Monster Hunter Rise review: “Strikes an incredibly delicate balance between playstyles”

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Sometimes smaller is really better. After the heights of Monster Hunter: World’s astonishing success, it would be reasonable for Capcom to aim for an even bigger and more complicated game. Instead, however, the Monster Hunter development team opted for a smaller, more personal adventure, swapping the sprawling plains and snow-capped mountain ranges of the world for a decidedly more low-key story in Monster Hunter Rise.

As the titular monster hunter, the silent protagonist comes to life in the small border village of Kamura, embarking on quests for the population to kill tyrannical beasts patrolling the wilderness. Monster Hunter Rise is a hack-and-slash action game at its core, but with graceful elegance thanks to its 14 varied weapon types and devastating skill combinations.

Monster Hunter Rise live review

(Image credit: Capcom)

Monster Hunter Rise strikes an incredibly delicate balance between playstyles. It takes inspiration from World’s heavy numbers game and the hidden mishmash of systems, and hammering button fights more arcade-like from older games. Monster Hunter. The result is something amazing: Rise is fast and smooth, freeing itself from many of the world’s complex design systems and feeling more open and inviting for newcomers who just want to slap a monster.

Nowhere is the fresh pace of combat better embodied than the Wirebug. An unassuming little tool, it quickly becomes apparent that the Wirebug has a crucial role to play in all aspects of Monster Hunter Rise gameplay. The tool can be used to propel the player into the air, grab onto ledges to achieve higher vantage points, and bring an excellent sense of verticality to Rise biomes. It can even be used to evade a monster’s attacks, pulling the player out of the literal jaws of defeat. In combat, however, the Wirebug is used to initiate devastating moves, as all it takes is the press of two buttons to unleash a powerful attack for any of 14 different weapon types.

The Wirebug has different actions for each weapon in Monster Hunter Rise. With the Switch Ax, for example, it will chain a massive spin attack when used, while using it with the Long Sword propels the hunter through the air, hooking up to a monster and cutting through it downward. . The Wirebug is a brilliant addition to Rise, one that brings a crucial new gameplay element to every weapon, giving series veterans something new to learn and newcomers reliable attacks to learn. Wirebug’s uses are tied to a cooldown, so rather than becoming a staple of combat, it acts as a crutch to support the player when the going gets tough.

Monster Hunter Rise live review

(Image credit: Capcom)

All of this is taken care of by a flexible tutorial system. Rise starts out small, making sure the player knows all the basic combat mechanics and how to use each weapon, before delving into the more complicated territory of Wirebug, plagues, elements, and more. In 2018, it was incredibly easy to get overwhelmed by the vast systems and monsters of the world right off the bat, but Rise does a much better job of making sure novice hunters and seasoned killers acclimatize to the inner workings of the game. before you let go. against mortal beasts.

The monsters themselves are an eclectic bunch. Series mainstays like the fiery Anjanath and the poisonous Rathian return, joined by utterly nightmarish creatures like the horrid Khezu. Each monster has something defined that you will remember them: the Khezu can meander its neck waving around the battlefield like a whip, and the Bishaten uses its claw-shaped tail to throw poisonous fruit at you. I’ll always have a reaction seeing one of Rise’s brilliant throws in the wild: it could be an “oh this man ”when a Rathian swoops in on me, or a heart-rending cry when the Khezu appears. Each of Rise’s creatures is memorable in one way or another, which is no small feat when there are well over 20 in the base game.

Fight with friends

Monster Hunter Rise live review

(Image credit: Capcom)

There isn’t much of a co-op gameplay emphasis in the Little Monster Hunts, but that changes as you progress through Rise’s story. The game’s plot is split into two progression paths: Village Missions, which are designed to be smaller, lower-level fights for single-player players to overcome, and larger Hub Missions, which require skill. team of hunters working closely with each other for better. Single-player Village Missions end decidedly earlier than Co-op Hub Missions, forcing players to work with companions online to see the conclusion of Rise’s story. It’s a confusing design choice, especially for the Nintendo Switch, a console that isn’t exactly known for its robust online infrastructure.

Still, Rise’s online features manage to perform well within the limits of the Switch’s online capabilities. Approaching the Cat Postman in Kamura Village allows the player to research or create a lobby of four hunters, giving you the option of inviting friends or grouping with anyone. Fortunately, there’s very little work to get started with Rise’s online features, and the quick chat options are just a button away and offer a litany of supportive cries like “capture the monster” or “hang in there!” Feel taken in by strangers working in greater harmony with each other to overcome fierce hunting quests.

Monster Hunter Rise

(Image credit: Capcom)

Aside from hunting quests, Rise introduces a new tower defense-style mode called Rampage. The beginning of Rise’s story speaks of Rampages as threatening the village of Kamura and being the focal point of the story, and that it all ends in a fortified arena, where one or more hunters run around setting up defenses like ballistae. , cannons and traps to repel the onslaught of monsters before the gates of Kamura village are passed. Rampages start off as the focal point of Rise’s story, but quickly find their rhythm as a way to break through routine hunting quests.

Rampages are pleasantly enjoyable at the moment but can get more and more frustrating when you’re faced with monsters that bounce the hunter between them like volleyball. Rampages later in the game featuring elite monsters almost require you to be faced by a squad of hunters, especially when the AI ​​comrades you can place in ballistae and cannons barely make one. breach in the hordes facing Kamura. Despite the frustrations, Rampages are used sparingly throughout Monster Hunter Rise’s critical journey, offering something new to standard hunts instead of being a backbone to support the core gameplay loop.

Monster Hunter Rise is a great start to the Capcom franchise on Nintendo Switch, cleverly delivering sublime new tools to an established arsenal like the Wirebug, and acting as a welcoming entry point for newcomers with tutorial segments too. welcoming. There’s a lot to love about the Rampage missions as an addition to the series’ front page, although they can become painful to face on their own in the second half of the game. Monster Hunter Rise has the satisfying feeling of a more adventure. smaller and more compact than the sprawling world of 2018, but tying the story progression to the game’s online co-op mode is a bit of a letdown.

Tested on Nintendo Switch. Code provided by the publisher.


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