On September 17, 2020, Capcom announced two new Monster Hunter games for the Nintendo Switch during Nintendo's Direct Mini Partner Showcase. Monster Hunter Rise, which is the next installment in the flagship Monster Hunter titles after Monster Hunter World, and Monster Hunter Stories 2: Wings of Ruin.
It is the newest installment in the RPG spinoff series, Monster Hunter Stories. Monster Hunter Stories is a fairly different beast compared to the main games and just as content heavy so get a great microSD card, because you're going to need a lot of space. I have a strong feeling Monster Hunter Stories 2: Wings of Ruin will become one of the best Nintendo Switch games when it releases.
During the Monster Hunter Digital Event on April 27, 2021, we have shown gameplay footage that confirms Monster Hunter Stories 2: Wings of Ruin will retain the combat system of its predecessor. So, we will talk about the first Monster Hunter Stories as well. This way, newcomers can get an idea what to expect for the sequel.
Let's begin our research.
What is Monster Hunter Stories 2: Wings of Ruin?
Monster Hunter Stories 2: Wings of Ruin is a sequel to Monster Hunter Stories. Released for the Nintendo 3DS on October 2016 in Japan, then released worldwide a year later in September 2017. It was also ported onto Android and IOS stores in December 2017 in Japan), again released worldwide in September 2018.
In the Monster Hunter Stories series, you take on the role of a 'Monster Rider' (complete with a customizable appearance and gender). Contrary to the franchise's titular 'Monster Hunters' who set out to slay monsters, Riders seek to tame monsters to protect the balance of nature as much as possible.
They accomplish this through ancient, seemingly magical devices called 'Kinship Stones.' These have the power to tame monsters and empower a Rider's monster (or 'Monstie' as Riders refer to tamed monsters) in battle. However, they are willing to fight and kill wild monsters only as a last resort.
Riders are a secretive group trying to keep out of the public eye. They feel that Monster Hunters, who have spent an eternity fighting monsters, wouldn't understand the Riders' power and goal to tame them. Even going so far as to be afraid of them. Conflicts would arise over how to handle the ecosystem since they have extreme opposite approaches and ideologies. So, they conduct their work in secret to avoid any conflict.
The premise for Monster Hunter Stories 2 is that one day, the player Rider meets a young Wyverian (Monster Hunter's version of elves) girl named Ena carrying a Rathalos egg. She informs you that Rathalos (the franchise's mascot monster) are starting to disappear from the world and is asking for your help to save them. She seeks you specifically because she knew your grandfather, an incredibly skilled Monster Rider named Red, who seemingly passed away trying to solve this mystery as well. Believing you have inherited Red's skills and pure heart, Ena entrusts you with the Rathalos egg, and together you both set out to save the Rathalos from whatever caused their disappearance.
On this journey, you will explore the world filled with bright, colorful locales, meet a wide variety of characters, and fight to tame monsters that will help you on your adventure.
What is the Gameplay like?
Unlike the mainline Monster Hunter games, which are action games with light RPG elements, Monster Hunter Stories is a pure, full on JRPG. They have a heavier emphasis on story, characterization, world exploration, and combine the monster catching aspects and combat system of Pokemon with the gear farming, intense monster hunting action of Monster Hunter.
Battles are a turn-based affair, where you send your Monstie out to do battle with wild monsters. Except your character fights alongside your Monstie in battle — you don't get to sit back on the sidelines like in Pokémon. You get three lives in battle, and if you or your Monstie get knocked out 3 times, it's game over.
The Rider can fight in battle using weapon-specific special moves and support their Monstie with items. Your Monstie acts independently, but you can command them to perform specific actions in battle using the Kinship Stone. Riders can even ride their Monstie as a mount, doing this buffs up their stats and gain access to a super move.
Once the enemy monster is defeated, you collect their body parts and bring them back to a town's blacksmith to create new gear for your Rider. Though what gear you can create and the benefits they provide are a lot more streamlined compared to the mainline Monster Hunter games.
You can have up to six Monsties in your party. To acquire more, you must swipe eggs from a monster's nest, and use your Kinship Stone to have the monster hatch, then imprint onto you. Though this is morally questionable when you start to think about it.
It has now been confirmed that my favorite feature from the first game, the Rite of Channelling, will be returning for Monster Hunter Stories 2: Wings of Ruin. Using the Kinship Stone, you can take traits from other Monsties and insert them into your favorite Monsties to upgrade them. This was a very cool system. It allowed Monsties to be customized into specialized roles. Pure attackers, tanks, status effect dealers, supporters — all sorts of possibilities.
Sometimes carrying traits from other monsters can even change a monster's element. For example, if you splice Genes, like many Thunder Genes from Thunder Elemental monsters into a Fire Elemental monster, it will change it into a Thunder Elemental monster. Monsties get a subtle color appearance change to reflect their new element and new visual effects for their super move.
The best part was that this system allowed ANY Monstie to be viable throughout the main campaign, even ones you encountered at the beginning of the game. Except for the postgame superbosses — you will need carefully optimized Monstie parties for those.
