If you’ve played Monster Hunter World and it’s expansion, Iceborne, chances are you’ll breeze through Monster Hunter Rise. Monster Hunter Rise on Nintendo Switch is quite a different experience to Monster Hunter World and one that newcomers to the franchise can easily jump into and enjoy right off the bat.
Kicking things off, players will take on the role of a Kamura village citizen who becomes a Hunter. The village’s resident Wyverian twins Hinoa and Minoto promote you to the rank of Hunter and take you to see Elder Fugen. Elder Fugen assigns you your quests and these quests are primarily for you to prepare for the next “Calamity”. As you progress throughout the game, the quests increase in difficulty quite substantially so don’t be fooled by some earlier ones which will have you gathering specific resources on the map.
Circling back to the “Calamity” mentioned above though, there’s a story behind this. Kamura village was subject to a violent rampage 50 years ago where enraged monsters attacked everything and everyone within. The survivors managed to fight off the beasts and ever since then, they’ve been training their descendants to prepare for the next monstrous “Calamity”. This is where you as the Hunter fit into the equation since you’ll be helping out Kamura village fend off vicious monsters. The story of Monster Hunter Rise isn’t exactly Shakespearean stuff but does the job in propelling the game forward.
In Monster Hunter Rise, new monsters are introduced to the player throughout the game via starred quests. Cutscenes that are filled with some rather sombre poetry introduce the monsters and the higher the star ranking, the harder the monster is to fight. The cutscenes that are used to introduce monsters feature poems which describe a monster’s abilities or most notable features. If you play with the English voice-acting enabled these poems can come across as quite dark especially when they mention how certain monsters tear apart prey or wreak havoc in the world.
As you complete tasks for Fugen, you’ll slowly but surely work your way up the ranks of the Guild back in Kamura village. This is standard Monster Hunter fare but where Rise excels is that the entire game is far more streamlined. Monster Hunter World was already moving towards this with numerous quality of life improvements and changes made to set it apart from older generation Monster Hunter games. Rise further improves upon this by trimming off even more fat while retaining the best bits of the core Monster Hunter meal.
Starting a new character, players will have access to the rather powerful character creation kit. Everything from your facial structure to your hairstyle and default outfit is customizable and there’s plenty of options to choose from. New to Rise is the ability to create a Palamute, a brand new canine companion which plays an invaluable role in the game as your trusty mount.
Players can easily spend up to an hour or more in the character creator since it’s so enjoyable to use. Do note however that once you pick a voice type, you won’t be able to change this in-game so maybe experiment with different voice types first before finally settling on one. This time around, it does make quite a big difference since your player character is a lot more vocal in-game. You can save character presets and this helps with re-designing characters later on.
Once your character is up and running, you’ll be questing and introduced to the new gameplay mechanics straight away. Faster, more fluid movement and Wirebugs are the key changes that Rise brings to the table. Players have far more freedom to go wherever they want to on the map and the sense of scale on the actual maps feels great. Being able to zip around using wirebugs, as well as being able to mount your Palamute, makes traversing different regions a lot faster.
Movement looks and feels great in Monster Hunter Rise and Capcom have definitely done a great job here. For example, being able to run after a monster, launch yourself with a wirebug into a wall, wall-run a short distance, launch off and then smash your weapon into a target is an incredibly satisfying gameplay mechanic. It also looks great in action and Monster Hunter Rise is definitely going to result in gamers recording some amazing video clips using the Nintendo Switch’s built-in recording option.
Thanks to the introduction of the Wirebug, there are numerous changes to weapons in the game. Each weapon has its own set of wirebug mechanics and players will have to learn how to use these in stringing together combo attacks. Additionally, there are also new attack skills known as “Switch Skills” which can be swapped around back at Kamura village. These skills alter some of your combos to perform different attacks and players will find this level of customization quite handy when taking on very specific monsters or when trying out a different playstyle.
The learning curve, while quite steep, is not too bad. The in-game tutorials teach you everything you need to know and thanks to the newcomer friendly streamlined upgrade mechanics, Monster Hunter Rise is a great way to get someone new into the Monster Hunter franchise.
