Monster Hunter Stories Beginner's Guide: Tips for New Riders

Everything a beginner Rider needs to know to contend with the fiercest beasts in Monster Hunter Stories.

Monster Hunter Stories may be more like an RPG than the rest of the action-packed main series, but don't think that makes it any easier. This game is tough as nails, and you're going to need your wits about you if you hope to get through it in one piece.

It all may seem a little daunting, but with this survival guide in hand you won't miss a step in your journey to overcoming the Blight and becoming the best Rider that ever lived.

Monster Hunter Stories Beginner's Guide

Stories is a surprisingly deep RPG for a spin-off title, so there's a number of features we'll go over. We'll start off examining the interesting battle system before moving on to egg snatching, proper questing etiquette, and the incredible Monsterpedia.

Understanding the Unique Turn-Based Battle System

In battle, the Rider fights alongside their Lead Monster. Rather than controlling the Monster yourself, it mostly fights of its own accord. The idea is to work in tandem with the Monster in order to take down your enemies. Defeat every opponent on-screen to win the battle and get ranked on your performance -- you'll get extra rewards if you do well.

If your or your Monster's HP drops to 0, on the other hand, you won't faint or be put out of commission. Rather, you'll jump right back on your feet with full health but lose one of your party's hearts. If you lose all 3 hearts, you lose the battle and are stuck running around with one heart until you rest in a bed again.

Monster Hunter Stories Beginner's Guide Battle System

In order to actually stand a chance in battle, you'll need to know your way around the 6 basic interactions: Fight, Rider, Monstie, Items, Switch, and Flee.

  • Fight - A basic attack picked from an Attack Triangle that determines advantage in a Head-to-Head exchange. Power beats Technique; Technique beats Speed; Speed beats Power. As a bonus, if you use the same move as your Monster and win the Head-to-Head, you pull off a special Double Attack.
  • Rider - Check or use a Rider skill for buffing or attacking.
  • Monstie - Command your Monster to use a specific skill in place of whatever else it was planning on doing that round. This is good for saving your Monster from a losing Head-to-Head.
  • Items - Use an item from your Battle Pouch for your turn. Remember that you must register any items that you want to use in combat to your Battle Pouch beforehand.
  • Switch - Switch out your Lead Monster to something else in your party of 5 without missing your opportunity to attack that turn.
  • Flee - Attempt to run from the battle.

In addition to all this, sporadic Quick Time Events (QTEs) between your Monster and the opponent may crop up throughout the battle to keep you on your toes. There are a few different kinds, all with different control methods, so pay attention.

As a battle progresses, you earn Kinship by winning Head-to-Heads, conquering QTEs, pulling off Double Attacks, and just generally attacking the enemy. Once your Kinship gauge is full, you have the option to ride your Monster. Doing this slightly heals your Monster and allows you to directly control its attacks.

Lose 2 Head-to-Heads and you'll be knocked off, but win a Head-to-Head and you'll level up the Kinship gauge. The Special Attack deals more damage with a higher level Kinship gauge. However, note that using the Kinship Special Attack will dismount you, so try to time it just right.

Monster Hunter Stories Beginner's Guide Snatching Eggs

Once you've got a grasp on how the battle system works, you should do pretty well for yourself in the fray. You need more than wit to come out the other end in one piece, though.

Never Miss the Opportunity to Snatch New or Better Monster Eggs

After the story quest where you find and hatch your first Monster Egg, Monster Dens spawn all over the map. Be sure to check each Monster Den if you find yourself in a new area or if you recently upgraded your Kinship Stone.

Rare Monster Dens, denoted by their golden coloration, should never be passed up, as they normally have fairly strong Eggs compared to normal Dens. They are a fair bit harder to navigate, though.

Explore Each Town Regularly for Side Quests

The Side Quests from regular residents in Monster Hunter Stories often give magnificent rewards and should never be passed up. Be sure to explore each town regularly for new Side Quests and remember to prioritize them over Quest Board repeatables.

Defeat 1 of Everything for the Monsterpedia

Don't just run past Monsters you haven't fought before; you need them for your Monsterpedia. Not only will collecting their entry reveal its HP bar for future encounters, the Monsterpedia literally figuratively vomits gifts out at you. Just be sure to check it once in awhile to claim them.

Monster Hunter Stories Beginner's Guide Monsterpedia

With these tips behind your belt, you'll be riding atop a Nargacuga in no time. Be sure to check back for more Monster Hunter Stories guides coming your way.

Published Sep. 9th 2017

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