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TGS 2016: Monster Hunter Stories (3DS) Hands-on Preview

by Danny Bivens - September 16, 2016, 8:56 am EDT
Total comments: 5

Capcom’s going big on the next entry in the Monster Hunter universe.

Another year of the Tokyo Game Show always gives gamers a look at an upcoming Monster Hunter game. While in most years mainline games are the focus, this year Monster Hunter Stories is taking center stage in a big way. When Stories debuted in playable form at last year’s show, it was still pretty early on in development and was placed in an out of the way area of Capcom’s massive floor space. This year Stories is getting treatment akin to what we usually see for the mainline games. A big booth in a premium location, exclusive Monster Hunter Stories booth babes, life sized statues of monsters/main character and even somebody in a big Felyne costume walking around. This game is something that should be on your radar!

The whole Monster Hunter Stories TGS experience this year starts out by having players sit down in a small room in the booth to watch several informative videos about the game. Astute gamers already know, but as a reminder while Stories takes place in the Monster Hunter universe, it focuses on a group called riders instead of the hunters. These riders form special bonds with their monsters, or monsties, so they can fight alongside and of course, ride them. This really brings more life to the world of Monster Hunter, showing that not everyone is out to just destroy all of the monsters populating the land.

After going through the 15-minute video presentation, we were finally able to go out to the demo area to try out the game. This year’s demo puts players in the middle of a snowy mountain and tasks them with hunting for monster eggs with their lizard-like monstie and Felyne partner in crime, Nabiru. Exploration is pretty simple. You are able to mount your monstie and interact with items scattered throughout the area. Once you find a monster nest, you have to enter it and grab the monster eggs. Then you'll need to try to escape without mom finding out what you are doing. The controls are smooth and fairly straightforward. You’re even able to adjust the camera with the C-stick, D-pad and L and R buttons.

The combat uses a rock/paper/scissors element that can dole out extra damage on attacks. For example, if you think an enemy is going to use a speed based attack, unleash a technique attack to counter it. To counter a technique based attack, power attacks will work out for you and so on. This interesting addition to the gameplay helps keep things fresh and keeps players thinking about how they should battle for optimal damage. Monstie skill attacks are also thrown in to keep things engaging during battles.

The visuals in Stories are fantastic. The colors, especially when contrasted to the white snowy area, really pop and the cel-shaded visuals are a perfect fit for this type of Monster Hunter game. It also runs super smoothly, even with the 3D effect turned on. I only ran into a few issues with the game engine sputtering when I was spinning around the camera with a lot of monsters running around, however it wasn’t a detriment to the experience in the slightest.

Monster Hunter Stories is shaping up really well. It’s an interesting take on the Monster Hunter world to show that there is more to it than just getting a higher hunter rank. Stories focus on the relationship between the player and their monstie is charming and could pave the way for a whole new crowd of fans that were intimidated by the series before. It’s also one of the best looking games on the system and controls like a dream. The game is set to release on October 8 here in Japan and unfortunately hasn’t been given the green light for a release in the west. Keep your fingers crossed!


ejamerSeptember 16, 2016

Can you expand on how combat works? Does it consist of menu-based selections in a standard RPG-like battle, or real-time combat like the mainline entries in the series?  How much combat is there, and are you fighting mostly small enemies or large, boss-like monsters (presumably angry parents trying to reclaim their eggs)?

I saw a lot of initial claims that this game was going to be very kiddish - but assumed that was based on art style, which don't phase me. Now that you've played, is it something you feel would appeal to adults or is it really intended for young players?  I have two kids who like watching me play Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate, but playing the game is still way over their head (outside of wandering around the town and dressing up our pet pig).  Would Monster Hunter Stories appeal to me, to them, or maybe to all of us?

Thanks much for providing impressions!

Yo, ejamer!

So for combat, all of the moves and such are located on the bottom screen and have nice big buttons (more on that in a bit). It's turn based combat - that's how the rock paper scissors element is implemented. For getting into the actual battles, there are monster wandering around the maps. All you have to do is run into them, and then you go to the turn based battle sequence. Of course, they can notice you and initiate the battle, you can catch them unaware and be fighting them with their backs turned to you and stuff like that. The enemies themselves vary in size, but the ones I've encountered in the past few demos have been a little bit bigger than the main character - there weren't any that were towering over me or anything like that, but I THINK there are larger ones in the main game. Not 100% sure though. Also, when the mama monster busted me during the demo as I was taking its egg, it was just a normal sized monster.

This is mainly aimed at children, but to me kind of has that Nintendo vibe where it should be easy and enjoyable for anybody to pick up and play and enjoy. Like you mentioned, the visuals have a lot to do with that, however the combat is pretty user friendly and easy to grasp. These are menu based selections, but they are laid out nicely on the touch screen. There's a button for regular attacks (where you choose power, speed or technique attacks, the rock/paper/scissors element), Monstie skill attacks, player skill attacks, items, swapping monsties and running away. There's also a "Kinship Gauge" in the middle of everything that over time builds up over time. When you start battles, you and your monstie are both on foot. If this fills up all the way, you mount it in battle and can unleash a pretty powerful attack.

I just uploaded some pics of the controls that were provided by Capcom. You can check those out on the TGS event page. (Apologies about the orientation. I'm going to have to fix that.)

ejamerSeptember 16, 2016

Quote from: The_Dan_x

Yo, ejamer!

Thanks again!

OedoSeptember 17, 2016

I'm glad to hear that even though Monster Hunter Stories is aimed at kids, it sounds like there's more to the combat in this game than there is in something like the first Yo-kai Watch game. I'm certainly not expecting any sort of challenge from this game, but if the combat is engaging enough to be somewhat interesting and not take away from everything else this game has to be offer, that's good enough. Thanks for the impressions!

StratosSeptember 18, 2016

This game needs to come to the West. Really hoping to get a release for the Spring/Summer of next year.

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Monster Hunter Stories Box Art

Genre RPG
Developer Capcom
Players1 - 2

Worldwide Releases

na: Monster Hunter Stories
Release Sep 08, 2017
RatingEveryone 10+
jpn: Monster Hunter Stories
Release Oct 08, 2016
RatingAll Ages
eu: Monster Hunter Stories
Release Sep 08, 2017
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