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Video Game / Monster Hunter Stories 2: Wings of Ruin

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What you've been entrusted with could bring hope or terror.

"A bond with the power to destroy the world."

Monster Hunter Stories 2: Wings of Ruin is a Role-Playing Game Spin-Off of the popular Monster Hunter series and sequel to the original Monster Hunter: Stories, developed by Capcom for the Nintendo Switch and Steam. The game was released on July 9, 2021.

You take on the role of a 14 year old youth from Mahana Village, the central village of Hakolo Island, a tropical island that's home to a society of Riders—peoples who have cultures sometimes at odds with the Hunter culture that dominates much of the world. Riders are capable of taming and using in battle monsters they raise from eggs via a mystical bond enhanced by special ore called Kinship Stones. Your grandfather Red was one such Rider during his lifetime, and he and his Monstie partner Guardian Ratha were the stuff of legends. After the mass disappearances of Rathalos around the world and a chance encounter with Ena, a Wyverian girl carrying a mysterious Rathalos egg given to her by Guardian Ratha; you decide it's time to strike out from home and learn more about not only the disappearances, but your grandfather as well.

The game also received a line of amiibo figures that could be scanned to unlock exclusive costumes for the player character.

Previews: Official Website, Trailer 1, Trailer 2

This game provides examples of:

  • A Boy and His X: The story itself focuses on the development of the Rider player character (who can be male or female) and a special type of Rathalos called Razewing Rathalos.
  • Anti-Frustration Features: Monster eggs now have only one pattern corresponding to each monster compared to the four in the previous game where egg patterns often overlapped with others making it difficult to determine which monsters came from similar colored eggs without a guide.
  • Apocalypse Cult: We get scarce few details on how it functions, but Zellard leads a small group of like-minded Wyverians and humans, some of them Riders, who worship Oltura in the belief that it will destroy the world when it awakens and begin a new, better world. For Zellard at least this means a world that does not suffer from weak, short-lived humans (it's unclear if his human allies share this belief). They are completely off about Oltura's motives, as it has the mentality of a newborn and is only concerned with its own life, but there is just enough ambiguity in Oltura's actions and thoughts that Zellard is able to read into them a whole belief system (colored by his own growing despair and misanthropy).
  • Art Evolution: While retaining the same general cel-shaded art style as the first Stories game, the characters in Wings of Ruin — both humanoid and monster — have less stylized, more 'realistic' physical proportions closer to the mainline Monster Hunter games. The Monsties in particular are substantially larger in comparison to their riders compared to the first game, albeit still often smaller than their wild counterparts.
  • Ascended Meme: Plesioth's Hyperspace Tackle move has it make a damaging wave of air by using a hipcheck, referencing the Piscine Wyvern's infamous Hitbox Dissonance-laden attack in the main series games as well as making the Japanese fanbase's nickname for it official.
  • Beam-O-War: Many opposing monsters can periodically engage in brief contests of strength with each other where they blast out a destructive stream of lightning, water, ice, fire, or Dragon energy from their mouth. The attacks collide and it's up to the player to press button inputs quickly enough to overpower the opponent's attack, netting them some extra damage that doesn't take up a turn, and has the added benefit of increasing their Kinship gauge.
  • The Berserker:
    • Deviljho's Kinship Art has it notice Navirou about to eat a piece of meat and then go on a rampage trying to devour it, only to get even more enraged when Navirou leaves it nothing but a bone.
    • Whenever Ratha's Wings of Ruin start acting up, he enters a feral state and lashes out at anything that catches his attention. This comes to a head when his Razewing powers flare up when confronting a rage-ray'd Legiana, leading to him blowing up two of Kuan Village's newly-built windmills while dogfighting it; and again in the penultimate boss fight, where Ratha uses a powered-up version of his Savage Fireball skill resembling his Ground Flare Kinship Skill and a dark version of his Sky-High Dive Kinship Skill.
  • Call-Back: After seeing how Red's old Kinship Stone powers up in a different way, Navirou reminisces that his old partner's Kinship Stone upgraded by cleansing the Black Blight.
  • Calling Your Attacks: Curiously, only the villains ever do this. The Masked Riders all call the name of their Kinship Attacks when they use them, but not anyone else.
  • Chekhov's Volcano: The volcano in the middle of Hakolo Island does eventually go off, but not as one might expect. Rather, the caldera is actually the very first Rage Ray Pit Oltura created. Oltura returns to the volcano right before it reaches maturity and unleashes a glowing indigo storm from inside of it that spreads all across the sky.
