- Exciting & engaging combat
- Plenty of ways to play
- Great new features
- Dog lovers rejoice!
- Intimidatingly deep mechanics
- Countless tutorials to read
- Might be tough for new players
Monster Hunter Rise is the latest installment in the Monster Hunter franchise, a series of action role-playing games developed by Capcom. The series started with the original Monster Hunter for the PlayStation 2 in 2004. Rise is the sixth game in the main series, but there have also been eleven spin-off titles, with the twelfth set to release this summer.
The series exploded in popularity in 2018 with the release of Monster Hunter: World. To date, the game has become Capcomís best-selling title by a large margin, outclassing top games of other popular franchises, like Resident Evil and Street Fighter.
On the surface, Rise is a fun action-RPG, where you fight incredible boss monsters in dynamic environments, but it also goes much deeper. There are fourteen different kinds of weapons to master, each with their own variations, dozens of different armor sets to try on, and plenty more other features that would take too long to list.
Some players might lean one way or the other when it comes to the monster hunting action or the deep RPG mechanics of upgrading weapons and armor, so letís take a look at both sides in Monster Hunter Rise.
The RPG side
Rise starts off like most RPGs Ė with character creation. There are a ton of options to choose from, but there isnít anything too revolutionary at this point. Perhaps the most exciting part is realizing you also get to create your Palamute and Palico companions.
The Palamute is one of the best new additions in Monster Hunter Rise. Not only are they adorable companions, they also serve as a fast mount, getting you across the map faster than you ever could on foot. They are also ready to fight alongside you at any moment.
All that monster hunting has to be worth something, and that something is usually going to mean elegant weapons and stylish armor, as well as other, less conspicuous upgrades.
This is the one side of the game thatís a little more optional than say, fighting monsters. You donít necessarily need to grind for the best weapons or armors if you donít feel like it Ė you can keep it simple and still enjoy the action.
The plethora of options and upgrades is what propels the game forward. Each new creature you discover can provide new and exciting items to use. On the other hand, the complexity and depth of all this can be something that intimidates new players.
Of course, the essence of Monster Hunter Rise revolves around being a monster hunter. You wonít get anywhere in this game without going out into the world and proving your combat prowess. As a resident hunter of the Kamura Village, you will be sent out into the dangerous parts of the world to hunt formidable beasts.
If you have played a similar action game, many of the skills will transfer over, but getting the fine details might be what takes quite a bit time for a new player to learn. Despite all the tutorials in this game (and there are a lot), thereís no obvious way to understand any more than the basics of combat. If you are confused, you can go to the Training Area in Kamura and the game will show you some basic combos with any weapon you bring.
Once you finally get the hang of it, the action can get pretty exciting. Each new monster brings new challenges and forces you to employ new tactics. The fifty-minute time limit also ensures that you canít always just take your time and slowly whittle the monster down. It can sometimes force a little more critical thinking and strategy than spamming arrows from afar.
As mentioned before, there are fourteen different weapon options, making it easy to switch things up when you feel the need. Each weapon has different controls and advantages over other weapons, making some weapons a better choice depending on what monster youíre hunting. And of course, every new monster slain unlocks new weapon design options, so, with some effort, you can sport the coolest and most stylish weapons in Kamura.
Overall the action is fun, engaging, and rewards creativity. Thereís not much more to ask for.
Aside from the excellent addition of the Palamute companion, Monster Hunter Rise features almost double the amount of monsters you can find in Monster Hunter: World, alongside some other new features.
In Rise, players can utilize a creature called the wirebug to jump and swing through the air. This allows players to bypass environmental obstacles and reach new heights, and this feature really makes exploration an option in the game. Aside from the extra movement, the wirebugs can also be used to jump on the back of a weakened monster and puppet its movements in whatís called ďwyvern riding.Ē
Regardless of how you use it, thereís no doubt that jumping on the back of a giant monster is exciting. But it actually changes a very interesting part of the game. Without this feature, any other monster on the map can randomly interrupt your battle. This chaos can certainly be exciting, but at times it can also get frustrating.
Wyvern riding lets you turn chaos into a tool. With some luck, or even in-game items, you can lure other monsters towards your target and then use them to deal massive damage. Thankfully itís not something you can do anytime you want; the monsters need to take specific types of damage (either from another monster or from wirebug-based attacks) so you canít just ride any monster to your heartís content at any time.
But perhaps the most anticipated, and potentially exciting, new feature of Monster Hunter Rise, was supposed to be the Rampage. Unfortunately, it felt a little underwhelming.
From the very beginning of the game, the Rampage is explained as a looming threat that could easily destroy your hometown of Kamura Village. Everyone there is busy preparing for the event, and making sure their monster hunters have everything they need to fight off the horde.
This build up makes it sound very intense and exciting Ė itís easy to picture your character fighting waves of giant monsters surrounded by other hunters from the village in a final, desperate attempt to beat back groups of powerful monsters threatening their very existence.
The rampages can be fun, but they are more about managing defenses like cannons and ballistas rather than fighting in the front lines. In a game full of hunting monster after monster, it can be a nice diversion from the usual combat, and there are certainly exciting moments Ė but in the end, it doesnít quite live up to the expectations the game itself sets up.
Monster Hunter Rise is a great game. It has a lot going for it, from the great addition of wirebugs and palamutes, to the invariably excellent monster designs. The game does a great job at not taking itself too seriously, as there are plenty of fun jokes and quirky moments to discover throughout the village.
But of course, not everything is perfect. The Rampages are somewhat underwhelming, no thanks to a big build up, and if you wanted to publish all the tutorials you have to read early on, it would be quite a doorstopper of a book. But if you can forgive those, rather minor, transgressions, you will have a lot of fun exploring the world and slaying monsters.
Capcom has already announced plans for additional content including free and paid DLC. So even if Monster Hunter Rise isnít everything you dreamed it would be right now, it might be in the future. The first DLC is planned to drop at the end of this month, so thankfully fans wonít have to wait long.
What are your thoughts on Monster Hunter Rise? Do you have a favorite monster from the franchise? Leave a comment to let us know!
Matt Buckley | Gamepressure.com