Overall - 90%
Monster Hunter Rise is not only an excellent Switch game, but also an early game of the year contender. If you don't mind a bit of grinding, you won't be disappointed.
After the roaring success of Monster Hunter World, Monster Hunter Rise is now available for the Nintendo Switch. Is this entry a worthy successor, or should players stick with World? Check out our review and find out.
Monster Hunter Rise Review
Players will start by creating a character and two buddies that hunt alongside you. You just got approved for your guild license, which means you get to go on monster hunts. After a brief training mission, you are told about The Rampage and how the village is in danger. As a guild hunter, your job is to defend the village when one of these attacks occurs. In the meantime, you have to go out and hunt monsters to get new armor and weapons. Monster Hunter Rise is one of those games where you can clock in anywhere from 30 hours to 300 hours, depending on what you like.
When not hunting, you will hang out in the village. Here you can craft new equipment, pick up side quests, chat with villagers, do side content, and recruit new buddies. The buddies will come with you on missions or can be sent to collect items for you. The Palico returns alongside the new Palamute, a large dog companion. The Palamute is easily one of the best additions in the game, simply because you can ride it on each map. It is such a good part of the game that it would be a disappointment if it didn’t return in future games.
Before setting out on your hunt, you will have to pick which type of weapon you want to use. Monster Hunter Rise has enough weapons that anyone should have zero trouble finding something they enjoy. You have the classics, such as greatswords, lances, daggers, and sword and board. There are also favorites like the longsword, charge blade, and switch axe. Ranged weapons, including bows, bowguns, and the hunting horn also make an appearance. Each of them has its own combos to learn and skills to master. The developers did switch some skills and combos from World, so expect a bit of a learning curve when first jumping in.
I mainly used the longsword and gunlance, so most of my combat experience comes from that. With the longsword, I moved quickly and could keep a respectable distance from each monster. With the gunlance, I moved slow and had to be primarily stationary to attack. When facing a fast creature like the Rathalos, I needed my longsword because I didn’t get enough time to set up for my lance. However, slower monsters provided an opening to use gunlance, simply because I could stay still longer. Every weapon has a use in different situations, keeping things varied. Still, be ready for some tough fights and expect to die a few times in some battles.
Monster Hunter has always had a colorful assortment of creatures to bring down, and Rise does not disappoint. While some are familiar from World, most come from other games in the series. That said, you will be fighting the same monsters over and over again, both for story missions and for gear. Perfecting the fight has always been a part of Monster Hunter, and Rise delivers in the aspect. With that being said, if you don’t like grinding, this game is not for you. Sometimes you don’t even get the item you want after you complete a mission.
Another new addition to Rise are its Rampage missions. Part tower defense and part monster hunt, players are tossed into an area you need to defend and given time to set up defenses. The more time passes and the more monsters you slay, the more defensive options you have to put down. Rampage missions toss multiple big enemies at you at once; up to five or six large beasts can soon be found hurling towards your gate. You do more damage in this mode, but they can still take plenty of hits. The better you defend the area, the higher your score and the better your reward. You will have to do a few of these for the main story.
The wirebug builds off of the clutch claw from World. You can use to grapple into the air and get onto hard-to-reach places. Rise has a lot of verticality to it, so the wirebug is needed. You can also use it during combat for new skills with your weapons. The skills often help you close the distance quicker, making slower weapons more viable. The problem is, if you use it for weapon skills, you can use your wirebugs defensively. That means when you get knocked up, you are vulnerable to attack and might be knocked out. Balancing the two is one of the keys to mastering its combat.
The other thing the wirebugs are great for is mounting the monsters. Mounting beasts isn’t new to Monster Hunter, but it hits a new high in Rise. Players can now take control of enemy creatures, use them to damage other monsters, or hurt them by running them into walls. The ability to mount will usually occur after a turf war between two monsters. The one that loses will be stunned, and you can jump up and ride them. You do great damage, earn more loot, and look really cool if you successfully pull it off.
One of the main downsides of Rise lies in its single player-only content. Monster Hunter is a co-op experience by design, and having certain parts of the game locked behind single player-only content doesn’t work as well. Although this content is easy, it also proves to be time-consuming. Adding insult to injury, the UI is very messy and off-putting. It works, but it proves to be over cluttered and distracting at times.
Monster Hunter Rise is not only an excellent Switch game, but also an early game of the year contender. If you don’t mind a bit of grinding, you won’t be disappointed.
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