Monster Hunter Reviews

Monster Hunter Rise Review: Raising the Bar

After finding mainstream success in PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, Monster Hunter returns back to Nintendo consoles. Here is our review of Monster Hunter Rise.

While Monster Hunter Rise does not have the same graphical presentation as Monster Hunter World, it brings in many of its combat and quality of life changes. while also adding its own to the Monster Hunter formula, including a new quest mode that adds a new way of hunting monsters.

The premise of Monster Hunter games is quite straightforward: you embark on quests to gather from the environment and hunt monsters to gain materials that you will use to forge better weapons and armour.

Monsters Can be difficult to fight against, as the game plays closer to a Dark Souls game than a hack and slash.

Monster Hunter Rise review
Credit: Capcom

Weapons have different strengths and many have elemental or status effects on them. Armour made from monster parts grant you varying buffs while out on quests. Armour can also be slotted with decorations that grant additional skills.

By customizing your weapon, armour, and decorations you can create different loadouts for different weapons and playstyles. These are essentially the simplified explanation of the core of monster hunter games.

Changes from Monster Hunter World

It’s hard not to compare Rise to World. World marked the first game in Monster Hunter’s Fifth Generation and Rise follows in its footsteps.

Monster Hunter Rise How to Reload Gunlance
Credit: Capcom

While Rise is a standalone game in its own rights, World was the game that brought the series to a bigger audience, so Rise does have a role to play as a follow up to Monster Hunter World. Also, there are a lot of changes here that were made that had been staples for the series for a long time, so it’s worth mentioning them either way. 

Scoutflies are gone

 Scoutflies are used to find tracks and gather them in order to track the monsters in Monster Hunter World. When starting a quest, the location of the monster would be unknown and you would have to find tracks left behind the monster in order to level up your scoutflies so that they could lead you to the monster, which will then show up on the map.

Monster Hunter Rise review
Credit: Capcom

In Monster Hunter Rise, the location of all the monsters are shown in the map from the start, however, they show up as unknown monsters until hunting them for the first time, in which case you will always know which monsters were at the locale and where.

This allows you to get right into the hunt, as you can simply just make a beeline towards your target and begin fighting it. Despite this, Rise does have other ways of encouraging exploration, endemic life, which rewards those who take their time getting to the monster.

Endemic Life changes and Spirit Bird addition

World introduced endemic life, which are creatures and critters that you can capture using the hunter’s Net. They were essentially collectibles that you could use to decorate your room, but some of them, such as toads, could be interacted with to create a debilitating cloud or explosion that could be helpful if the monster is lured to it.

Credit: Capcom

In Monster Hunter Rise, many of the endemic life now consists of little creatures you can pick up and then use to aid you in your hunts. For instance, the Antidobra is a type of cobra you can find, and when used, will cure you of poison. Toads can now be picked up and placed whenever, making them easier to use during your hunts.

“Static” endemic life such as Vigorwasp and Flashflies are still present for those who loved to use them in the previous installment.

Endemic Life
Credit: Capcom

Spirit Birds are little critters scattered throughout the map which will permanently increase your attack, defence, health, and stamina for the rest of the hunt. Previous skills that raised the maximum health and stamina are now gone and the only ways to raise them are through the traditional method of the canteen, and Spirit Birds.

Quest are categorized by Village and Hub Quests again

Village quests make a return, a set of quests that can be progressed separate from the Hub, which can be played in multiplayer. Village quests are not only scaled for single players, but are noticeably easier than Hub quests, even if playing Hub with difficulty scaled for solo.

Monster Hunter Rise review
Credit: Capcom

While veterans of Monster Hunter may dread the requirement of having to repeat Village Quests and then the same ones in Hub in order to advance in multiplayer, Monster Hunter Rise features License Tests.

These allow players who advanced in the Village Quests further than Hub Quests to unlock the higher levelled quests in Hub without the need to repeat similar quests in Hub. This streamlines the progression for those who wish to get into High Rank quickly.

Investigations are gone

World introduced a new mechanic for questing: Investigations. This tied into Scoutflies, and gathering tracks or breaking monster parts would occasionally net you an Investigation. Investigations were essentially a form of randomly generated quest that have varied parameters, but give more material rewards than regular quests.

Monster Hunter Rise How to Get Kamura Ticket
Credit: Capcom

While the concept and purpose of Investigations were good, the implementation of them (that is, being acquired through RNG methods) weren’t the best parts of it. It would’ve been nice if Capcom had brought these back with improvements, but losing Investigations isn’t too big of an issue.

Now, the only quests you have available are the ones provided by the quest maidens. This means that farming monsters is back to the tradition of selecting the same quest over and over again. This does make it easier to find quests and join them via Rise’s own Join Request system.

