The GWJ JRPG Club - Q3 2021 - Monster Hunter Stories!

Our third game for 2021. Are we living in a dystopia? Will we navigate the horrors of war? Will androids and machines question the meaning of life? NO! Because we're out here to have fun and make friends with dragons. It's time for Monster Hunter Stories!

Fun fact: I have never played a Monster Hunter game. Not one. But I'm real excited for this. I've been interested in the series, and I'm even more interested in a game that seems like it'll pairs some good turn-based action with the thrill of discovery.

According to HowLongToBeat, a playthrough of this game clocks in at about 36 hours, though I've read it can take about 100 hours if you do all the post-game stuff and try to 100% the game! Leave it to a Monster Hunter title to have tons of content.

IMAGE(https://i.imgur.com/HEXvV7N.png)

Let's ride!

Helpful tips (updated July 9, 2021):

  • Egg colors and patterns always match a specific monster; click here for a list.
  • Trade items aren't used in side quests or for crafting; feel free to sell them!

I'll be giving my 2DS XL some love and get this in the next week or so. I'm in.

LastSurprise wrote:

According to HowLongToBeat, a playthrough of this game clocks in at about 30 hours, more if you want to do some optional bosses and such. I've also read about NG+ options and -- at least on Playstation -- trophies for finishing the game in under 10 hours, which I assume requires a NG+ to pull off. But for club purposes, none of that's necessary.

I don't want to be a jerk, but I think this is for Alliance Alive, not MHS

But anyway:

I've been a Monster Hunter fan since I started playing Monster Hunter Freedom Unite on my PSP (with the claw grip) back in... 2009? Something like that. I've played most of the iterations since (including Japan-only Portable 3rd).

I bought and started the game yesterday, but won't get to play it significantly until this weekend. I've liked what I've seen so far. I was especially happy to see that the game keeps the classic MH sound effects, which Capcom changed for MHW.

I dabbled a little yesterday and am just past the character creator. I noticed that having Monster Hunter Generations installed gives you a couple of freebie items.

I'm also playing the 3DS version.

In fact, I beat the game a little over a year ago and I'm excited to replay it for the club.

As a long time hunter, the game is really fascinating in how Capcom translates the mechanics and items from an action context to an RPG setting.

I also must admit that playing MH:Stories felt very refreshing after playing MH:World.

Now, MH:World is a fine game and I'm glad it was astoundingly successful, but the tone shifted more towards "serious business".

The aesthetics, sound effects, and tone of MH:Stories harken back to earlier and somewhat sillier iterations of the series, which is what I prefer.

bobbywatson wrote:

I was especially happy to see that the game keeps the classic MH sound effects, which Capcom changed for MHW.

Yeah, MH:World sounds a lot more like Dragon's Dogma.

Nothing wrong with Dragon's Dogma (I like it a lot), but after spending years with the distinctive MH sound effects, the change was quite jarring.

I think it's telling that folks have written mods for the PC version that reinstate the classic sounds.

I’m in on the 3DS, and I’m also just past the character creator. I’ve had some prior MH experience (Rise plus some of World), so I’m still mostly coming into this fresh. I’ll be interested to see how the combat mechanics shake out.

bobbywatson wrote:
LastSurprise wrote:

According to HowLongToBeat, a playthrough of this game clocks in at about 30 hours, more if you want to do some optional bosses and such. I've also read about NG+ options and -- at least on Playstation -- trophies for finishing the game in under 10 hours, which I assume requires a NG+ to pull off. But for club purposes, none of that's necessary.

I don't want to be a jerk, but I think this is for Alliance Alive, not MHS :)

Fixed! I had too many windows open, and I think I was drafting this in two places.

Rathalos is cute as heck

Ted wrote:
bobbywatson wrote:

I was especially happy to see that the game keeps the classic MH sound effects, which Capcom changed for MHW.

Yeah, MH:World sounds a lot more like Dragon's Dogma.

Nothing wrong with Dragon's Dogma (I like it a lot), but after spending years with the distinctive MH sound effects, the change was quite jarring.

I think it's telling that folks have written mods for the PC version that reinstate the classic sounds.

Thanks for bringing that up! I was able to download the mod and extract the one sound effect I've been looking for for quite some time: The 'item found'! I can now use it when I get text messages

Had a real good time playing this last night. I'm genuinely surprised how much core Monster Hunter DNA is here. The item gathering, crafting, and weapon upgrading all feel so good.

I was out adventuring before upgrading anything and spotted a gold den, I almost died but scraped by the last fight with a rare egg. Now I'm riding around on a blue Kut-Ku that can locate items for me.

