The term ‘new Hatchling’ should only be used regarding the West, as the Monster Hunter franchise is actually one of the biggest gaming brands back in Japan, for over a decade now. Capcom has made previous attempts to expand Monster Hunter Stories to the West, especially in 2016 on the Nintendo 3DS, but also with other multimedia features and even with a TV anime show.
Back in Japan though, Monster Hunter series is pretty big. It is on the same level as Dragon Quest, Mario, Pokemon, and Final Fantasy or it may even be in the lead by some standards. The game series was always a bit more demanding than the other mentioned franchises, so it has enjoyed cultural success and became a classic, but at the same time missed out on a few broader audience targets, like elementary school kids for instance. Company strategy plays such as these determine not only the direction of the franchises future growth but have a large impact on the profits, as one might imagine.
But, Capcom just kept on going with it, like it wasn’t trying to compete in the same race as others, who are obviously all targeting the Pokemon prize, but they were doing their own thing.
Monster Hunter Stories is a JRPG mostly played in single player where you befriend monsters, or how the game calls them – Monsties, and help them grow i.e. level up and develop. You explore and visit various dens and dungeons to find Monstie eggs, and bring back the best ones with you. You hatch them and grow your own army. You use those monsties to build a team and fight in epic battles with other Raiders, such as yourself.
Capcom did a really good job porting this title to mobile, as it contains every piece of content the original does. The main story alone has around 40 hours of content, and afterward, you have the end-game dungeons to indulge in. You will also be into Poogie-collecting, filling out and organizing your Monstiepedia for at least 20-30 hours more. So, you are looking at a lot of single-player content, before the fillers, as you get the most bang for your buck.
The main premise of the game sees you as a custom character from a small village, where people befriend Monsties (monsters) with the help of Kinship Stones, which are special artifacts. Your character is a youngster, who is reaching the age where he has just begun to bond with his own monsties, as a sort of a Rite of Passage to becoming a fully-fledged raider. As you do so, you will undertake various quests and sub-quests, through which you’ll serve the village’s interests.
But, the story becomes even more interesting when you learn that at the same time you have come of age, a Black Blight phenomenon begins to affect monsters around the world, making all of them very aggressive and highly dangerous. So, your adventure turns out to be much more important than it usually would, because it falls to you to deal with this newfound menace.
The combat system is nothing new and relies on the rock, paper, scissors system as most of these games of similar type do. Choosing the right monster with the right attack type will benefit you greatly while doing otherwise will get you nowhere. While the combat system is pretty basic and some would say not very imaginative, it still lets you have fun with a lot of supporting skills and party-building combinations, to give you the chance of proving your strategy skills.
Also, as you progress through the game, the A.I. or the enemy behavior gets increasingly more unpredictable and hard, so you will have an increasingly harder challenge with a luck factor in front of you.
Graphics and appearance
Monster Hunter Stories’ monsters look really good, as this is a high-budget JRPG filled with great visuals. The overall graphics of the game is not last word tech, but you get a 3D environment, with unique design and very appealing models. Some would even say this is the best looking JRPG for iOS and Android.
The areas you get to explore are vast and rich in texture, which separates this game from the other menu-based games where you mostly play in a town or castle. If you like good visuals like in Final Fantasy or Dragon Quest, this game will be right up your alley.
Some monsties will look cute, some very awesome, but the beauty of the open world you get to explore will outshine it all.
Capcom’s Monster Hunter Stories is a flashy, fairytale type game, which targets the more dedicated part of the audience, obviously. The game is arguably costly, but if this is your thing then you will be well compensated, as the fans of Pokemon-ish gameplay style will get a game that is better looking, harder to play, and with much more content. This Capcom’s new hatchling is meant for the traditional fans, but it can also appeal to the new audience. The only downside is that it is not a kid-friendly game. It has a complexity to it, which is surely rewarded throughout the gameplay experience, but only if you manage to tame it.