Nearly 7 years later, the Monster Hunter Stories remaster fulfills a forgotten promise

Best 3DS games - Monster Hunter Stories
(Image credit: Nintendo)

I love when great games get modern day remasters, but it's rarely major news these days. At first glance, the recent announcement for Monster Hunter Stories coming to PS4, Nintendo Switch and PC was no different. Yet, for longtime fans, there’s a reason to get excited that risks being overshadowed.

You see, when Monster Hunter Stories released on Nintendo 3DS in the west, it received one of three updates that the Japanese release ended up getting. While western players got access to Version 1.1, content from versions 1.2 and 1.3 was never localized. The later mobile release – including when the game was added to Apple Arcade as Monster Hunter Stories+ in 2021 – came with some new content exclusive to those versions, yet none of the Japan-exclusive 1.2 and 1.3 content made the jump to these releases.

Monster Hunter Stories promises to change that. And now, I'm excited.

Monster hunted

Monster Hunter Stories

(Image credit: Capcom)

Part of the reason 1.2 and 1.3's content didn't make the jump stems from the nature of these updates. They added new Monsters to tame – such as Teostra, Kushala Daora and Rajang – and a ton of the other additions centered around the Monster Hunter Stories: Ride On! Anime series, where licensing might have been a concern. This included equipment and boss fights against characters from the anime, some of which were the central focus of a new endgame activity as part of the Tower of Illusions, wherein multiple 50 Floor challenges were added.

Some of these changes included some fairly major quality-of-life features. You could hold double the number of Monsters, for example, and the character creator was greatly enhanced – with the ability to completely redesign your character, including their gender – instead of the restricted options from the original release. Even for Monsters that did see a release in the west, some were locked behind specific DLC Quests, which were given easier ways of obtaining them with later updates, which also had the knock-on effect of making it far easier to grind for specific equipment for your character.

Since Monster Hunter was perceivably less mainstream outside of Japan in 2017, and the 3DS game released after the Nintendo Switch’s launch, it’s not surprising that these discrepancies ended up overlooked. In fact, the only way most players will know that we’re finally getting this content is a small section on the remaster’s official site; where Capcom claims that all updates are included, and you can see both the missing Monsters and anime characters we in the west never got to see the first time around.

Monster Hunter Stories

(Image credit: Capcom)

"As someone who has been a fan of the series since the PSP, I’ve been one of those players that was left out in the cold – until now"

Notably, Capcom doesn’t even make a big deal about this being the first time that this content is available in the west either. It did correctly mention this fact in its press release shortly after the game’s segment during the recent Nintendo Direct Partner Showcase - but despite a significant amount of content finally being accessible for many players for the very first time, I can’t help but feel that Capcom has buried the lede here.

As someone who has been a fan of the series since the PSP, and who played Monster Hunter: Stories when it landed on western shores, I’ve been one of those players that was left out in the cold – until now. Put another way: it would be like if we had only ever received Pokemon Gold and Silver back in the day, and it wasn’t until HeartGold and SoulSilver that the west had finally received the content that was originally exclusive to Pokemon Crystal.

Maybe Capcom doesn’t see it that way, or maybe it understands that with the series’ potential audience being so much larger outside of Japan now that they didn’t think most players would see this as a selling point. It's probably right about that. Yet, that doesn’t change the fact that Monster Hunter Stories isn’t just poised to be a simple remaster, it’s finally offering those of us who were there at the beginning the chance to play a version of the game that we’d never been afforded the opportunity. That’s the sort of happy ending that should never be taken for granted.

Monster Hunter World is popping off on Steam again after Capcom’s online campaign and Monster Hunter Wilds’ reveal.

James Galizio

James Galizio has been writing about gaming and technology from LA since 2014, and has contributed to outlets such as RPG Site, Nintendo Insider and more with a special focus on PC gaming and Japanese RPGs. Graduating from the University of California, Irvine in 2021 with Bachelors in English he has covered events such as E3, Tokyo Game Show and more as he hopes to help shine a light on games both big and small. If he’s not writing about an upcoming or recently released RPG, you can probably find him playing Monster Hunter or some random game that might have recently been released in Japan.