Bottom line: This is one of the best games to come to the Nintendo Switch. It has everything you look for in an RPG, from gorgeous cutscenes and complex battle systems to awesome creature collecting. The frame rates couldn't keep up in some places, but it is an excellent adventure nonetheless.
125 Monsties to collect
Complex battle system
Lots of voice acting
Bad framerate at times
Might be too complicated for some
Character creator slightly limiting
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The long wait for Monster Hunter Stories 2: Wings of Ruin for Nintendo Switch is over and I'm happy to say the wait was worth it. For anyone unfamiliar with this game, it's a creature collection RPG that centers around popular creatures and weapons from the Monster Hunter franchise. Only, instead of live battles like what you'd find in Monster Hunter Rise, Monster Hunter Stories 2 is a turn-based variant with a unique battle system that centers around hatching and leveling up your own team of monsters. Instead of just sending monsters off to fight for you, you battle alongside them while wielding one of six different weapons. It's a fun change of pace for any Monster Hunter or JRPG fan.
Now, I know it's impossible to mention creature collection games (especially on a Nintendo device) without referencing Pokémon, a.k.a. the biggest creature collection game of them all. While Monster Hunter Stories 2 definitely has its flaws, it does several things I've always wanted to see in a Pokémon game. That alone makes it a great adventure for anyone who hasn't played the original and is curious about this latest entry.
Monster Hunter Stories 2: Wings of Ruin What you'll like
|Category||Monster Hunter Stories 2: Wings of Ruin|
|Titles||Monster Hunter Stories 2: Wings of Ruin|
|Play Time||45-60+ hours|
|Format||Physical and Download|
Strange holes are appearing around the world and Rathalos, the game's flagship monster, are disappearing. You play as the grandchild of a notable Monster Rider who has inherited his good attitude and has been entrusted with a special Rathalos egg that's being hunted by a mysterious group of people. It's your job to keep the Rathalos safe and save the world. Along the way, you'll meet new friends and see some old ones from the original Monster Hunter Stories 3DS game.
The setup might be simple and relatively standard compared to the first Monster Hunter Stories title, but there is so much else to love about this game. The art is perfect, with a cuter and more vibrant anime style versus the mainline Monster Hunter games, and there was a lot more voice acting than I was expecting. You can skip through most of it if you don't care for cutscenes. Powerful music plays during battles while catchy melodies are found in each city.
The moment you start your game, you're brought to a character creation menu where you can customize everything from eye shape to hairstyle and skin color for a truly unique character. However, some options are locked behind the male or female version. Due to this, it might feel limiting to some. Once the game has started, your gender and skin color are fixed, but you can change your eyes, hair, and clothing simply by stopping by your home.
Additionally, the battle system is really enjoyable while still being challenging and there is such a large range of monsters to collect that you'll be busy for a long time. It all works together for an amazing experience. Just note, this is a bigger Nintendo Switch game that takes up 13.5 GB of space, so make sure you have enough room on your microSD card before purchasing it.
Monster Hunting Collecting How to train your Monstie
Instead of catching monsters during battle, players must make their way into a Monster Den and bring one egg out from a nest at a time. Then, you must talk to your adorable farmer Palico in order to hatch any eggs you've collected. The in-game Monstipedia shows that there are 217 monsters total in the world, 125 of which can be hatched and added to your party. Many of these collectible creatures are even fan-favorites from the Monster Hunter franchise that have gotten a colorful makeover.
I love Pokémon, but this Monster Hunter creature collection game does things that I'm still waiting to see from Game Freak's titles. For instance, the best thing about your Monstie party is that you can ride every single monster you collect around the overworld. Plus, some monsters have special abilities, like being able to climb vines to reach high ledges, swim across bodies of water, or jump far distances. It allows you to investigate your environment in ways Pokémon still hasn't allowed us to in a 3D setting.
Plus, the ability to manipulate your monster's fighting stats through the game's Rite of Channeling menu makes you want to dive into Monster Dens, again and again, to create the perfect Frankenstein Monsties for your team of up to six monsters. All of this together makes Monster Hunter Rise 2 a monster collecting game with tons of customization, which a lot of typical entries in the genre don't have as much.
Battle System Rock, Paper, Monstie
I won't say that the battle system is simpler than a Monster Hunter game, but it is complex in a different way. They've also been streamlined a bit compared to the original game. Battles basically follow rock, paper, scissors rules where every monster you encounter has one of three specific Attack Types that beats one type and is defeated by another. But then when battling, players also have to keep in mind three different weapon types and the Element chart that might affect their weapons, armor, and Monsties. Not to mention, some Monsties change their Attack Type when they transform or get angry, so you have to remember these changes to battle effectively.
