Monster Hunter Rise
Genre: RPG, Hunting Sim
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Age Rating: PEGI 12
Release Date: 26/03/2021
A code was provided for review purposes.
A Monster Hunter for A New Generation
Well, here we are people, the latest instalment of Capcom’s beast slaying RPG is here. Monster Hunter Rise is the latest in what used to be a niche series, that was until Monster Hunter World’s massive success. It is now seen as a popular household title and I could not be happier. I am no longer the black sheep that played Monster Hunter alone. Come with me people as I take you through the latest and maybe greatest Monster Hunter title to date.
For players who know nothing about this amazing game, Monster Hunter is quite simple in premise. Kill massive beasts, harvest their body parts to make better gear and then kill bigger monsters while wearing the skins of their recently slain family members. Layered throughout that are other systems though, these systems come together to create something truly unique. I will touch on these systems later and will cover, what, in my opinion, makes this series so special.
Take It With You, Everywhere!
I have always preferred the portable versions of Monster Hunter. There is something about being able to squeeze a quick hunt in wherever you are that I find so moreish. As much as I enjoyed Monster Hunter World and more than that, appreciate what it did for the fandom of Monster Hunter, portable is where the series, in my opinion, belongs. I can appreciate what World did though, it brought a whole new set of fans across and made some really good quality of life improvements to the series.
Newer fans will never know the pain of having to bring whetstones with you, carry pickaxes or clog up your inventory with bug nets. These days they are all unlimited and do not take up any space at all. Monster Hunter Rise is the most approachable, kind and forgiving entry in the series and it is good news for new players. Questing has been streamlined, online features have been improved and questing alone or with friends has never been easier. When I started playing Monster Hunter in 2005, there was not even any online play at all. We had to play locally on our PSP’s or later on, trick our PC’s to play the game online. You kids don’t know how good you have it.
No Longer A Mute Affair
As soon as I started up Monster Hunter Rise I knew it was going to be special. The character creator, which has always been an afterthought in these games is much improved, bringing the portable games more in line with Monster Hunter World. No longer are you forced to pick from a small selection of generic faces but you can actually now fully sculpt your face. Once you have created your budding hunter, created your Palico and Palemute, you are free to go and slay some massive beasts. Getting into the actual slaying is quicker than ever too.
Not only that, but your character talks now while hunting. The characters of Monster Hunter have, on the whole, been quite silent. You had to do a lot of reading and voice acting was very sparse. In Rise, not only is there a lot of vocal NPC’s but your characters will shout for joy and spout witty one-liners while hunting. At first, I found it a bit jarring but I actually enjoy it now. When I heard my hunter say something like “Daddy needs a new pair of shoes” when carving my latest hunt, I laughed, it’s stupid I know but I found it, like most of the personality in Monster Hunter, quite silly. It’s ingenious.
Get To The Action, Quicker!
I remember my first ever Monster Hunter game, I nearly gave up. I spent the first 5 or so hours gathering and doing small weird quests. You did not actually fight an actual monster for quite a while. I remember picking the game up from ASDA because of the big dragon on the cover and wondering if I was ever going to fight one. Luckily, more recent entries in the series get you into monster-slaying so much quicker. In Rise, I was whacking beasties within an hour of starting, this will please new players greatly, I think that was what put people off the older games, it took too long to get into the ‘actual’ action.
Monster Hunter Rise is peppered with help for newbies, most quests, have the objective marked on your map, which I am against but I can see why it is there. We never had that in my day, I remember searching around for ages looking for some weird plant or other. It may sound like I am moaning a bit but I really do like small things like this that welcome newcomers. I just never had that in my day. It does make me feel a bit old though, talking about entries in the series from 16 years ago. Gosh, I’m ancient.
It’s Not Just For Newcomers
So what are the new features in Monster Hunter Rise? We have heard what it does for new players, what about the veterans? Why should you buy it? Added in this entry are new monsters, weapons, locales but more importantly and probably the biggest change in the series, the Wirebug makes its debut. The Wirebug allows for both quick traversal, vertical climbing and opens up new weapons combos and possibilities. You can also customize your weapon move sets to give yourself a massive amount of combat freedom.
