This morning's Nintendo Direct Mini was a meaty one for fans of Capcom's Monster Hunter franchise. Two new games are coming to the Switch: Monster Hunter: Rise, which seems to subscribe to the usual Monster Hunter tradition of clubbing wyverns, and the more surprising Monster Hunter Stories 2: Wings of Ruin.
The first Monster Hunter Stories game hit the Nintendo 3DS in 2016. If you've never been all right with the Monster Hunter premise of stalking and killing big bad beasties, Monster Hunter Stories gives you the opportunity to hatch the series' iconic monsters and raise them as fighters and mounts. If you're tempted to say, "That's just Monster Hunter Pokemon," well, you'd be right to do so. The premise still works very well, though the first game was overlooked in the west. That's not surprising, as it arrived before Monster Hunter World finally helped the franchise break out on these shores.
Monster Hunter Stories 2 looks to pick up on the first game's story, which involves a plucky young boy who raises a Rathalos from an egg into a true blue (er, true red) friend. Something or someone is stirring up trouble, which is causing flights of Rathalos to evacuate from their homelands. Monster Hunter Stories is more about taking care of monsters than hunting them down, so you have to work out what's going on and then solve the problem. You're certain to make some scaly friends along the way.
Monster Hunter Stories 2's colorful graphics and gentle premise should be a good alternative for RPG fans who don't really dig what Monster Hunter: Rise is selling—even if that game does let you have a dog friend called a "Palamute." Look for Monster Hunter Stories 2 in summer 2021.