- Developer: Capcom
- Publisher: Nintendo
- Release Date: 26/03/2021
- Price: £49.99 / $59.99
- Review code provided by Nintendo
Introducing: Monster Hunter Rise Switch Review
The long-awaited Monster Hunter Rise is here and we have a detailed review. Rise is the latest entry in Capcom’s ever so popular Monster Hunter franchise. On the Switch, it is the direct successor to Monster Hunter Generations Ultimate and totally revamps the timing RPG game!
Timing RPG I hear you say? Yes! While there is a lot of action in Monster Hunter Rise-and you’re always at the centre of it-the games aren’t action RPGs. Button-mashing won’t help you. In fact, it will be your downfall because timing is everything. Each and every action in the Monster Hunter games takes up some time. Attacking with your weapon, drinking a health potion or gobbling down a steak (“So tasty!”) take up a distinct time and can’t be cancelled. That is, once you start an action, you will have to see it through, without a way to stop it.
Now, imagine you’re mashing the attack-button over and over again, only to see that your target starts preparing to breathe fire upon you. Panicking you press the dodge button only to find out that the game will not let you dodge before your attack sequence is finished. That means you’ll nicely dodge away burning. Again, timing is everything in this game.
That said, let us delve into the world of Monster Hunter Rise with our review now!
Shake it like Bishaten!
After a very detailed character creation sequence beginning with your own avatar and then spending time on your two first hunting buddies, a Palamute (riding doggy) and a Palico (cat creature), you find yourself in the beautiful village of Kamura. You are a novice monster hunter and Kamura needs you. You see, the Rampage, a stampede of monsters, threatens to overrun the village and you are their main force of defence. Connected to the Rampage and feeding off it is Magnamalo, this game’s poster creature. Stop the Rampage and defeat Magnamalo to save the village and perhaps find out why it’s happening.
Now, how do you do that? In true Monster Hunter fashion you simply “Get Gud!” That means you start learning the ropes in Kamura’s new Training Area or set out on Training Quests if you have never played a Monster Hunter game before or if you want to try out a new weapon. If you are a veteran or feel ready for the real thing, hop over to the village’s quest counter. Quests come in different varieties.
Start the Expedition
First, there are expeditions. Here you can explore a location and gather plants, insects, minerals etc. These quests have no time limit, so you can use them to learn the lay of the land. Beware that there still are small and large monsters around, so don’t go in unprepared. (More on that later.) Then we have optional subquests of which you can select up to five to fulfill during your expeditions or real quests. These quests might be to collect honey three times or to hunt fourteen smaller monsters.
This is a huge difference to previous Monster Hunter games, where subquests were tied to an individual quest. Now they aren’t and you can use as many quests as you need to fulfill them and collect their rewards. Finally, we come to the regular quests. These give you a target monster to hunt (that means killing or capturing), to slay (that means killing) or to capture and a time limit, usually fifty minutes. You’ll notice that some quests have a small red diamond next to their name. These are key quests of which you have to clear a certain number to receive an Urgent Quest. Your clear rate is always displayed at the quest counter. Successfully return from an urgent quest to advance to the next level of more difficult quests and progress the story.
Cat got your tongue, Pukei-Pukei?
To hunt monsters you need two things: a weapon to deal damage and armour to not get hurt. And this is where the addictiveness of the Monster Hunter series comes from. You see, you hunt monsters and take the spoils of these hunts (like horns, teeth, scales, guts and so on) to create better weapons and better armour only to hunt more ferocious beasts. Then you take their spoils and … I think you get the picture. With fourteen different types of weapons and countless different armour sets to choose from, you have every opportunity to flesh out your hunting style.
Speaking of style: Every armour set does not only sport a different look, but gives you different skills. To be more precise, each of the five different parts that make up an armour set offer different skills, e.g. “Attack Boost”. These skills stack, so if you wear a helmet with a certain skill and also chain mail with the same skill, you’ll have that skill at level 2. Wearing a complete set of armour will offer an additional bonus as well. This is one of the quality of life changes from Monster Hunter Generations Ultimate to Rise. No more calculating skill points!
