To fans of the Monster Hunter franchise, especially to those who played Monster Hunter World, this game may seem like a lesser version. That is far from the truth. Monster Hunter Rise is a stunning standalone addition to an already beautiful collection. Whilst maintaining the charm of older Monster Hunter games, Rise presents new challenges and a simpler experience for fans.
Kamura and kittens
Kamura Village is a smaller quest hub than what you are probably used to. But the characters within are what make it seem so timeless. You meet a range of people as a hunter, from quiet timid types to loud, exuberant NPCS. Despite it’s small size, Kamura is packed with action and quests. Although the lovable cast of the franchise is concentrated and thus some favourites have been axed, their disappearance is made up for. For veterans of the franchise, it’s sad to see a lack of the Meowster chef, but the substitute rice palicos are adorable enough to make up for it. I happily sat and listened to their songs every time I ate a meal, and advise you to do the same.
Palicos and Palamutes
Palicos are not the only sweethearts of Monster Hunter Rise though. When you’ve finished creating your hunter right at the beginning of the game, you are able to create your own Palamute. The introduction of this new companion allows the player to take a load off and travel faster through maps by riding their dog, essentially. As well as being a faster way to move, Palamute’s assist you in battle, much like your Palico partner. So whilst you’re out risking everything to attempt that quest for the third and final time, your animal associates join every step of the way.
Slingshot into action
Another new addition Rise presents is the wirebug travel aid. Rather than the slow, grinding trek to get from point A to B on the map, hunters are able to zip across large gaps using this. This has massively reduced the amount of time spent lugging heavy weapons across the ground. It is rechargeable, so can be used throughout play. When monsters flee during battle, and annoyingly disappear halfway down the map, you can sling yourself down in style. Between the wirebug system and your Palamute, travel never seemed so easy. This also reduces the heavy grinding feeling most Monster Hunter games present, and the very thing that has turned players away.
I found it extremely difficult to successfully use wirebugs when I first played through this game. I kept overshooting where I needed to go, and ended up plunging myself into a new realm of monsters to fight single handedly. This new element is definitely one which needs practise. I found it easier to use after playing for a few hours and it became clear that the game was designed around this feature. You can even use wirebugs in Kamura village. I spent a lot of time slingshotting myself around and ending up sat with Yomogi for a pre-hunt snack.
Combat within Rise is as fluid as you’d expect from a Monster Hunter game. You are able to eventually choose from a list of weapons, which as expected affects your attack. Unlike other games, long animations and cutscenes have been reduced during gameplay. Hunts are still long, enjoyable battles of brawn and you are still able to enjoy the open world. The downfall of these intense battles though is the dropping in frame rate when engaging in intense fighting. Massive quick attacks and the effects that go alongside cause the Switch to struggle. There is so much happening on screen at one time, it is easy to get lost in what you’re doing. Unforgivingly, potion consumption and preparations for battle can still land you in immeasurable pain. It’s lucky you have new battle buddies to take the brunt when you need to heal.
Rampage is a riot
A new style of combat has also been embedded within this game. You are tasked with defending a large tower either on your own or as a team. As herds of beasts hurtle towards you, you must pace cannons and traps to prevent destruction. Rampage (as the style of gameplay is titled) is an adaptation of the siege feature in previous games. Rather than having the indescribably massive monsters attacking though, you are faced with herds of species you’ve encountered already. You aren’t tied down with artillery as you’d expect to be, but this tower defence is more a test of how fast you can travel between weapons. It better be fast, or you will cause the village to face the wrath of a hundred beasts.
Rampage holds the potential to carry the most impressive elements of combat in the game as a whole. When facing challenges with your friends in co-op, things become extremely stressful. Luckily it pays off when a huge monster keels over before you. Rampage is exhilaratingly exhausting, and when you’re juggling a team and all the artillery you definitely feel the challenge. There are 31 creatures to find and face, which is a smaller roster than Monster Hunter Generations Ultimate. But it’s not a small number at all. Oppose to Monster Hunter World, which was quality over quantity, Rise feels a little too dependent on future updates. There’s enough action to sink your teeth into whilst the game is fresh, but if you expect it to be completed, that isn’t the case.
As a whole, Monster Hunter Rise is a beautiful and extremely enjoyable game. With dozens of hours of gameplay, there is so much to explore. Capcom have once again bought the franchise to life with this release. The game helps new players feel like masters from day one, and old players are able to refresh their love for the title. Future updates will aid the game into becoming something remarkable, but even from release this game is absolutely amazing. If you adore action packed RPG’s, this is for you, and is most certainly one of the best that the Nintendo Switch has to offer.