  • Combination Attack: Should two Riders on the same team use their Kinship attacks during the same turn, the Kinship attacks will combine in various ways to even more devastating effect.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • Avinia's village, Kuan, referenced as having been destroyed due to the Black Blight in the first game, has been partially restored in the years since and is now a location you can visit.
    • Lilia joined the Royal Scriveners in the first game. She now leads them as their Commander.
  • Declarative Finger: Used sincerely by Kayna, the protagonist's first mentor, when teaching the player the ropes of riding and combat.
  • Delightful Dragon: The central conflict is that the protagonist and Navirou want to prove that the Razewing Rathalos can use its powers for good. Also, Avinia was saved by a young Barioth when she got lost in the snow as a child and ended up making him her monstie.
  • Developer's Foresight: Some Monsties react to particular buff-types by changing their model or appearance similarly to how the monster would in the main series Monster Hunter games. For instance, if a Velkhana gets an Ice Attack up buff, they'll create their ice mantle; if a Nergigante gets an All Element Attack Up buff, they'll sprout their black, hardened spikes; and if a Teostra gets a Fire Attack Up buff, they'll turn on their flame aura. These are all cosmetic, but it's still a neat touch.
  • Dragon Rider: The protagonist rides a Rathalos into battle, as did their famous grandfather. Also applies to any rider who bonds with dragon-like flying monsters.
  • Family-Unfriendly Death: Guardian Ratha suffers a surprisingly gruesome one. The game until that point went out of the way to downplay visual damage and death. This in turn made the scene more unsettling and shocking as the victim is torn apart and eaten, with blood spurts being shown.
  • Foreshadowing: Rather subtly done at the Pit of Remembrance due to how a Nergigante was present for its opening. The Nergigante was present due to the pits being produced by another Elder Dragon and he was poking around to see if there was a free meal.
  • Gameplay and Story Integration:
    • Since the player character promises Kayna to take care of Ranmar, you cannot release him conventionally or via the Rite of Channeling no matter how many other monsties you get.
    • Ena notes your player character's eyes remind her of Red's eyes, and to make this true the game will adjust Red's model (seen in flashbacks) to match the eye color you choose for your character in the character creator.
    • When you arrive in Kuan Village a Barroth has been causing cave-ins on the village's main trade route, preventing the merchant from getting much stock for her store. Sure enough, if you go to buy something from her she is only selling two types of item.
    • A myriad of monsters have special "charged up" alterations to their models, the same as they would in the traditional Monster Hunter games. Most learn dedicated moves that shift their models to these states, but if you use the Rite of Channeling to teach them equivalents from other monsters, you'll still achieve the visual change.
    • Monster eggs are noted to vary quite a bit in weight. The game shows this by having the player character walk more slowly depending on how heavy the egg they are carrying is.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation:
    • In gameplay monsters reach riding size right after their hatching scene, whereas in the game's cutscenes it's shown they spend some amount of time as babies. Thanks to the larger size of the monsties in this game, the change from hatching to riding size is all the more stark.
    • As in the first Stories, monsters like Bulldrome will hatch out as baby Bulldrome, despite the younger form being acknowledged in the game as being Bullfango.
    • Whether a monster is defeated and slain or defeated and retreats, the materials you collect from it are pretty much the same, including materials like internal organs that it shouldn't be able to live without (you can also get multiple tails from one monster). Further, it will count as slain in your field guide battle record even if it only retreated.
    • The game implies that many of the monsters you "slay" are not actually being killed. Notably Kayna refers to the Aptonoth you first fight as "good training partners," and other early fights as simply "getting past" monsters in the way rather than killing them. Further, a early subquest boss is noted to be a individual that local Riders have fought for training for years, and tasks you with doing the same despite it too being counted as "slain" when beaten. Most explicitly is the late game story quest where you have to defeat a Nergigante. You will get materials from it and the monsterpedia will record it as slain, and the text under its boss entry will even state how slaying it powered up your and Cheval's Kinship Stones, but in the scene itself the Nergigante gets right back up, weakened but in one piece. Cheval even tells Yoomlana in the next scene that they did not slay the Nergigante. Further, in the post-game there is a quest where Lilia has you search for a Kirin den. Despite the quest requiring you to "slay" the Kirin, after you do Lilia will state that now that she knows what is living in the den she won't give permission to anyone but you to enter it, implying the Kirin is still alive. The Bloodbath Diablos quest has you slay it in gameplay like in most encounters, but the clerk who gave you the quest refers to the Diablos as having "retreated." Finally, the entire retreating mechanic explicitly has "slaying" a monster under a certain number of turns after throwing a paint ball at them as a universal prerequisite for increasing their retreat rate! All in all, "slaying" in both the game's story and even moment to moment gameplay can count as nothing more than defeating or otherwise driving away the monster, at least when no actual body is seen in a cutscene afterward.
