Saturday, September 30, 2017

A few thoughts on the Monster Hunter Stories 3DS demo after putting about five hours into it

Just over a month ago, Nintendo plopped a demo for Monster Hunter Stories onto the North American 3DS eShop.

I promptly downloaded it, of course. And I say "of course" here because I've been curious about this Pokémon-esque Monster Hunter spinoff since it was released in Japan last fall.

That's not to say I promptly played through its demo. Although I put maybe 30 minutes or an hour into it shortly after my download finished, I didn't really dig into it until a week or two later (mainly because I was obsessed with Mother at the time).

As of now, I've played it for nearly five hours. Based on what I've read on line, there's still a few hours of content left for me to explore. Rather than wait until I hit that wall to write up my thoughts on this Monster Hunter Stories teaser--which is what I'd normally do--I decided to jot down and share them now.

Why the rush? Well, for starters, I'm really enjoying the demo--even more than I expected to, if I'm to be honest. Plus, I'm pretty sure nothing's going to pop up in the next hour or two that will change my opinion of Monster Hunter Stories.

With that out of the way, here are some of my thoughts on this surprisingly generous demo:

It looks absolutely lovely--I've liked Monster Hunter Stories' art style since I first laid eyes on it way back when. OK, so I wasn't initially all that keen on the design of Navirou, your odd-looking Felyne sidekick, but I eventually came around to it. I've always found the game's human designs appealing, though. They're cute without being generic or anime-esque, if that makes sense. I also really dig how the designers at developer Marvelous used a lot of bold, saturated colors while crafting Monster Hunter Stories' vast environments.

Its battles are more enjoyable than I thought they'd be--No one is going to accuse Monster Hunter Stories' fights of being confusing or complicated. In fact, they're little more than rock-paper-scissors bouts. That's fine with me, though, as it keeps them moving along at a good clip--which can't be said of all modern RPGs, that's for sure. My only worry is they might become boring while playing the full game. Considering that's rarely been an issue for me before, though, I don't see it impacting my decision to pick up a physical copy or not.

It chugs a bit on an original 3DS system--I don't know how the Monster Hunter Stories demo runs on other 3DS hardware, but it slows down and stutters now and then on an original unit. It doesn't do so all the time, and it's hardly that annoying, but I thought I should bring it up anyway. The question is: does the full game chug a bit on early 3DS systems, too, or does it perform better than this demo? Thankfully, I can play the former on my New 3DS if need be, but I'd prefer to play it on my "flame red" unit.

It's convinced me to buy the full game--Don't take this to mean me picking up a boxed copy of Monster Hunter Stories is a sure thing. I'd certainly like to do that, and soon, but the fact is my recent Switch acquisition is going to force me to be pretty picky with my game purchases for the foreseeable future. I still want quite a few 3DS titles--many of which I wrote about in this post from April, although I highlighted two others here and here--after all, and then there are Switch and retro games to consider, too.

Oh, well, even if I don't buy the retail version of this Pokémon wannabe, it won't be because I disliked its demo. How about you? Have you played either the Monster Hunter Stories demo or full game? If so, I'd love to hear your thoughts on it in the comments section that follows.

See also: 'I tried the Hey! Pikmin demo and I think I liked it'

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