Since 2004, the Monster Hunter series has made itself into one of Capcom’s most successful titles. The last mainline game in the series, Monster Hunter: World, is still the highest-grossing installment and has been widely considered the best entry to date. That was until the release of Monster Hunter Rise. Where World was an evolution of everything that came before, Rise would be the perfection of everything the series has always done so well. Monster Hunter Rise is a mixture of everything that fans love from the series and a slew of improvements in nearly every aspect. All of those well-tuned pieces come together to make this the best game in the franchise and a hunt that no one with a Switch should miss.
Game Name: Monster Hunter Rise
Platform(s): Reviewed on Nintendo Switch (Coming to PC in 2022)
Release Date: March 26th, 2021
Story has never been a focus in Monster Hunter and that is no different for Rise. The setup is very simple. Your character is the newest hunter into the feudal Japan-inspired village of Kamura. Throughout your quest, you’ll be ridding the land of monsters and using the resources to build your arsenal of weapons and armor. I promise it’s much less macabre than it sounds. If you’ve played any of the previous games then you know the drill and are familiar with this loop, but Monster Hunter Rise manages to perfect all of those mechanics.
A new addition that Monster Hunter Rise brings to the table is the game’s Rampage modes. These segments happen at specific times as you’re progressing through the various monster hunts and function more like a tower defense game than what the series is known for. You’ll be charged with defending Kamura Village’s gate from rampaging monsters trying to lay waste to the idyllic town that you call your home. Utilizing all of your weapons skills as well as various turrets and traps to defend the village gates is the key to success. Succeeding will then earn you a bunch of really sweet weapon upgrades and mods that you can’t get otherwise. They do get a bit stale after doing a handful of them, but they aren’t frequent enough to detract from the absolute blast that Monster Hunter Rise is overall.
Where Monster Hunter Rise differs the most from its predecessors is its speed. That goes for both its pacing and its combat style. A common issue in many of the previous titles was the often long build-up before you’re able to truly dive into the action. Rise completely upends that trend. Save for a short intro and few tutorial lessons, you’re very quickly thrown into the action and able to hunt and capture to your heart’s content. It is for sure a welcome improvement after some of those previous entries felt like a bit of a slog in the opening hours.
The combat this time around also saw a huge overhaul. A handful of new tweaks and enhancements leave you feeling like an even more efficient monster hunting machine. The biggest addition being the new wirebug ability. With this new trick under your sleeve, you can launch yourself away from danger or right back into the action to set yourself up for a big attack. It adds an incredible amount of mobility and will make you feel like a real badass when you’re dashing through the air and wall-running to slay a monster. It almost makes you feel like you’re playing an action game like Bayonetta or Capcom’s own Devil May Cry when you get into the swing of things (pun intended). If you don’t want to take my word for it, this video from Twitter user StormYorha is all of the evidence you need.
lol someone at capcom looked at the switch hardware and said “yeah but the RE engine is built different” pic.twitter.com/RdSUUBbNH9
— yorha ✨ 太ったお尻 (@StormYorha) March 27, 2021
Another big change is the Switch Skills, which, unsurprisingly, allows you to switch your skills. Who would’ve thought? These enhancements are weapon-specific and add a bit more customization to your repertoire of moves. Switching these out allow you to better cater your move-set and combos to your playstyle. And if you know anything about Monster Hunter, you know that perfecting a weapon is the key to being the best you can be.
Monster Hunter Rise is also the most accessible entry in the series to newcomers. I touched on the pacing earlier and how it lets you dive into the meat of the game much quicker than before but there is even more than that to ease in the newbies. This series can sometimes be intimidating with its overall depth and learning curve, but Rise rectifies that by having an abundance of quality-of-life changes as well as much more comprehensive training and tutorial modes for even the most seemingly minute of mechanics. It’s not to say that the depth-seasoned players expect is not there because it is still here in spades. All of the added tools are simply great additions that in no way remove any of the enjoyment. They’re there if you want them and don’t do any harm if you choose to not utilize them.
We can’t talk about monster hunting without getting into hunting with your friends. If you’ve touched the co-op in this series before then you’ll be right at home with Monster Hunter Rise. And that is in no way a bad thing. Slaying or capturing monsters with a well-thought-out team dynamic is endlessly fun and satisfying. The difficulty does scale in the co-op missions to better facilitate having two to four players all going ham together and it also feels fair. I will say that the most remarkable achievement here is how well Monster Hunter Rise runs on the Nintendo Switch when there is a whole pummeling a monster together. It’s obviously nowhere near the strength of the Xbox Series X or the PlayStation 5, but whatever witchcraft Capcom did to make it run as smoothly and quickly as it does is something to surely shine a light on.
Monster Hunter Rise is phenomenal and the perfect jumping-on point for the newbies as well as a fantastic evolution of what came before for series veterans. The story and narrative may leave a lot to be desired but all of the other pieces come together to make it one of the best games on the Switch. Whether you’re flying solo or going with a squad of armored warriors, you’ll have a great time. With an already full experience and more content on the way, Monster Hunter Rise is the newest in a long line of must-play titles on the Nintendo Switch.
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Monster Hunter Rise
Monster Hunter Rise is an expertly melded combination of the best elements of the series and some truly phenomenal new tricks. Whether you’re a veteran Magnamalo slayer or a rookie hunter, you don’t want to miss out on this new hunt. This is a much-play if you own a Switch.