SOS Flare is replaced with Join Request

Monster Hunter World introduced a “drop-in-and-hunt” mechanic, which allows players to join a hunt midgame or request for help from other players in their own hunts.

It was perhaps one of the best additions to the Monster Hunter series, as receiving help from other hunters or dropping in to give assistance was an incredibly fun feature to use.

The feature makes a return and is functionality the same, but since the number of quests in the game are fixed, a player simply needs to select a quest they wish to join others in, and the game will search for an ongoing hunt for that quest that has Join Request enabled and will bring you right in. It’s a lot more streamlined and easier to join hunts than ever before.

Buddies have received significant changes

Hunters can now bring 2 Buddies with them in Village Quests. As with World, you can bring a Palicoe with you, bringing plenty of useful abilities to aid you in your hunts, but Monster Hunter Rise introduces a new type of furry friend: Palamutes.

Monster Hunter Rise review
Credit: Capcom

Palamutes are essentially dogs in the Monster Hunter universe. Palamutes’ notable feature is its ability to give hunters rides on their back to traverse the map quickly.

This is similar to the Tailrider in Monster Hunter World: Iceborne, but instead of an autonomous doggo that leads you directly to your choice of destination, you can completely control where to go while riding your buddy.

Monster Hunter Rise review
Credit: Capcom

You can even easily mount your Palamute in the middle of a fight, giving you the ability to be incredibly mobile while sharpening your weapon or healing.

In Hub Quests, you are only limited to one Buddy. But unlike in Monster Hunter World, they will stay with you even if the quest fills up to its maximum capacity of four hunters. As the saying goes, “The more, the merrier!”

Buddy Plaza

The Buddy system has been expanded not just in the hunts, but also in between quests in the Village. Hunters can hire more Buddies, which are used for the Meowcenaries (which sends them on their own hunts to gather materials), Buddy Dojo (to level them up), or Trade for the Argosy (this replaces the “farms” in World and is used to “duplicate” useful items such as herbs and honey).

Monster Hunter Rise review
Credit: Capcom

Buddies come in the form of Palicoes and Palamutes, and when going on Village Quests, hunters can bring any mixture of 2 of them (two Palicoes, two Palamutes, or one of each).

Each Buddy has different abilities and so it is worth levelling up as many Buddies as you can to swap them out on hunts should you wish to integrate them more into your playstyle.

Mounting has been replaced with Wyvern Riding

Another huge change to the Monster Hunter series is the removal of traditional mounting, which was introduced in Monster Hunter 4.

In the past, if hunters did enough mounting damage (damage done while in the air), they would enter a minigame in which their hunter would latch on the the monster to repeatedly stab it. They will also brace themselves to prevent being knocked off when a monster begins flailing or slamming itself to walls to throw the hunter off.

Mounted Punisher
Credit: Capcom

All of that is gone, and now, mounting a monster involves Wyvern Riding. This lets hunters use Silkbind to attach wires to a monster and are then used to puppeteer them. Hunters can move the monsters wherever they want to at will, attack using the monster, and slam them into a wall for a knockdown.

This makes for really interesting strategies of using the different monsters in the locale to fight each other or even bring other monsters into a “mountable” state. Hunters can also opt to simply slam the monster into the wall (repeatedly) for damage and to down it, allowing for a window of opportunity for free hits.

Overall, Wyvern Riding is a wonderful change that helps with keeping the flow of the hunt as opposed to the traditional mounting.

New features in Rise

Wirebugs

Perhaps the biggest addition in Monster Hunter Rise that sets it apart from the rest of the series is the Wirebug mechanic. By using Wirebug Gauges that replenish overtime, hunters can dash forward, upwards, and even wall run, giving hunters incredible mobility never before seen in the Monster Hunter games.

Credit: Capcom

This addition allows hunters to actually explore the vibrant locales much easier. Our ability to climb pretty much any wall and obstacle and freely roam any part of the map that is within the boundaries of the game gives us more options in how we approach monsters and traverse the map.

This is quite reminiscent of Breath of the Wild, in how Link is free to roam and surface of Hyrule and is no longer bound to taking a single path to any destination and can approach his goal in any direction.

Wall Run
Credit: Capcom

Of course, it’s more toned down in Monster Hunter Rise, but the map designs and verticality of them helped with the implementation of Wirebugs into the game.

Silkbind Attacks and Switch Skills

While World made combat feel a lot more fluid than its predecessors, Rise builds up on that, adding its own twists. Silk Bind Attacks are new to the series, which are kind of like “super moves,” as they require a resource (Wirebug Gauge).

