Monster Hunter Stories Review

Monster Hunter! One of Capcom’s most popular franchises these days. It’s a fan favorite with a die-hard core group of players. Many gamers who aren’t in this core group can find themselves overwhelmed by the vastness of Monster Hunter. There isn’t much in terms of training and orientation in the main Monster Hunter games, unless you have the patience to sit and read tons of little Hunter’s Notes in the menu. I know I sure don’t.

I started playing Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate a few years ago. The graphics are cool, I love the monsters and the collection aspects of the game. But the actual gameplay I found to be very difficult. In addition, the monsters have different elemental types, of which I knew nothing b/c I didn’t read the Hunter’s Notes. It’s just not a very approachable game, and since everything is based on missions, you don’t have much freedom or storyline. You can’t even necessarily ask friends for help either, as many quests are based on rank. The hardcore players rank up really fast and only the charitable ones will spend their time helping you get up to speed, and even then the noobs tend to simply rely on the higher ranked players and not really learn the game.

At least, that has been my experience. I’ve been WANTING to like Monster Hunter, but I’m just not there in terms of knowledge about the monsters or having the determination to rank up without an interesting story line to keep me motivated. That is, until I started playing Monster Hunter Stories, which is the latest spin-off from the world of Monster Hunter.

Monster Hunter Stories

Monster Hunter Stories appears on the outside to be a kids game, with it’s cutesy character art style and dialogue. The demo, which I haven’t played, is apparently just a play through of the first few minutes of the game. I think this was a mistake on Capcom’s part, because you don’t really get a feel for what you can do in this game until you have unlocked some of the cooler features. Many of the die-hard MH community have scoffed at this game due to the demo, which is sad.

One main difference between Monster Hunter Stories and the main Monster Hunter franchise is the storyline. There are Story Quests and Sub-Quests, with markers pointing to where you need to go on the vast world map. Why markers? Because MHS is an open world game. You can go wherever you want, whenever you want (once you have unlocked that area in the storyline). Feel like just slaying a bunch of docile Slagtoth and collecting herbs? You do you, boo!

Another major difference is the complete overhaul of the battle system. First of all, you befriend monsters and they will help you to battle against other monsters. You fight in a turn based system that uses a rock-paper-scissor mechanic for the normal attacks. But there’s more to it than the game of chance. Your character gets special Rider skills and attacks, based on your weapon. You can control your monster’s moves, which include awesome special attacks. As you and your monster battle cooperatively, you raise your “kinship” meter, which unlocks killer attacks when filled!

On top of the new battle mechanics, you can also customize your monsters, just like in Pokemon. By collecting eggs and hatching tons of monsters, you can transfer a move from one monster to another. Suddenly you can have a Lagombi, who is a giant icy rabbit who prefers frozen tundras, that now can shoot fireballs at enemy monsters. I would say that if you like Pokemon but think the battles are little too tame, give Monster Hunter Stories a shot. You can also battle your monsters in a tournament setting in-game, or via local wireless and online battles. With so many modes of battle, you will find yourself making different sets of monster teams with different strengths so you can take on any opponent! (Sounds a lot like Pokemon, right?)

I will add that on a personal level, I think that Monster Hunter Stories is fantastic for gamers like me who aren’t familiar with all of the elemental types, especially when it comes to monsters from older MH games. This game is helping me to learn which monsters are weak to the different elements in a more natural way than constantly checking Hunter’s Notes.

For the Monster Hunter purists, I will add that you still have all of the collection aspects of the main games in MHS. You still need to collect endless monster materials to forge new weapons, armor and upgrades. All of your favorite monster armor is available in this game. And you will still need to find all the hidden Poogies, of course!

One final thing I really like about MHS is the storyline itself. The Hunters (basically the characters from the main game) don’t like or trust the Riders (your character and other people who develop kinship with monsters) and you face discrimination and adversity at the beginning. One of your friends suffers tragedy and you watch as he transforms into a darker version of himself. I think it’s very interesting subject matter for a “kids game.” Just saying. The Felynes get to play a much larger role in the story as well, which is pretty fun!

I definitely recommend this game, especially if you are new to Monster Hunter. It’s much more approachable than the main series. Keep an open mind and give these Riders a chance!

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3 Random Games I’m Playing Right Now

Hey guys! It’s been a while since I’ve posted about video games. My bad. It’s mostly because I’m playing three games right now that are taking up a lot of my time! I still check in with my regular games like ACNL and Pokemon Alpha Sapphire, but there’s three games that are really taking over my life right now.

Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate

I’m a noob to the Monster Hunter series. People have tried to get me into the earlier titles in the series, but I never took the time to try it out. I’d played demos and always thought the controls were too confusing. However, I happen to have the New 3DS XL system and it incorporates the new c-stick camera controls REALLY well. So I decided to pick up the game… I mean, everyone’s playing it! That means it must be good right??

