Monster Hunter Stories’ Monsties Are Full Of Personality

By Jenni . September 21, 2017 . 12:00pm

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In Monster Hunter Stories, Monsties are our best friends. They are our warriors and protectors. Each one can help you run across environments and reach new areas. They are extraordinary things. But, they’re also each absolute individuals. Their stats vary, as well as their genes, and you never know which one could end up being your new best friend and valuable ally.

 

It all starts with eggs in Monster Hunter Stories. Everyone starts with a Velocidrome, but quickly finds themselves in a world where you can steal new friends to your heart’s content. Of course, you hope to see a special lair when you’re out in the world. These are differently colored, letting you know right away that higher quality and rarer critters are lurking in nests within. But the game is good about offering some impressive standard dens too. Upon entering the actual nest, Navirou becomes a valuable resource. His comments on the environment can tell you if eggs will be worthwhile. You ideally want him to say he has a good feeling or that he is worried about how dangerous it is, as that means a greater chance of better eggs. You also want to pay attention to his egg feedback. Heavy, smelly eggs are good, as it means more gene slots and bingo possibilities. Very light eggs with no smell aren’t worth your time.

 

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Of course, your own customization efforts can also enhance these beasties. Once you get back to a safe space, like a town, village, or cabin, you can hatch your eggs. This brings up a tapping minigame. If your background during this portion is yellow, you’ve got a friend with potential on your hands. Each egg has a sweet spot that, when tapped, increases the health, attack, defense, and other stats by a few points. It’s worth trying to find these points, as you can end up with some rather good guys. But even if you don’t, you can use them for their genetics.

 

See, Monster Hunter Stories has a fusion system that I suppose reminds me a bit of Shin Megami Tensei or Fire Emblem Heroes. Every monster has a 3×3 grid representing the boosts and skills in its DNA. You can fuse another monstie with it to inherit an ability or skill that appears in one of those spaces. This inheritance is great for multiple reasons. It makes superfluous monsters you end up acquiring during den dives or that become obsolete after you’ve reached new areas and leveled up useful again. It’s possible to give monsties skills they never would have otherwise, with the tutorial highlighting this by having you give a Lagombi a Yian Kut-Ku’s Fireball to help with a fight against a Khezu. Of course, skills that help you traverse the world can’t be swapped. I like to add elemental resistances and abilities that inflict status effects or debuffs on enemies, for example, but the feature lets anyone build almost any monster however they’d like.

 

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Said skills are another thing that makes Monster Hunter Stories so great. Like the recent Ever Oasis, you can’t see all of the game’s world on your own. You need to tap into monsties’ skills to access every area. The Velocidrome you start with ends up being incredibly useful for a very long time, all thanks to its Jump ability. Nerscylla becomes equally vital, as it is the first creature you come across with Ivy Climb. You may want to have a Royal Ludroth or Zamtrios on hand, for swimming. Arzuros and the Yian Kut-Ku can bust up some smaller rocks with Rock Breaker. Maybe keep a Barroth, Diablos, or Cephadrome for Ground Dive. When you manage to get a Rathalos, or perhaps level up your Kinship Stone enough to enable to addition of the level five rarity one that comes from scanning in a Monster Hunter Stories Rider and Rathalos amiibo, you can even fly. Since you can have six monsties with you, it means you don’t have to be rushing back to switch in characters with abilities you need.

 

But the best abilities are the Kinship Skills. These are where the monsties shine. These attacks, which are only triggered after you bond enough in battle after making enough good decisions to get the current character to allow you to ride them and perform a Kinship Skill attack. These always hit hard and have some sort of status effect. Many of these are serious. Galvantula involves swinging from webs to reach an enemy and both deal damage and inflict sleep on it. Diablos’ causes cyclones to damage every opponent on the field. Yet, so many of these are really personable. One of the first is Aptonoth’s Slip ‘n Slam doesn’t do much damage, but does feature an extreme lack of grace. Azuros’ has it slapping fish out of water. But of all of them, the Yian Kut-Kus are my favorites. Once the skill is activated, the monstie begins eating yellow Konchus. It’s all happy and satisfied, but your character isn’t as enthused. It smacks the critter upside the head, forcing it to spit firey Konchus at the enemy. It’s great.

 

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But really, great is a word that can be used to generally describe Monster Hunter Stories. It is a game that really keeps the focus on the monsters. We don’t normally get to appreciate them in this way in the main games. But here, they are so much more approachable and friendly. It is great to see how special each character can be and the effect we have on all of them.

 

Monster Hunter Stories is available for the Nintendo 3DS.


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