Combat is genious. While it starts as rock/paper/scissors, it demands the player learn how each monster behaves. Not unlike the core Monster Hunter games which rely on learning your environment, you have to do a very similar thing with this simplified turn-based combat. Winning isn't purely on numbers, it's on knowing your fights. So clever!

I've noticed that each monster has genes that seem somewhat random. I'm interested in seeing how deep this goes, because while I think combat is clever, it does still feel simple. I've already noticed that 2 velocridromes I have in my party are quite different from each other.

Only downside at this point is the long tutorial. 3 hours in and I'm still getting hit with lessons.

I've gotten clear of the intro story and the first mission to become a hunter. And last night, I set out on my quest to get an egg from a den. When I saw rock-paper-scissors I thought "oh, like Pokemon," but it's not at all. It's more about learning enemy patterns of behavior, and I can get into that.

I had a fight where I almost wiped, against a Veloci-something, the bigger, tougher version of a Velociprey. I used up 2 of my 3 hearts on that one, and promptly headed back to my home to rest up and upgrade some gear. I kind of like having a mechanic that lets me auto-revive a limited number of times in battle. It definitely makes the early stages of an RPG a little less punishing, and I also wonder if it's a sign of a difficulty spike to come.

Started last night, did just a little bit up until I became a rider officially. That little Felyne dude is pretty endearing, so far... Hope his schtick doesn't get old too quickly.

I'm about 6 hours in, rescued a girl from some snowy cave.

Thoughts in dot points

  • It's really weird that the only way to get money is through sidequests and selling items. I don't think I've seen that in a game before...Although, it does make sense that monsters wouldn't be carrying anything!
  • Riding a Khezu and yelling at things has been an absolute delight
  • I feel like it's a good idea to pick up EVERYTHING because of how the upgrades seem to work.
  • So far, I've only seen one golden den and the egg I received absolutely carried me through the first few hours. I wonder how rare they are!
  • Difficulty seems just about right, maybe a little bit on the easy side.

Overall, this game feels unlike any other RPG I've played. The closest comparison is easily Pokemon, but it's got so much of that core Monster Hunter vibe that it feels totally unique. I'm already salivating at the thought of the expanded Switch sequel.

Playing on IOS, the game feels surprisingly buggy. It doesn’t crash or anything (not yet anyway, in about 5 hours of playtime), but I had to redo a section because, for some reason, digging for an egg did not work and I was unable to leave the den after the fight with The Veteran. And now, after a fight with a Nargacuga, the quest marker has disappeared entirely.

Edit: False alarm, I missed something after the Nargacuga fight, all good now.

I'm a few hours in and enjoying things so far. Some quick thoughts.

* This very much feels like the Pokemon game a lot of long-term fans of that series keep asking for. With a fairly open world and combat that asks a bit more of the player.
* The combat system is enjoyable and looks like it will have enough depth to keep fights entertaining and hopefully challenging.
* I like that right from the start there are optional "boss" monsters and den's. Now I just need to get something more interesting from my egg's
* There seems to be a lot of little systems tied into crafting with plants to harvest, ore to mine, fish to catch and rank-based fight loot. So far it seems alright but I wonder how I will feel after 30+ hours.

I just unlocked the gene combination mechanic and it's so clever! I spent a bit of time roiding up my Red Khezu, which involved finding eggs with abilities in juuuust the right spots.

I like it more than Pokemon's obtuse methods of swapping over moves, stats etc. Genuinely impressed, and can see myself sinking a lot of time into these systems to get the perfect monster!

Anyway, through the ice caves and into cherry blossoms!

Is there a way to see your monster's attack tendencies when swapping them in/out during battle? I've been frustrated during harder fights trying to swap in the best monster for the job, but wasting a turn just to realise it's the wrong one is getting old.

Nothing on the mobile version. I can see it if I go into the Monsties main menu, but not during combat.

Finally managed to take down the Loud Crier. Definitely the hardest fight yet. I ended up doing a quest for the blacksmith to get some fancy armour which helped a lot.

Anyone else struggle with that fight? I was practically getting 1shot!

I haven't gotten there yet. I'm 2-3 hours in, and I've just finished up the quest that ends with fighting the Glutton. Along the way I investigated a couple of monster dens and got some extra Aptonoth eggs. My party right now is a Velociprey, three Aptonoths, and an Azuros.

I can't tell if the colors of the eggs designate the type of monster, or quality, or what. And I'm not sure how many times I should try to put an egg back in the nest and push my luck for something better. If Navirou is not impressed, I should put it back, right?

Edit: right after I posted this, I found an excellent egg chart on GameFaqs! Apparently the colors and patterns always correspond to specific monsters.