It's a lot to keep track of and can feel daunting at first if you're not familiar with Monster Hunter or Monster Hunter Stories already, but once you get the battle system down, it's very rewarding. The complexities of the system also encourage you to use resources beyond your Monsties, like traps, which can greatly change up each battle from one to the next.
Your monster makes its own decisions in battle, so you just need to pay attention to your own attacks and must be ready to swap out one monster for another when the situation is right. If you and your monster perform the same winning attack on an opponent, you'll unleash a devastating blow. Human NPCs and their Monsties sometimes join you in battle as well giving you assistance and different opportunities for joint attacks. The variation changes things up and provides plenty of ways to strategize.
Additionally, this game has an incredibly heavy focus on grinding, which is how you get the parts for upgrading both your weapons and armor. It also helps you level up your Monsties to become stronger. If you don't like repetitive battles, you will not like this game. But the grind is part of the JRPG and monster-collecting foundation, so I think you knew that already.
The game is also set up in such a way that players with Nintendo Switch Online can join together and take down monsters. However, I wasn't able to thoroughly test the multiplayer functions since I only had one copy of the game.
Monster Hunter Stories amiibo Unlock more perks
The Nintendo Switch version of Monster Hunter Stories 2 works with amiibo to give you in-game goodies. In the case of certain amiibo, it can also unlock character outfits and layered armor. For instance, the three new Monster Hunter Stories 2 amiibo (Ena, Razewing Ratha, and Tsukino) unlock layered armor when scanned for the first time and after that, they'll just provide helpful items once each day.
I was also able to scan my three Monster Hunter Rise amiibo (Palico, Palimute, and Magnamalo) and my Monster Hunter Stories rider amiibo from the original 3DS game to get Sticker Sets and items.
Endgame content & DLC Keep playing after you beat it
I won't spoil anything, but there is still plenty of fun to be had after you've beaten Monster Hunter Stories 2's main storyline. Not to mention, Capcom detailed a Monster Hunter Stories 2 roadmap, which will be bringing additional quests and monsters into the game at various points throughout the year. It might have only taken me 45 hours to beat the game when rushing, but I could easily spend several hours more playing the post-game content.
Monster Hunter Stories 2: Wings of Ruin What you won't like
I'm sad to say that the rumors are true; Monster Hunter Stories 2 on Switch has very inconsistent frame rates. I noticed it the most during cutscenes, but sometimes characters did move around choppily during battles and while running around the overworld as well. There was even one instance when I played where the voices and the character movements got out of sync for a while before the game fixed itself. This only happened once during the whole time I played so it could have just been a random glitch I encountered.
Fortunately, my colleague reviewed the PC version of Monster Hunter Stories 2 and he informed me that the frame rate always stayed at 60FPS or higher. So if frame rate is really important to you, you might want to play the PC version instead.
Otherwise, the only semi-negative thing that comes to mind is that this game might be too complicated for some people. The cartoony art style and silly characters might make it appealing for younger players, but then the battle system is rather complex and not something I think the average kid could get behind.
Monster Hunter Stories 2: Wings of Ruin Should you buy it?
If you like Monster Hunter or creature collection games like Pokémon then yes, you definitely need to check this game out. It allows you to explore the world with your monsters in ways that Pokémon still hasn't allowed us to and, honestly, Game Freak could learn a thing or two. There is even a free demo if you're still unsure and want to check it out first.
This game is so beautiful that I repeatedly felt stunned when looking at the vibrant colors and gorgeous characters in each cutscene. The plot wasn't that complex, but it gave me something to work towards as I explored this fantasy world. All in all, it took me about 45 hours to beat Monster Hunter Stories 2 and that was because I was rushing to get it done by deadline. If I had the time I'm sure I would have sunk in at least a dozen more hours hunting for monster eggs and exploring the map before ending the story.
The only word of warning I have is that the Switch version does have some notable frame rate issues, which is why I didn't rate it higher than I did. Additionally, the battle system is far more complex than the cutesy art style might lead you to believe. However, if you're willing to put in the time to learn how everything works, this can be one of the most rewarding turn-based games you ever play.
Gaming aficionado Rebecca Spear is iMore's dedicated gaming editor with a focus on Nintendo Switch and iOS gaming. You’ll never catch her without her Switch or her iPad Air handy. If you’ve got a question about Pokémon, The Legend of Zelda, or just about any other Nintendo series check out her guides to help you out. Rebecca has written thousands of articles in the last six years including hundreds of extensive gaming guides, previews, and reviews for both Switch and Apple Arcade. She also loves checking out new gaming accessories like iPhone controllers and has her ear to the ground when it comes to covering the next big trend.