Monster Hunter is a franchise that has been around for quite some time now. It has always been successful, especially in Japan, but western audiences have flocked to this series since the release of Monster Hunter World in 2018.
World became Capcom’s most successful game ever, so with the announcement of Monster Hunter Rise and its Nintendo Switch exclusivity, I couldn’t help but wonder if it could follow a game like World successfully. In a lot of ways, Rise elevates the series and shines as bright as ever, but thinking about how much better it could be on different hardware is always present in the back of my mind.
Monster Hunter Rise is Limited By The Switch’s Hardware
In no way is Monster Hunter Rise a bad game. In fact, it is probably one of the best performing games I have experienced on the Nintendo Switch. However, the Switch is only capable of so much and this game just begs for better performance.
The framerate is capped at 30fps, which honestly is pretty impressive with everything that’s going on on the screen when you fight monsters. The game’s environment is pretty impressive too, and at times, can almost look as good as World. However, there are noticeable difference in details that clearly needed to be cut back to allow the game to perform as well as it does.
I am eager to see Monster Hunter Rise on the PC when it releases next year, as I think it will benefit from a higher framerate. The performance of this game never hindered any gameplay for me, but I do think it would’ve been nice to see this title follow World’s lead and release on all platforms.
That being sad, Monster Hunter Rise is still a pretty impressive title. I have played 70 hours of this game so far, and I have not had any issues with framerate drops or glitches of any kind. Hunting these massive monsters is as fun as ever.
Perfect For Newcomers And Longtime Fans
Rise, just like World, is fairly accessible to newcomers. Longtime fans will be able to jump right in and enjoy everything they are used to from the franchise, but tutorials are present for those who need them.
The Monster Hunter Series can be daunting at first, but Capcom has done a great job at making it a bit more accessible. There are 14 different weapons types that all play differently so it’s imperative to find the one that you like and stick with it. Switching between weapons can be confusing, especially at first, so try them all and stick with one.
Personally, I have been using the Insect Glaive since Monster Hunter World and I adore it. When I started World for the first time though, I tried them all and ended up with the Insect Glaive, so definitely take the time to give each weapon a chance.
For longtime fans, Rise does a great job putting you right into the action. You’ll have a few simple quests to get the ball rolling, but you will be hunting monsters in no time.
If You’re Playing Monster Hunter For The Story, You’re Doing It Wrong
I think a part of the reason this game cuts right to the chase is because there isn’t too much of a story here and for this game, that is not a bad thing. World had a pretty decent story but it was not the reason I was playing the game. Every Monster Hunter game is all about the monsters.
The monsters are the stars of the show. Hunting them for their parts, using those parts to make better gear, then fighting more powerful monsters with that new gear is the beautiful process of these games and Rise is no exception.
It is a grind for sure, as you won’t get everything you need from one hunt, but that is the draw of this game. It may not be for everyone, but it definitely leaves me wanting more. This game is full of hours and hours of hunting. I’m 70 hours in and am still encountering new monsters that are just as difficult as when I started.
I love the feeling of growing in power though. If a monster is too powerful, upgrade your gear and all of a sudden they are much more manageable. With any RPG, that’s what truly makes you feel like you’re beginning to make progress.
Deep RPG Elements
Like every Monster Hunter game before, Monster Hunter Rise is an RPG at its core. Remember when I mentioned that there were 14 different weapon types? Each of those weapons has its own upgrade tree that you’ll use monster parts, gathered materials, and Zenny (the game’s currency) to craft new versions of that weapon.
Armor is handled in a similar fashion, each monster you hunt will unlock a new set of armor with its own skills and perks. Some offer elemental resistances, and some offer perks that help with certain weapon types or gameplay styles.
There’s a lot to explore in this game’s crafting system, but don’t get discouraged. You will find yourself in the groove of things soon, and it won’t feel so overwhelming. This is another reason why picking a single weapon can make things a lot easier. If you invest your money and parts into all 14 weapons, it’s going to get very, very pricey.
If you want to do that though, you absolutely can. Monster Hunter games offer a level of freedom that some RPGs don’t. If you decide to switch weapons after 100 hours of gameplay, you can. You can accept quests as many times as you want so hunt to your heart’s content and do what makes you happy.
I have struggle a lot with money in this game so just be aware of that. Crafting gets very expensive in the later part of the game. The game has two types of currency Zenny and Kamura Points. In my opinion, it is best to use Kamura Points whenever possible since you cannot use them for crafting. You’ll want all the available Zenny you can find later on.