We have talked about armour, let’s talk about weapons, too! Hunting stronger monsters means that you have to deal more damage. To do that, upgrade your gear or get a new weapon at the smithy. A weapon’s damage is a combination of its raw damage value and either elemental (fire, water, ice, thunder, dragon) or status (poison, sleep, blast) damage. As each monster is weak to a different element or status, you need to pick your weapon accordingly. Luckily you can see all your options in a skill tree for each weapon.
Roll it like Volvidon!
Ready to set out? Not yet, young hunter. Before you set foot into one of the five different locales, have a meal! You can’t fight on an empty stomach. No, seriously, having some Bunny Dango before a hunt will up your stamina (necessary for evading and wall running) and health (necessary for survival) during a hunt. Also, the meal will grant you special benefits, e.g. a quicker sharpening time. (And you will need to sharpen your weapon quite often for optimal monster slaying!) Now you’re ready!
You can take on monsters on your own in village quests or together with friends or random strangers in hub quests. All quests are sorted according to difficulty from one to six stars (village) or Hunter Rank one to seven (hub). Quests up to HR4 are low rank, from HR5 and onwards are high rank. High rank quests have stronger monsters and result in high rank spoils allowing you to craft high rank gear. There is no high rank in village quests.
Down to the Village
Village quests are undertaken by you and two of your hunting helpers. Your Palamutes and Palicos will support you on your hunt by attacking monsters, offering heals or, in the case of a Palamute, letting you ride on its back. They’re there for you and have your back. Hub quests are a bit different. Here, up to four hunters accompanied each by a hunting helper take on the quests. That’s different to before, where you could only bring a Palico if you hunted together with a single other hunter.
Another and more important change is the fact that hub quests now scale according to the number of hunters taking part. In previous games, hub quests were made for two hunters. So a party of four would quickly make minced meat out of a beast. With Rise, the health of the monsters scales according to the number of hunters. If you’re alone, the monster is already stronger than during a village quest. Bring a partner and its health doubles. Bring a third and then a fourth hunter and the amount of health rises each time. Lucky us, it also works the other way around. When a hunter leaves the quest the monster’s health is adjusted downwards again. This change really makes a difference!
Speaking of changes, I noticed numerous quality of life enhancements during my review of Monster Hunter Rise. From little things like having an infinite amount of whetstones in your possession and no longer relying on hot or cold drinks to thrive in harsh environments to the fact that you’ll never be without a map anymore. Also, monsters will always be visible on said map thanks to your Cohoot, a clever little owl-helper that reports their movements to you. But that is not the biggest change in the game. For Rise, the mounting mechanic present in previous entries was removed in favour of the Wirebugs. These are little insects that let you fly through the air giving air attack power to all weapons. They also let you bind and then ride monsters so that you can fight one large beast by controlling another large monster. Dealing huge damage was never that pleasant before!
Incite it like Magnamalo!
It’s no secret that the locales of Monster Hunter games are carefully designed both visually and auditorially. Rise doesn’t disappoint. In fact, it is the best looking and best sounding entry on a Nintendo System so far. The new RE Engine does wonders on our little hybrid console: The environments are full of life, colours and natural sounds. The music is an orchestral score again, which deserves to be played in concert halls (And in Japan actually is, every year!). Each monster has its own theme that begins playing once you engage it and fades into silence once it leaves the area, leaving you in pursuit. It’s all so beautiful and detailed that you’ll end up simply exploring the world nearly forgetting about your quest. Well, that is until your quest objective finds you while out on the prowl for a meal.
Bugs, Bugs, everywhere!
There are Flashbugs, Godbugs, Bitterbugs and more in Monster Hunter Rise. And these are the only bugs I encountered. The game runs fine both docked and handheld. The loading times are as awesome as is the nearly constant framerate. Simply perfect!
Now to wrap up our review of Monster Hunter Rise. With all the changes and enhancements, Monster Hunter Rise is the best entry in the series so far. It successfully opens up to new hunters by being more accessible without dumbing down complexity or difficulty. Instead it streamlines and eases new hunters into the field.
- Lots of quality of life enhancements
- Possibility to have a meal in your camp
- Change weapon and armour in your camp
- Subcamps (once you discovered them)
- Just hop onto a hub quest without needing to find a room first
- Great performance, sound and visuals
- It’s Monster Hunter!
- The difference in difficulty between village and hub quests has gotten even bigger than before