Monster Hunter Stories Remaster Review

The Power of Monsties and Pawtners

A remastered version of Monster Hunters Stories has arrived on PlayStation 4, Switch, and PC. This turn-based title spin-off to the Monster Hunter franchise was originally released for Nintendo 3DS in Japan in 2016, with a 3DS international version and Android and iOS ports released afterward. With refined graphics and fully voiced dialogue, the game has a pawsome second chance to delight newcomers with its heartwarming story and a vast array of vibrant monsters. The game as a whole is enchanting, but some mechanics could have been polished to make it even better.

Monster Hunter Stories takes place in a world where fearsome monsters roam while towns are protected by Riders and Hunters. Hunters prepare themselves to capture or slay these beats while Riders are warriors who use the power of kinship stones to forge bonds with monsters and train them, calling them their Monsties. Players take on the role of a child wishing to become a Rider, choosing their name and physical traits. The protagonist and their friends Cheval and Lilia live happily and love to play in the forest in search of monster eggs, dreaming of hatching them one day and befriending the creatures that emerge from them. However, a beast possessed by the Black Blight, which turns monsters even more aggressive and dangerous, appears out of the blue one day, ruining their hometown and changing their lives. A year after this attack, the protagonist completes their Rider training and unlocks the powers of a kinship stone. Shortly after, an adorable amnesiac Felyne called Navirou joins the adventure, helping to motivate the protagonist and dubbing them pawtners. After the duo learns more about the Black Blight, they embark on a fun journey that takes them across the world to try to put an end to this evil force. 

With some tragic events, an evil power that threatens the whole world, and a legend that needs to be followed to defeat the Black Blight, the game has a good balance of heartwarming and heartbreaking moments. The writing is full of funny remarks, making some enemies comedic. The relationship of the protagonist with their childhood friends is satisfactorily developed throughout the whole adventure, portraying how their bond can bring them together no matter what, while other secondary characters with appealing personalities that directly impact the story have a deserved time in the spotlight. Navirou, with his struggles to recover his memory, and all the other Felynes are great additions to the cast. The world itself casts a spell on players to keep them enchanted throughout the whole adventure, luring them into a world where there are two contrasting visions of how monsters should be dealt with; some think they should be slayed while others want to tame them.

Cute yet powerful monsters come out of these colorful eggs.

Players face off against monsters in turn-based battles. Players fully control the protagonist while one allied Monstie fights on its own. Players can use items, skills, and three different types of attacks: power, speed, and technical. If an ally attacks an enemy that is targeting them, they engage in head-to-head duels. These duels use a rock-paper-scissors logic to determine who wins: speed beats power, power beats technical, and technical beats speed. The duel winner receives less damage and can knock out their enemy if they win several consecutive duels. When both the protagonist and their Monstie choose the same type of attack and win the duel against an enemy targeting one of them, they unleash a double attack in which none of them receives damage while dealing considerably more damage to the enemy. In this way, the game invites players to try to sync their movements with those of their beasts. Having these duels is an ingenious idea and adds a welcome dose of chance to the game since there is no way of knowing which type of attack a monster will use. The battle system is overall really good, but it can get a little repetitive after a while, especially since the player is only able to control the protagonist while monsters fight on their own and can choose clumsy actions that make some battles longer than they should be.

Monsties can be swapped during combat, and the protagonist can ride their monsters after enough energy has been stored in the kinship stone. While riding, the protagonist does not receive damage, monsters recover a part of their health, and players can use a special kinship power/ability that deals massive damage. Learning how to use this feature strategically is rewarding and adds a layer of complexity to this battle system. There are other kinds of duels between monsters that trigger automatically, requiring players to press a button rapidly to win, forcing them to be on their toes to be ready for these moments, which are fun and welcome. Besides their normal HP, players have three hearts that can be restored when resting. A heart is lost if one of the combatants’ HP reaches zero; if the players run out of hearts, it’s game over. Fortunately, dying does not mean losing a lot of progress since players are simply taken to the beginning of that area without losing experience or items. Another welcome feature during battles is the new ability to choose among three different speed settings.

Choosing the same type of attack as allies is usually a good call.

Monster Hunter Stories offers a big and wonderful world for players to explore, including a wide variety of items, hostile monsters, and monster dens where eggs containing Monsties can be found. The main story can be completed in a little over 20 hours, but each locale and the hundreds of substory quests offer more for those who wish to see everything the game offers. These subquests grant money and other rewards that are notably helpful and make the battles of the main story easier. The game also has beefy post-game content for those who want to continue exploring. Some of these quests can be completed without any significant effort since many of them consist of slaying a certain number of enemies or grabbing certain items, tasks that can be easily done while progressing the main story. Others are a little more difficult or require players to travel to another place, yet they can be ignored if one wants to focus solely on the main story. Catavans enable fast-travel to several points of interest, making completing subquests considerably faster.

Taming Monsties is one of the most fun enterprises. Players are allowed to carry only a party of six monsters, but trying to befriend all of them is almost inevitable. New monsters are found inside dens and stolen from nests; sometimes the monster guarding them is absent or sleeping while others are hostile and force players to battle them. After obtaining eggs, Riders go to the stables to hatch them. They can also change the party of monsters, send some of them on expeditions to gain experience and collect items, or channel their abilities by inheriting the genes of other monsters, which can unlock new passive abilities. Another fantastic trait of Monsties is that they have abilities that can be used when riding while exploring the world. Some can climb ivy, swim, break rocks, or even fly, allowing players to reach different places. The ability to ride Monsties is a great way to feel more connected to them.

It is great to ride monsters and use their abilities.

The presentation of the game is pretty solid. Visually, Monster Hunter Stories is eye-catching, with a great dose of cuteness and colorful creatures, equipment, and sights. Monsters are full of details and vivid colors that make them look imposing and adorable at the same time. The world features varied landscapes that make each place feel unique and easy to recall. Animations during battles and cutscenes are also a treat for the eyes. There is a wide variety of outfits for Navirou and the playable character’s equipable armor and weapons look spectacular. Voice-over is a great addition to this remake and gives more personality to the characters. The sound effects and music are really good but nothing memorable.

The remaster of Monster Hunter Stories brings what was already a great turn-based RPG to even more RPGamers, inviting newcomers to dive into the series. Its big, colorful world is worth exploring. Monster Hunter Stories may be a spin-off but it is an adorable game that will please both fans of the franchise and fans of RPGs.

Disclosure: This review is based on a free copy of the game provided by the publisher.

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'Good' -- 3.5/5
20-40 HOURS

Eye-catching visuals

Lovely cast and story

A lot of optional content

Battles can get repetitive

AI monsters can make battles unnecessarily long


Luis Mauricio

Mexican musician, philosopher, and RPG lover. Proud member of RPGamer since 2020.

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1 Response

  1. SniperOX SniperOX says:

    “pawsome”, how to tell someone you meet Navirou without telling it. Its character is a walking comic relief!

    As for the game, one of the things I liked the most about it is its original battle system. I was fearing it will be a classic turn-based gameplay with no interesting gimmicks. I was pleasantly surprised to see how deep it could be considering that the game is aimed at a young audience.

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