Monster Hunter Stories – Review (PS4)

OUR RATING: 8.5/10

Initially launched on the Nintendo 3DS in 2017, Monster Hunter Stories ingeniously blends the essence of the mainline series with a unique twist – players assume the role of a Rider, tasked with hatching and training their own “Monsties” instead of relentlessly slaying the colossal beasts. This refreshing departure from the traditional Monster Hunter formula offers a more laid-back and captivating experience, appealing to a broader audience while retaining the franchise’s core allure. Capcom’s recent remastered release for PlayStation, Nintendo Switch, and PC breathes new life into this beloved title, inviting both newcomers and seasoned fans to experience the enchanting tale with enhanced visuals and quality-of-life improvements.

The narrative of Monster Hunter Stories weaves a delightful tapestry, following the journey of a young protagonist hailing from a quaint village where Riders coexist harmoniously with their monstrous companions. However, this tranquil existence is shattered when a malevolent force known as the Black Blight threatens to disrupt the delicate balance between humans and monsters.

Embarking on a quest to unravel the mysteries surrounding the Blight, players forge unbreakable bonds with their Monsties, engaging in turn-based battles that seamlessly blend strategic elements with awe-inspiring spectacles. The game’s combat system, while accessible, offers depth through a rock-paper-scissors mechanic, where players must carefully select their Monsties’ abilities to exploit enemy weaknesses.

One of the standout features of the remastered release is the stunning visual overhaul, which breathes new life into the vibrant environments and intricate character designs. Capcom has meticulously enhanced textures, increased foliage density, and optimized performance, ensuring a smooth and visually captivating experience across all platforms.

Moreover, the remaster introduces several quality-of-life improvements, including full voice acting for the game’s cutscenes, a welcome addition that enriches the storytelling and character interactions. Additionally, players can now access a comprehensive museum mode, allowing them to delve deeper into the game’s lore, art, and music, further enhancing the immersive experience.

Traversing the vast open world of Monster Hunter Stories is an adventure in itself, as players uncover hidden nests teeming with rare monster eggs, each harboring the potential for a powerful ally. The thrill of hatching and nurturing these Monsties is akin to a cherished pastime, fostering a sense of attachment and camaraderie that transcends mere gameplay mechanics.

Complementing the joy of monster collecting is the ability to customize and outfit both the player character and their Monsties with a vast array of weapons, armor, and accessories. This level of personalization not only enhances the strategic depth of combat but also allows players to express their unique styles, creating a truly personalized experience.

While Monster Hunter Stories may deviate from the intense, action-packed combat of the mainline games, it serves as an ideal entry point for newcomers to the franchise. The game’s accessible gameplay mechanics, coupled with its charming narrative and endearing characters, provide a gentle introduction to the rich lore and world-building that have captivated fans for years.

Moreover, the remastered release offers a perfect opportunity for seasoned Monster Hunter enthusiasts to revisit this beloved spin-off, reliving the nostalgia of their initial adventures while basking in the enhanced visuals and quality-of-life improvements. Whether embarking on a new journey or rekindling fond memories, Monster Hunter Stories promises an unforgettable experience for players of all skill levels.

At its core, Monster Hunter Stories celebrates the joys of forging unbreakable bonds with fantastical creatures, inviting players to embrace the spirit of adventure and camaraderie. From the awe-inspiring battles against colossal foes to the heartwarming moments shared with one’s Monsties, the game’s narrative and gameplay mechanics seamlessly intertwine, creating a captivating and immersive experience.

The remastered release not only preserves the essence of the original but also elevates it to new heights, ensuring that both newcomers and returning players can fully immerse themselves in the enchanting world of Monster Hunter Stories. With its engaging gameplay, stunning visuals, and endearing characters, this remastered adventure is a must-play for anyone seeking a unique and unforgettable journey within the Monster Hunter universe.

One of the most captivating aspects of Monster Hunter Stories lies in its vibrant and whimsical landscapes, meticulously crafted to evoke a sense of wonder and adventure. From lush, verdant forests teeming with wildlife to arid deserts adorned with ancient ruins, each region offers a distinct visual identity and a plethora of secrets waiting to be uncovered.

As players venture forth, they’ll encounter a diverse array of environments, each presenting its own challenges and opportunities. Navigating through treacherous mountain passes, traversing sprawling plains, or delving into the depths of mysterious caverns, the game’s world beckons explorers to unravel its mysteries and uncover the hidden treasures that lie within.

At the heart of Monster Hunter Stories lies a vast and diverse bestiary of Monsties, each with its own unique characteristics, abilities, and personalities. From the iconic Rathalos, a fearsome wyvern that commands the skies, to the adorable Poogie, a rotund and endearing creature, the game’s menagerie offers a captivating array of companions to befriend and battle alongside.

Collecting and nurturing these Monsties is a core aspect of the gameplay experience, as players hatch and raise them from eggs found throughout the world. As they grow and evolve, these creatures become more than mere battle companions; they become cherished allies, each with their own quirks and personalities that endear them to their Riders.

