A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Monster Hunter Stories 2: Wings of Ruin is a role-playing adventure game available on the Nintendo Switch and Windows-based PCs. The game is a spin-off of Capcom's popular Monster Hunter series and is also a direct sequel to the 2017 Nintendo 3DS game Monster Hunter Stories. Players take on the role of a grandchild of Red, the hero from the original game. Players collect and hatch eggs to build up a stable of fantasy creatures to help protect the world from a looming threat. Combat is turn-based and menu driven, with a rock-paper-scissors style of advantage in attacks. While humans and creatures do fight and get knocked around with flashy effects, there's never any blood or gore shown on-screen. The Switch version supports Nintendo's amiibo, unlocking additional content with physical figures, and other downloadable content (DLC) is available for purchase.
What's it about?
In MONSTER HUNTER STORIES 2: WINGS OF RUIN, you take the reins as a young Rider from the village of Mahana. Being a Rider is in your blood, as you are the grandchild of the hero Red, whose Rathalos partner still serves as the protector of Hakolo Island. Strange events have begun to unfold, both on the island and across the sea in other lands. Once peaceful creatures have suddenly started to become aggressive. Monsters have begun migrating to areas they've never been before. And, most recently, Rathalos all over the world have taken flight, vanishing in the skies to some unknown location. Even Guardian Ratha has seemingly abandoned its home, but not before entrusting one special egg to a young Wyverian girl. Inside of it is a creature that legends say could destroy the world with the bat of its wings. But does this creature truly represent the end of the world? Or might its power be the one hope for salvation? It's up to you to find out. You'll collect and raise your stable of Monstie partners as you set out to uncover the true source of the recent chaos. You'll also build strong bonds of friendship with allies and creatures you meet along the way, and learn about the legacy your grandfather left behind, before riding out to make a legacy of your own.
Is it any good?
While the main series is a bona fide hit with fans, its also known for its intensity and complexity, while this spin-off is an easy game to jump right into. Monster Hunter Stories 2: Wings of Ruin walks players through the basics of being a Rider right away. Combat is turn-based, with players controlling only their own actions and giving some occasional direction to their Monstie partner. Players can even switch out their weapon and Monstie once per turn to gain an advantage. "Battle Buddies," characters with their own Monsties that team with the player in the story, act on their own. This gives players less to manage in battle, but also adds an extra level of strategy when coordinating moves. It's also a great lead-in to the game's new online co-op Expeditions. Here, players can team up with one another and explore for rare monster encounters and eggs. Battles play just like they do in single player, though the Battle Buddy at your side is an actual person. There are options for Versus battles as well, if players feel like testing their Monstie team against others.
The original Monster Hunter Stories reached out with a different, more all-ages approach to the Monster Hunter universe. Wings of Ruin continues this trend, with a bright and colorful, cute anime-style look. It's also much more detailed and expansive in scope than before, thanks to the jump from the 3DS to the Switch. The story is also richer, building unique relationships while adding to the lore of the series. For example, the story highlights tensions that exist between Hunters and Riders, and also expands a bit on the backgrounds of humans and Wyverians. While the first game served mainly as an introduction to the main Monster Hunter games, Monster Hunter Stories 2: Wings of Ruin manages to turn the spin-off into a spotlight series of its own.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the relationship between people and animals. What are some ways that animals can help people overcome obstacles and difficulties? What are some methods that people use to form strong bonds with their pets?
How does Monster Hunter Stories differ from the main Monster Hunter series? Does reaching out to different audiences help to expand and strengthen the main franchise, or does it dilute the overall experience?
- Platforms: Nintendo Switch, Windows
- Price: $59.99
- Pricing structure: Paid
- Available online? Available online
- Developer: Capcom
- Release date: July 9, 2021
- Genre: Role-Playing
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Adventures, Friendship, Science and Nature, Wild Animals
- ESRB rating: E10+ for Crude Humor, Fantasy Violence, Mild Language
- Award: Common Sense Selection
- Last updated: July 13, 2021
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.