Monster Hunter Rise Review – Let’s Hunt Again!
It seems like only yesterday when I went on my first hunt in Monster Hunter Portable 3rd on the PlayStation Portable when I first moved to Japan in 2010. The peer pressure from my Japanese friends and colleagues got me into a series I initially had no interest in, but I quickly turned around once I got the gist and started hunting with people I knew on work breaks. It would seem like a tired formula after a while, but there is something about the Monster Hunter series that keeps pulling players back in. With the new 6th main entry in the series, Monster Hunter Rise sets to continue this trend of monster hunting and doing so on the Nintendo Switch.
But how does Monster Hunter Rise stack up in the long-running and highly acclaimed series from CAPCOM? Does it have the power to rise to the top? Let’s find out!
You are initially introduced to Kamura Village, the home you come to love and must protect. It is the main base of all your non-hunting action, similar to other home bases in previous Monster Hunter games. It is a glorious little village that is so vibrant and full of life, and many of the characters there help to make that reality even stronger.
This time around, Yomogi is your cook, and although she is not quite as entertaining as the Meowscular Chef from Monster Hunter World, she holds her own and brings such a joyful attitude. Other characters like Hamon the blacksmith and Iori serve to help you in other ways to make your life on the battlefield even better.
For those familiar with the series, you know things do not officially get started until you get that notification to meet with the Quest Maiden to accept your first quest, and holy cow. I was not expecting Monster Hunter Rise to blow me away with its graphics, but it did precisely that. From the very first hunt, I fell in love with the lush environment that I was thrown into and could not wait to get back out there on another hunt or fetch mission.
Storyline-wise, we are getting much of the same affair we have been dealt since the original Monster Hunter. There is a new monster in town, and it is up to you (and your friends) to help bring it down and protect the village. Simple story, but it is effective. Story missions are indicated through Village Quests, and they are pretty straight forward. This is the normal fanfare to get people into the game, but it is not the meat and bones. This is genuinely the appetizer.
As is the case with every Monster Hunter game, the core is in its extensive multiplayer and incredibly challenging Key Quest lines. In order to rise through the ranks, you need to complete these Key Quests, and each time you take down the massive monster assigned to that quest, you rank up and qualify for the bigger and badder monsters of the next rank.
And the monsters in Monster Hunter Rise are all excellent. Over 30 large monsters, both new and many from previous entries, mix up the gameplay so well that strategy is of utmost importance. Although Key Quests can be cleared alone (It can be rather difficult), they are best enjoyed with teammates, so before going into battle, deciding who is using which weapons and how they are going to approach the monster is key.
One new thing this time around are the Palamute buddies. Since the beginning of the series, we have always been graced with Palico as our little AI cat buddies, but this time around, not only are you getting a Palico, but you also get a dog buddy in the Palamute. In single player, both buddies join you for the battle, and you can even ride on your Palamute for quicker transportation. While hunting, both your Palamute and Palico will assist you in battle as both attackers and healers. The Palico, especially, is a great resource for item distribution, while the Palamute is a lot stronger and deals more damage.
While playing with teammates, Palico and Palamute will fill in any blanks on a 4-player team, so if just you and one friend are playing, both of you will bring along one of your buddies. In a 3-player game, the host will bring one of theirs.
Nothing is more exciting in Monster Hunter Rise than approaching the quest monster as a team and deciding on the plan of attack. There is something simply exhilarating about the experience, and it is quite possibly the main reason why this series stands among the giants in video game history. Coming face-to-face with a monster significantly larger than you is both terrifying and exciting, and the feeling you get when you take one down is second to none.
This may sound a bit masochistic, but the best monsters are the ones that hit like a ton of bricks, inflict status ailments in battle, and even evolve as the hunt goes on. Each of those areas creates a different kind of tension which causes everyone to be a bit more cautious while also taking high risks. As you progress in the game and rank up, the beasts get even stronger and more intense, which requires you to be at the top of your game in both preparation and execution.
One area that can be discouraging in the Monster Hunter series is the extremely high learning curve. There are lots of weapons, an insane amount of items, buffs for just about everything, and expensive armor investment. Just choosing your weapon alone can be a daunting task, but thankfully, Monster Hunter Rise is the most accessible entry in the series yet, and that even includes Monster Hunter World. That does not mean Monster Hunter Rise is a walk in the park. Oh, no. This is still a tough game that requires a lot of its players, but this one holds your hand and guides you better than every one prior.
It is very easy to tell that CAPCOM is continually working towards making the Monster Hunter franchise a global one, and in order to do so, they need to help newcomers understand all of the ins-and-outs of the series. Rise is loaded with helpful tutorials and safe places to learn, and the introduction of the Palamute clearly caters towards this crowd as well.
The huge gameplay addition this time around is the Wirebug, and wow, is this thing both useful and resourceful. Not only can you lasso around with the Wiredashing, which is unbelievably fun to do, Wirebugs also grant hunters with weapon-specific skills called Silkbinds. These Silkbinds can be customized to an extent and can assist the hunter both offensively and defensively, and they essentially make the traditional gameplay prettier as it adds flair to the combat. The Wirebug is just a fantastic addition to the series and one that really cements Rise as one of the best, but they do come at a cost and can only have a couple charges per hunt.
Wyvern Riding is back in Monster Hunter Rise, and this is when you can temporarily ride a monster to distract it from attacking your teammates and you will also be given the opportunity to stun it. This was awesome when they added it in Monster Hunter 4, and I am thrilled that this seems to be a mechanic they are keeping in the series and evolving.
The last major thing to touch up on that is brand new to the franchise is Rampage, a horde-like mode that really steps outside the bounds of traditional Monster Hunter gameplay. In Rampage, you are tasked with protecting the village from an onslaught of monsters, and you and your teammates are able to fortify the place to help make things a bit easier. Installing barriers and bow guns improves your chances, and each time you prevent a wave of monsters from breaking through, your stronghold level increases which allows you to install even more things to strengthen your defenses.
As is the case with any type of horde mode, the longer you go, the more difficult the waves, and the better the rewards. Such is the case with Rampage, and I have to say, this is a lot more fun than I expected. It is a nice change of pace from the normal gameplay, and it just adds even more value to an already stacked game.
At the end of the day, what you are getting with Monster Hunter Rise is more Monster Hunter, and that is not a bad thing at all. In my opinion, this is the total package, and it is CAPCOM’s greatest attempt yet. Mind you, it is still not a perfect series, as Rise continues the unfortunate trend of the high learning curve, but to their credit, this is genuinely the most accessible Monster Hunter yet.
The action feels better than ever, thanks largely to the Wirebug and Palamute, and the feeling you get when taking down the biggest of the baddies is one you cannot find anywhere else on the Nintendo Switch (Except in another Monster Hunter game).
In Monster Hunter Rise, you get a nice single player campaign, an amazingly extensive and intricate multiplayer experience, and a tough and enjoyable new mode in Rampage. This is a game that requires a lot of its players, but the reward is grand and absolutely worthy of the hunt, over and over and over again.
Monster Hunter Rise Review provided by Nintendo Link
Release Date: March 26, 2021
Price: $59.99, £49.99, €59,99
Game Size: 6.6 GB
Excellent variety of monsters to hunt
Wonderful additions to the series, namely the Palamute and Wirebug
Tons and tons of potential gameplay
Beautiful, lush environments
Pretty steep learning curve
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My name is Jason Capp. I am a husband, father, son, and brother, and I am a gamer, a writer, and a wannabe pro wrestler. It is hard to erase the smile on this simple man.