Review – Monster Hunter Rise

Getting Your Jollies, Hunter?

Overview

Developer Capcom
Publisher Capcom
Genre Action RPG
Platforms Nintendo Switch
Release Date March 26, 2021

Time to rise up, Hunters! 

Monster Hunter Rise is the newest entry in the series to follow up the incredible success of Monster Hunter World/Iceborne. What was originally perceived as one of the hardest franchises to break into, Rise proves to be the best time to try out Monster Hunter yet. But no matter what, the real purpose remains: hunting monsters to wear their face.

Content Guide

Mild Violence

Spurts of blood can be seen when hunters or monsters are attacked. While all the creatures in Rise are fantasy-like, they all have reactive animations when hurt and when slayed.

Alcohol References

Some characters make reference to alcohol in dialogue while not explicitly referring to alcohol.

Full Review

I love how much I’ve turned around on the Monster Hunter series ever since playing World. In the past, I just viewed it as a weird multiplayer game that was too complex to get to the part where I fight giant monsters with giant swords. However, World proved to be the stepping stone needed to scale the mountain and quickly became one of my favorite games ever. Rise returns with the good old-fashioned fun while also bringing a whole lot of goodies to the new installment. I cannot wait to talk about them, so let’s break down this beast.

“I JUST NEED ONE MORE ANJANATH PLATE!! WHY WON’T YOU DROP?!?!”
A Whole New World

Rise introduces us to Kamura Village, the main area of the game and its story. Kamura Village is a Japanese-inspired village, similar to Yukumo Village from Portable 3rd and Generations. Not only is the village beautifully designed, it is also much easier to navigate compared to Astera’s cumbersome vertically-aligned layout from World. Not to mention, the Gathering Hub for multiplayer has all the facilities in a convenient spot, meaning faster preparations and thus more hunting with your friends. The Quick Travel tab also makes it easier to access other important facilities like the Buddy Plaza and the Training Arena. Kamura Village is an efficiently-designed hub with tons of detailed flavor in its aesthetic.

Kamura Village, the stronghold that stands against the Rampage.

The region maps have also received the same treatment. The regions in World, while definitely robust, suffered the same problems as Astera. Stacking the different areas on multiple levels not only made them difficult to navigate but also time-consuming, even with sub-camps. Here, regions are laid out horizontally with more definable sections and landmarks. The Great Wirebugs found across each map makes navigation much faster and, dare I say it, fun to travel by foot. 

All four areas not only feel dense but are fun to explore as well. Just watch for the local wildlife…

There are a few small but significant changes. I really like not needing Cool Drinks in the Lava Caverns or Warm Drinks in the Frost Islands. Gathering points taking less time to collect from. Health and stamina cap increases persist for the whole duration of the hunt, requiring rations or cooked meat to combat hunger and stamina drain. The changes in Rise make navigation faster while keeping exploration and item crafting essential to the hunt.

You’ll have to find the spots to place Great Wirebugs on foot, but these are important to close great distances.
Fur-rocious Friends

Rise comes with some new changes to your faithful furry friends. Of course, the Felynes still serve as your Palicoes while Palamutes add a whole new bag of tricks. Palamutes can attack like your Palico but serve mostly as a vehicle. This can help when you want to be on the move while managing other tasks like re-sharpening your weapon or healing. Of course, being able to drift your dog buddy is a major positive above everything else.

But the most amazing new asset you have is the Wirebug. It’s essentially a grappling hook. I mean, do I need to say any more? Multiplayer missions become Spider-Verse sequels as you and your friends zip-and-dip across the map, chasing the poor giant monsters. Not only does it offer greater movement, it lets you maneuver out of monsters’ attacks and wrangle them, ride them, and even ram them into walls and other monsters! The Wirebug is, bar none, the best tool in your arsenal. 

Using the Wirebug to snare down large monsters make the hunts…less difficult.
Hone Your Skills

Rise changes up the game by adding more moves to every weapon. Bringing back moves from legacy titles and the new moves with the Wirebug has made Hunters more dangerous threats against the large monsters. Players can switch out moves for variations to alter how they can approach a monster.

Some skills change up how their weapon’s combos end as well, so look sharply!

Most skills are unique enough that every weapon setup can feel like a new way to play, save for the Lance and the Heavy Bowgun. A divisive issue is that skills are progression-locked. It may be annoying for veteran players to have to wait until late-game for skills they really want. It’s not that bad, as you’ll more than likely get a full party on multiplayer to breeze through Hub quests. You’ll want to hit up the Training Area next to the Buddy Plaza since you won’t be told right away how the moves are done. 

For example, Great Sword users have a Tackle attack that protects them from incoming damage and can potentially stun large monsters. This can be changed to a Guard Tackle which further reduces damage but limits protection to directly in front of the Hunter as opposed to full-directional protection.

Defend Against the Rampage
Rampage Quests will throw loads of monsters against you to test your mettle and mind.

The new Rampage mode is an interesting take on the Monster Hunter formula. It’s essentially a tower defense action mode where players build placements like ballistas, cannons, bombs, and even NPC allies to push back the invading monsters. The chaotic management of resources and defense points make these quests just as hectic as Hunting quests. Thankfully, these quests are not as tactfully demanding as other tower defense games. Rampage quests are definitely a welcome addition to vary up the repetition between Hunts and Arena quests. Hopefully we’ll see these quests developed further in future updates.

Stay on your toes and always have a Wirebug at hand!
My Picky Pains

As you may be able to tell, I love this game. A lot of the changes from World to Rise feel really good. I like how the new monsters are at the front with the legacy monsters sprinkled in-between. The experience feels fresh and interesting as my second game in the franchise. 

“Unpopular opinion. No cap.”

That being said, I was taken aback by how short the main “campaign” felt. The flagship monster, Magnamalo, is the main threat only for the Village questline while two new monsters, Wind Serpent Ibushi and Thunder Serpent Narwa, are the main threats in the Hub Quests. The game, at launch, feels incomplete compared to World‘s campaign and the focus on Nergigante as its flagship monster. However, the free future updates promise more content, so I’d personally forgive it for focusing on the gameplay.

Magnamalo is still really scary.

I’ve mentioned the measures Capcom has taken to make Rise as accessible as possible, but there are notes buried in the menus of the Hunter’s Journal that are important for fighting large monsters. Finding these notes is not entirely necessary to play the game, but it does make hunt replays faster and easier to farm for certain materials.

These radial menus expedite crafting and using items but you may not even have realized that you could do that in the first place.
Final Thoughts

Rise‘s focus on gameplay and presentation may have resulted in a shorter story, but it was an excellent decision to get new players hooked on the first playthrough. Making the Village quests less difficult makes the transition into multiplayer Hub quests and Rampage quests smoother. Rise may feel like a step down in content compared to World, but its focused quality has so much more to offer with future updates. After all, the hunt never ends.

Illustration: Me about to eat into two new updates. Happy Hunting!

The Bottom Line

 

A vast improvement over Monster Hunter World but feels less robust in story content

 

8.0

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Sam Kim

Sam Kim is a Southern California dude trying to find the path God has chosen for him. While not much of a talker, he likes open discussion about video games and how to pursue your passions while living Christ-like. Currently passionate about: Video editing, podcasting, video game dialogue and writing.

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