Archives by Day

June 2024

Monster Hunter Stories

Platform(s): Nintendo 3DS, Nintendo Switch, PC, PlayStation 4
Genre: RPG/Strategy
Publisher: Capcom
Release Date: June 14, 2024


As an Amazon Associate, we earn commission from qualifying purchases.

PC Preview - 'Monster Hunter Stories'

by Cody Medellin on May 20, 2024 @ 8:00 a.m. PDT

Embark on a journey into a colorful world where mighty monsters roam and people make a living by hunting them.

Monster Hunter Stories launched on the Nintendo 3DS in 2017. A spin-off to Capcom's famous multiplayer title, it was a highly regarded single-player RPG that was appropriate for those who didn't care much for the real-time action of the main game or the grinding needed to take down large behemoths. A sequel was inevitable, and it did release to similar acclaim on multiple platforms, but those who didn't own a 3DS didn't get to experience that adventure until now, when Capcom decided that a slightly updated version should finally hit modern platforms. Ahead of the Monster Hunter Stories release next month, we checked out the PC preview build.

The story plays out like any typical anime or game focusing on young people. You play the role of the protagonist in a village that's been cut off from most of the world due to its remoteness. Unlike everyone else who hunts monsters, your village believes in living in harmony with them and even taming a few; they only kill monsters that threaten the village. As you come of age to become a rider, you have to eventually leave the village to find a way to stop a black mist that's threatening humans and monsters alike.

With the shift from being a hunter to a rider comes a shift in gameplay as well. Instead of a real-time action game, Monster Hunter Stories is a standard turn-based RPG that has an open overworld where you can ambush monsters and vice versa. The battle system plays out like rock, paper, scissors with power, speed, and technique being used. It's a simple enough system for anyone to pick up on.

The other major gameplay shift is more of a nod to Pokémon, as you'll be collecting and hatching eggs to build up a stable of monsters. Obtaining these eggs is a process unto itself, as you need to enter various dungeons and try to run away with an egg before the parents catch you, but you're often rewarded with just about any creature in the world joining your side. The good news is that there are various upgrades you can bestow on your egg before it hatches, and you can also transfer traits and abilities from one monster to another regardless of species, ensuring that there's no such thing as a fruitless run.

Based on the original title, there are plenty of things to stretch out the game time. As with any classic RPG, your main quest will easily hit the double-digit range, and the average amount of time for the main questline clocks in at under 40 hours. The game has a bevy of side-quests that will eat up a good chunk of time before and after the main quest is over. There's even online multiplayer that lets you pit your group of monsters against others in arena battles; this really gives the game some legs if the community is there from the outset.

While Monster Hunter Stories doesn't promise any significant new content outside of the fact that all of the creatures and costumes from previous updates are available, it does offer upgrades in other areas. The transition from dual-screen gameplay to a single-screen experience isn't that jarring, since the original 3DS entry only ever used the bottom screen for maps and a battle menu interface, and that translates quite well. It means that menus are visible on the battle screen, and the map is always present on the top right corner of the screen unless you hide it. The controls also feel better, since the camera controls feel better mapped to the right analog stick or mouse rather than the shoulder buttons.

Graphically, the upgrades are big, but don't expect a large change, as the game retains the more cartoon-like look of the original 3DS version. Resolution has been increased, and the graphics have been cleaned up significantly to match. The cel-shaded style of the original gets modified in places to look like textures were stylistically painted on, but there are a few instances where the textures maintain a low-resolution look. The frame rates have been boosted to go to 60fps and beyond, but there are still some elements like flames and flying flags that sport very low frame rates. Draw distances have also increased greatly, and there haven't been any instances of texture or model pop-up in the game's early moments.

The sound has received a few upgrades, but they aren't that significant when compared to the graphics. The music and sound effects remain the same, but they're enhanced with the inclusion of surround sound. New voices are also present for those who want an English or Japanese language track, but those who want the original language will be pleased to hear that the option still exists.

So far, Monster Hunter Stories is a faithful port and upgrade of the original title. The presentation got the necessary upgrades to look and sound good in this modern era, while the controls were adapted from what the original handheld console offered. The gameplay is pretty engaging from what we checked out so far, even though the story feels rather repetitive. The game already offers enough content to keep you busy when you want to deviate from the main quest. We'll be back with the full review closer to the game's launch to see how it pans out.

More articles about Monster Hunter Stories
blog comments powered by Disqus