Review for Monster Hunter Stories 2: Wings of Ruin. Game for PC and Nintendo Switch, the video game was released on 09/07/2021
One of the most interesting titles of this more than rich videogame summer is certainly Monster Hunter Stories 2: Wings of Ruin, awaited at the gate by many gamers. The spin-off in JRPG sauce of the beloved Capcom saga has shown since the very first contacts with the production that it can represent another important piece of the Nintendo Switch stable, although the title will also arrive on PC through Steam. Just after having tested this latest version of the game for a long time, we are ready to give you our final judgment, an overall more than positive judgment, although Monster Hunter Stories 2: Wings of Ruin is not a perfect product, indeed.
If you are curious to find out what we think about it in detail, you just have to continue reading our complete review.
The threatening prophecy
The plot of Monster Hunter Stories 2: Wings of Ruin puts us in the shoes of a young hunter who has just become Rider, on whose shoulders there is a heavy inheritance left by his grandfather Red, one of the most famous riders in the game world. Just at the dawn of his adventure the young hunter finds himself in a story that will forever mark his fate, which begins with the young woman Ena, came into possession of an egg of Rathalos, a species around which hovers a legend that sees it as the protagonist of the end of the known world. The young protagonist, wanting to help Ena find out more about the egg and the legend, begins to bond strongly with the puppy that has emerged from the egg and from there begins a search for the truth about the gigantic mystery on which not even the great Red has ever succeeded. to shed light (or almost). Although devoid of sensational strokes of genius, the plot remains linear in the progression and fairly interesting for the duration of the adventure.
To conclude the main campaign and some secondary missions and farming sessions, it took about 50 hours of play, but we will talk about this later. In fulfilling his mission, the young Rider (whose name can be selected at the beginning of the adventure) will travel a lot, will be joined by a large group of secondary characters, all very accurate both narratively and aesthetically, which however do not shine for originality, resulting in almost always stereotyped or in any case "predictable" in their actions.
Even the same villain of Monster Hunter Stories 2, of which we will not spoil you anything, pays the price of being predictable and obvious in his actions but overall the character design of the game is certainly very valid and goes well with a story that, like we said a little above, in its being unoriginal or courageous it manages to be smooth and interesting for its entire duration, without disdaining even some certainly interesting twists. What is missing is perhaps the "outline", that is, the one that revolves around secondary activities: these appear in fact almost always lacking that indoctrination typical of role-playing games that broaden the imaginary of the game world, leaving all the focus of the case on the main story and everything that goes with it.
The Gameplay: a very particular (but in some ways limited) JRPG
At a playful level Monster Hunter Stories 2 is a classic JRPG which, however, merges with the dynamics that are most characteristic of the saga. The mission structure is basically very similar to what was seen in the original series: examine the tracks, find the creature and face it. This is probably one of the least successful aspects of the production: from a game born and designed to be an RPG, perhaps it was expected a more marked role-playing vein, as far as everything works altogether.
In fact, the missions are very linear, both the main ones and the secondary ones which, as mentioned above, are usually simple bounties: kill a certain number of monsters, kill a specific creature or collect a certain number of objects. We have rarely felt the need to go and refine the equipment based on the assignment: it was enough for us to unlock the best weapon or armor as parameters, rather than paying attention to specific damage or resistances, revealing the marginality of the role-playing vein, which is also evident as regards the type of creatures.
It has almost never been necessary to develop an ad hoc strategy: although the management of turns during the battle is fundamental, it is not necessary to develop specific strategies as it is enough to dedicate yourself to breaking specific parts of the body and choosing the right attacks based on the type attack used by the opponent to have an easy victory.
This often led to the feeling of being in your hands a Monster Hunter in some ways "classic" and not one in JRPG sauce, although the combat system in turn has revealed the role-playing vein during all the 50-55 hours necessary to conclude the main plot. The playful branches deriving from the role-playing vein were also felt with the unlocking of the system endgame (which we will discuss in detail in the coming weeks), with all its special and high-ranking monsters which, as in the main saga, extends the playful possibilities of the production.
This does not mean that Monster Hunter Stories 2 is a title to fail or boring, on the contrary, it is very fun and addicting, especially for completists and those who want to devote themselves to capturing and expanding their host of Monster or just have fun with the many activities to complete, especially those that include fighting.
In this regard, it is necessary to point out how artificial intelligence, in particular the allied one, has revealed gaps that are sometimes sensational (for example, the teammate often suggests attacking and breaking a certain part of the body of a monster, while he then attacks a other or is cured after having already been treated by us, and so on). Furthermore, the absence of a partner, in certain sections, almost forces the player to advance in the story in order to have the next partner who supports him because often the slightly chaotic management of turns means that it is necessary to have a partner nearby in order not to have to face single combat.
In any case, we cannot hide that in its simplicity, and with all its flaws, the gameplay of Monster Hunter Stories 2 has convinced us, despite the evidence of its criticalities in some situations.