While Monster Hunter Stories deviates from the intense action-oriented combat of the mainline series, it introduces a unique and engaging turn-based battle system that keeps players on their toes. Employing a rock-paper-scissors mechanic, players must strategically select their Monsties’ abilities to exploit enemy weaknesses and gain the upper hand in combat.

However, the depth of the combat system extends beyond mere type matchups. Players can unleash devastating combos by carefully timing their attacks and leveraging the power of the Kinship Stone, a powerful artifact that allows Riders to mount their Monsties and unleash devastating special attacks. These cinematic sequences not only add an extra layer of excitement to battles but also require players to engage in brief quick-time events, further enhancing the sense of immersion and skill.

One of the most endearing aspects of Monster Hunter Stories is the ability to forge deep and meaningful bonds with one’s Monsties. As players progress through the game, they’ll have the opportunity to interact with their companions, learning about their personalities, quirks, and backstories.

These interactions extend beyond mere gameplay mechanics, as players can engage in various activities with their Monsties, such as grooming, feeding, or even participating in friendly competitions. By nurturing these bonds, players can unlock new abilities, strengthen their Monsties’ combat prowess, and even witness heartwarming scenes that deepen the emotional connection between Rider and companion.

In addition to nurturing their Monsties, players can also personalize their own Rider’s appearance and gear, allowing them to create a truly unique and memorable protagonist. From selecting hairstyles and facial features to choosing from a vast array of armor sets and weapons, the customization options in Monster Hunter Stories are extensive, catering to a wide range of playstyles and personal preferences.

Moreover, the game’s crafting system encourages players to explore the world and gather resources, which can then be used to forge powerful gear and equipment. This not only adds an extra layer of depth to the gameplay experience but also incentivizes players to thoroughly explore every nook and cranny of the vibrant landscapes, uncovering hidden treasures and rare materials along the way.

While Monster Hunter Stories may initially seem like a lighthearted adventure, its narrative gradually unfolds into a captivating tale steeped in lore and mystery. As players progress through the game, they’ll unravel the secrets behind the Black Blight, a malevolent force that threatens to disrupt the delicate balance between humans and monsters.

Along the way, they’ll encounter a diverse cast of characters, each with their own motivations, beliefs, and connections to the overarching narrative. From the enigmatic Riders who possess ancient knowledge to the mischievous Felyne companions, the game’s world is richly populated with vibrant personalities that add depth and intrigue to the storytelling.

One of the hallmarks of the Monster Hunter franchise is its emphasis on exploration and discovery, and Monster Hunter Stories is no exception. As players traverse the game’s vast and diverse landscapes, they’ll encounter hidden nooks and crannies teeming with secrets waiting to be uncovered.

From discovering ancient ruins that hold clues to long-forgotten civilizations to stumbling upon rare and elusive monster nests, the game’s world is a treasure trove of wonders. Exploration is not only encouraged but rewarded, as players uncover valuable resources, powerful gear, and even new Monsties to add to their ever-growing menagerie.

In addition to the visual and narrative enhancements, the remastered release of Monster Hunter Stories introduces a plethora of quality-of-life improvements that streamline the gameplay experience. From the ability to fast-forward through battles to a comprehensive journal that keeps track of quests and objectives, these small but significant changes contribute to a more seamless and enjoyable adventure.

Moreover, the remaster introduces a museum mode, allowing players to delve deeper into the game’s lore, art, and music. This feature not only serves as a treasure trove of information for lore enthusiasts but also provides a glimpse into the creative process behind the game’s development, further enriching the overall experience.

For longtime fans of the Monster Hunter franchise, the remastered release of Monster Hunter Stories offers a delightful blend of nostalgia and innovation. While retaining the core gameplay mechanics and charming narrative that endeared the original release, the remaster introduces a host of enhancements and quality-of-life improvements that breathe new life into the experience.

Whether reliving cherished memories or embarking on a new adventure, the remastered release ensures that both newcomers and seasoned players can fully immerse themselves in the captivating world of Monster Hunter Stories. With its stunning visuals, engaging gameplay, and endearing characters, this remastered adventure is a testament to Capcom’s dedication to preserving the essence of the franchise while embracing the ever-evolving landscape of gaming.

In the vast and ever-expanding universe of Monster Hunter, Monster Hunter Stories stands as a shining beacon of innovation and charm. With its captivating narrative, engaging turn-based combat, and endearing cast of characters, both human and monstrous, this remastered adventure offers an unforgettable experience for players of all ages and skill levels.

Whether you’re a seasoned veteran of the franchise or a newcomer seeking an enthralling introduction to the world of Monster Hunter, the remastered release of Monster Hunter Stories promises a memorable journey. Immerse yourself in a whimsical world where forging bonds with fantastical creatures takes center stage, and embark on an adventure that will leave a lasting impression on your heart and soul.

Leave a Reply