Monster Hunter Stories' looks to finally have a truly definitive version

Funnily enough, Monster Hunter Stories has a special place in my heart. Since the main reason I joined RPG Site all the way back in 2017 was because of Monster Hunter, the original 3DS release was one of the first games that I reviewed for us; so when Capcom reached out offering a chance for us to check out the upcoming remaster - complete with content that previously never released outside of Japan? Well, I hopped on the chance. While it'll still be a while before we can report on the full state of the remaster, I see no reason why it won't end up the definitive version of the game - finally replacing the Japanese 3DS version, once and for all.

To explain, for anyone not familiar with the specifics of Monster Hunter Stories' history; the original 3DS game received a number of updates in Japan, and while a number of these updates came to the western 3DS version - and every release since - a number of them never made the jump. These included some additional postgame challenges, additional character customization options, and some welcome Quality-of-Life improvements. While Capcom hasn't made a huge deal about it, presumably since the market for Monster Hunter has dramatically increased in the west in the years since the original 3DS release, these updates are part of this new remaster. While we weren't able to play all the content for ourselves, during character creation we did have access to the previously missing options from the original western release.

Truthfully, that won't matter outside of players like myself who had experienced a previous version of the game; but crucially, it does mean that barring any technical instabilities later on in the game, this should easily be the new definitive method of playing the original Monster Hunter Stories. Played on Nintendo Switch in Docked mode, while the graphics still pale in comparison to the sequel on the same platform - visual fidelity has seen a noticeable uplift, and being able to play the game while sitting back with a controller is a welcome option. 

Considering I've already shared my thoughts on Monster Hunter Stories way back when, there's not much else to talk about until we've had the chance to tackle the "new" content waiting for us after the adventure. Similarly, during our hands-on session we also had the chance to check out the upcoming PlayStation 4 port of Monster Hunter Stories 2: Wings of Ruin; much like the first game, I also reviewed the sequel. Yet, unlike with Monster Hunter Stories' remaster, the impact from a PlayStation port of the sequel was a bit muted. While I'm sure most players enjoyed the game on Nintendo Switch, I played it on PC fully maxed out. So, it's hard for me to gauge exactly how much of it an upgrade it is. To make things even more complicated, while this port is only for PlayStation 4, my hands-on was on a PlayStation 5. I'm curious how the port might fare on a base PlayStation 4, yet I don't currently own one. As such, I can't make any statements about the port on "native" hardware. It looks and runs great on PlayStation 5, at least - as it should.

Above all else, the fact that both these titles are continuing to receive attention by Capcom leaves me hopeful for any potential follow-ups. Capcom has a strong framework to build off of here, as they already have with Wings of Ruin. With even more polish, and potentially on whatever ends up being Nintendo's follow-up to the Nintendo Switch, leaves me wondering just how far they can push the concept. Monster Hunter is popular like never before, and Monster Hunter Stories' has more than proven its a viable sub-franchise. I'm glad that Capcom seems commited to these games, and at least for our little corner of the industry I'm confident in saying that we're all a little better of for it.

Monster Hunter Stories launches for PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch and PC on June 14. A PlayStation 4 port for Monster Hunter Stories 2: Wings of Ruin will launch on the same day.