Monster Hunter Stories 2: Wings of Ruin in any case, it is a very good product. The game is in fact designed to entertain without ever being frustrating. Although the level of challenge is never really prohibitive but still interesting, the game always takes care to proceed with a balanced difficulty rate and with a playful structure that is in any case very clear and precise and some dynamics are a clear example of this. Just think, for example, of the mechanics that allow you to automatically skip matches (by winning them) against weak opponents or the one related to speeding up battles (a bit like it happens in high productions) just to make everything faster and more immediate. Finally, remember that Monster Hunter Stories 2 also has a sector online multiplayer, which we will talk about later in a specific article.
Exploration: between the search for eggs and a lot of farming
As we said also in the preview phase, the focus of the game is certainly that linked to exploration. Each time you go through the story you "unlock" a new map segment or a completely new area, usually very generous in size and full of items to collect. In fact, farming is one of the central activities of production, since the objects scattered around the various areas are not only necessary to craft survival items or as crafting materials for weapons and armor, but are often also essential to complete the many side quests present in the game.
And, precisely in function of a correct exploration and for a more completistic progression of history, the dynamics linked to the search for Monstie's Eggs and the consequent management of them becomes important, not to say essential and in some ways central. These eggs are hidden inside the Monster Caves, of which the maps are practically full and are divided into different categories of rarity, each resulting in a more or less rich reward. At the height of the exploration of each cave it is possible to find a nest with eggs, and once recovered it will be necessary to take them to the nearest village in order to proceed with the hatching of them. Through the appropriate NPC it is therefore possible to give birth to a new Monstie, but not only. Thanks to it it is also possible to manage the active team and keep under control all the statistics and abilities of its components, which become fundamental more precisely for exploration than in battles.
In fact, sinking in derivations from metroidvania, taking advantage of the unique abilities (in some cases) of the creatures, it is possible to reach extra areas or otherwise unreachable map segments, which exponentially increases both the utility of the Monstie and above all the desire of the player more completist to expand his stable of creatures. Through a system of "fusion", inherited in some way from the Persona series, it is also possible to have some traits inherited from one creature and the other, with the consequent "disappearance" of one of the two. This dynamic, however, appeared to us less incisive than we might expect, even though it broadens the role-playing aspect of the production.
It is right to underline how much the exploration of the caves is very important also for another aspect, that is that linked to the Tappi. The latter are in fact a special currency to be exchanged with a specific NPC that gives access to special objects and equipment, among which a sort of expansion pass stands out for the maximum number of Monster “recruitable". It should be noted that the caps are also available in other ways, but the exploration of the Caves is undoubtedly the fastest way.
Technique and audiovisual sector
One of the most successful aspects of the production, at least based on the PC version, is certainly the audiovisual one. In fact, on a technical and artistic level Monster Hunter Stories 2: Wings of Ruin is a solid, captivating and well-finished product, although it never causes a miracle to cry out. The splendid game world, with a strong Hawaiian inspiration, is recreated in a harmonious and captivating way, followed by an anime style and a sort of cell shading that offer on balance an overall excellent level. This is also evident by progressing with the story, in which the new settings, different from the initial ones, are still very fascinating, even if they are truly innovative or sought after like the main region.
The design of the characters is also of excellent quality, both that of the protagonists and human antagonists and, above all, that of the many monsters present. As fans and players of the main chapters of the work we cannot fail to appreciate the design of the various creatures, masterfully recreated in anime sauce and able to give the production a decidedly marked edge. Very beautiful, although more "limited" are also the spectacular combined techniques of the protagonist with his battle companions or with the various monsters in the field.
These are always pyrotechnic and highly scenic, and in most cases well contextualized with what is the general iconography of the series.
All this is accompanied by a very important technical performance. The version PC we tested it was in fact very solid in terms of stability and usability in general, net of a "heavy" setup with which we decided to embark on the adventure. We have dealt with our nearly 60 hours of gameplay by selecting a resolution of 1440p, with a refresh rate fixed at 144Hz and with High details, for an overall result that is more than captivating and above all very stable and free (or almost) of blunders whatsoever, such as sporadic small drops in frame rates or pop in and pop up phenomena on the whole never really invasive.
What is out of tune, in this more than valid picture, is the polygonal density of the areas or in any case of some of them, and above all the difference between the "main" elements and the surrounding ones, although this choice seems understandable. Final comment on the sound sector: both the original OST and the dubbing, especially the Japanese one, appeared to us to be of an excellent level, capable of once again being two of the most successful aspects of the production itself.
Monster Hunter Stories 2: Wings of Ruin has enjoyed us a lot and we are sure that it will still be able to do it thanks to an interesting endgame and above all to that healthy completist vein that a title like this manages to enhance. The many activities combined with a simple but effective combat system and the dynamics related to the exploration and capture of Monstie create a product that, we are sure, will delight fans of the brand or those who are simply looking for a long-lived title. and exciting. The only ones to remain a little disappointed could be JRPG fans, precisely because the role-playing vein of the game, especially in the fighting and in the management of equipment, is very marginal and seems almost to be closer to the canonical series. Overall we are satisfied with this Monster Hunter Stories 2: Wings of Ruin, capable of bringing to the screen even a story that is "simple" but at the same time interesting and able to keep you glued to the screen for its entire duration (and even beyond) .
► Monster Hunter Stories 2: Wings of Ruin is an RPG-Adventure game developed and published by Capcom for PC and Nintendo Switch, the video game was released on 09/07/2021