They can inflict tons of damage or provide some sort of utility, such as being able to move around the battlefield with your weapon drawn or gaining a brief attack boost. However, these Silkbind attacks are also significant in that they generally deal “mounting” damage, which allows hunters to bring monsters to a mountable state.

Monster Hunter Rise Helm Breaker
Credit: Capcom

Alongside Silkbind Attacks are Switch Skills, which allow hunters to swap out select moves from their weapons for new ones. For instance, you can replace the Spirit Roundhouse Slash combo with a new combo that has less wide reach, but more vertical reach.

Silkbind Attacks and Switch Skills add new varieties of playstyles, allowing you to create even more variety of builds of the same weapon than before.

Monster Hunter Rise How to Reload Gunlance
Credit: Capcom

It’s also worth noting that while Wirebugs movement options and freedom in exploring the map, and Switch Skills and Silkbind Attacks provide more and affordances in hunting, Monster Hunter Rise still stays true to its core as a Monster Hunter game.

This isn’t a game where you can play like a hack-and-slash; proper reading of monster attacks, dodging, positioning, and knowing when to continue a combo or not is still an integral part of the game and you’re punished if you just attack without much thought process.

Rampage quests

Rampage quests are totally new to the series and is a completely different approach to fighting monsters. Rampage takes the form of a tower defence-style game, in which you place manned ballistae and cannons, as well as placing down ones that hunters can use themselves.

Hunters can also call on powerful NPCs (limited in each quest) to aid them if they feel overwhelmed.

Monster Hunter Rise Rampage
Credit: Capcom

Using the hunter installations mentioned before, powerful systems such as the classic Dragonator (a giant drill), the new Splitting Wyvern Shot (think a giant explosion that drops from the sky), and their own weapons, hunters will need to repel all the monsters, especially the major threat monster at the end of the Rampage.

Monster Hunter Rise Rampage
Credit: Capcom

This new quest may not appeal to all Monster Hunter fans, but I found it incredible fun and is usually a breath of fresh air after grinding out monsters through the traditional method of hunting. While it could do with a difficulty increase, Rampage mode is still exciting, as it puts a new twist in how to fight monsters, and has a greater sense of urgency than regular quests.

Setting

What really adds to the appeal of Monster Hunter Rise is the Japanese theme. The village is styled after Japanese aesthetics, making for an inviting, calm, and serene home base in between quests.

And the beautifully designed village isn’t just for looks, as they serve a functional purpose as well. As a rather small village with a tightly knight community, a lot of gameplay features can be found close to each other.

Monster Hunter Rise review
Credit: Capcom

This reduces the time spent travelling to different places in the village, allowing you to spend more time  doing prep work, such as forging equipment and decoration.

Making use of everything Kamura has to offer not only helps with the immersive setting, but also gives hunters and edge while out on the field.

Gameplay

How does the game play overall? If you’ve played any previous Monster Hunter game and enjoyed it, you’ll definitely enjoy this one. The combat is just as fun, even more fluid, and engaging. The combat is easier than World, but it’s a lot more varied with the addition of new moves and the Switch Skills feature.

Monster Hunter Rise Rampage
Credit: Capcom

The freedom of movement provided by the Wirebugs complemented by the lush locales and vibrant visuals that can be explored makes Monster Hunter Rise a joy to play even outside of hunting monsters; gathering or mining runs are less tedious due to the Wirebugs, wall running, and Palamutes.

For those who haven’t played a Monster Hunter game, this game is incredibly accessible, even more so than World, so it’s a good game to start off on. For its gameplay, Monster Hunter Rise rises up to meet and exceed expectations.

Complaints

My only complaints of the game are the lack of an ending to the story in the base game, the lack of subspecies and variants, and the base game having only 2 Elder Dragons.

While Capcom has promised to deliver future updates for free, which includes additional content such as monsters and even the ending to the story, I feel like it would have been acceptable to postpone the game until the conclusion to the story was actually ready.

Credit: Capcom

This is also true to the addition of future Elder Dragons. It is rather lackluster than the base game only has two Elder Dragons available. While the two of these are close related and similar in appearance, their hunts are different.

However, despite these shortcomings, the game itself still feels complete without it, as there is still a form of endgame farming to prepare for future monsters, and the lack of an ending to the story isn’t really a big deal, since Monster Hunter isn’t really known for (nor do people really play it for) its story.

Monster Hunter Rise Shipped
Credit: Capcom

Monster Hunter Rise is an excellent game for the Switch and is definitely worth picking up, especially if you’ve never played a Monster Hunter game before, as Rise is a very accessible game compared to previous entries.

As for the score, this Monster Hunter Rise review will give the game an overall score of 8.6/10.