Rise might just be the most interesting and complete Monster Hunter game to date.
Not only does it manage to follow on from the new-fangled Monster Hunter World style gameplay, it merges it with the franchises’ classic style in new ways, and puts the gameplay back in the palm of your hands.
Personally, as much as I enjoyed World, I’ve always felt like Monster Hunter thrives on pick-up-and-play gameplay. Rise gets that immediately, providing you with quick, dive in missions with easy objectives. Grab some unique mushrooms, kill some small demons, and before you know it you’re familiar with the flow.
And that, to me, is one of the best things about Rise. It feels even more accessible to newcomers, while also staying true to its roots and offering the kind of hardcore challenge veterans expect.
Throw in two pets to play and fight alongside you to ensure you can play the game solo, while also giving you the option to team up with other hunters online. It truly is the complete package.
The Palamutes join up with the adorable Palicos and at the start of your game, you get to pick names and styles for your pets. Both have their own unique sets of armor which you can upgrade overtime and in the case of your new doggo friends, you also have someone to ride to get around quicker.
One of the big differences for me is that movement is much less clunky than earlier Monster Hunter titles. In the past, it all felt quite stunted and static, but with mount speed added in with the Wirebug – which essentially turns you into Spider-Man letting you swing around Jungles and Ravines – there’s an element of free-roaming never really seen before.
Perhaps the best thing Rise achieves, though, is in making its village seem more alive than past entries. Characters are afforded a spotlight to chat with you and make you feel welcome, while warning you of the dangers to come. Within Kamura Village, you can build up your relationship with townsfolk by fulfilling a series of village-wide missions which are repeatable in order to earn materials and money to build up new armor and weapons.
You can also take on a Special License Test if you do enough village quests and completing that can increase your Hunter Rank, which is a nice touch and a way to help all players progress through the game, no matter their experience with Monster Hunter. It also enables you to progress through the game at a faster rate, which will be welcome news to some World players who found it could be quite grindy at times.
I sometimes had to stop to remember that Monster Hunter Rise is a Switch game. World is absolutely glorious and Rise manages to bring more of that across than I dared to imagine. The stunning backdrops, the adorable food preparation, the epic battles with monsters. It looks great on the smaller Switch screen and it flows almost seamlessly as well. It is easily the best looking and most impressive handheld Monster Hunter game to date.
I do have to say that it felt less impressive graphically while docked. The game looks quite jagged and rough at times, particularly on character models and textures, and the frame rate drops can be bad, though the environments are still quite breathtaking. With the game rumoured to be coming to PC, and the persistent talk of a Switch Pro, though, I do wonder how beautiful Rise could end up looking in 4K.
The music is absolutely gorgeous, though, with a wonderfully cheery and mellow score looping in the background during quieter periods, combined with suitably epic and grandiose moments as you head into battle.
Monster Hunter Rise is among the top twenty titles on Switch, an elite selection of products that’s getting harder and harder to break into all the time. It absolutely pushes the performance of the hardware to the max, but it also presents you the most accessible, enjoyable, and entertaining Monster Hunter game ever made.
Whether you want to dip into it for an hour here and there, or stay glued to the screen for an entire weekend, Rise is an incredible accomplishment in every sense of the word. With a ton of depth to get the most of your battles, a fulfilling end-game, and a ton of updates still to come, this is the most generous and rewarding third party exclusive on Switch.
If, for some reason, you still don’t own one and you’ve been holding out for a quality exclusive that makes it the envy of other formats and doesn’t have a single Mushroom Kingdom resident in sight, Rise is the reason you’ve been waiting for to buy a Switch!
+ The most accessible Monster Hunter game to date
+ Gorgeous visuals that never fail to impress on handheld
+ Beautiful soundtrack
+ Lots of customization
+ A wealth of updates still to come
– Docked mode is a bit rough on performance and quality
Monster Hunter Rise is now available on Switch
Code kindly provided by Nintendo and Capcom