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Monster Hunter Stories 2 Wings of Ruin body

Monster Hunter Stories Collection review – A duo of beastly JRPGs

Home » Reviews » Monster Hunter Stories Collection review – A duo of beastly JRPGs

Eager to further immerse yourself in the world of Monster Hunter but want a more story-driven, laid back experience? The Monster Hunter Stories Collection might be for you. Bundling up two games, Monster Hunters Stories that originally released on 3DS, and Monster Hunter Stories 2: Wings of Ruin that launched on Switch and PC just a few years ago, it marks the first time that these games have been available on PlayStation consoles.

Monster Hunter Stories review

Being the older game of the two, Monster Hunter Stories has been on the receiving end of a remaster rather than just being simply ported to PS4. And so, while you might find its fields a bit empty as you explore, its character and monster models at least have a cartoonish charm about them. In any case, it’s the story and combat system here that will keep you coming back for more. And fleshing out your Monsterpedia, of course.

After creating your character, Monster Hunter Stories plops you in the centre of a surprisingly entertaining tale. Having fulfilled your dream of becoming a Monster Rider, it’s one that finds you trying to help your friends while also solving the mystery of a blight that threatens the land. It may sound a bit heavy but it’s a fairly light-hearted affair overall, especially thanks to your trusty travelling companion, Navirou the cat.

Monster Hunter Stories body 1
Image: Capcom

Rather than engage monsters in challenging real-time battles in Monster Hunter Stories, you face off against them in less stressful turn-based encounters instead. With just you and a monster by your side, you’ll take turns with your opponents to perform a range of actions, including the usual options such as attacking, using a skill or consuming an item. There are lots of mechanics here that make the combat feel unique, however.

For a start, when attacking, you have three types of attack to choose from: power, speed or technical. Choose the right one and you’ll get one up on your opponent, dealing more damage. Choose the same type of attack as your monster, who acts of their own volition, and there’s a chance you’ll perform a powerful double attack, too. It pays to successfully anticipate the attacks that an enemy will use, then.

Related: The best games like Monster Hunter on PS5

Familiar elements of Monster Hunter are here as well, such as targeting body parts to break them, and knocking monsters down momentarily, opening them up for some free attacks. Ultimately, fight well and you’ll raise your Kinship level, allowing you to ride your monster in combat for a short while, and unleash a mighty joint special attack that gains even more power if you further increase your Kinship level.

Monster Hunter Stories Body 2
Image: Capcom

Once it’s got its hooks in you, one of the biggest joys in Monster Hunter Stories is acquiring new monsters. Should you be able to locate dens on your adventure, you can steal an egg by venturing inside. Hatch these eggs and you’ll have new monsters to develop and fight by your side. It gives the game a Pokémon-like property, where you’ll want to hatch ’em all. Every monster has something to offer, whether it’s a new traversal skill to help you explore, or fearsome combat abilities.

Overall, Monster Hunter Stories may look a bit dated, especially when journeying through its rather barren fields, but it’s an entertaining game on the whole. It’s obviously aimed at younger gamers, but proves to be engaging for Monster Hunter fans of any age. And while its story isn’t likely to stick with you, it’s hard not to wonder what’s going to happen next.

Monster Hunter Stories individual score: 7/10


Monster Hunter Stories 2: Wings of Ruin review

As you’d expect, Monster Hunter Stories 2 doesn’t stray all that far from the formula laid down by its predecessor. Set years after the first game, you create and take control of a new Monster Rider, just starting their journey. With a new cast of characters and a new location to explore, a danger looms on the horizon, as ever. The comical Navirou makes a return, though, accompanying you through thick and thin.

In terms of gameplay, this is pretty much Monster Hunter Stories but bigger and better. Fields are more expansive and packed with more life and detail, making them more enjoyable to explore. Obtaining and hatching monster eggs is also still important so that you can gain new traversal abilities and more monsters to fight by your side. And as well as main story quests, there are many side quests for you to complete, allowing you to get resources useful for crafting new gear and more.

Monster Hunter Stories 2 Wings of Ruin screenshot
Image: Capcom

It’s the combat that’s most improved in this sequel, however. For one you don’t have to fight alone, with another Monster Rider able to fight alongside you with their monster in tow. You can still only select commands for your rider, though. The ability to switch weapons mid-fight is added, too, and you’ll need to do so in order to exploit weaknesses and make the best of certain situations.

Monster Hunter Stories 2, then, is very much an improvement on the first game. Even more impressive is that it manages to still feel like a Monster Hunter game despite the dramatic change in gameplay style. And though once again you’re not likely to think much about its story when you’re done, it keeps things moving along nicely. In the end, you’ll be having too much fun filling out your Monsterpedia.

Monster Hunter Stories 2 individual score: 8/10


The Collection

Those wanting the full Monster Hunter Stories experience can pick up the Monster Hunter Stories Collection digitally or physically, and by doing so you can score a bit of a discount. Unless you’re dead set on playing both, however, you might want to just pick up Monster Hunter Stories 2: Wings of Ruin. With it having a new cast of characters, it’s possible to jump into it without knowing anything about the first game, and it offers pretty much the same experience but improved in every way.

Monster Hunter Stories 2 also has multiplayer features, further making it stand out over its predecessor. You can team up with friends online to tackle a number of co-op missions, and also face off against other riders in competitive battles. And so, while we think Monster Hunter Stories is a good game, if you only have the time, or money, for one of these releases, Monster Hunter Stories 2 is the clear winner.

This review of Monster Hunter Stories Collection is based on the PS4 version, with a code provided by the game’s publisher. It’s available on PS4 and Switch. Monster Hunter Stories and Monster Hunter Stories 2 are also available individually on PS4, Switch and PC.

Monster Hunter Stories Collection review - GameSpew's score

Monster Hunter Stories Collection
8 10 0 1
The Monster Hunter Stories Collection bundles up two great JRPGs that offer a new way to enter the world of Monster Hunter, now finally playable on PlayStation consoles. Both have thrilling combat systems, and will have you avidly seeking out new monsters to add to your collection. With Monster Hunter Stories 2 not only looking better but also being more fleshed out gameplay-wise and having additional features such as multiplayer, however, some players might just want to pick that up instead.
The Monster Hunter Stories Collection bundles up two great JRPGs that offer a new way to enter the world of Monster Hunter, now finally playable on PlayStation consoles. Both have thrilling combat systems, and will have you avidly seeking out new monsters to add to your collection. With Monster Hunter Stories 2 not only looking better but also being more fleshed out gameplay-wise and having additional features such as multiplayer, however, some players might just want to pick that up instead.
8/10
Total Score

We like...

  • Collecting monsters is fun
  • The combat systems are great
  • An accessible way to get into the world of Monster Hunter

We don't like...

  • While the stories are enjoyable, they won't stick with you
  • The fields of Monster Hunter Stories are a bit barren

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