Image via Capcom

Preview: Monster Hunter Stories 2 Feels at Home on PS4

Monster Hunter Stories 2: Wings of Ruin was one of my favorite games for 2021 on Nintendo Switch, and I certainly consider it one of the most underrated JRPGs from this decade. The game is finally coming to PlayStation consoles with a long-awaited PS4 port. Three years later, it still feels good after spending a little time with this release.

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It turns out, Monster Hunter Stories 2 works just as well on PS4 as it did back on the Nintendo Switch. Based on my early experience, it honestly may be even better. I never played this game on the PC, so I didn’t get to benefit from the performance and visual improvements there. Trying the port via my PS5 involved seeing some noticeable differences.

Monster Hunter Stories 2 Wings of Ruin PS4 preview
Image via Capcom

For one, the resolution is sharper. Monster Hunter Stories 2 looks better on a TV now than it did when I first played it in TV mode on the Switch. In addition, the performance in the game ensures its frame rate was pretty solid during my time testing this version. I used this opportunity to run through the first few opening hours I was quite familiar with already. The game wastes no time kicking off with a bombastic opening, before slowing down for a relaxing island life vibe as your player character — a Monster Rider rather than Hunter like the core series — sets out to learn the ropes.

The initial area of Hakolo Island instantly looked so much better in this version. The coastline looked stunning, while my custom character and the monsters didn’t look fuzzy or anything like I remember on Switch. The almost cel-shaded look of this JRPG looks so stunning when played with backwards compatibility on PS5.

Image via Capcom

Right off the bat, anyone who plays the core Monster Hunter games should know this is quite a different experience. And this is to its benefit. Monster Hunter Stories 2 on PS4 is more akin to the Pokemon titles. Players go around the world to various regions and collect eggs of various iconic monsters like the Rathalos. You then hatch these eggs to use monsters as your partners in battles. The battles themselves take place with a strict triangular elemental system.

This system boils down to the red attacks beating the green ones who beat the blue ones and so on. However, there is so much more to this system than meets the eye. For instance, you can find separately from your current monster partner at any time. This makes for a nice double battle type of situation. However, you can also hop on the back of your pal and team up together. This provides more powerful moves but at the cost of having your hearts shared together. It is a neat and surprisingly deep system, which leaves room for experimentation. After all, you are even able to have your Rider switch through the weapon types a la the core series during battle as well.

Image via Capcom

All of these different concepts can make the battles long and arduous, which mainline fans may be familiar with. There is immense challenge here to be found for those who desire it. For me, though, I just appreciate the idea of a high-quality, high-budget Pokemon-like game on PlayStation.

There just aren’t enough of these types of monster-collecting games of this caliber on the PlayStation. At least, outside of indie titles and some Digimon games. Monster Hunter Stories 2 is one of the finest examples of this engrossing concept and it reeled me in faster than any of the core series titles ever did when it first came out, and the PS4 release seems poised to do the same. If the first few hours of hatching eggs and completing side quests are anything to go by, this gorgeous and smoother port on PlayStation will likely reel me in once again.

Monster Hunter Stories 2: Wings of Ruin releases on the PS4 on June 14, 2024.

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Cody Perez
Cody is a writer who has been sharing his love for video games and anime since his high school days in 2012. When he isn’t writing about the latest JRPGs and anime series, he can be found in Final Fantasy XIV, occasionally playing some Call of Duty, or lurking on Twitter @SoulcapCody.