I am still pretty early on (and am just playing the demo for now), just completed the Rider's Trial story quest. The game seems interesting so far, and if it was on a normal console I would purchase it already. I assume the Trade Items are for selling to make Zenny only? They won't be used in quests or equipment later down the road?

That's pretty cool. Maybe add it to the OP so it doesn't get lost as we talk about the game?

Good call! I've added a couple of helpful tips - yours, and my find on eggs - to the first post. I also noted that this information about trade items came from your post; if other people can confirm that info is accurate, I'll update the OP so that there's a clearer statement about being free to sell these items.

According to this Reddit thread that is all they are used for. And it looks like in most other Monster Hunter games, items labeled as "Trade Items" are exactly for this purpose (I recall this from World now that someone else has said it).

Question about the combat, are there any tells in like the monster's animation or anything that gives a hint as to what type of attack they will use? That would be so much more clever and interesting than "learn their programming" that it seems to be what the game is hinting at.

Unfortunately not. Monsters each have a "tendency" which seems to govern the majority of their attacks. E.g, a "technical" monster will have a pattern of attacks that favour technical attacks, but they will regularly mix in abilities and another type of move. From what I understand, this is on a pretty regular pattern (so a "power" monster may be like: power, power, ability, power, technical).

I think this changes when they get enraged.

So far, I've had decent luck just guessing. If it looks fast, it's probably fast (raptor looking monsters), if it looks strong, probably power (Azuroth, Ludroth etc). In that regard, I feel it's flagged well enough.

I have noticed that when a monster uses a move that’s not power / speed / technical, there isn’t a line drawn between them & you (or your ally). Not a hint about what attack they’ll use, but it can help you guess what’s coming.

Edit: And, Malkroth, I tweaked the language of the OP to reflect that your point about trade goods is a definite thing.

Darn, was really hoping for a "learn the monster's tells" like normal Monster Hunter, but it is still a pretty engaging combat system anyway. I beat The Glutton last night and I may be a little over-leveled as he went down without me taking much damage. I also found my second rare nest, but got an eggy-smelling egg on the first pull and decided to risk a better one but ended up not finding another one. Kicking myself for that now.

I am going to buy it and play the rest at this point, but at this point I am curious as to where the demo will stop me and tell me to buy the full game.

I think the only Trade Item I have found so far is those Translucent Tears from the first boss, so at least early on they are not very common. The internet has recommended saving them up to sell under the influence of a Sell Charm if you don't need the money right away.

And I'm off!

I'm a couple hours in, getting up to the point where I can explore the plains and start knocking out subquests. I immediately started farming out a full team of Monsties, and wound up with three Aptonohs and an Arzuros, to go along with my Velocidrome. I've been taking different looking eggs each time and was hoping for a bit more diversity, but not yet. I may use that egg list linked in the OP later. I haven't gotten to The Glutton yet, since I've been busy leveling up and getting Monsties. That'll probably be next on the to do list.

Also, I'm on the 3DS, and the framerates and draw distance are pretty suspect. Lots of texture pop in as well. I can roll with it, but it's noticeable.

Note to self: The monster guarding the eggs does not indicate what's in the egg. Case in point: I just met a Gendrome guarding a Barroth egg, before I even met a Barroth in game.

Yeah, I am on the 3DS as well and have had some framerate drops and noticeable pop-in, specially of characters around town and such. I see them load in as grey silhouettes then their textures load as I get right on top of them sometimes.

I did what you did Sundown, spent way too long in that first area collecting eggs and materials. I ended up with a special Velicidrome egg so my party is currently an Apotonath, an Arzuros, a Yuan Kut Ku, and two Velicidromes. I've collected probably close to 20 eggs at this point and have only seen those four so that is my assumption is all that is available in the plains region. I was definitely over-leveled and the bosses I have encountered so far have been a pushover though.

Hit the end of the demo today, it was right as I got to the Forbidden Lands and that cutscene plays out. Went to the eShop and bought the game when prompted which took over an hour to download. Surprised at how long that demo was, was kind of expecting to get cut off quite a bit sooner but they let you see a lot of content and play around in that first open area a lot.

Edit: Has anyone looked into the DLC available yet? There are a ton of quests listed and not sure if I should accept them or not. Do the phone versions just come with all the DLC?

The iOS version also has noticeable pop-ins, both in town and on the maps. This is true for NPCs and monsters. There are also issues with levels of detail, where the game will switch between low-detail and high-detail very noticeably.

Are DLC questions marked as 'Special Quests'? If yes, then yes, they are available on the phone version right from the get-go, I did not have to do anything special to get them. They are all listed at the beginning, but I wasn't able to accept any of them at first. They are slowly unlocking as I am moving forward in the game.

One thing I noticed: There is a limit to how many quests can be accepted at once. I hit that limit yesterday.