Finally the new Monster Hunter Rise is here and with it the Monster Hunter Rise Review. Albeit as a Nintendo Switch exclusive right now, it will release on pc early next year. So Nintendo Switch owners rejoice and PC players, let your anticipations rise. This one is definitely worth the wait.
Monster Hunter Rise Review TL;DR
This iteration in the Monster Hunter franchise builds upon what they learned in Monster Hunter World. It’s made to take advantage of the Nintendo Switch’s capabilities and does so very well. The newly added features are hit and miss but not all of them are mandatory. If you love the classic Monster Hunter experience this game will definitely tick all the right boxes. Buy it if you are a veteran and love the series, and if this is your first Monster Hunter game it’s a good start as well.
A two part game
Before getting into the details of gameplay, graphics, sound, and performance; I have to make clear that Monster Hunter Rise has split the Single Player part and Multiplayer experiences. Henceforth I will be splitting up the review to cover both parts and cover the general parts in a separate section. Furthermore, we will look at the performance and battery life when playing in handheld-mode.
Monster Hunter Rise general features review
Monster Hunter Rise builds on the good of Monster Hunter World, adds new features, and takes some of the old. The complete Monster Hunter Rise package is a smooth enjoyable game for the Nintendo Switch. Making sacrifices in the right place to amp up the key features that make the franchise top tier.
You are a Hunter that protects the Village of Kamura by defeating monsters that terrorize the neighboring areas. Firstly you accept a quest from one of the Quest Maidens, Hinoa or Minoto. Then you create your own Dango; a skewer with flavored rice balls that have a chance of giving you a nice buff. And off you go.
Immediately you encounter one of the big differences between Monster Hunter Rise and Monster Hunter World. You are no longer picking up clues or examining tracks to find out where your target resides. The icons are visible on the map for all the monsters currently in the area. Unless it’s the first time you encounter this monster, then there will be a large Question Mark icon. This feels less like hunting or tracking. You simply pick the right icon and dash towards it to initiate a fight
This is further emphasized by the new buddies that have been added: Palamutes. Huge dogs that you can ride and help you fight the monster. In Single Player you have your Palamute and Palico to assist you. These make the fights pretty balanced and you can customize them both to your own liking. But the Palamutes serve as mounts as well. You ride them towards the monster and while riding you can even harvest materials, pop potions and sharpen your weapon. The focus is more on the thrill of the fight no longer on the thrill of the hunt to build up any tension.
Personally I liked the tracking using your scout flies in Monster Hunter World and yes I do miss it. But the upside to Palamutes is that the downtime between fights is a lot shorter. It’s easier to go around the map and harvest materials or helpers that can give you the edge in the oncoming fight. When the monster runs you can hop on your Palamute, sharpen your weapon while in pursuit.
The second big change in Monster Hunter Rise are the Wire Bugs. You throw out these bugs and use their strong silk to pull you up or straight ahead. Creating more movement options while roaming the area and during combat.
The maps in Monster Hunter Rise are smaller compared to Monster Hunter World. But they offer a lot of exploration options when you start using Wire Bugs. Rarely any place in the area is blocked by a skybox or invisible wall. You can dash around to the highest point and look down on the top of the trees or enjoy the waterfalls in the distance.
You start off with 2 charges and every time you use a wire bug one depletes. These charge fairly quickly, and you can combine them with wall running with Wire Bug dashes to reach any place you like.
During combat, each weapon has two Silkbind Moves. These moves use the power of your Wire Bugs to deal special damage and make the monster more susceptible for riding them. Some of these moves deal a lot of damage as well and will make it into your rotation very quickly.
The moves use one to two Wire Bug charges and have a longer cooldown period after using them. So making sure they hit is important. Picking up additional wirebugs before combat is a good move if you plan on using your Silkbind Moves frequently.
This feature is a big one, just like the monsters you will ride. When a monster has received enough special damage they become eligible to ride. Four white wirebugs hover over the monster and when you sheathe your weapon you get the prompt to mount the Wyvern.
Getting Monsters into this state requires you to land your Silkbind Moves or when they battle it out during a turf war. When two roaming monsters clash one of them is sure to take enough damage to become ride-able.
Yes, you are now riding the very Monster you are hunting. Each monster has a light and heavy attack, an emergency dodge, and a launch option.
You don’t want to launch them to the moon like NASA is planning 2024 but straight into a wall or another monster. Or you use another monster to fight the target of your hunt. Slicing off materials and parts while weakening it for capture or kill.
I did several hunts where I ran for a Puppet-spider first. These little bugs make a monster instant ride-able when they get hit by it. Ride that monster all the way to my target and fight it out monster vs monster. Keeping the fight going until the timer ran out or I could use the finisher for maximum damage. Not only does this give some extra materials, you make it a little easier on yourself.
It’s still Monster Hunter and if you loved the previous ones you will love this one as well. I didn’t mention the new Rampage mode here; well they play out differently in Single Player and Multiplayer.
Graphics for Monster Hunter Rise Nintendo Switch
Right now Monster Hunter Rise is a Nintendo Switch exclusive release. PC players will be on the Rise, I’ll see myself out, early 2022.
We all know the Nintendo Switch isn’t the strongest machine when it comes to processing graphics. As I said in my Apex Legends for Nintendo Switch review, less is not always better. Especially when it comes to competitive games. Or in this case a game where the movements of a monster help you predict its attack or direction.
