Monster Hunter Stories 1 & 2 preview: A comfortable fit on PlayStation

Monster Hunter Stories 1 & 2 preview: A comfortable fit on PlayStation
Images via Capcom

Written by 

Dave McAdam


20th May 2024 16:00

I never got around to either of the Monster Hunter Stories games when the first launched on 3DS back in 2016, or when the second one popped up on the Switch and PC in 2021. Conceptually I love the idea: Pokemon-esque RPGs in the Monster Hunter setting.

A new bundle of the two games is coming soon, bringing the first game to PC and Switch for the first time, and both games to the PlayStation 4 and 5.

Personally, I love a bundle. I love to pretend I have the time to play two massive RPGs back-to-back, so this release feels tailor-made for me. I got the chance to check the PS4 versions of these games out on PS5, this is what I thought.

The story begins

The main character diving off a cliff for an egg in Monster Hunter Stories 1
Click to enlarge

Starting with Monster Hunter Stories, I immediately felt at home despite never having played the game before. It's a very cosy game, it feels like picking up a PS1-era RPG you played as a child, but had forgotten about over the years.

We kick off with a very typical call to adventure, our young protagonist eagerly awaits becoming a Rider, someone who works alongside monsters rather than hunting them as we have done in previous games.

This is where the Pokemon comparisons come into play. You bring 'Monsties', or Monster Besties into your party to ride and fight alongside. You'll spend the majority of your time riding your lead Monstie as you explore the world, gather resources, defeat other monsters, and complete quests.

Lilia telling the other characters they should become Riders in Monster Hunter Stories
Click to enlarge

Rather than capturing existing monsters, you must find and take eggs from nests, then hatch those eggs to raise the monster as your own. Yep, just when you thought the combination of Monster Hunter and Pokemon couldn't be more thematically dubious, we get to add pre-natal kidnapping to our list of crimes against nature. In either franchise, it's best not to over-analyze.

Returning fans have plenty of reason to check out the first Stories game all over again. This updated version looks wonderful and runs amazingly well on the PS5. As I understand it, performance was a bit of an issue for this game on the 3DS, but it runs buttery-smooth on modern systems. Further, the updated version is fully voiced in English and Japanese, unlike the silent original.

Fighting a Velociprey in Monster Hunter Stories 1
Click to enlarge

Capcom is famous for bringing back older games; from the ground-up Resident Evil remakes to the bundles of Mega Man games and more.

While Monster Hunter Stories looks to mostly be a port of the original game, the improved performance and added voice acting go above and beyond in bringing the game to a new life. Definitely worth checking out for anyone who played the 3DS original, or Monster Hunter fans who never got around to this spin-off.

Another chapter

Two riders attacking on Velociprey together in Monster Hunter Stories 2
Click to enlarge

Monster Hunter Stories isn't coming alone, however. While Monster Hunter Stories 2 has been on PC and Nintendo Switch since launch, both games are coming to PlayStation for the first time. You'd be forgiven for thinking that since these games are being bundled together they are quite similar in scope, but in fact Monster Hunter Stories 2 is a dramatic step forward from the first game.

Originally launching a full five years after Stories, the second iteration brings a significant step up in graphical quality, mechanical depth, and an overall increase in things to do. There is a true generational leap between the games, as Stories 2 feels much more like the kind of modern RPG we would get on a console like the Switch.

Fighting a Aptonoth in Monster Hunter Stories 2
Click to enlarge

There is less to say here about the second game, however, as it is more of a standard port to a new console than the first game. That shouldn't dissuade you from checking it out if you are a PlayStation owner who hasn't had the chance to check these games out before.

From my few hours with Monster Hunter Stories 2, it feels like the superior game of the two. A dedicated fan might have a more in-depth breakdown of the differences, but for my money, the second game feels like the more fleshed-out and interesting option.

There are returning characters, and Monsties, but for the most part Stories 2 is just a better game. Its characters are more mature, making it less cutesy than its predecessor, and Monstie customisation arrives much earlier.

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Final Thoughts

Spotting a Kulu Ya-Ku in Monster Hunter Stories 2
Click to enlarge

Thankfully, you don't need to choose, or commit to either. Both Monster Hunter Stories and Monsters Hunter Stories 2 are coming to PlayStation 4 and 5 on June 14, separately and as a package deal. You can pick up both games for about the price of a modern triple-A release, or go for the one that appeals to you most.

Personally, I think they both appeal greatly on the PS5. They run flawlessly, they look fantastic, and the prospect of Monster-Hunter-meets-Pokemon is something I am ashamed to say didn't grab me sooner.

If you're up to the commitment, starting from the beginning is the way to go. If you don't have the time to spare on two 50-ish hour games, there's no harm in jumping to the more modern and complete game. That's certainly the way I'm leaning.

Previewed on PlayStation 5. Code provided by the publisher.

Dave McAdam
About the author
Dave McAdam
Dave is a Senior Guides Writer at GGRecon, after several years of freelancing across the industry. He covers a wide range of games, with particular focus on shooters like Destiny 2, RPGs like Baldur's Gate 3 and Cyberpunk 2077, and fighting games like Street Fighter 6 and Tekken 8.
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