A ton of people around me are celebrating Mother’s Day here in Europe and I see a lot of things on my Twitter timeline from both EU and NA people but I’m not joining in with the holiday. I have no mother or grandmothers to wish a happy Mother’s Day to anymore and thus for me it’s a regular Sunday with no social obligations and lots of time to clean and game. Because it’s like this I’d like to talk a bit about a game I’ve started playing last week: Monster Hunter Stories.
Let’s start off with a bit of background. I have never really been interested in the Monster Hunter franchise. I was aware it existed and I was aware it has quite a hardcore community of people who completely adore the games and have spent hundreds to thousands of hours playing them. I’ve downloaded a demo on my 3Ds of either Generations or 4 Ultimate at some point and it didn’t really capture my interest. Then Monster Hunter World came out on the PS4 and I downloaded the demo again and again I decided the game was not for me. The whole “kill consecutively bigger Monsters” theme didn’t really hook me in and seeing the grind that came with it I just bounced hard and didn’t look back.
Now how comes Monster Hunter Stories into play? I am a big fan of traditional RPGs and the games that I have sinked by far the most hours into besides MMO’s have been Pokémon games. I like collecting things and I like simple turn based combat. Monster Hunter Stories plays into both of these tropes very well. Next to having a story you are also collecting Monster Eggs to build your team and the combat is rather simple turn based with some gimmicks. Next to that the game is cute and chibi like aswell as very colourful, some other things that really attract me and the interest was born.
I’m not going to build in Spoiler tags for this post, or any follow up ones on my progress, mostly because the game has been out since last year and everything is on the internet anyway. I just want to share my experience playing so far, how I like the game and if it might pull me into the franchise further.
So you start out the game going into the forest looking for Monster Eggs with two friends Lilia and Cheval. Lilia finds a nest full of eggs where one has a different colour and lo and behold the egg hatches and the little Rathalos (lovingly called Ratha) imprints on you as hero. At this point you have not seen the face of your character yet and with good reason, you are prompted into a character creation screen then where you can pick your gender and appearance which will then appear in subsequent cutscenes. After creating your character you get back to town where the people are apparently mad at you and your friends for sneaking into the forest without permission. After getting scolded but then forgiven by the village elder a mysterious shadow Monster attacks the village killing Cheval’s mother. Your Rathalos manages to chase the Shadow away but gets thrown into a ravine in the process, disappearing from your life.
The game cuts back to your character one year after these catastrophic events. You are now going to do an exam to become a “rider” which is a character that rides and battles with Monsters, or Monsties as they’re called here. During your initiation ritual you befriend a Felyne called Navirou and together with him and your first official Monstie that you hatch you’re basically set on the start of your story. In the meantime Cheval has undergone a serious character change and Lilia has decided that she doesn’t want to become a rider prompting her to seek another goal in life.
This is kind of where I am now. There is a mainstory to follow and at this point you have unlocked vendors, a buff shrine, your house, sidequests and downloadable content. There are lot of staple Monster Hunter tropes in the game. When you battle Monsters in the wild they will drop items based on how well you do the fight and these items are needed to upgrade gear or cook or sell on the markets. You’re encouraged to explore around a lot so you find more Monster Eggs and other things. There is a ton of sidecontent and a big world to explore. The only real downside is that for some reason Capcom has decided to tie save games to your system instead of to the game cart. Which means that if I switch systems I will lose my save game and have to start over again.
From what I’ve seen so far though this game may not be as massive as other Monster Hunter games but it’s still a game that you can easily sink many hours into trying to 100% it. There’s a ton of downloadable, FREE, content for when you are done with all that the game has to offer and then there’s online battle stuff that I’ve not even touched yet.
All in all it looks like a game I could really lose myself in. I like that it is on my 3DS which means I’m more inclined to pick it up for short bursts on the train or when lying in bed, which is what I’ve been doing with most of my non MMO gametime anyway. I’ll let you guys know how I get on!