Monster Hunter Rise – Review

Release Date
March 26, 2021
Nintendo Switch
Reviewed On
Nintendo Switch Lite
Review Copy Provided By

Monster Hunter Rise has all of the makings of a great Monster Hunter game. It should, with Monster Hunter World being the foundation of much of its mechanics. Many players coming from its predecessor will instantly familiarize themselves with Rise. And for those who have been waiting for a great Monster Hunter on Switch, then you couldn’t have picked a better game.

As for newcomers to the series, you may be put off by how overwhelming Monster Hunter Rise can be. The relentless tutorial pop-ins explaining the games mechanics on the first hour alone can be information overload. But I’ve always been much better off experiencing the game for myself than brushing up on reading, and I’ve always assumed it’s the best way to learn any Monster Hunter game. And Rise is now different.

If you’re willing to put in some time familiarizing and experimenting with the many options you have at your disposal, you’ll soon find yourself pulling off epic feats against beasts that will leave you wanting for more.

So will Rise live up to the hype? Or will it fall upon the weight of our expectations? Let’s find out!

The very first thing you’ll notice when you boot up the game is its influence in culture. Unlike World, where everyone felt like a part of an advanced civilization of barbarians, Rise takes a traditionally Japanese approach. It’s cultural influence is present in almost every part of the game from architecture to the new monster designs. You’ll be greeted with a mesmerizing yet soothing Japanese song the moment you boot up the main menu and wander the town.

For a Switch game, Rise performs very well. Even on the Switch Lite, it ran on a consistently playable frame rate despite the presence of three gigantic monsters fighting each other on screen. So there is no worry about how the game holds up. Of course it goes without saying since Rise is exclusive to Switch, there are graphical downgrades in comparison to World due to its handheld limitations. Despite that, it is still a majestic sight to behold as you explore its dense forest, snowy mountains, and sandy desert biomes.

The biggest appeal to Monster Hunter Rise isn’t just about the thrill of the hunt, but the grind as well as the customization. The opportunity to create your character and build them up from being a rookie to a veteran hunter taking down behemoths is as enticing as ever in Rise. You’ll spend a lot of time out of hunting itself crafting items, forging equipment, and testing newer methods for the field.

There’s an encouragement for mastery on each of the weapons that are available to you. Each one at your arsenal has their own strengths and weaknesses that pushes players to specialize in certain weaponry. The Great Sword while dealing massive amounts of damage renders you slow and sluggish. The Bow gives you safety in distance but lacks power to truly put monsters on their knees. Some weapons will be more comfortable than others, but it’s up to you to choose your playstyle.

Despite having a good variety to choose from already, Rise does have a disappointingly lack of new weapons. Every weapon is carried over from Monster Hunter World. Sorry, guys, but there’s no new gizmo.

That being said, there is the new wirebug unique to Rise which has a variety of uses. You can think of it as a swiss-army grappling hook despite there being nothing to grapple onto. Wirebugs allow new methods of traversing. They quickly allow you to zoom up into the air or another vertical direction any time you wish. They even have offensive capabilities depending on the weapon type that you carry. And impressively enough, they allow you to also control monsters once you meet certain conditions. Not rodeo, control. There’s nothing quite manipulating one monster to bash the head of another at every given chance. Wirebugs are big game changers to the way hunters traverse and fight their prey. It’s thanks to the wirebugs that you are essentially more of a shinobi this time around.

There have been some changes in contrast to World. For one, the scout flies are noticeably absent. There’s no more tracking your prey unlike before. Instead you’ll be looking a giant question marks that appear on your minimap to determine which monster in the biome is your target. This is justified through the introduction of a new pet, the Cohoot, which give you real time information on the location of each monster in the biome.

Also new to Rise, you’ll be able to bring a Palamute with you in your hunts. It’s a new pet creature they introduced with canine-like features. You can create and customize your own Palamute the moment you enter the character creation screen. They’re a big help in traversing the biomes of Rise as Palamutes also function as mounts you can use at any time providing you’re out of combat. While in combat, Palamutes will assist you in fighting monsters and often divert attention away from their master.

Of course, Palicos are still around. Don’t worry, nobody is going to replace this cute little feline helper. And like always, you can forge gear for your companions to give them an edge. With your companions, you’ll never be alone in each hunt regardless of whether you’re hunting without another player.

Every hunt takes place in an open biome. Each biome has their own unique identity filled with its own flora, minerals, and other materials you can pick up along the way. You’re going to want to do this, as some of these materials are necessary for crafting powerful weapons and armor, and many can be used to craft tools that significantly places the odds in your favor. These environments add a layer of strategy as they are filled with elements that you can use to help you in your hunt.

Preparing for the hunt is as important and fun as hunting monsters itself. Away from the biomes, you have the village which functions as your hub. In here, you can forge new weapons and armor, upgrade existing equipment, and eat food to buff you before you head out. If you aren’t feeling too confident in your skills, you can practice them in the training area to get a familiar handle on how your weapon works and what it’s not good at.

You’ll be encouraged to check your equipment and change it every now and then to adapt to each monster you have to face. As each armor has its own benefits, resistances, and weaknesses that can be exploited. This is one of the things that Monster Hunter Rise does really well. Its mechanics compliment each other nicely creating a system that drives players to keep on improving as they progress. Prepare for the hunt, go out, gather materials, and come back to make your equipment stronger. Rinse and repeat.

There are a large variety of monsters to hunt, from weird chicken-like beasts such as the Kulu-Ya-Ku to large wyverns such as Rathalos, which will more than give you a run for your money. Each monster have their own specific set of behaviors, weaknesses, and strengths that you have to overcome in order to take them down. Some battles can take incredibly long, with a lot of monsters capable of taking quite the beating before kicking the bucket.

If these battles ever get to difficult for you, Monster Hunter Rise appeals to cooperative gameplay. With many of its mechanics inspiring that you team up with fellow hunters before or during quests. Unlike its predecessor, there is no SOS flare this time around. But you can still call for help by pulling up the menu screen and simply requesting for it. Some quests are strictly solo only, but for the most part Rise encourages cooperate gameplay and it’s always more fun to be in a group than hunting alone.

That being said, you can’t rely on teammates all the time. One of the biggest challenges of any Monster Hunter game is positioning. Weapons, especially larger ones, have a tendency to miss more than they hit and slow to react due to their animations leaving you wide open for a counter attack. It can be more about proper positioning of your strikes than chaining together combos for maximum damage. All weapons in Rise take time to get a handle of and if you don’t have the patience to figure out how to get the best value of your attacks then prepare to take a beating.

There are two methods for completing each hunt, which consists of either killing or capturing your target. Don’t expect every monster to go down easy, as when you’re having the upper hand in a fight against these beasts, they’ll take it upon themselves to strategically retreat forcing you to give chase. Certain monsters are more cowardly than others, and it can sometimes be annoying to keep giving chase every three minutes of fighting it in an area.

A fight with two different monsters will never be the same as they each have their own unique behavior and attack patterns that require different approaches. If you love thinking strategically and taking time to prepare, then this game might just be for you! There’s an exciting thrill to fighting larger beasts as you grind your equipment in preparation for the hunt. In this, Rise gets an excellent mark with our full recommendation to buy it.

Monster Hunter Rise – Review
Score Definition
When the issues of a game are rolled and stomped by its greatness, then it’s something to invest on if you have some spare.
Stable Frame Rate
Extensive Character Building and Specialization
Fluid Traversing
Epic and Deep Combat
No New Weapon Introduced To The Series
Monsters Sometimes Retreats Too Often