UPDATE (1/14): Capcom has released the second official trailer for Monster Hunter Stories. Watch it below!
Even after 11 years and almost 20 games, Capcom’s Monster Hunter series is still one of its best-selling franchises. The unique mix of methodical combat, exciting co-op and huge beasts has proved massively popular in its home region of Japan, and the games still release to critical acclaim whenever they hit the West.
The main games in the franchise can prove a little intimidating to newcomers however, requiring players to devote time and patience to figuring out their ideal weapons and strategies. With this in mind, Capcom hopes to bring new fans into the fold with the upcoming Monster Hunter Stories, a spin-off game for the 3DS featuring a more whimsical story, an inviting cel-shaded art style and a streamlined turn-based combat system.
The story begins just after the protagonist passes the trial to become a monster rider, rewarding them with a special “Bond Stone.” They soon leave the creatively named Rider Village behind and set out to explore the world, with their unique Felyne companion Nabiru in tow. However, little do they know dark times are approaching and the world will soon need the skills of the world’s monster riders.
The Bond Stone is the game’s most important item, as it’s what allows the protagonist to tame and ride many familiar monsters, turning them into “Otomon.” These Otomon can be used to traverse the game’s many massive environments in a variety of different ways, from flying across valleys on a pterodactyl-like creature to scaling sheer cliffs on the back of a huge gorilla.
Most of your Otomon will be used for more than just exploration though, as they can fight alongside you in turn-based combat against wild monsters. While on the surface these battles might sound more than a little like Pokémon, you can’t issue orders to your Otomon directly, only the protagonist is directly controllable. This doesn’t mean they are unpredictable, however, as each monster tends to favor one of three combat styles: Power, Technique or Speed.
These three combat styles work much like rock-paper-scissors, with Power beating Technique, Technique beating Speed, and Speed beating Power. By observing a wild monster’s habits you can figure out their preferred combat style and switch in the best Otomon from your party to counter their attacks.
Another key feature that carries over from the main Monster Hunter games is player customization, as you can equip the protagonist with a wide array of weapons, armor and items. Each weapon comes with its own unique combat abilities, such as the sword and shield granting you the “Shield Bash” move. Fans of the main games will no doubt have fun seeing how their favorite weapon classes are translated into the turn-based combat system.
Capcom just released two new trailers showing off Monster Hunter Stories at the Tokyo Game Show, and you can check them out below. They have also confirmed the production of an anime series that should be airing in Japan sometime in 2016.