Eating before each quest is essential as well, and provides even more depth to this RPG. In Rise, you order Bunny Dango, a three piece kabob that can provide you with different buffs depending on the three pieces you choose. It allows you to further strategize depending on what kind of monster you are going after or if you are simply doing exploration.
Use Your Buddies
If you are playing Monster Hunter Rise in single player mode, you’ll absolutely want to utilize the buddies. Like previous titles, your trusty Palico will be by your side. Rise introduces a new companion as well, the Palamute. These wolf-like buddies allow you to ride them around the environments and will fight along side you, as well. When playing in multiplayer, you’ll only be able to bring one buddy so choose wisely.
At the beginning of the game you’ll create your Palico and Palamute. For the Palico you’ll be able to choose its support type. You can choose between fight, healer, gathering, assist or bombardier. Each of these are useful, but don’t stress too much about it because you’ll be able to acquire many more buddies later in the game.
Just like your hunter, your Palico and Palamute can equip different armor and weapons, also made from monster parts. Yes, you will need a lot of monster parts, but that’s the name of the game, right?
Outside of battle, these little guys prove themselves useful as well. Meowcenaries are sent out on their own hunting missions that progress as you complete your own hunts. They’ll bring back valuable rewards from monsters as well as gathered material like ore and bones. Make sure to check on them frequently and send them out every time they come back because materials are your best asset in this game.
You can also send your buddies out on the Argosy, where they can look for specific ingredients. If you find yourself low and things like herbs or honey for making potions, you can have them retrieve those items using the Argosy.
Aside from those useful actions, you can also train your idle buddies at the Buddy Dojo. That way if you feel like you wanna try out a different buddy type, you’ll have some that are already trained up and ready to go.
Like I mentioned above, this game’s only flaw is that it is limited by the Switch’s performance capabilities. Even with that though, it performs exceptionally well. Hunting monsters is just as fun as in previous titles, and the game’s new features like the Palamutes and Wire Bugs help make the game feel fresh.
Rise definitely leans more into the Monster Hunter roots than World did, but I think that’s a great thing. World introduced a lot of people to the franchise, including myself, but Capcom didn’t compromise the franchise to do so. Rise does that same thing, but in a way that allows longtime fans to jump right into the action if they want to.
Again, this games only lapse graphically is the Switch’s fault. Don’t get me wrong, it still looks amazing, but colors and details are certainly toned down to allow for better performance. Make no mistake though, Rise is one of the Switch’s best performing and best looking games to date.
I do want to see it on other platforms though. I know it is coming to PC next year and I am eager to see Rise’s potential when it isn’t limited by the Switch. For now though, the Switch is the only place to play and it certainly isn’t a bad one.
I love the music in this game. The Hub and surrounding areas play beautiful music that compliments the constant crafting or preparing of quests you’ll be doing. When you are hunting monsters, you’ll hear a few select tracks that sound wonderful.
Those tracks play perfectly in the background as well, so they don’t interrupt the hunting experience at all. Instead, they give the hunts just a little bit more life and bring more heart and soul into each monster.
Some monsters, like the more powerful ones, will have different or exclusive tracks to them to convey their threat level. I think that’s the perfect way to keep us on our toes while we hunt and subtly warn us of what’s to come.
There isn’t much of a story here, but what is here is pretty solid. It doesn’t weigh down the game with a million cutscenes, and for a Monster Hunter title that’s a good thing. You’ll pretty much stay engaged in hunts until you rank up with the village or hub and some short cutscenes may play.
My favorite thing about Rise’s cutscenes is when they introduce each monster. If it’s a monster you haven’t hunted yet, it’ll show a short introduction featuring that monster. It’s a brilliant way to introduce the monsters to new players or amp up fans for their favorites.
Now, in my opinion this is where the game shines the most. Just when you thought you’ve hunted everything, the game will change from low rank to high rank, and you’ll hunt everything again at a higher difficulty. This also unlocks more materials and allows for further upgrading and crafting.
While there may be an ending somewhere down the line, it can take a while to get there. Depending on what you’re trying to craft and utilize too, it can be a long process. Monster Hunter games shine in their endgame content though, and prove to be quite the challenge so sit back and enjoy the grind.
Monster Hunter Rise gave me everything I wanted from a new Monster Hunter title, and much more. The new gameplay features keep things new and unique, while retaining the standard Monster Hunter experience we all know and love. My only real complaint is that it’s exclusive to the Switch and even that doesn’t hinder this game too much. Capcom created another master piece with this title that I am excited to continue exploring.