    • Among the many monsters that you can hatch and obtain as Monsties are Deviants. In main-series-lore, Deviant Monsters are supposed to be stronger than average monsters that have survived life-threatening experiences and come out of it with new adaptations as a result, and yet it's possible to hatch them. The most outlandish one by far is Bloodbath Diablos, which is explicitly stated to hold a burning grudge against Hunters, a fact that doesn't prevent you from using one as Monstie. That said, it's mitigated in that such lore appears to be absent from the Stories universe, with Deviants being treated as unusual and powerful but still somehow natural variations of regular monsters rather than individuals that went through specific life events. Even Bloodbath's hatred of humans seems absent, albeit its viciousness in battle remains.
    • Another hatching oddity: apparently Palamutes are born wearing armor (this was explained in an interview as not being what literally happens in the game's world but rather a design choice so that the player knows right away what they are getting, more specifically the developers were worried that if the Palamute lacked armor then the player might mistake it for a regular dog [1]).
    • During the final battle with Oltura, Kyle implies from an early comment he makes and a scene from a earlier cutscene that his attacks have no effect on it (due to the creature's light blocking his attacks), but that yours and Ratha's do, with him not actually able to do it damage until he makes some unique arrows. In the gameplay of the battle he inflicts damage like usual.
    • In gameplay you can have a max of six monsters in your party at a time (three during co-op quests) and an NPC will mention the benefits of having several monsters in your party, however, the story strongly implies that at least when traveling in the wilderness a Rider only has one monster with them at any given time. No Rider in the game in any cutscene is ever seen with more than one of their monsters unless they are at/near the stables or lending a monster to another Rider, and even in gameplay the only time you'll face other Riders in battle who use more than one monster per Rider is during tournaments that take place in stadiums. May be justified from a story perspective given Riders have no means of easily carrying a team with them, unlike in games where unused party members can be shrunk down and stored via magic or technology.
  • Gender-Inclusive Writing: As protagonists, both the Legendary Rider of the previous game and the Mahana Rider of this one are carefully never referred to as male or female in dialog, since they could be either depending on the choices made in the character creator.
  • Generation Xerox: Played with. Red will have the exact same eye color and skin tone as the protagonist no matter what the player chooses.
  • Hammerspace: Where your potentially two extra weapons are apparently stored. Even in story scenes characters often pull out large weapons or other objects simply by making a "look behind them" type of motion.
  • Handicapped Badass: Razewing Ratha was born with unusually small, black wings, that it seems unable to unfurl, rendering him incapable of flight. In spite of that he's still a Rathalos and his condition is a sign of a doomsday legend, leading to fear that when the wings do eventually grow and unfurl disaster will befall the land. Averted once his wings fully develop and he's able to fly around with ease.
  • Hate Plague: Like in the first Stories game with the Black Blight, one major part of the plot revolves around a strange force that is corrupting monsters and turning them more aggressive and destructive than normal. In this case they are caused by "Rage Rays", mysterious lights emitted by huge pits that have opened up in various parts of the land.
  • Having a Blast: The Blast element centers around coating opponents with explosive materials which eventually combust, with the Blastblight status effect causing characters to take large amounts of explosive damage after a few turns pass. In particular, the Bazelgeuse's Kinship attack involves it raining down explosive scales a la a bombing run... and then crash-landing on top of them to detonate them. The aptly named Ignition Breath skill will shoot a flame that hits all opponents and should any of them be suffering Blastblight the blast will immediately detonate.
  • Heroic Lineage: The protagonist's grandfather was a legendary rider and esteemed leader of their village and they wish to follow in his footsteps.
  • Hero of Another Story: Navirou indicates that his "old buddy" is still out there somewhere, but is otherwise engaged for this new crisis gripping the Old World of Monster Hunter.
