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The difference between Monster Hunter Rise and Stories 2: Wings of Ruin is one of combat vs colour

Ed Nightingale July 11, 2021
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Monster Hunter Stories 2: Wings of Ruin

Monster Hunter Stories 2: Wings of Ruin. (Capcom)

It’s a very good year for Switch owning Monster Hunter fans, with not one but two massive new games out on Nintendo‘s console.

Both Monster Hunter Rise and Monster Hunter Stories 2: Wings of Ruin feature plenty of monster slaughtering and monster skin wearing as you work your way up the food chain defeating bigger and bigger beasts.

But if you own a Switch and you’re unsure about the series, which of those two games should you buy? We’ve got you covered.

Combat manouevres

The main way these two games differ is in combat. Monster Hunter Rise follows the previous games in the series with real time action. A variety of oversized weapons are available, from swords, lances and bows, to the imaginative hunting horns and insect glaives, each requiring their own strategy and combos to get to grips with. 

Battles can be long as you chip away at health, using your wirebug abilities to flip around monsters. You’re assisted by your cat and dog companions too as you slaughter your intended prey. Though it can be complicated, few games offer combat as challenging yet satisfying as Monster Hunter Rise.

The Stories series, however, is an RPG spin-off with turn-based battles. That means sparring with enemies through menu options with plenty of strategy between weapon and attack types. You’re joined by monsties too: rideable monsters you collect and train up on your journey. 

You’ll still be collecting monster parts and upgrading your equipment in Stories, but battles are a test of your strategy more than your reflexes.

Monster Hunter Rise
Monster Hunter Rise. (Capcom, Nintendo)

Story time

The Monster Hunter games aren’t exactly known for their stories. “A terrible monster is ravaging the land” is about the extent of it. Rise is no different, its story merely an excuse to…well…hunt monsters. It certainly stands out for its Asian setting, however.

Stories is far more story driven, as the name implies. Here the focus is on befriending monsters more than hunting them as you journey across a tropical land to uncover the mystery behind a Rathalos disappearance and rage-inducing light pits that turn monsters hysterical.

It does rely on typical RPG tropes with its structure and characterisation, but the emphasis on plot adds further drive to Stories beyond the core gameplay of monster killing (and fashion).

The anime influence

The main series is certainly inspired by anime with its oversized weapons and flashy combat. But Stories takes this further with its colourful cartoon aesthetic in comparison to the more realistic (though still very beautiful) Rise. There are shades of Breath of the Wild with its vibrant open world, even if the Switch console does struggle a bit. Stories is a pretty game.

More than that, though, is the storytelling that has a very Saturday morning anime vibe. Lighthearted, full of goofy, slapstick comedy – not to mention a talking cat – and brimming with personality, Stories is very much an anime spin on the series.

Monster Hunter Stories
Monster Hunter Stories 2: Wings of Ruin. (Capcom)

Playing with friends

Do you have friends to play with? A huge part of the appeal of Rise, as with the rest of the main series, is teaming up with friends to take on colossal beasts together. Beyond the single player missions, there are a whole host of multiplayer only quests where you can hunt along with three others and combine forces to defeat enemies.

The Switch may not have robust voice chat options, but being able to play Rise along with friends both in docked or handheld mode in local or online multiplayer is a delight.

Stories, by comparison, is a predominantly solo affair. There are various multiplayer options, though, such as Dungeon Exploration quests where you play together with friends against enemies, or Challenge Quests where you compete to complete challenges. There’s also a Versus mode to take on other players. However, these are all small additions to the main story campaign.

Cats or dogs?

Yes it’s an age old question, but cats and dogs feature heavily in the Monster Hunter games. Rise was the first game to introduce dogs (or palamutes as they’re known) which not only join you in combat but can be ridden around the world alongside your cat companions (palicoes). Both can be decked out with various armours and weapons, as adorable as they are deadly.

And that’s before you consider the adorable cats who create bunny dango treats to eat before each hunt…

Monster Hunter Rise
Monster Hunter Rise. (Capcom, Nintendo)

Palamutes are on their way to Stories as downloadable content, but the game is a cat lover’s dream. Felynes are everywhere, from stablehands to save points and of course Navirou your adorable (or annoying, depending on your view) companion who assists throughout your journey. If you’re into toe beans, Stories is definitely for you.

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