrating on me with an influence assault, I’ll want to decide on velocity. When our battle performs out, we’ll go into “head-to-head” mode. Because velocity beats energy, I win the duel, deal main harm to my opponent, and solely get a number of bumps. Speed beats energy, energy beats technical, and technical beats velocity.

My Monstie, Ranmar, does his personal factor. I can solely decide what strikes my Monstie makes by spending Kinship meter — which I earn by performing properly in battle — or by buying and selling it out for a monster that favors a unique assault taste. Ranmar is a velocity monster, however one thing like a Pukei-Pukei is extra technical. My instructor and her Monstie are utterly on their very own, exterior of my management. I can management my Rider, which monster I’ve by my facet, and that’s it.

As we battle, my Monstie and I are strengthening our bond. With our Kinship meter maxed out, I hop on its again and we mix our energy to ship a strong blow.

When the battle is over, I’ve strengthened my relationship with one monster and ended the lives of a pair others. We accumulate some XP for all the social gathering and I nab some monster elements that I’ll want later. Had this been a battle inside a monster’s den, I might’ve collected an egg that I may hatch again on the town, including to my roster.

It’s an elaborate however satisfying grind

A girl meets with an ancient Rathalos

A gathering between a mysterious lady and an historical Rathalos
Image: Capcom

So far, Monster Hunter Stories 2: Wings of Ruin has saved the same loop to the mainline video games. I begin out on the town, speaking to our village elder, crafting some new gear, and choosing up facet quests. I get a bit of a narrative after which head out to hunt some monsters. Occasionally, my allies will interrupt our mission with some mild dialogue, however the precise grind is pretty senseless, requiring simply sufficient mind energy to play power-speed-technical with the monsters I run into.

Mindless is probably not the kindest time period, however I imply it in probably the most constructive sense. Going out to hunt a straightforward monster to choose up some additional items or full a facet quest can be senseless in Monster Hunter Rise, however that’s why I play it. I’m a giant fan of consuming different media whereas I play my video games, and Monster Hunter Stories 2 has grow to be the proper catalyst for TV-time and podcasts as a result of that grind is senseless.

I spend a bulk of my time in Wings of Ruin gathering rubbish off the ground, working by monster dens in search of eggs, and fascinating in turn-based battles with the identical monsters again and again. These outings can final thirty minutes or extra, and I hardly ever run into any key story developments exterior of city. As lengthy as I hold my distant or telephone close by, I can rapidly pause no matter I’m listening to or watching in favor of the sport’s story.

This isn’t a characteristic I anticipated from a sport with “stories” within the rattling title, however I welcome it nonetheless. I sometimes don’t devour different media whereas I’m enjoying story-based video games just like the Mass Effect: Legendary Edition or the brand new Yuffie DLC for Final Fantasy 7: Remake. I don’t wish to miss the story bits I crave. But when video games like Monster Hunter Stories 2 make such a giant distinction between “story time” and “grinding time,” it actually frees me as much as make amends for a brand new present or rewatch one thing I really like.

I don’t know the way partaking Wings of Ruin’s story or fight will keep over its presumably prolonged marketing campaign — though battles with greater monsters do appear to be they’ll grow to be extra advanced over time. But by the sport’s first chapter, I used to be simply blissful to have one thing enjoyable to play whereas I watched my tales on TV.

Capcom will launch Monster Hunter Stories 2: Wings of Ruin for the Nintendo Switch and Steam on July 9.