Game Review: Monster Hunter Rise

Game Review: Monster Hunter Rise

Monster Hunter Rise finally launches on the Nintendo Switch on 26 March 2021 worldwide. With its phenomenal success of Monster Hunter World, many Nintendo Switch players have prayed for a Monster Hunter game to be delivered to the console. Lo and behold, we are finally getting a Monster Hunter game that is developed on the Switch platform from scratch! Today, let us dive into this review to see if the series’ latest iteration deserves to be added to your Switch game library.

Before we start, I believe we should address the Monster Hunter Rise Demo. I would personally recommend players to have a go or two on the demo with the Great Izuchi and Mizutsune but do not take the Magnamalo quest too seriously as a literal gauge of the game. There are a lot of factors such as Magnamalo spawn location, the tendency for the monster to run within 2 mins of the fight as well as the lack of armour skills and the insane amount of damage that it does that makes the Magnamalo fight an inaccurate representation of the actual fight you will face in the game.
Monster Hunter Rise is set in the Kamura Village where you are the hunter tasked by the Elder Fugen along with the other villagers to defend the town against the oncoming Rampage that almost ruined the village 50 years ago. From there on, your hunter is to aid with various quests from the village and the gathering hub as you take on various tasks and occasionally take on rampage quests.

Character creation is very detailed in this game with various sliders for many features of your characters, allowing players to create the perfect character of their dreams. Once you confirm your character creation as well as palamute and palico. Did I mention that this is the first monster hunter game that has dogs as a hunter companion? Finally, dog lovers can rejoice as you can make your palamute sit and shake. Furthermore, you can ride the palamute into battle! Palamutes are the more offensive version of your hunting companion as compared to Palicos. You can switch the combination to suit your needs for your solo hunts. Either 2 palamutes if you need more offensive power, 2 palicos if the quest is getting too hard for you or 1 of each, which is how I ran throughout my entire gameplay for a balance between offence and defence. I love how this game feels very similar to Yukumo Village of Monster Hunter Portable 3rd, which is one of my favourite monster hunter games. The feel of the Japanese village setting where the cherry blossom lines the side of the village, I enjoyed the sights and sounds the game has to offer. The music of the village maiden singing in the background is a banger and some of the battle themes are all-around solid.

Another aspect where you can see the Japanese theme is the monster designs. The new monsters are designed based on the Japanese Yokai Mythology and Folklore. Aknosom is based on Kasa-obake, the Great Izuchi from Kamaitachi, Tetranadon from Kappa etc. I love the creativity of the development team on how they incorporate such unique designs into their monsters and the monster designs and behavior just works with the environment and the ecology.

Monster Hunter Rise does mechanically what Monster Hunter Generations Ultimate did but better in many aspects. One of them is the ability to set switch skills. As the player advances further into the game, they will unlock the ability to use switch skills. Switch skills allow you to change part of the movesets of the weapon of your choice to suit the situation. I greatly enjoy this over the previous system of hunter styles as there is more customization for your weapon without the severe handicap. Having more choices for the player without the removal of the standard moveset is always great. Another change that I like is the wyvern riding system. Previously the players could do mounting attacks and once it hit the threshold, you could mount the monsters. While some many liked the previous system, I like the new one where you can ride the monsters and use it to attack other monsters within the map to get material from them. The thrill of riding the monsters is exhilarating and seeing those devastating attack that monsters often done upon you now being inflicted back onto the monsters gives me a sense of satisfaction that otherwise cannot be obtained.

To mount the monsters, players must use jumping attacks or use silkbind attacks to gather enough threshold to ride the monster. This brings us to the wirebug feature, the latest addition to Monster Hunter Rise. Wirebug allows players to swing around like Spider-man, zipping around in the air, allowing players to climb walls and wall run. This gives the game a unique approach to verticality gameplay that was mostly unique to insect glaive in the previous few games.

Wirebug can also be used during combat. Wirefall is an evasive move that allows players to recover midair and regain their footing for repositioning so prevent yourself from getting combed by monster’s follow up attacks. This is especially useful for various pin attacks that monsters such as Tetranadon and Magnamalo often does. Silkbind attacks, as mentioned earlier, are powerful moves that all 14 weapons in the game have. Using these powerful attacks allow you to build mount hits for riding monsters.

However, as much as there are many things I like about Monster Hunter Rise, there are a few things that I do have issues with. One of them is the new Rampage Quests. Rampage quests drop the players into The Stronghold where players will set up various hunting installations such as ballistas and cannons before the invasion of monsters which comes in waves. Once ready, players will engage in relentless waves of monsters. Players must do their best to repel the monsters until the Major Threat arrives, sometimes it is an Apex Monster.

While I do like the idea of engaging multiple monsters in the stronghold, however, this game mode feels like a glorified tower defence where players need to micromanage installations and other limited resources. Monster Hunter has been more of a player vs a worthy adversary and this game mode is a sharp deviation from what monster hunter is. I do applaud the attempt to try new things but as I have attempted all of my rampage quests solo, it was a very stressful experience playing this. I believe playing this with other players would be more enjoyable compared to solo playing rampage quests.

Another thing I did not like that the full content of the game is not available off the shelf. I have completed the final boss of the game to only find that my hunter rank is still capped at HR7 and not have its limit removed. This is unlike all the previous games in the series. I understand that the pandemic might have affected the development team, forcing them to deliver the product as it is. However, it still does leave an unpleasant taste to have your progress being forced to be stalled until the first DLC package to be dropped in April 2021. One of the director’s recent interview has confirmed that the true conclusion will be released alongside the DLC1 package and your HR limit will be unlocked only then. On the bright side, it does seem like Capcom plans to support the game with many free title updates so expect the content to increase in the future.

I would like to conclude that while the previous Generations Ultimate did suffer from performance issues, I am glad to report that this game is generally fine apart from a few exceptional locations such as the lava caverns and the frost islands with very specific attacks with a lot of particle effects that will cause a dip in performance but otherwise, in both docked mode and handheld mode, the game runs a smooth 30 fps. I have yet to suffer any input lag and it has been a joy to play. I played a few multiplayer quests and it runs smoothly on a docked mode with a USB ethernet adapter.

Conclusion

Monster Hunter Generations Ultimate players waiting for the next monster hunter game need not look any further! Monster Hunter Rise is best summarized as Monster Hunter Portable 3rd with Monster Hunter Generations Ultimate flashiness and Monster Hunter World Quality of Life upgrades. The game was developed from scratch on the Switch Console and using the new RE Engine, and you can tell when playing the game. Cutscenes look fresh, the game runs smooth and I believe all monster hunter fans will have a great time. New players need not worry as in my option, this is the most beginner-friendly Monster Hunter Game to date.

Pros:

  • Great Graphics on Switch
  • Great Performance in both docked and handheld mode
  • Quality of life upgrades!
  • More content promised in the future
  • SKIPPABLE CUTSCENES!

Cons:

  • Incomplete package out of the box
  • Rampage quests are not for everyone.
8/10
8/10

SOUP VERDICT: Souperlicious! Great for all newcomers and veterans!

A review code was provided by the publisher for the purpose of this review.

Written by NintendoSoup contributor Melvin.