  • Identical Grandson: During the Nintendo Direct reveal, many viewers thought the male protagonist and their grandfather were the same character (due to a flashback scene of Red riding a Rathalos when he was the protagonist's age), to the point where Capcom had to explicitly point out during TGS 2020 that they were two different characters.
  • Informed Attribute: It's made a plot point by Cheval that the player character has an "obsession" with taking vengeance on a Nergigante, an obsession that is putting Ratha and everyone else in danger. Yet, the way the game tries to show this is by them taking on a Rage Rayed Astalos against Cheval's advice, an action that is little different from things they did before they ever learned a Nergigante played a role in their grandfather's death. Navirou even lampshades this and maintains the fight had nothing to do with Nergigante, but Cheval maintains that he somehow knows that's not the case. The player character's expressions in response indicate he is somehow right, but this just makes the reasoning all the harder to understand. Not helping is how the game never explains why the characters think this is the same Nergigante as the one that injured Red.
  • Interface Spoiler: There are several sets of hunter stamps that you can use in multiplayer, with several of them spoiling not only your future allies, but also returning characters from the first game.
  • Lighter and Softer: Several of the Deviant monsters lack the dreaded status and backstories that they have in the main games, instead being treated as simply powerful and unusual variations of regular monsters, and fighting them is regarded as something people actually compete to get the opportunity for rather than something too dangerous for most hunters to even attempt. They don't have the "survived harsh experiences" origin either, or at least the ones living in the present do not (it's always possible their ancestors may have), instead being born already with most of their odd features or developing them naturally as they age (i.e. Bloodbath Diablos' broken-looking left horn growing to split into three points).
  • Limit Break: Kinship skills are unique, powerful moves that only monsties can perform and only when their kinship with their Rider maxes out and they are being ridden, the implication being the Rider is combining their own energies with the monster. They sometimes involve the Rider and monstie performing synchronized movements as a lead-in to the attack (such as holding out their arms like Tobi Kadachi, or holding the Kinship Stone in their mouth when Glavenous holds its tail in its mouth). Some of them (typically those involving weaker monsters) are silly or nonsensical, but most are quite spectacular, sometimes involving super versions of attacks the monster normally performs or entirely different applications of their powers (such as the various types of Rathian being able to shape their flames into spinning discs of destruction, or the Ludroths weaponizing the liquid in their manes).
  • Metal Slime: Barrel Felynes offer a lot of experience if defeated, but they are prone to fleeing and possess incredible defense that causes most attacks to do scratch damage. Your best bet is to use barrel bombs against them, since those bypass defense.
  • Modesty Shorts: Due to the game being aimed for younger audiences and the player character being a 14 year-old, shorts are worn underneath for armor sets and layered armor that have skirts and such to prevent panty shots.
  • Mythology Gag: Plesioth, a monster notorious in the mainline games for having attacks with unreasonably giant hitboxes has an attack in this game known as "Hyperspace Tackle". It performs the same hipcheck animation as it does in previous games, dealing damage to the entire party.
  • Noob Cave: While the early game on Hakolo Island has several literal "noob caves" (particularly Rider Overlook), the entire early Hakolo Island sequence leading up to meeting Ena is effectively this. It's a fairly constrained space you can't go too far into, the monsters are all low-level and fairly simple, and aside from a brief solo jaunt to the Overlook, you have Kayna and Avmar with you to make sure you don't get too far in over your head.
  • Old Save Bonus:
    • Having a Monster Hunter: Rise save will net you a set of Kamura Garb layered armor, modeled after the Rise player character's default gear.
    • Players can transfer saves from the demo to the full game. The game will resume from whenever the player last saved in the demo.
  • Older Than They Look: This applies to Wyverians in general, as always, though it's a bit more dramatic for Ena and Alwin, as detailed in their character entries.
  • Pattern-Coded Eggs: Like the previous game, players collect new monsters by raiding nests for eggs to hatch, and the eggs are designed as a way for the player to identify the monster inside. Each monster grouping has a different pattern (for instance, Herbivore eggs are spotted with horizontal ovals, while aquatic Leviathans have a wave pattern), and the coloring usually matches the monster itself.
  • Permanently Missable Content: For a short section of the game Ratha has access to a special, exclusive Kinship move called Ground Flare. If you don't use him in battle during this part of the game, or use him and neglect to notice he can now use a Kinship attack, you won't be able to see it during that playthrough. It's not available for viewing in the Kinship move gallery either.
