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Thursday, July 8, 2021

Monster Hunter Stories 2: Wings of Ruin Released!

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - Trying out the demo and watching the Special Pre-Launch Program.

The Nintendo Switch demo for Monster Hunter Stories 2 released two weeks ago, and the CAPCOM-hosted Special Pre-Launch Program happened one week ago. I haven't really had the opportunity to play through the demo, and I didn't watch that webcast because I was busy waking up and working out. So by the end of tonight right before the game comes out, I've played some (but not all—it's a huge demo and I keep getting diverted by feeling like I must collect every item and enter many Monster Dens) of the demo and watched through the Special Pre-Launch Program from the developers, embedded below. (It's only 40 minutes long and the KoopaTV embed usefully skips the first half hour of nothing.)

If you want to know more about the game, watching the presentation explains the story and gameplay (and how it's improved over the first Monster Hunter Stories on the Nintendo 3DS) better than I can. Prior to this and the demo, CAPCOM pretty much left it up to Nintendo Treehouse: Live at E3 2021 to explain and show off the gameplay.

The Special Pre-Launch Program went into the update roadmap, where there'll be new Monsties and Co-Op Quests added in five updates between July 15 and October 2021. I'm not really sure if that means I should start playing the game after all of the updates are in or what. But after the updates were described, they were talking about how there's plenty of post-game content available and said the updates are “mostly” post-game content.

Monster Hunter Stories 2 Wings of Ruin children listening
I won't ever get past the early game if I keep customising my hair colours (you get two), yet alone reaching the post-game.

While Nintendo Treehouse Live was focused on single-player content, the Special Pre-Launch Program showed off Co-Op Quest content, meaning multiplayer (which you can do online or locally) that isn't available in the demo (and wasn't available in the first Monster Hunter Stories). The host of the quest will have to use an Expedition Ticket, though it's unknown how widely and easily available those are.

And unlike single player Monster Den raids where you collect one egg per Monster Den, you can collect multiple eggs per raid with a friend. ...You can also play Co-Op Quest with an NPC if you lack friends (or you lack friends with Nintendo Switch Online).

The webcast showed off the core part of what makes the gameplay engaging—you need to pick Technical, Power, or Speed, and those have a rock-paper-scissors relationship. Enemies also pick, and they have patterns in their animations and attitude that affect their choice that you need to learn, remember, and pay attention to. Your Monstie companions have a bias towards certain attack types too, so you should strategically switch between the Monsties in your party to what works better. But you also build a relationship metre (Kinship) with your Monstie the more things you do with it during a battle (and you can Ride your Monstie and do a special Kinship Skill), which you can't take advantage of when your switch. Your Monsties all have different stats and skills too, and later on, elemental weaknesses are relevant. Enemy Monsters are also weak or strong against certain weapon types (and there's a whole weapon type system), and those weaknesses can change mid-battle. So you might want to switch weapons as well, and weapons also build up a metre that resets that open up stronger skills. Or you might want to not switch and stay with the big metres you got. There's decisions to make!

The developers then sat amongst each other and talked about their development philosophy for the game and how to differentiate it from the first Monster Hunter Stories.

Monster Hunter Stories 2 Wings of Ruin Navirou protects Kula-ya-ku egg cutscene
Navirou isn't different, at least.

As for my demo experience, it feels like I'm ahead of where the story wants me to be since I insisted on doing so many diversions (and side-quests), so I have a higher level and better equipment than what the game is planning for. ...Or maybe the developers expected I'd do that, because probably everyone playing does that. Well... right before I'm publishing this, I encountered a “raging nightmare” that is a “son of a gunlance”, so... Maybe there's difficulty after all. I'm having difficulty putting the game down, but I do gotta publish this article before the night is over and go to sleep!

If Ludwig got the game right away, he wouldn't really have time to play through it because the next few weeks need to be dedicated to training for the Olympics, and then another CAPCOM game, The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles, comes out... But Ludwig is quite interested in buying the full game sometime in 2021!

Ludwig did buy the game in 2021. He just hasn't opened it, but now the full roadmap is completed.

1 comment :

  1. Well, I finished the demo. CAPCOM making it so no one can get past level 11 definitely made an impact or else I'd be even more overlevelled.


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