The first Monster Hunter Stories is a fantastic RPG, held back slightly by the tech it was originally built for (the 3DS). But, its sequel, Monster Hunter Stories 2: Wings of Ruin, was released several years later and crafted for the Nintendo Switch and PC, and it shows in the PS4 version.

After venturing out to gain experience as a rider from your home on Hakolo Island, you meet a girl named Ena, who has been entrusted with a monster egg and previously knew your grandparents. Having that shared history, both of you set off to protect the egg as strange abnormalities occur on the island. The egg then hatches into a small, flightless Rathalos.

This setup for the sequel and the events that play out are a little bit more exciting and inventive than the first game. The way the narrative progresses, the story beats, and the characters you meet feel pleasantly modern, which is a wonderful improvement. It's much easier to stay engaged with Wings of Ruins' story over the original's, even if the side content feels fairly familiar.

However, the smaller details are where Wings of Ruin manages to completely outshine its predecessor. Improved visuals, textures, enhanced rumble, and more responsive turn-based combat all help improve on the weaker aspects of Monster Hunter Stories, and just make the RPG experience as a whole smoother to enjoy.

Combat and gameplay enhancements are plentiful, with improved team-up attacks, better party mechanics, and the ability to use a far more varied range of skills — both as a Rider and when teaming up with your 'Monstie' and other party members. The rock-paper-scissors combat returns, but the ability to switch weapons on the fly easily, and to identify enemy weaknesses by observing their behaviour, is a game-changer to combat, and adds a layer of strategy that was simply missing from the first game.

While the overall structure of the game hasn't changed, the formula worked and didn't need any major shifts. But when compared to the first Stories — which already holds up really well — the small and large enhancements to every facet of the experience make this sequel a must-play RPG for any fan of the genre, or the Monster Hunter series.