I hope they go even further with this system for the sequel. For example, combining too many genes from different Monsties would start to mutate your preferred Monstie to become a deformed hybrid. Giving it a cool or terrifying appearance.
Imagine splicing the genes of a Diablos into a Rathalos. Then suddenly that Rathalos gains the horns and armored hide of a Diablos. While gaining the ability to dive-bomb into the ground, then fly instantly out of the ground back into the air to blast you with fireballs. That would be pretty terrifying.
Another thing they could add would be giving Monsties armor. Like how Riders can arm themselves with the gear we get for killing monsters, we could do the same for Monsties. If Monster Hunter Rise could have armored mounts with the Palamutes, so can Monster Hunter Stories 2.
There is one big drawback to being a Rider though. Unlike Hunters who get access to 14 weapon types, Riders only got access to four weapons. Sword & Shield, Hunting Horn, Hammer, and Greatsword. This is mostly due to balancing since the Monsties are the true dealers while the Rider mostly acts as support.
Good news is that Monster Hunter Stories 2 will add at least two more weapon types for the Rider, confirmed via Arekkz Gaming. We now know these weapons will be the Bow and the Gunlance.
I'm personally hoping Charge Blade and Switch Axe make it in. I'm curious to see how their weapon morphing mechanics would work in a turn-based combat system.
Also, I'm hoping they make the Rider more durable in battle. In the original game, even with the sturdiest armor, Riders can be taken down pretty quickly due to their naturally low defenses.
Any new or returning monsters?
No new monsters have been announced at this time. Nor has there been any word if monsters introduced in Monster Hunter Rise will make an appearance.
For returning monsters, we have Nergigante, Rathalos, Tigrex, Anjaneth, Legiana, Velociprey, Velocidrome, Kulu-Yaku, Mizutsune, Larinoth, Paolumu, Pukei-Pukei, Nargacuga, Bazelgeuse, and Tigrex. With many more monsters to come soon.
Without spoiling things, the original Monster Hunter Stories had only one new monster, while the rest were old monsters from previous games. Sometimes those monsters would be augmented with armor or by an unnatural force. Monster Hunter Stories 2: Wings of Ruin will also feature enhanced monsters, like Razewing Ratha, which is a flightless Rathalos with black wings that is prophesied to bring destruction to the world.
Monster Hunter Stories 2: Wings of Ruin will feature co-op multiplayer quests where two players can take on monsters with their Monsties and acquire Monstie eggs. Both players will be able to perform epic team-up attacks with their Monsties to take down monsters exclusive to these quests.
The PVP mode from the original game will be coming back for this game as the Versus Battle mode. Here, you can pit your team of Monsties against other players in intense battles that can support up to four players.
There will be three amiibos for Monster Hunters Stories 2: Wings of Ruin. Each amiibo will unlock cosmetic layered armor for your character as well as grant a small daily bonus.
No word at this time what the Monster Hunter Rise amiibos grant. It would be cool if amiibos from other franchises get compatibility with Monster Hunter Stories 2: Wings of Ruin. Like the Legend of Zelda, Super Smash Bros, and Mario amiibos for example could give you special layered armor or costumes from those series. Realistically though, I would imagine they would give healing items or level boosting items.
DLC, pre-order bonuses and deluxe versions?
If you have save data from Monster Hunter Rise, you can link it with Monster Hunter Stories 2: Wings of Ruin's save data to receive the Kamura Garb layered armor set for the Rider. Layered armor is a cosmetic outfit the player can wear on top of their regular armor to alter their appearance without altering stats.
Pre-ordering the game will grant you Kamura Shrine Maiden outfit for Ena to wear.
There will be a deluxe edition of Monster Hunter Stories 2: Wings of Ruin. In addition to the base game, there will be layered armor and a hairstyle for the player, outfits for Ena and Navirou, and sticker sets.
Finally, there will be a collector's edition of Monster Hunter Stories 2: Wings of Ruin. It will include the base game, the deluxe edition's content, the Razewing Ratha amiibo, and an enamel pin. It will be available soon via Gamestop (US) and EB Games (Canada).
At the end of Monster Hunter Stories 2's E3 Presentation trailer, they revealed that it will receive free title updates. The first title update will add the Palamute from the Monster Hunter Rise as a recruitable Monstie on July 15, 2021.
In addition, there will be a free downloadable demo for Monster Hunter Stories 2 that will you let experience the beginning of the game. The progress you make in the demo can carried over into the full game through a save file. The demo will be released on June 25, 2021.
How much will Monster Hunter Stories 2 cost?
The retail for the game will be $60 for the base game and $70 for the deluxe version.
When is the Monster Hunter Stories 2 launch date?
Monster Hunters 2: Wings of Ruin will be released worldwide on July 9, 2021 on Nintendo Switch and PC via Steam.
Team up with Monsties!
Ride on for a new adventure!
Travel the world and save the Rathalos in Monster Hunter Stories 2: Wings of Ruin. Befriend Monsties and hunt down evil monsters in this fun JRPG adventure fit for the whole family.
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Alexander Cope is a writer for Windows Central and iMore that has been gaming since the 16-bit era.