Monster Hunter Rise sure is popular. With over five million copies already shipped it is a wonderfully fresh addition to the franchise. But, apart from the number of copies sold, there is another indicator of the game’s popularity: guidebooks. Yeah, these heavy printed things that stupid collectors like me or Japanese gamers still buy. There have been guides for Monster Hunter 4G (Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate), Monster Hunter X (Monster Hunter Generations), Monster Hunter XX (Monster Hunter Generations Ultimate) and Monster Hunter World. These books are massive with over 1000 pages and clocking in at roughly 2 kgs! So let’s do a comparison of the Monster Hunter Guidebooks.
For Monster Hunter Rise the situation is even better, one should think, because there is not only one guide, but two of them! First, there is the official one by the developer itself: Capcom!
Then we get one from Kadokawa:
Both of the guides were released right next to the game (26/03/2021), so which one should you get? Let’s compare them to find out.
The Capcom one measures 14.5x21cm and has 265 pages. It’s a small guide that took me completely by surprise when it arrived because I expected something bigger. Compared to the above mentioned ones it’s tiny on my shelf. The Kadokawa guide is larger (26x21cm) but has roughly the same number of pages (256). At least this one won’t be dwarfed next to the other guides.
Blunt, sharp or boom!
The majority of pages in Capcom’s guide (a whopping 156 of the pages) is filled with weapon info. You get the weapon trees as well as weapon details and images for all weapons up to rarity 3. So all the stuff that becomes available with High Rank is left out.
Kadokawa uses 67 pages for weapon presentation. Unfortunately, the publisher opted to separate the images from the weapon trees thus making it harder to find what you’re looking for when you don’t know any Japanese. (No comments about why you would look up stuff in these books when you don’t know Japanese. We’re collectors here, we don’t judge.) That said, the information is concise and includes all necessary details, but it’s more fun to browse Capcom’s guide in the end. A slight win for Capcom in this round!
What’s equally important to weapons for a hunter? Right, dear Doodle, armour! Capcom’s offer features all of the armour sets up to rarity 3 with pictures of the female and male set and all stats underneath them. It’s beautiful to browse through them and get inspirations for your next look. Fashion options for your Palicoes and Palamutes are available, too, on 30 pages in the same format. It’s a concise overview of what’s available for your helpers up to rarity 3.
Kadokawa’s guide has larger pages and uses 15 of them for your hunter’s garb. The presented information is similar, but the images are smaller. They’re only half the size of those in Capcom’s guide. That’s a shame, because you can’t really enjoy these thumbnails. The browsing factor is weak in this one. The 15 pages used for helper’s stuff are filled in a similar way: all the information, too tiny pictures. Because I get these guides as coffee table books it’s Capcom’s win again.
Things that make you go, “Ouch!”
So, we got weapons and armour. But the franchise is called Monster Hunter, so let’s collect all the information we need for our hunts. The Capcom guide devotes 20 pages to all the small and large monsters in the game. We get basic information and pictures of the large monsters with two monsters described per page for large beasts and six monsters per page for minor threats. It’s sufficient, but doesn’t really do the creatures justice.
Kadokawa’s guide excels at this point with 35 pages full of very detailed information. Each large monster gets a page of its own with detailed stats, picture and, most important for us, schematics of breakable parts. This is what I expect a guide to be like. It’s delightful to thumb through even without knowing Japanese, simply because of the pictures and schematics. The small fry is treated to basic stats only, but that’s perfectly fine with me. It’s small fry after all. The point in this round goes to Kadokawa! But there’s still more to compare in our Monster Hunter Guidebooks.
Excuse me, is this the way to the monster?
We’re armed, armoured and filled to the brim with knowledge. Now all we need is to find our way around the locales. For that, the Capcom guide has a foldable map, nearly the size of A3, of all of them. It’s usable, but the only information shown is the locations of main camp and subcamps. Once you’ve found those, the map is nice, but useless. It’s a tear-out one, so you could basically frame it for your living room. However, being a map where form follows function, it lacks the flourish to do so, so you probably wouldn’t go that far. This is a rather meagre offering.
Kadokawa devotes eleven pages to the locales. We get a large map featuring not only the bases, but also all of the mining and gathering spots, and detailed information for them, for each locale. But that’s not all. Do you remember that there are ten relic scrolls hidden in each locale? If you have yet to find them, Kadokawa’s guide not only shows them on the maps, but also has screenshots of their precise location ready for you. The screenshots are a bit on the small side, but still very helpful! Kadokawa’s win!
Zinogre Jasper or Dung?
The quest is over, let’s have a look at the results. According to my detailed calculations, both Capcom and Kadokawa earn two points each. It’s a draw! Does that mean that both guides are lucky finds like the elusive Zinogre Jasper? Well, not quite, unfortunately. If you read my ramblings closely, you’ll notice that weapons and armour are only featured up to rarity 3, right? We’re talking Low Rank here. All of the High Rank gear is missing. In both guides. Additionally, some of the monsters that are only huntable (Is that a word? Well, now it is!) in High Rank are missing, too. Again, in both guides!
Are both guides the equivalent to dung, then? I wouldn’t go that far. Both guides are nice to have, but I can’t recommend one over the other. Neither is good enough on its own, but they complement each other nicely. They’re roughly the same price with around 2000 Yen, too. But shelling out 4000 Yen plus shipping and taxes for guides only covering half of the, actually still unfinished, game might be something only very devoted Monster Hunter fans might be up to. Or weirdos like me.