Given that playing the game co-operatively and taking on hunts is a big part of the game, players will have to make use of Nintendo Online to team up for hunts. However, the entire game can be played solo and can be completed solo too. Playing with others does add to the game’s overall fun factor though and it’s quite a different experience playing with friends or other random hunters.
Additionally, there are also new “Rampage” quests which players can take on. These involve defending the gates of Kamura village from an incoming horde of monsters. Players will be able to build defences and place NPC characters around the Kamura stronghold gates to assist them. Defeating the waves of monsters and then the main target of the Rampage hunt rewards players with plenty of monster materials and items which can be used to further upgrade their weapons and armour. It’s a great way to grind for new gear and one that’s really quite enjoyable. It’s also a welcome break from the standard hunt quests since defending the gates can be quite intense with so many monsters around.
Players in Monster Hunter Rise can also use the wirebug to mount Wyvern monsters and use them against other monsters. This is a fairly simple gameplay mechanic to pull off but is extremely enjoyable in action. It also dishes out a tonne of damage when you land “Punisher” attacks. Using Wyvern Riding in a hunt can be quite nifty, literally changing the outcome of a battle quite significantly, especially if you manage to land one of the aforementioned punisher attacks. Wyvern Riding deals a large amount of damage and players can even use it to smash monsters into walls which may feel familiar to those who played Monster Hunter World: Iceborne. Ultimately, if you use it right, you’ll have a great time in battle.
Upgrading your weapons and armour in Monster Hunter Rise still relies on the formula of hunting specific monsters and either slaying or capturing them for monster parts. These parts are then used to craft better gear and the core gameplay loop is still intact here. Where it differs somewhat is in the fact that the Rampage quests can yield materials faster and this speeds up the improvement process somewhat.
Players will also be able to send out their new “Cohoot”, an owl-like creature, to obtain items and can also make use of “Meowcernary” Palicos to find even more items. Crafting is as enjoyable as ever and the weapon and armour upgrade trees feature numerous creative designs which look quite visually appealing while also imparting multiple varied effects in battle. The strategic gameplay is still as real as ever here but players are encouraged to try out different builds to see what works best for them against specific monsters.
Monster Hunter Rise also features a photo mode in-game in which players will use their Cohoot to take gorgeous screenshots whenever they want. Other Monster Hunter franchise returning elements include some fan favourite monsters still being present in the game as well still being able to customize your Hunter’s home and being able to eat delicious meals. The meals this time around though are dango and not five star full course platters served by a cat.
The game has also done away with the Capture Net opting to just let players immediately capture Endemic Life while out on hunts. Some of the Endemic Life such as the Escuregot can be used in battles and these serve as replacements for some items which perform similar effects in Monster Hunter World. The Escuregot for example, emits a healing mist. There are also Spiribirds scattered throughout maps which buff the player with certain effects such as increased stamina or health.
Graphically, the Nintendo Switch delivers some great visuals in both docked and handheld modes. Capcom’s RE Engine runs extremely smoothly on Switch and even when things get heated in battles, the game doesn’t have framerate struggles surprisingly. It’s no Monster Hunter World in terms of visuals and Capcom have had to cut down on numerous extra visual touches but given that this is a Nintendo Switch title, what they’ve managed to pull off here is incredibly remarkable. The soundtrack of Monster Hunter Rise is as excellent as ever too with the Kamura village main theme being particularly catchy even though it’s sung in the Monster Hunter language. Specific monster themes are also really quite dramatic and the overall soundtrack is well worth listening to while hunting monsters.
Monster Hunter Rise is an excellent entry into the Monster Hunter franchise. The new mechanics introduced to the game such as riding your Palamute and using wirebugs across the game’s entire weapon selection bring a breath of fresh air to a tried and trusted formula that seasoned veterans can enjoy. Newcomers can also enjoy the game thanks to the in-game tutorials and slightly easier difficulty overall. Capcom are also supporting the game post-launch and will be delivering updates and new monsters for quite a while. Monster Hunter Rise comes highly recommended from us and really does shine on Nintendo Switch.
You can purchase Monster Hunter Rise here for £49.99.
Monster Hunter Rise is an action role-playing game developed and published by Capcom for the Nintendo Switch. It is the sixth mainline instalment in the Monster Hunter series after Monster Hunter: World and was released worldwide on March 26, 2021.
Platforms: Nintendo Switch
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