More that 15 years in, the Monster Hunter formula proves to be one that is both enduring and equally addicting with each new release. Now that the (paint) ball is back with Nintendo with Monster Hunter Rise, can we expect a solid follow-up to the impressive Monster Hunter: World or is this fantastic beast best left unfound? Here’s our review.
Tried and True System
I’ve said this before but the template very much holds true in Rise. In a nutshell, previous Monster Hunter offerings really don’t present itself much in terms of story. It is basically like this… You are a hunter in a town/island/village etc… And you hunt monsters! That’s basically the whole fluff of the game. Not much to grasp on, right? Well to be honest, it didn’t really have to do much effort in that department, because what Monster Hunter sells very well is that very satisfying grind to better your character in almost every aspect. Think of this game as one grandiose boss fight after another, where you learn how the very intricacies on how to approach (and fear) these awe-inspiring beasts. You go on quests, hunt or capture a monster and loot/carve its rewards to make armor and weapons out of it This has been going on since the game’s first release way back on the PlayStation 2 and it proves to be a popular formula for success. So why fix it if it ain’t broke, right? Well, to be fair the franchise actually improved its tried and tested blueprint with every new title and Monster Hunter Rise is no exception. So with that out of the way for old hunters, here are the new features you can expect in Monster Hunter Rise. Which are surprisingly, quite a lot.
This is what the game’s story is revolved upon. As the new blood the village of Kamura, you are tasked to manage what’s about to go down in the place and that’s fending off a bunch of monsters going straight in your area. Rampage Quests are a fresh new take on the game where it deviates from the mold a bit and turns the game into a tower-defense style mode. Here, you try to hold out an ongoing horde of monsters with a lot of stuff at your disposal like ballista’s, traps, cannons and the like. Its a welcome addition to the game that gives the players a nice change of pace, but it feels like it can still have more room for improvement as the new feature can feel somewhat a bit more repetitive than what I would expect.
Goodbye Slingers, Hello Wirebugs
Wirebugs is a new feature in Monster Hunter Rise that is all about gaining much-needed mobility and height for your hunter. This is great for exploring or traversing the map in different ways or approaching certain types of monsters. This is a bit reminiscent of the Slinger from Monster Hunter World but the difference in this one is apart from flinging yourself via an obstacle or a wall, you can also traject yourself a short distance without latching on to anything, really. As fun as it sounds you can’t abuse the system too much as the feature is only limited to a few uses which goes on cooldown. Alternatively, it can also be an aid for the hunter to flee and recover when the need arises (to which I am very much guilty of).
Similarly, with Silkbind that wire can grant your equipped weapon with new moves, opening up greater avenues when using your favorite weapon. Sweet! The last mechanic under Wirebug is called Wirefall, which lets you regain composure in battle.
A Hunter’s Life for Me
If you are coming from Monster Hunter: World this might feel a little bit different because of the way the story is structured but to simplify things, you are basically focusing at 5 types of quests – the Village Quests, Hub Quests the new Special License Quests, Urgent Quests and the aforementioned Rampage Quests.
If you played previous Monster Hunter games you would be very familiar with the first 2 mentioned, as the Village Quests are simply easier, low-ranked missions that eases you in the game (at the same time appreciating the story) while the Hub Quests boils down to quests that you can tackle alone or, as the game is best played, with 3 of your buddies. Eventually, after finishing quests and meeting certain requirement you’ll have to take on Urgent Quests that essentially moves you progress along forward both in rank and difficulty.
The Special License Quests, on the other hand is a god-send as it effectively eliminates the repetitiveness of doing the same types of quests you would normally do on both Low Rank and High Rank. What is does is when you are nearing the end of a particular tier in the village quests it will give you a specific “Special License” mission that, upon completion fast-tracks your Hunter Rank progress. This nice little shortcut is a much-welcomed quality-of-life improvement that lets you get into the finer intricacies of the game much quicker.
Another neat feature that I would like to mention is that you can take on quests anywhere that you are standing now. Back in the old days you would normally talk to some elder in the village or go inside the Hub to select a quest in the quest board. Here in Rise it improves on it by just simply scrolling through your action bar on the lower-right corner of the screen and choosing your quest from there. It made things much more convenient now, not to mention saving up a lot of time walking back and forth to register on a mission.
Mass Hysteria! Cats and Dogs Living Together!
New to the game are these new dog companions called Palamutes that you can ride and aid the hunter in traversing much quicker in the map. Palicoes, on the other hand were introduced in previous games and they pretty much stay the same in what they do best and that is become a nuisance and an overall distraction for the monster your after. During your quests you can mix and match these companions to a maximum of 2 for solo hunts and 1 when you are in a party. In a group I would suggest to take these Palamutes for a spin, just for the lone reason that they generally look cool.
Switch Skills are Awesome
Perhaps my favorite feature in the game because really, apart from crafting armor, most of the meat you’ll be getting in this game is by utilizing and mastering the different weapons. Switch Skills are specific skills that you can interchange to your favorite weapon. With this feature you can fine-tune and customize weapons much more deeply and if this sounds familiar, its because that the Switch Skills are comparable to the Hunter Styles and Hunter Arts previously seen another Nintendo MH game – Monster Hunter Generations, which was somewhat missing from World. The main difference that I noticed here is that this time around, the skills also affect the basic moves of a weapon. As if that’s not enough variety for you, each weapon has a maximum of 3 skills slots, with each slot having 2 sub-options to choose from. Now, these skills aren’t available from the get-go, as you need to earn them through specific weapon-based quests that you must complete first. Another way of getting these skills is by crafting a variety of weapons, again you can acquire these eventually just by playing through the game.
Get to Grindin’ Those Buddies Early
Not really totally new in MHR but this is something that I would really recommend you cracking early on and that is hiring your buddies and upgrading up your farm (called the Argosy) as they will greatly impact the way you collect the much needed materials that you will need both for consumption and for farming. Again… Hire. Train. Upgrade.
A (Co)Hoot and a Half
Speaking of materials, legend has it that if you pet the game’s town mascot (Poogie in older titles), after a successful hunt you can expect better and rarer mats in your rewards screen. Now while the rumor was refuted by the game’s developers, longtime fans still hold on to that belief. So I would think now that Poogie is out of the picture and replaced by the adorable owl Cohoot, its safe to say that the popular theory circles back anew.
- New features shake up the known formula enough to make you want to get back to the hunt with your friends
- Customizing your Switch Skills opens some deep variety in gameplay
- Riding the Palamutes with a group is cool
- Rampage mode is fun for awhile but can be a bit on the repetitive side
- Cohoot is Poogie with wings that will still not give better reward
- New players coming in cold might get daunted by the controls and interface during the first few hours
New features and a deeper customization shake up the known formula enough to make you want to get back to the hunt. While the solo game is good, like all Monster Hunter games it is best played with a full compliment of 4 players. Rise and hunt, everyone! Monster Hunter Rise is available right now on the Nintendo Switch with a PC version to follow in early 2022.
Full disclosure: UnGeek was provided a review code by Capcom for this article.