Monster Hunter Stories 2: Wings of Ruin has already sold more than one million copies

Monster Hunter Stories 2: Wings of Ruin has already sold more than one million copies

Monster Hunter Stories 2

Monster Hunter Stories 2: Wings of Ruin has sold more than one million copies worldwide. To communicate it was Capcom through the official Twitter account of the franchise. The announcement was accompanied by a beautiful celebratory image.

Sales of Monster Hunter Stories 2: Wings of Ruin refer to the first eleven days of presence on the market. Note that they were better than those of the first episode for Nintendo 3DS, which stopped at 400,000 copies.

Of course we are far from the numbers made by Monster Hunter: World, which have now exceeded 17 million copies. Overall, the Monster Hunters should have nearly reached 70 million units sold.

Take on a new adventure in the second installment of the turn-based RPG series set in the world of Monster Hunter! Become a Rider and fight alongside the Monstie, show your allies in this epic fight against evil.

You are Red's grandson, a distinguished Rider of the past. It all begins with your encounter with Ena, a Wyvernian girl who has been entrusted with a Rathalos egg that contains a creature of devastating power.

Embark on a journey that will test your friendship in a world shaken by profound changes and discover the truth behind the legends of the past.

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Review: After slow start, ‘Monster Hunter Stories 2’ becomes a ride worth taking

The “Monster Hunter” franchise was bound to have a spin-off or two. A series that has birthed several sequels, taken players to dozens of locales and spawned a menagerie of beasties inevitably creates enough lore that it spills over to other projects.

Fans have seen massively multiplayer online games and a few mobile offerings, but the best spin-off has been “Monster Hunter Stories.” The Japanese role-playing game approach has done a remarkable job of organizing and explaining more than 17 years worth of world-building in a sensible package.

Unlike the main series, though, “Monster Hunter Stories” focuses on Riders, a loose faction that has a different philosophy when it comes to wildlife. Instead of solely slaying beasts, Riders raise and befriend them with the help of a Kinship Stone. It’s “Monster Hunter” seen through the eyes of “Pokemon.”

“Monster Hunter Stories 2: Wings of Ruin” has a rock-scissor-paper combat system where players have to use attacks they believe will counter a monster’s strike. (Capcom) 

MORE POLISH, BUT HIGH LEARNING CURVEComing from this angle, the original did well to establish the world and adapt it to the trappings of the JRPG. The sequel “Monster Hunter Stories 2: Wings of Ruin” broadens and polishes that formula on the Nintendo Switch.

It starts off with players creating their own version of a protagonist called the Rider. The hero starts off as a fledgling member of the Hakolo Island tribe. This is where players learn the basics of the rock-scissor-paper combat system and the different commands at their disposal. Just like the main games, Capcom declines to convey the intricacies of the system, so it will take time to master it.

Players have to learn the finer points of using different weapons, picking the right skills and figuring out the advantages of elemental attacks on their own. Veterans of the franchise will suss out these details quickly but newcomers will be lost. They won’t know that sonic bombs can dig out creatures buried in dirt or that choosing the right traps ensnares enemies, leaving them open to heavy attacks.

The fact that tactics and ideas from the action-focused “Monster Hunter” games translates to the turn-based JRPG is proof that Capcom cleverly adapted the franchise to a new genre. That’s only half the story, though.

Grimclaw Tigrex is one of the Monsties that will be available for free as post-launch content in “Monster Hunter Stories 2: Wings of Ruin.” (Capcom) 

GOTTA RIDE THEM ALLAs the Rider, players will quickly find themselves collecting eggs and raising monsters. This is the “Pokemon” portion of “Wings of Ruin,” as players venture into dens and grab hatchable monsters. Players will find Diablos, Kezus and Nargacuga and they’ll even run across subspecies of these “Monsties” — that’s what the Riders call them — that feature different colors and characteristics.

In addition, these monsters have their own stat bonuses and genes that give them traversal moves, combat skills and perks. Adding even more depth to this monster hunting is that players can combine a gene from one creature and install into another one. This Rite of Channeling eliminates the donor but it enhances the inheritor, making them able to deal more damage or withstand more brutal attacks. It’s the key to overcoming some of the more difficult encounters.

This focus on collecting all of the monsters and engaging in genetic manipulation slows down the pacing of the “Wings of Ruin” campaign. Like any JRPG, players will have to grind their way to level up their Rider and the monsters. Juggling dozens of creatures to unlock their genetic potential and using them to reach secret areas on a map is onerous. Players will be forced to take on dozens of confrontations and shuffle plenty of beasts through the parties of six.

Capcom tries to make this less burdensome by introducing the concept of a Quick Finish. If players outclass their opponents by a few levels, they can automatically win a confrontation. That cuts down on some of the tediousness of “Wings of Ruin” while also giving a players a sense of work and reward. They can also send other Monsties out on Expeditions, which act almost like the Meowcenaries feature in “Monster Hunter Rise.” Players can send out six monsters to go on an adventure and they can level up that way. All of these options are good ways to save time so players can focus on the numerous subquests and den raids needed to create the best gear and gene splice the most powerful monsters.

As the grandson of the famous rider Red, players, right, will embark on a quest trying to save the last egg of the Guardian Ratha with a Wyverian girl named Ena, left, in “Monster Hunter Stories 2: Wings of Ruin.” (Capcom) 

A CAMPAIGN THAT GAINS MOMENTUMAs for the campaign itself, “Wings of Ruin” starts off agonizingly slow. With so much to learn and explore, it takes a while before players even obtain the monster at the center of the conflict. The Rider is following the footsteps of the hero’s legendary grandfather Red, who rode a beast called the Guardian Ratha.

The protagonist is entrusted with Ratha’s offspring, which has characteristics of a monster foretold in myths. Many essentially believe the creature, which is called the Razewing Ratha, is the monster Antichrist that will destroy the world. Hunters want to kill it. Scriveners want to study it. Another faction has its own nefarious goals.

As Razewing Ratha’s partner, the protagonist has to defend the young monster and learn what it means to be its rider. This journey gains momentum as players adventure to the lands of Loloska, Lamure, Pomore Gardens and Terga. Along the way, they’ll meet a cast of allies that have their own playstyle and weapons.

This is also where playing the original “Monster Hunter Stories” pays off. Although “Wings of Ruin” has a standalone plot, veterans of the first game will appreciate the touches and call-backs to the original. They’ll find old faces in new roles and see older versions of some characters.

All of it leads to a satisfying climax and end game. Yes, unlike other JRPGs, “Wings of Ruin” will have free downloadable content that extends the game as players look for new eggs, which hold more powerful Monsties. It’s a way for players to stay involved even after finishing a side project that tells one of the better and coherent tales in the “Monster Hunter” franchise.

‘Monster Hunter Stories 2: Wings of Ruin’

3 stars out of fourPlatform: Nintendo Switch, PCRating: Everyone 10 and up