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At first I felt kinda bad about hunting these monsters. Especially in the very beginning, they have you slaying these really docile and gentle monsters and I had guilty feelings about it. But once you really get into the action, it’s like, “HEY monster – you’re trying to kill me! Let me kill you first!” and I got over the hunter’s remorse. Now I’m really getting the swing of things, and I can’t believe I didn’t start¬†playing this game sooner. I love games that are content heavy and have a strong multi-player aspect. MH4U incorporates both of these things with extensive quest lists that you can play online with friends, aside from the regular storyline missions. On top of that, you can forge new armor and weapons to upgrade your skills and take on bigger foes. And did I mention that you collect KITTIES?? There are these helpers that you can enlist called Palicoes, and they are all cat-like creatures that do amazing support work during battles. Some add more attack power, others replenish health, some can throw bombs, others focus on defense… you can customize your Palico team to suit your style. I love the Palicoes because they add this element of cuteness to an otherwise gory and somewhat violent game. It’s a LOT of fun and I am down to hunt with friends anytime! Evenings are best for me to get on WIFI. ūüôā

Story of Seasons

Am I the only one who still wants to call this game Harvest Moon? I can’t get the new title to stick in my brain. Anyway, now that Natsume has parted ways with Marvelous and XSEED, I have to call this game Story of Seasons. Cuz Natsume owns the rights to “Harvest Moon” in America and that’s how it goes sometimes. (BTW, don’t try the new Harvest Moon: Lost Valley game unless you’re into Minecraft, because that’s basically what Natsume has done with the franchise here in the US. It’s not pretty.)

Story of Seasons brings us the familiar art style and gameplay features we have grown to know and love in the HM series. I think this is the best farming game available on 3DS, and that’s saying a lot because I really loved “Tale of Two Towns.” I had some issues with “A New Beginning” due to too much customization. I don’t want to worry about decorating the entire damn town, my homestead is enough thanks! Story of Seasons tones down the customizing to a more feasible amount. You can still craft new objects for your farm and place them wherever you want (the same applies to furniture in your house btw!) but you’re limited to your own fields. However, that doesn’t mean you are stuck with just one field area. A cool new feature of Story of Seasons allows you to compete with other farmers in town for some extra fields that are specifically set up for certain types of crops. For example, my character is renting the Root Crops field area in addition to my main farmland. This allows me to free up some space on my homestead for grains and tall crops, and plant all of my root crops in this satellite field instead. But it’s not that simple, you have to defend your rented fields every season by performing well in contests or shipping lots of goods. Yep that’s right, farming just got a lot more competitive!

I haven’t gotten too far in my game yet, only up to early Summer Year 1, but I’m raising cows, a horse and a chicken (with another chick on the way! lol) along with my crops. You get a lot of space on your farm, and you can build multiple barns, chicken coops and other facilities on the homestead. Basically, if you are unable to rent one of the special public fields, you can still grow all types of crops on your own farm, so no worries! Another great feature is the farming itself. Now you use your hoe to plow a plot that grows up to 9 crops at one time. No more watering each individual crop. Now you just water a plot and all of the crops are saturated. Just makes everything that much easier and less time consuming. Leaves you more time to socialize and find a sweetheart in town! I’m still working on that part… lol

Pokemon Rumble World

This game has only been out for a day and I’m already obsessed with it. This is the Pokemon Company’s latest “freemium” game, meaning you pay nothing to download it, but there are a lot of features and items that you can only get if you pay for premium in-game currency. Since the game just came out, there is a sale for the premium currency so I snagged that. It’s not very expensive either.

I’ve been playing the Rumble series since it first came out on the Wii. I love it! I enjoy the action/adventure gameplay, it’s a nice change from the RPG format of the regular Pokemon games. Plus you can take photos while you play. And its a simple enough game that you can pick it up easily and play a few rounds. As far as the actual gameplay goes, it’s basically the same as it always had been. You press A for one move and B for another (if you have two moves registered) and beat up other Toy Pokemon dungeon-crawl style. A lot of the music is the same too, I have to add.

But here’s what’s new in Pokemon Rumble World:

  • Mii’s! You import your Mii, who can be customized with new outfits. Other Mii’s will start showing up too via StreetPass and SpotPass, who will help you in the game! Some will let you visit areas for a discounted price, others will give you premium currency if you save them from Toy Pokemon, and more.
  • Hot Air Balloons. In previous games in this series, you had areas to navigate, and you selected the one that you wanted to battle. Now you have to ride Hot Air Balloons, which have to be “refilled” afterwards. This is the main time when the “freemium” aspect comes into play. If you want to challenge the same area twice, you’ll need to spend premium currency. Or wait for a set amount of time, which is indicated in the selection screen. This wait time can be over an hour. You also need to spend premium currency to purchase new Hot Air Balloons that will take you to other areas.
  • Premium Currency. Let me explain this a little bit more. I’m making it sound evil. You can actually EARN premium currency easily throughout the game. There are certain (once a day) areas¬†where¬†you can earn premium currency, and you get even more for free if you get a lot of StreetPasses and interact with friends. It seems to me that the game provides enough premium currency for free to get you through the main parts of the game without paying anything. But if you’re impatient or want to wear a specific premium shirt design, that may cost you out of pocket. It’s up to you if you want to spend money!

There are other new features too, but I won’t spoil everything. This game is FREE to download from the eShop right now, so definitely check it out and see for yourself! My only criticism of Rumble World is the lack of a mini map. The top screen gives you arrows that indicate where the Toy Pokemon are, but I preferred seeing them on a map instead. It’s not a huge deal, just one little thing that I miss about the older games in the series.

Well, as you can imagine, I’ve certainly got my hands full here! All three of these games are really fun and it’s always a struggle to decide which game to play. Rumble World is best for short spurts, since there’s that whole time limit aspect. Monster Hunter can be very intense and time consuming, so it’s ideal to play at home when I have free time. Story of Seasons is low key, so I enjoy playing it when I need to relax, or after an intense hunt in MH4U. They compliment each other nicely.

Soo…. what games have YOU been playing??