Capcom’s latest entry in the long-running, action-packed Monster Hunter franchise has a lot to live up to. The most recent entry before that, Monster Hunter: World and its massive expansion “Iceborne,” was a huge success for the Japanese developer/publisher. Monster Hunter: World was essentially a soft reboot for the series, bringing in newcomers and introducing exciting new mechanics to bring veterans back into the hunt. Monster Hunter Rise is meant to be a continuation of those improvements, and while the game doesn’t reach the same highs as World and Iceborne, it still manages to be yet another exceptional title for the franchise.
Even though it is a Switch exclusive (for now), Monster Hunter Rise is a gorgeous title on Nintendo’s hybrid system. No, it doesn’t have the same visual fidelity as World, but thanks to the incredible RE Engine from Capcom, the game runs like a dream and has even faster loading times than World.
The Japanese theme of the new hub area, Kamura Village, and the five surrounding locales are smaller than World, hence the faster loading times, but this allows hunters to go after monsters much faster, without having to explore a vast area for several minutes at a time. By speaking to one of the NPCs in the bustling village, players can either create a lobby, join another lobby, or even scroll through their friend’s list to find friends that are currently online. Unlike other Switch games, players can even invite a friend to join their lobby, without the need for a separate application.
This improvement to Monster Hunter is much appreciated and just goes to show that Capcom really went out of its way to make this entry less time-consuming than past titles. Sure, players should still get used to hunting several monsters over and over again, but getting the perfect materials for armor sets and most-wanted weapons isn’t a drag, especially since most basic quests can be finished in about 10-15 minutes.
Something that’s new to Monster Hunter Rise is the Wirebug mechanics, and these really change the game – not only in terms of traversal but combat as well. By using these recoverable bugs, players can now zip around the sky and get to areas much faster, and because the locales are full of high cliffs and mountains, these are a must if players want to find the endemic life littered about the areas. These can be things such as temporary attack and defense boosts, toads that can be used to poison monsters, and even a skunk that can attract monsters to the player’s location. These Wirebugs are one of the best things that have ever happened to Monster Hunter, and once players really get the hang of them, they’ll wonder how they ever played the series without it.
Running up walls to get to the top of a cliff is continuously gratifying and enjoyable. Being able to look down from a high point at a monster and then proceed to jump down to smack its face is honestly an unbelievable feeling. And like mentioned before, these bugs are a great asset during battle and are also used to pull off new, technical attacks called Switch Skills. Each of the 14 weapon types in Monster Hunter Rise has an array of skills that players can switch between, but every weapon will have two at a time. A weapon like the Hunting Horn for example can use two Wirebugs to pull off a super-powerful, yet slow attack that pierces the monster and attaches a wire to them. These attacks are usually very dramatic and spectacular, very similar to the Hunter Arts from Monster Hunter Generations.
These abilities are not only flashy and powerful, but they really help to encourage players to experiment with all of the game’s weapons and try out all of the different Switch Skills. For players out there that are used to focusing on one weapon, it’s easier now than ever before to try all types of weapons. Since materials and monster parts are easier to obtain, being able to craft different weapon types is doable and the game certainly pushes players to do so.
Since the difficulty for Monster Hunter Rise is on the easier side, at least until players reach the high-rank quest lines, players can use a weapon that’s a little weaker than what they’re used to and not feel overwhelmed. The large monsters don’t pose too much of a threat, making things simpler for newcomers and making the series more approachable. Quality of life features like auto-crafting and unlimited Whetstones makes a return from World, and there are even more features in place to make things more user-friendly, such as being able to recover from an attack using the Wirebug or seeing the large monsters’ locations without the need of tracking prints or throwing paintballs.
Even though the difficulty isn’t what die-hard fans might be looking for, there’s no denying that Monster Hunter Rise is the most accessible title in the series to date. Its systems and mechanics will be confusing for brand-new players at first, but once they really get into it and learn what everything is about, players can look forward to a thrilling and exciting hunting experience with so much content to offer. And with free title updates coming soon from Capcom, there will be even more quests to partake in and monsters to hunt. This isn’t the ultimate package that World and Iceborne was, but the compact nature of Monster Hunter Rise feels perfect on the Switch and will definitely serve as a blueprint for future entries.
Monster Hunter Rise is now available for the Nintendo Switch. A PC port will release sometime in 2022. Geisha411 was provided a code for this review.