Released on: March 26 2021
Available Platforms: Nintendo Switch
Price: $79.99 CAD ($59.99 US)
Those who’ve read my Monster Hunter Rise Demo review will know how excited I am for this game. A brief recap for those out of the loop: last year, Nintendo had an online presentation showing off many upcoming games. In that presentation, they announce a brand new Monster Hunter game for the Switch. I was ecstatic about it to the point where, once the demo came out earlier this year, I jumped at the opportunity to try it out. Once I did, it made me want to get my hands on the full version of the game even more.
Since then, I ordered the collector’s edition (which comes with stickers, the deluxe version of the game, and an amiibo.) It took a while for it to arrive, but once it did, I sank my teeth into Monster Hunter Rise as soon as I had the time. Now that I’ve played Monster Hunter Rise, I can finally talk about it. Is Monster Hunter Rise as legendary of a beast as its predecessors?
After extensively creating their hunter, Palamute (dog companion) and Palico (cat companion), the player, wakes up to a visit from twins Minato and Hinoa. They introduce the hunter to the village of Kamura, where everything they will need to get ready for a hunter is at their disposal. The first thing Minato and Hinoa ask of the hunter is to meet the elder Fugen, who tells them about the influx of monsters near the village. He also shares with the hunter the news of the upcoming monster rampage, where a group of monsters storms the village of Kamura. It is up to the player to defend the village from certain destruction.
Monster Hunter Rise’s story follows the traditional Monster Hunter formula much closer than Monster Hunter World. Monster Hunter World had cutscenes explaining what’s going on and had a lot of dialog between each assigned quest. Rise, on the other hand, tells the player that there are monsters nearby threatening the village and that they should get them. I like Rise’s concise storytelling. There are cutscenes when the player selects a new map in the village quests or is about to fight a new monster, but the Hub quests have almost no cutscenes, making jumping into a multiplayer quest efficient.
In my review for the Monster Hunter Rise demo, I mentioned that the graphics for the game are impressive. The full game is no different. I still believe that a wizard is working at Capcom because Monster Hunter Rise looks terrific. I’ve had no frame rate drops or resolution issues when playing Rise, whether in portable or TV modes. I also noticed interactable items are a lot more visually telling than they were in World. Environmental elements pop out more, making it easier for players to find their way through the map.
To say that Monster Hunter Rise improved its gameplay leaps and bounds would still be an understatement. First, let’s talk about the Wirebug. I already mentioned a bit of it in the demo, but I need to emphasize how much it improves the experience. At first, I found myself seldom using it, as I was used to older Monster Hunter games. After getting used to them in Rise, I don’t know how I’ll be able to go back. After practicing with them for a bit, they’ve become second nature to me. If I get prone by a monster, I can avoid certain death by using my Wirebug as an emergency escape tactic. I can even hop from mountain to mountain with them if I time it correctly. The Wirebug is a blast to use.
While on the subject, the Wirebug introduced new moves for combat as well. Each weapon has two Wirebug attacks using ZL and X, or ZL and A (R+X and R+A for ranged weapons) (default control settings). I didn’t see the use of these moves at first until I discovered one Wirebug attack using the Sword and Shield. It renders the hunter still, but it hits the monster numerous times (for a decent amount of damage) and, if timed correctly, can ignore the monster’s road, leading to some free damage. It’s these kinds of tricks that make me love the Monster Hunter series and Rise has tons of them.
Speaking of moves, later on in the game, the player gains access to “Switch Skills.” These are skills that the player can replace their usual moveset. For example, while using the Light Bowgun, I unlocked a skill that lets me change the dodge roll into a forward step. The forward step doesn’t go as far as the dodge roll, but it doesn’t have as much recovery time. This means I can start shooting sooner out of a dodge using the forward step versus the dodge roll. The Switch Skills allows for a lot of experimentation, giving players more options to customize their playstyle.
I touched on this point a bit in my review of the demo, but I’d like to elaborate on how much I love the map design of Rise. With the introduction of the Palamute, exploration became exciting and something I look forward to when unlocking a new area. I love being able to run past a herb, or any gathering point for that matter, pressing A, and continue running as if second nature. What’s more, quests where the player must hunt a certain number of small enemies, and gathering quests, are enjoyable now, as the quest target is now on the player’s minimap. This is a huge help, as now I can complete these without wasting half an hour looking for a particular herb or stone.
I didn’t realize how much I missed the Hub quests. Monster Hunter Rise returns to the village/Hub area quest system of Generations Ultimate and older. No longer am I held back by story quests that are mandatory and that players can’t join until after the host player views the cutscene. What’s more, the game now tells the player which quests are Key Quests and how many they have to clear before advancing to the next rank. What’s more, Hub quests don’t have as many cutscenes (or any at all) compared to the village quests. This means that players who want to experience the whole story are welcome to do so in the village quests, but those looking to jump into the action can focus on the Hub quests.
My only significant complaint so far in Monster Hunter Rise is the size of the minimap in portable mode. Often, I have to hold the L button to zoom in the minimap since I have trouble distinguishing what direction I’m going. This is not an issue in TV mode, but I feel like a more distinguished arrow would help me get a better idea of where I’m going.
Monster Hunter Rise is not only a chef’s kiss of a game for the Monster Hunter series, but also a phenomenal Switch game as well. I cannot stop myself from playing it ever since I got my hands on it. For Monster Hunter fans, Rise is a must-get. Even for first-time hunters, Monster Hunter Rise is a fantastic place to start.