I could go into all the changes to each weapon and what I think of each but I am sure you don’t want to be here all day reading my ramblings and I have other things to do too. I do want to mention the hunting horn though. This weapon has had the biggest improvement in my opinion. In previous games, every attack produced a note of a certain colour and when you get certain arrangements of these notes you can play songs to buff your teammates. Healing, defence, attack, earplugs, tremor resistance, the list is endless. In Rise, you no longer have to actually play the songs, they play automatically. I liked the hunting horn before, I like helping my hunting buddies but now the weapon is top tier. It currently sits as my most used weapon type which I never thought would be the case.
Switch-Up Your Skills
Each of the games fourteen weapon types, which all act completely differently now have customizable attacks and Wirebug moves. It kind of takes place of the weapon styles from older games but again just makes it more approachable and a lot more streamlined. Each weapon has been trimmed and changed slightly and while they all felt familiar to me, with these new systems in place, they also felt fresh and I really enjoyed exploring all their nuances. That is one of the things I adore in Monster Hunter. Each of the fourteen weapons are a game within itself, each one feels completely different and I like to use them all. It keeps the game very fresh, drives me on to create hundreds of different weapons and armours with the skills to complement them.
I am so happy that the armour and decoration system has returned from previous entries of the series. I was not overly impressed by the system in Monster Hunter World, I much prefer this system. Your armour sets have skills to aid you in battle, whether it be team-based skills, weapons specific skills or any of the other skills in the game, your options are numerous and the system has a vast depth to it. You have slots in your armour sets where you can attach decorations to either add or improve the skills the armour set comes with. In World, these decorations were random drops and made creating your ideal armour set too arbitrary. In Rise, we are back to being able to craft them ourselves. Well done Capcom, well done! I can now create ideal armour sets for each of the game weapon types at my own leisure.
A Roster of Weird and Wonderful Targets
Do you know what the stars of the Monster Hunter games are? Yes, that’s right, the monsters. Each hunt is like a boss battle. A boss battle that is different every time you play. In each monster hunter game, I fight the same monster hundreds of times, you know why? Each fight is very unique. The AI of the monster paired with the map and the team fighting it creates a fresh experience every time. Using the environment and different weapons means that fighting these great, large beasts is always satisfying. Braking different parts and stripping them for resources you need is so addictive.
Using traps, bombs and chopping off their tails is another game within itself. What do you need? What weapon or armour are you making? Prep for the fight accordingly and hunt with intelligence. Certain weapons are better at certain things and preparation for a hunt is often as important as the actual hunt itself. The roster of monsters in this title is amazing. From old fan favourites to new, uncanny beasts, it is a really well-rounded bunch of brutes to hunt and chop up.
How have I not talked about Monster riding yet? Over the last few entries into the series, we have been meandering into this feature. We had different forms of mounting the monsters to attack them and bring them down. Now you can ride them, use their attacks and attack other monsters on the map. It is great fun to get several large beasts in the same area with hunters on their backs attacking each other. Again, it just adds variety each time you hunt. Other monsters turn up, you can hunt them as well or just use them as tools to take down your actual target. I love this game!
A Menagerie Of Hunting Buddies
If you have seen any footage whatsoever of a Monster Hunter game you will probably be aware of the abundance of cats. Cats help you farm, go on quests with you, cook for you and all sorts of weird and wonderful shenanigans. Are you more of a dog lover? Well, Rise is the game for you, as well as having cats all over the place you can now hire dogs in the form of Palamutes.
These creatures can be ridden quickly across the maps, help you fight and you can even adorn them in the skins of your latest monster victim. The Palamutes do add a lot when traversing the new maps of Monster Hunter Rise. The maps are a lot more intricate to take into account wirebug traversal and zooming around them with your dog is awesome. They really help speed up proceedings. Plus, don’t tell anyone but I do prefer dogs to cats.
Another addition, maybe a small one but a glorious addition nonetheless. No longer do I have to google drop tables to see if it’s better to kill or capture a monster to improve my chances of getting a certain material. It is all now included in-game. Monster Hunter Rise has really trimmed the fat, made the game easier to navigate and even for someone like me who has played thousands of hours of Monster Hunter, made the game more pleasurable to play. The game has kept what made the portable versions of Monster Hunter great, taken some quality of life improvements from Monster Hunter World and further improved the flow and systems of the game. I never thought it possible but Monster Hunter Rise is the most assessable, most customisable title in the series and is probably my favourite so far.
