Console Corner: Monster Hunter Stories 2 - Wings of Ruin review
It says everything about just how good Monster Hunter Stories is that I was still playing it every now and then five years after it was released as I awaited the sequel Wings of Ruin.
Well I can confirm it was worth the wait and whether you are a fanboy or girl or a complete newcomer, Wings of Ruin comfortably stands on its own two feet as a truly excellent JRPG.
It is accessible for newbies and younger players but in-depth enough to keep the more dedicated and experienced gamers interested.
Capcom have managed to create a world that is so fantastical and interesting, it is hard to stop thinking about it after you turn the game off.
The story begins with the mass disappearance of Rathalos around the world. As the descendant of the legendary Rider named Red, you have a fateful encounter with a white-haired wyverian girl, Ena, who has been entrusted with a Rathalos egg. A flightless Rathalos with small black wings bursts out of the egg, which is said to bring ruin to the world in time.
In terms of performance, on the Nintendo Switch load times were fast and I did not experience any issues - either in handheld mode or docked - that spoiled my experience in any significant way.
I can only describe this - like Breath of the Wild - as a journey you simply have to take as a gamer, whether you follow the Monster Hunter series or not.
There are some minor frustrations along the way but nothing that takes away from the thrill the monster hatching loop throws up.
Combat is easy to pick up but truly satisfying to master and seriously rewarding too. This is Capcom so the storyline and arc follows the usual tropes and cliches.
But that takes nothing away from the beautiful, often jaw-dropping world you must explore.
The crowning glory for me is discovering new and rare eggs. The experience simply never grows old and maintains a level of excitement that is so difficult to achieve in any genre of gaming.
As touched on previously, the turn-based battle system is simple to learn and but can offer a surprising level of strategy.
Things can be predictable at times and as a result there is a regrettable lack of variety. In these kind of open worlds it is key to eliminate grind and perhaps more could have been done to tackle that.
It feels strange to criticise the story in MHS2 Wings of Ruin given the actual narrative is more involved than we have probably ever seen in a Monster Hunter game.
But I think it is because it’s all been seen and done before that is smacks of unoriginality. It does feel slightly leaned towards the younger audience too.
This is an excellent and thoroughly enjoyable spin-off with more than a pinch of Pokemon addictiveness. The emphasis on monster collecting and the good as ever turn-based battle system make it a worthy addition to any gaming collection, particularly on Switch.