Monster Hunter Rise Review: The Best One Yet
Developed and published by Capcom
Available on Nintendo Switch
Last week brought the release of Monster Hunter Rise, the latest and greatest addition to the series. Smashing sales in Japan and abroad, both for the game itself and even Switch consoles, Monster Hunter Rise is off to a great start. Thankfully, for all the players who bought this game, it is without a doubt worth it. With new moves, mechanics, and more, this Monster Hunter is the best one yet.
Monster Hunter Rise takes place in the town of Kamura, a delightfully whimsical high fantasy village inspired by feudal Japan. Strange tidings are happening, and it appears that a rampaging horde of monsters is being riled up, putting the village in great danger. Thankfully you, the player, have just received your monster hunting license. The best way to stop this rampage? Monster hunt.
The story of Monster Hunter is not nearly as interesting as the background lore. This game takes place in a post apocalyptic future where the world was torn apart in cataclysmic wars. Fighting these conflicts were the monsters themselves: bio-engineered beasts, with abilities ranging from shooting laser beams to having big stinky farts. Humans, the greatest monster of all, have fought back by tearing the flesh from the monsters and wearing it as their own.
Neither the story nor the lore are really a relevant part of Monster Hunter Rise. Ultimately, it’s just an excuse to do what we love most: monster hunt. And believe you me, it’s better than ever. For the most part, the gameplay is just like every other Monster Hunter game. You go out, hunt a monster, and come back with your spoils. For those unfamiliar, these are not easy monsters to hunt. They are extremely strong and agile. Each fight is a grueling brawl where you have to be focused and on top of your game. A fight that ends in less than 10 minutes I would consider to be a quick hunt. This game is about endurance, skill, and attrition.
Monster Hunter Rise features all the same weapon types as Monster Hunter World, with relatively little change (unless you play hunting horn, in which I hear classic HH zealots are mad). The weapons are satisfying, fun to use, and unlike World, all the upgrades have unique looks instead of like the standard weapon with viscera stapled on.
Classic weapons are fun and good, but some people might want something new. Monster Hunter Rise has several new additions to make your hunts much more dynamic and interesting. The first is a sort of return to the combat arts from Monster Hunter Generations. I never played MHG but as I understand it, this is a simplified version of that. I appreciate the addition, but I generally preferred the default moves.
The biggest and best addition to the combat in Rise is the wirebugs. Imagine a grappling hook, but you can grapple onto thin air and use it for a variety of moves. Monster Hunter Rise feels 10 times faster and more fun when you get knocked back and can simply use the wirebug to zip away and stand upright. Not only that, you can use them to quickly reposition yourself. A tremendous boon, especially for a slow weapons player like me (this review brought to you by gunlance gang). And finally, each weapon has several moves that use the wirebugs. Too many to list, so I’ll give you just one. For the gunlance, you grapple ahead of yourself, drag the barrel on the ground, and pre-ignite the gunlance that simultaneously gives you a damage boost, quick reposition, and immediate use of the wyvernstake attack into a monster.
The most important part of a Monster Hunter game is, of course, the monsters. The creatures in this game are a mix of old and new. Fan favorites like the barioth and diablos are here, with some fun new creatures as well. There’s a big fat turtle and a massive spider. A griffin with a hand for a tail that throws fruit, and a Japanese dragon that throws burning mud (at least, I hope it’s mud). Monster Hunter Rise only has two elder dragons right now, and is missing some classic monsters like the Urragaan. But rest assured, there will be more added. Just about every Monster Hunter game has a huge amount of free DLC.
One thing that I was shocked by was how great Monster Hunter Rise performed on the Nintendo Switch. I would say that this one performed better than any other Monster Hunter game I’ve played. The load times were brief, the online was smooth. And somehow, it looked even better than Monster Hunter World. The Switch is regarded as the weakest of the consoles, but Capcom really performed some magic here.
Just about every feature is improved upon tremendously in Monster Hunter Rise. The one single thing that is worse and not better is the over the top meals seen in previous games. But a cutscene that you would probably skip after the first few times anyways being the only downgrade is testament to how great Monster Hunter Rise is. And with an unknown amount of content all but certain to be on the way, you can be assured that this game is well worth your money.