More Open, Vertical Maps Eager to Be Explored
The maps are fully open now, much like Monster Hunter World. The portable version maps were previously split into zones with loading screens between each. I much prefer the newer completely open maps but I do miss nipping between zones, sharpening my weapon and taking a potion before diving back onto the fight. These new maps though, wow, they are so vertical, so complex and I love exploring them. They are now filled with collectable bugs and helpful wildlife. Rather than running straight to my prey, I now take off the cuff routes to collect some helpful endemic life and buff myself for the battle ahead.
We also have a new rampage mode, which I was a bit dubious about but I actually really enjoy it. This mode adds a sort of tower defence style to come missions and has you holding off waves of monsters from breaking down the defences of the city you are sworn to defend. You place weapons, battle beasties and while it does feel quite different from normal quests it does still have that Monster Hunter essence and does not feel like an afterthought or like it is tacked on in any way. Plus I love manning a massive machine gun and moving down foes like Arnie in Predator.
The multiplayer suite of features has been heavily overhauled. Before Monster Hunter World the Monster Hunter games have always had a separate offline and online hub for four players. I did prefer this to the weird 16 player hubs of Monster Hunter World. What has been shaken up in Monster Hunter Rise is that the whole village is now online. You can now join each other, explore the whole village together and even take on the single-player village quests while your friends are in your town.
What is paired with this online change is the ability to take multiplayer quests and get ready from anywhere in the village. This would not have worked in previous entries as you have to go to the quest board to accept quests. Not in Rise though, one of your actions on your nifty new action bar is to be able to check the quest board. You can also set out on a quest or ready up with a simple button press. These few online changes make questing in groups so much smoother and easier. The amount of quality of life improvements really impressed me.
A More Streamlined Experience
There have also been changes to how you organize quests. You can now set your quests to be joinable after you start them. It’s similar to Monster Hunter World but the process is a lot smoother. You can join a quest from your hub even if someone has already set off, which is a fabulous change. I have lost track of the times people have set off by accident without everyone from the group and now that is not an issue. Overall, the online functionality has been heavily upgraded. I have not even talked about the likes system or Hunter Connect systems. Unfortunately, I can talk about everything, there is so much to cover.
There are side-quests, sub-quests, helping the villages, sending your pets on quests by themselves, trading, melding, the list is just endless. I am approaching fifty hours played by this point and have only just started the high-rank quests. There is just so much to do. The game is so extensive and wonderful! I can see my self playing all year. Especially with the planned free DLC in the works. Monster Hunter and Capcom have always been great with the after release support for these titles. We have an update planned for this game in late April, with new monsters and features which will only add more longevity. What a game!
Put The Time In And You Will Be Rewarded
I suppose I should produce some sort of summary, which seems almost impossible for something that is so vast. I feel there is so much I have not talked about but I have more hunting to do, so here goes. Monster Hunter Rise is a near-perfect game. Rise has a good single-player campaign to get you into how to play. It has a wealth of improved online features, it’s welcoming to newcomers and has enough to please veterans of the series. It looks great, even in portable mode, it runs flawlessly and I have seen not one issue whatsoever. I don’t think I ever have in a Monster Hunter game though and that is a massive credit to Capcom.
So if you’re new to the series, or you are a seasoned player I cannot recommend Monster Hunter Rise enough. It fixes some of the things I disliked from World yet kept some of the features that World brought to streamline the experience and make it more welcoming for new players. It has hours upon hours of great content with more to come. Give it a chance, get engrossed in its weird and wonderful world and I guarantee you will not look back. It may look daunting to start with but that is just because it’s so deep. Stick with it and you will be rewarded, I promise. Right, pass me my gunlance, daddies gotta new pair of shoes to make!
Rapid Reviews Rating
If you would like to purchase Monster Hunter Rise from the Nintendo EShop, you can here.
You can find and read our reviews on OpenCritic.