Updated: May 21
Monster Hunter Rise gives hunters new tools, mechanics, and playgrounds to engage with but lacks elements that'd make it perfect.
Source | Nintendo
Imagine yourself as Spider-Man swinging from destination to destination while fighting giant beasts and you'll get the general gist of Monster Hunter Rise. Since the beginning, Monster Hunter's been about protecting your homeland from monstrosities as your armed with multiple weapons ranging from swords, bows, and other fashionable items. Monster Hunter Rise is the latest installment in this franchise and does its best to grant gamers a hardcore fantasy experience.
Monster Hunter Rise sets players into a small but natural hub area filled with shops, blacksmiths, food eateries, and buddy plazas--serving as gamers’ go-to establishments before taking a quest. Like other games in the franchise, Monster Hunter Rise features Village Quests--where the story takes place, and Hub Quests, which they can challenge alone or with friends. Like most of the games, Monster Hunter Rise's storyline isn't groundbreaking.
Source | GodIsAGeek
Essentially, your Hunter must defend Kamura Village from impending doom while preparing for an ancient calamity called The Rampage. The player tackles numerous quests featuring returning monsters from previous Monster Hunter games and encounters Monster Hunter Rise's mascot, Magnamalo. Even after players successfully defeat Magnamalo, the game emphasizes that the war isn't over yet, meaning it’s time for players to buckle down for the real challenges ahead. While the storyline had beautiful cut scenes and some stellar dialogue, Monster Hunter Rise's plot lacks depth and uniqueness.
Despite triumphing over the story’s final monsters, I didn’t feel like Kamura Village’s true hero. I felt like an average Joe who was surprisingly chosen to be the hero. There wasn’t any historical reason for my heroics. Magnamalo's magnificent entrance in the game gets shafted as the story shifts more focus on the future beasts, making Magnamalo feel less impactful to the narrative. The final two beasts also felt like a let-down from a design perspective, and made me ponder Capcom’s decision to sideline Magnamalo. Fans even had to wait to figure out the story's conclusion--two months after the game released. Though this infers that Monster Hunter Rise's “true ending” may not meet expectations, players can expect its game play to pick up the slack.
Source | Twitter
Monster Hunter Rise's gameplay is akin to a buffet--concise and varied. Feel a weapon isn't perfect for your playstyle; choose another, and repeat the cycle until you land a bullseye. Whenever I battled against an earlier or later monster, I never felt bored or wanted the showdown to conclude. Each beast has a unique personality, fighting style, and weakness. Learning ways to counter each of them (with my preferred weapon or armor set) filled me with much enthusiasm. While fighting monsters with powerful tools and durable armor encoruaged me to play more, I found more delight in Monster Hunter Rise's new mechanics.
Implementing Wirebugs, mountable monsters, and dog companions in Monster Hunter Rise gave me immersion and thoughts only a young boy could conjure. No longer would I worry about needing to run a mile to reach a monster's location. While some may argue it makes the game easier, Wirebugs are optional tools, meaning players can play this game without using them. Mountable monsters made me feel more like a hunter than ever before, as it was satisfying to ram one monster into the other to start possible Turf Wars. As for the Palamutes (the dog companions in the game), they also make traversing the land feel less of a chore than walking alongside a Palico. While fighting monsters never felt better, I saw myself lacking charisma concerning the Rampages.
Source | Wired
While I found some joy in nuking monsters with explosives and firing powerful bullets into their skulls, I found the Rampages to be tedious and too easy. I'd enter the Rampage's stronghold and sit there as the NPCs fired away at the monsters. It also made this game's super-charged beasts, "Apex Monsters," feel less threatening and dog food to the gear I was packing. Even utilizing my weapons to take down monsters didn't excite me, as the battlefield became too crowded. All I saw were monsters flying in the sky and others traveling by land. Like Rampages, I had issues with the collecting and multiplayer system implemented into Monster Hunter Rise.
The RNG may appeal to some players, but sometimes it felt too daunting and pointless. Getting rare monster parts isn't easy, and I found fighting a monster multiple times to feel draining and discouraging. The multiplayer makes this far worse. Since hosts can't control what can or can't be caught or slain in a hunt, many players end up going against the orders issued by the host. The same frustration applies to talisman and charms. Despite being filled with immense satisfaction after getting your dream item, the effect wears off swiftly, and it's back to suffering the endless cycle again. While Monster Hunter Rise fails to adapt to a healthy and less-frustrating multiplayer and collecting structure, the game's graphical achievements settled my issues with those practices to a degree.
Despite being on a portable console and having stunning visual quality on par with Monster Hunter World, Monster Hunter Rise manages to run and look decent on the Nintendo Switch. The game runs at a constant 30 frames per second, and I never noticed the quality downgrade, lag, or span out of control while fighting the game's small or giant monsters. Monster Hunter Rise maintains the consistent frame rate during multiplayer, meaning players shouldn't worry about booting a player off a hunt to maintain high visual fidelity.
The game's outdone itself in the design department as I would often find myself immersed in the many areas inserted into each playable map. I got the sense of exploring ancient artifacts while adventuring through the Shrine Ruins and enjoyed exploring the area around the abandoned ship in the Frost Islands. The Monster introduction videos also gave me chuckles and interest in the creatures before I fought them. However, the voice acting and music accompanying the visuals are worth highlighting.
While some may prefer the original Japanese audio for the game, I enjoyed many bits of the English dubbing. I never felt the cast annoyed me to the brink of extinction as I argue the English actors and actresses made the characters feel alive and full of charisma. From Elder Fugen's dominant, manly voice to Yomogi's bubbly, inviting attitude, I felt at home with the people inhabiting Kamura Village. While I do have some issues with some of the one-liners like "I hope you have insurance" for the player's hunter character, I felt it added to Monster Hunter Rise's playful and comedic charm. The monster battle themes and weapon sound effects were also music to my ears, with the final boss's theme being one of my favorites to listen to while doing day-to-day activities.
Source | Twitter
Monster Hunter Rise doesn't have the best item collection or multiplayer system, an Oscar worthy storyline, or next-generation graphics. It's not a masterpiece. It has its many flaws, errors, and issues. Yet, it’s a game with spirit and charisma and will influence anyone to explore the hidden areas of their homeland they've yet to experience. While it may not appeal to those who aren't fans of fantasy and mythology, others will have a blast enjoying what the game offers them in the long haul, and to them, I say, "happy hunting!"
Review Score: 8/10