  • Posthumous Character: Red died years before the opening scene of the story. He appears in various flashbacks, and his old Rathalos, Guardian Ratha, gives Ena the Razewing Rathalos egg.
  • Psychic Radar: While it's not explained if its entirely an enhanced version of mundane senses or an actual psychic or magical ability, talented human Riders and many Wyverians are seen to possess the ability to sense the presence of particularly powerful monsters. They can also use this when in close proximity to judge the strength of a monster's life force. Ol' Dede, Cheval, Ena, Yoomlana, Avinia and the Protagonist all explicitly display some version of this ability during the events of the game, and Red was legendary for his proficiency to hear the "voices" of monsters.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: When Razewing Ratha's eyes start glowing red, it's a sign the Wings of Ruin are activating.
  • Ridiculously Cute Critter: Much like the first game, whenever you hatch a Monstie Egg, for free of charge you are treated to seeing baby versions of the monsters. As an added bonus you can see the baby forms in the Monstiepedia whenever you want.
  • Scars Are Forever: Guardian Ratha is easily identified by the large scars it bears on its face from the titanic battle where Red lost his life.
  • Soap Opera Rapid Aging Syndrome: After a fashion. The Monsties you hatch are immediately ready to go, just like in the first game, but the Art Shift has made the jump from "baby mode" to "combat-ready Monstie" a bit more jarring (and hilarious). This is on special display with the Kulu-Ya-Ku you get at the game's start, because it gets to hang out in a few cutscenes as a baby (which is adorable), and then, as soon as the cutscenes are over, it's in your party and ready to rock at full size, with no indication in-universe that an especially large amount of time has passed. Much the same happens with Ratha.
  • Protagonist-Centered Morality: The game offer a bit of an analysis of this with the Hunters early on. To the Riders, they're a pack of narrow-minded Jerkass outsiders trespassing in sacred grounds and hunting a monster that's no threat to anyone. The issue here is entirely a perspective shift, as in the main series games, these sorts of legends typically have some genuinely dangerous truth to them, and a single minded determination to stop them at the source is considered a virtue of the protagonist hunter. Then again, some of these Hunters are later revealed to have ulterior motives.
  • Superboss: Once you beat the main story, a bonus dungeon is unlocked. Getting to the end of the dungeon pits you up against the Fatalis, the toughest boss in the game.
  • Super-Persistent Predator: The Nergigante Cheval had been tracking — implied by Navirou and Ena to somehow be the same one that fought Red years earlier — proves to be one. It has been flying all over the place as if looking for something, even attacking villages along the way and inflicting substantial casualties (either out of redirected frustration or the perception that the humans are interfering with it). It turns out to have been tracking Oltura (whose burrows crisscross many places), since an inexperienced-yet-powerful Elder Dragon would be an ideal energy source if the Nergigante could slay it (as well as being the sort of "too strong for the natural order" Elder Dragon that Nergigante are theorized to help cull). So focused it is on the task that despite having just come out of a grueling fight and being in no condition to battle something so powerful, it still barrels ahead when Oltura finally shows itself on the surface. This proves to be the Nergigante's undoing, as Oltura easily knocks it unconscious and it proceeds to fall into the pit.
  • Time Skip: There's been one since the first game, of about 4 years (to mirror the time between the first game's release and the development of the sequel according to a developer interview); it's been long enough that Avinia and Lilia have gone from being young teens to being working young adults.
  • Undying Loyalty:
    • Played with. Monsties take their Rider wherever they want to go, acting almost like extensions of the Rider's own arms and legs, and they will readily defend their Rider regardless of the threat. However, monsties do not always stay with their original Riders, or even remain with a Rider at all (ones that give up a gene for the Rite of Channeling will leave to return to the wild), nor do they obey their Rider's every command (a seemingly common misconception among non-Riders is that Riders "control" their monsters). In particular it is noted a Rider must always show gratitude if they expect their relationship with their monstie to be a good one. However, as Kayna notes early on, once a monster bonds with a Rider it never forgets them, and continues to value that relationship their whole life. Even if one decides it wants to live with another Rider, it will likely ask for the original Rider's blessing (as seen with Ranmar).
    • Guardian Ratha returned to keep the peace on Hakolo Island but never allowed anyone else to ride him, all in memory of his deceased Rider, Red.
  • Where It All Began: Hakolo Island is both where the story begins and where Oltura reaches maturity and fights the protagonist and their team as the final boss battle.