Imagine a Monster Hunter in which the first thing you do is not to kill a monster, but to make friends with him and get on his back to discover the world. That is the main premise of Monster Hunter Stories, and although it seems an intrusion into the dynamic Pokémon, as you will see in this analysis, it is much more than that.
The main objective of Capcom was to create a video game that managed to attract new players but without neglecting veterans. We all know how these types of spin-off proposals usually end … Not necessarily bad, but with a bittersweet sensation of the type “is fine, but the depth of the main series is lacking.” Monster Hunter Storiesintuited that he would follow that familiar path, but the surprise has been capitalized when we have played it.
The developers have aimed at the heart of RPG lovers, building a video game for Nintendo 3DS with turn-based battles, but that recovers almost all the iconic elements of Monster Hunter. That exploration that makes you go through vast scenarios full of activities. The huge “looteo” that has always characterized the saga. The ability to progress, obtaining better equipment with which to face the most difficult challenges.
Stories propose important changes in form. We are a “rider” who faces monsters, but who also recruits them and befriends them (Pokémon essence). The artistic style is more colorful and youthful, approaching an anime aesthetic (in fact, it has a series of cartoons). The plot takes center stage, with more kinematics and dialogues than in other Monster Hunter. However, the surprise is that it manages to maintain the essence. Under a soft layer of accessibility, several layers of complexity have hidden that help to say that we are not facing a production only for new players, but also suitable for franchise lovers.
Stories on the outside, Monster Hunter on the inside
To understand Monster Hunter Stories, the main thing is to assimilate that it is an adventure, in the most classic conception of the term. The advance is based on going through a series of scenarios on which we can return. First the traditional meadow, then a snowy environment, a citadel, a desert … The passage of a stage is determined by the way the plot develops, erecting a structure that differs from the canonical Monster Hunter.
Used to the high instantiation of other deliveries, it is a relief to see that Monster Hunter Stories has generous space environments. The exploration is not interrupted with loading times, except in the access to dens, passageways or towns. This fluidity is vital to understand part of the success, and also novelty, of the video game. In particular, it is seen that Capcom has focused on ending the frustrations generated in canonical deliveries. The charges are much lower, but we also see many teleports, and we can even use monsters as the amount to move quickly.
Adopt the mechanisms of Pokémon to keep us busy and generate addiction
There is much satisfaction in the simple fact of moving, collecting materials and fighting battles, which are activated as soon as we find a wild monster. It is this mixture between freedom and fluidity one of the aspects for which the video game shines most. But there is another ingredient: capture. Monster Hunter adopts the mechanisms of Pokémon to keep us busy and generate addiction. There are more than 100 “monsties”, and they are not obtained fighting against them, but visiting dens to look for eggs and then make them hatch.
The dynamics of collecting eggs is part of the hardcore of the video game because obtaining certain species is essential to move forward. Also, the more lair visits, the more possibilities you have to form a varied and powerful team. The collection is, therefore, a fundamental mechanic, and not only in the plane of the monsters but of the enormous amount of materials that we will find. Under a simple appearance hide several playable layers that make the experience very rich.
One of these layers is customization. The sale of objects gives us money, which we can invest in buying equipment or improving it. The iconic possibilities of the Monster Hunter saga are intact in Stories. What’s more: there is news. One of the most important is that there is the possibility of modifying the genes of our creatures to give them new abilities. The game has the ability to continually surprise. Considering that the adventure lasts between 35-40 hours, it’s not bad at all …
Bet on a new style but without giving up the keys of Monster Hunter
Then there is, of course, combat. The battles are activated by direct contact with the enemy and are based on a turn scheme. We cannot say that the approach is novel because the operation revolves on the well-known stone-paper-scissors trident (in this case: technical-strength-agility ). There are variants, with combined attacks and we can even ride our ally once the affinity level has increased. In short, an interesting approach, including epic confrontations. However, it suffers from the passing of the hours, with episodes in which something monotonous can be done.
Not everything can be positive. Monster Hunter Stories solves many situations brilliantly, but others are not at the same level. The mission structure is not always the most successful, with numerous side missions, but not particularly attractive. The story of being a “rider” trying to fight the black plague that is affecting the monsters does not end yet. Internal frames are disjointed and seem more focused on connecting missions than generating intrinsic value. In other words, it will be weird that the plot encourages you to finish the game.
Stories rather place their trust in playable aspects, and that does it well most of the time. It is designed for you to get lost exploring, entering dens, collecting eggs, serving secondary, fighting monsters, improving equipment … and learning new things at every moment. Also surprising you by an audiovisual section that is not that it is excellent but ambitious. The scenarios are huge, without the continuous loading times of other deliveries. Good use of the color palette, with prints that demonstrate the potential of Nintendo 3DS. There are even times when the game scratches a bit because of the polygonal load and textures.
Stories rather place its trust in playable aspects, and that does it well most of the time. It is designed for you to get lost exploring, entering dens, collecting eggs, serving secondary, fighting monsters, improving equipment … and learning new things at every moment. Also surprising you by an audiovisual section that is not that it is excellent but ambitious. The scenarios are huge, without the continuous loading times of other deliveries. Good use of the color palette, with prints that demonstrate the potential of Nintendo 3DS. There are even times when the game scratches a bit because of the polygonal load and textures.
Monster Hunter Stories is just what its creators intended: a video game with the potential to attract new users, but without neglecting the usual players. He achieves this by generating a layered scheme, with a friendly external appearance, even reminiscent of Pokémon, but an interior that is pure Monster Hunter, nourished by that complexity and vastness of options so characteristic of the franchise. The inconsequential of its history and certain episodes of monotony prevent it from going further, but what Stories has done has many merits: to build something new on what is already known.
- The excellent fusion between new and classical mechanics
- The great sensation of exploration and adventure, with large environments
- Considerable possibilities of looting and improvement of characters/creatures
- Not as durable as other Monster Hunter, but still very long-lived
- The fighting seems simple, but they have their strategic component
- Audiovisual is a careful and ambitious video game
- The plot is circumstantial, a guiding thread between mission and mission
- The playable rhythm may decline at certain points, as a result of the monotony