Well, Capcom made all the right choices.
Monster Hunter Rise runs smoothly. All the key elements stand out. Materials, endemic life, hunting helpers,… You only need to glance to know what they are and where they are. And this is mainly because they decided to cut back on the ground foliage. Bigger open areas so your focus stays on the monster, its moves or buffs.
The big blood splash effects when you hit the monster are back. These make your attacks feel satisfying and impactful when they connect with the monster. The option is still there to turn the damage numbers off if you want.
Furthermore, the vistas and views on some maps even have a breathtaking effect. And all that without sunrays or extra fidelity. Made just right for the Nintendo Switch’s capabilities.
Armor and weapons are not super detailed, but all of them unique enough to stand out against your fellow hunters. And flex the set that took you several hunts of carving monster parts.
Monster Hunter Rise Single Player review
Since I started playing Monster Hunter it always felt more thrilling to take on the Monsters solo. A David vs Goliath story as to speak, that personal achievement of overcoming the challenge of defeating this huge terrifying monster. This was and still is my prefered way of playing Monster Hunter.
You are the new certified hunter for the Kamura village. Your job is to go into the neighboring areas and take on the monsters. Preventing them from destroying the ecosystem or just to distract them while other villagers take on their tasks in the area. You never see these villagers or anything unfold in the area as you hunt. The maps don’t change depending on the story or events. And you unlock more maps as you progress through the story.
You take on certain key quests that make up a hunt or scavenge quest. Complete a certain amount and your Hunter Rank for Single Player goes up. Eventually, you unlock a Rampage quest where the final monster is revealed, Magnamalo. After several more quests, the same ones as before but with new monsters, you get an urgent quest to take on Magnamalo.
After the credits roll the game is far from over though. You can continue to quest on until you hit Hunter Rank 7 and defeat the Elder Dragon Narwa.
When you take on a Rampage Quest it is your job to set up defences at the choke points towards the village and stop waves of monsters. Setting up defences can be done at predetermined points on the map; there is a selection of manual defences or automated defences. The manual defences allow you to take control of them and shoot at the monsters. Automated defences are manned by villagers. When the Gong rings you become stronger and take on the monsters with your weapons but it’s not recommended to do so when the Gong is inactive.
The concept sounded fun in the trailers and I was really excited to take these on, especially with the riding feature we have now. But it’s just a miss. Rampages feel like a tower defense game within Monster Hunter. That’s not why I play Monster Hunter.
At the time of writing the Monster Hunter Rise review, I have only done a handful of Rampages and I don’t plan on doing any more. The rewards are not really worth it, it’s just dashing around and placing defences and pulling off combos when the Gong sounds. Or standing still in a turret and shooting bombs or arrows. It’s not a great addition to the Monster Hunter franchise.
Outside of the hunts there is a lot going on. You have your Cohoot pet to feed and walk around with. This cute owl searches for loot and stores it in his nest while you are away on hunts. Just don’t forget to feed it.
At the buddy plaza, we have the Argost trader who trades rare materials for points and has submarines available for your Palicos to use and gather materials that you need.
You can recruit and train Mewcenaries and these can go on missions to retrieve materials and collect resources on the areas you have visited.
When exploring an area you can stumble upon a secondary camp that you can unlock by bringing materials to the trader. Giving an extra rest and fast travel point when hunting. And many things more.
Monster Hunter Rise Multiplayer review
As mentioned earlier, I like to play Monster Hunter solo. Nonetheless, it’s really easy to find other hunters and hunt with them. This part of the Monster Hunter Rise review will be fairly short. We covered the basics in previous sections and I will pinpoint the good and bad of what I experienced in multiplayer.
Once you pick up a quest it’s as easy as posting the quest on the quest or joining someone that has already posted it. You load in, eat and hunt. Multiplayer quests are made for more people and the monster’s health scales to the amount of players currently in the hunt.
Don’t worry they don’t become bullet sponges… I mean sword sponges with an insane amount of health that take ages to defeat. It felt balanced and multiplayer hunts are about the same in time as single player hunts.
The downside is that in multiplayer the effects become a bit much. Especially on the smaller monsters. When all 4 players are going to town on a monster the effects block out any of the movement or clues the monster gives for dodging. The little details that make some of the monsters unique get lost with the big blood splash effects and damage numbers on top.
Overall it’s easy to play multiplayer hunts and increase your rank for this part Monster Hunter Rise.
Rampage quests are the same with more players, more monsters, and more chaos. There is little way to communicate strategy within the limited time you get to set up your initial defence. Everyone is just doing what they think is right. I only did one multiplayer Rampage quest at the moment of writing this Monster Hunter Rise review. And honestly, I don’t feel inclined to do another one.
Nintendo Switch Performance
If you want to compare performance with this Monster Hunter Rise Review keep this in mind. Monster Hunter Rise was played digitally on the new exclusive Monster Hunter Rise edition Switch; check out the unboxing video. This is a second-gen Nintendo Switch with improved battery capacity.
This game runs smoothly. The loading times are short, going from zone to zone in the village is instant. Areas can load in faster than the time you need to read the tip on the screen. And surprisingly enough the Nintendo Switch does not generate much heat in the dock when playing.
Handheld had no difference in performance whatsoever and battery-life was surprisingly well. I never even managed to get it to empty. The estimate for battery life is around 3-4 hours. Do keep in mind that online play puts a lot more strain on the battery and can shorten playtime.