Dates Available: January 7th – February 1st
Available Platforms: Nintendo Switch
Those who’ve read my Monster Hunter reviews and my Game Vs. Game of Monster Hunter World Iceborne vs. Monster Hunter Generations Ultimate might notice a pattern with me: I like Monster Hunter. I logged more hours into Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate than I’d like to admit. I enjoyed Monster Hunter Generations Ultimate, but it is an upscaled 3DS game with a G rank (Master rank for those familiar with Monster Hunter World Iceborne.)
A couple of months ago, Capcom announced Monster Hunter Rise, a mainline Monster Hunter game made for the Nintendo Switch. I flipped my lid when I found out. Together with a good friend of mine, we’ve been excitedly waiting for Monster Hunter Rise.
Last week, the developers of Monster Hunter Rise held a special livestream where they divulged many details about Rise, including the demo’s date. The demo became available later on that evening, but I had work the next day. Nevertheless, I downloaded it and played it a fair bit last weekend. Did this demo give me a thirst for monster blood?
The demo presents the player with four quests. The first one on the list tasks the player to hunt a new monster called the Great Izuchi. This quest is perfect for getting a grip on each weapon’s new intricacies. For the more experienced (or bold), the second quest brings back a monster from Generations Ultimate: Mizutsune. Despite being familiar with how the monster behaves, Mizutsune is no pushover. Those that underestimate it will succumb to its bubbles (they are scarier than they look.)
The third quest is a tutorial on how to play the game. It explains old concepts while also explaining what some of the new stuff does. Those who are new to the series or are looking to learn a thing or two about this new entry into the Monster Hunter series should give this one a shot. Finally, there is the mounting tutorial quest. I will get into the new mounting mechanics a little further down, but this quest is a must so that players are ready for when they mount a monster.
This is an excellent selection of quests overall. Great Izuchi provides a great warm-up, while Mizutsune will test the player to see what they learned. I decided to do the tutorial quests and ended up learning a thing or two. I wish they included a training room quest, where the player arrives at a training room, selects a weapon, and starts hitting objects to get a more hands-on approach while also being in a safe environment.
The most significant addition to Monster Hunter Rise, by far, is the Wirebug. The Wirebug acts like a hookshot that can hook onto nothing, which the player uses to propel themselves in the air. The Wirebug is a blast. I love being able to leap into the air with a simple combination of buttons. Whatsmore, if the player aims at a wall, they will start running on it. Against Mizutsune, I’ve escaped many water blast attacks by aiming my Wirebug at a wall, running up on it, then jumping off and attacking it from above. I’ve seen many other creative moves from other people on Twitter that made what I described look like child’s play.
I can’t forget to mention the Palamute. The Palamute is a new canine companion in Monster Hunter Rise. Not only does it help the player in battle, but it also acts as a mount, making world traversal much quicker. The map design reminds me a lot of Monster Hunter World, in that there are no loading zones between each section. Monster Hunter Rise improves this idea by reducing the map’s size and riding the Palamute. Making the area smaller is already a step in the right direction, but the Palamute’s speed makes exploring the world an efficient and pleasant activity.
Another thing I like about Monster Hunter Rise is that they added an arrow that points the player towards the monster. It acts like the Scentflies from Monster Hunter World. While I did like the Scentflies for facilitating the finding of the monster, the arrow is less distracting to me.
This is another significant feature for me, but it might not be so for others: they added a pause fonction. If I could, I would like to shake the hand of the person who thought of adding the pause option again. It makes being able to temporarily put the game down a breeze and is honestly much appreciated.
I don’t know what kind of black magic the developers used to make the game look so pretty and make it run so smoothly on the Switch. Monster Hunter Rise is an excellent example of games being able to look fantastic and run smoothly on the Switch. Even in a heated battle with fearsome monsters, the game keeps running at a smooth framerate, not dropping for even a second.
During my time with the Monster Hunter Rise demo, I had the chance to try: the Great Sword, the Sword and Shield, the Long Sword, and the Charge Blade. These weapons feel largely the same as they did in previous entries, except for the Wirebug techniques. By holding the ZL button and pressing either the X or A buttons, the player will perform a weapon specific move with the Wirebug. Mastering the Wirebug techniques feels satisfying, as they are instrumental and powerful when used correctly.
I do have a few things I’d like to see improved for the main game’s release.
I understand that it’s cloudy in the demo, but I thought that the graphics could use a tad more saturation. As they are now, the visuals, despite looking great overall, look a little too muted, in my opinion. I’m not asking for the colors to bleed onto each other, just for a small increase in the saturation. I found it a little hard to see in portable mode due to the lack of color; things were a bit too obscure.
One thing I don’t understand with the demo is the limited amount of times the player can play quests. Why is there even a limit to play the demo? Not soon after players got their hands on the demo, they found out how to reset the demo’s attempt counter, making it useless.
I am excited to play the full version of Monster Hunter Rise. The demo was a blast, and I can’t wait to discover all of the monsters, the crazy armor skills, and the weapons. Monster Hunter Rise comes out on March 26th, 2021.