Monster Hunter Rise
Monster Hunter ‘Rises’ To The Occasion
Following off the immense success of Monster Hunter World, Nintendo owners felt left out for years with its previous release being Generations on the Switch in 2018. Being that Generations was a port of a game that was already two years old, Monster Hunter Rise was the first entirely new game in the franchise on a Nintendo console for almost half of a decade. Capcom knew that it had shoes to fill, including meeting the expectations of veteran hunters as well as easing newcomers from World into their new game. In March, the game would finally release worldwide, taking the Switch by storm and marking the beginning of Capcom’s dominance in 2021.
The graphics for Monster Hunter Rise are some of the most visually impressive to grace the Switch, largely due to Capcom’s in-house RE Engine. While Japanese players got a taste of how the RE Engine would run on the Switch due to the Japan-exclusive Switch port of Resident Evil 7, Rise would be the first Switch game to utilize the engine for a worldwide release. While corners are historically cut for Switch titles, the RE Engine gives Rise a personality on a console that most 3rd party developers struggle with.
Monster Hunter Rise Introduces Modern Gameplay Mechanics
The game runs fluid, controls are tight, animations are beautiful to watch as well as the wide range of expressions for each of the characters, monsters, and pets. With the impending PC release aiming to push the capabilities of Monster Hunter Rise to its limits, the Switch version of Rise makes it one of the most remarkable titles to play, especially on docked but surprisingly on handheld as well.
I own the game on the Switch myself, but considering that I have a Switch Lite, my experience with Monster Hunter Rise has been handheld exclusive. Thankfully, playing the docked version I can see that my gameplay on handheld hasn’t been gimped in the slightest. While playing it docked is the preferred method, Rise holds its own in the palm of your hand, keeping up with other portable titles within the series.
A Monster Hunter Never Hunts Alone
Accompanying the hunter are two companions, the cat-like Palicos who have been mainstays in the Monster Hunter series, and a new dog companion, the Palamute. The latter allows hunters to ride and travel distances across the map, meaning that players can engage enemies faster than before, all the while fighting alongside the hunter. The range of weaponry that the hunter can choose from is just as diverse, ranging from the classic sword and shield, to an aggressive dual blade setup, and a defensive greatsword build. There isn’t a right or wrong way to tackle the dangers of Monster Hunter Rise head-on and the tutorial makes good use of it.
Perhaps the one thing that I found tricky as someone who was relatively new to the Monster Hunter series is the use of wirebugs. These bugs serve as grappling hooks, allowing players to jet alongside the map, reach vantage points, and target larger monsters to slingshot from the air. While these are all valuable, the targeting of the wirebugs leaves a lot to be desired, allowing a bit of a learning curve to get used to the new mechanic itself. After a while, it’s all the matter of ensuring the hunter attacks first and strikes the hardest.
Monster Hunter Rise Shows Great Promise Of The Future
Traditionally with Monster Hunter games, the “stories” are not the major point of the games, serving for a generic one as a newbie hunter wishing to join the ranks of other established Monster Hunters. They do so by accepting missions and rising up in ranks depending on how proficient they are in completing tasks. Unlike previous Monster Hunter titles, the city is full of life, with each supporting character having their own unique quirks and personality, including the main character themselves. Outside of battle, witnessing these events are a huge part of Rise’s charm as there are almost just as many things to do when not hunting as there is when you are.
Monster Hunter Rise marks the return of the franchise’s glory on a platform that saw most of its player base flourish. While World returned the series to its console roots, Rise brought many players used to hunting on the go together once again. The game feels just as fresh and engaging as it did on launch and with an entire roadmap of DLC planned for the summer, players will have a lot to look forward to for months to come.
Monster Hunter Rise is available on the Switch. A PC version will release on January 12th, 2022.