Monster Hunter: Rise – Early Doors

My gaming life has been consumed by Monster Hunter over the past few weeks. Between starting MH:Rise and re-starting MH:World, I’ve been knee deep in low-rank hunts, map exploration and seeing the differences between the two.

I think it’s easy enough to declare right now that Rise is at the very least, as good as World. And I bloody love MH:World.

For reference, I’ve put about 15 hours into both Rise and World in the past couple of weeks.  Dipping in and out of both as my time/schedule allows.

I’ve been pushing hub quests more than village quests in MH:Rise, and hit high rank.  However, I’m not in the end game, and there’s plenty left for me to go at.

Conversely, I’ve hit the point where I need to hunt elder dragons in MH:World and done that in about 10 hours fewer than when I originally played on Xbox a couple of years ago.

Honestly, I’m having a blast playing in this universe, and my only regret is that I hadn’t gotten into Monster Hunter earlier.

 

Switch Game?

Built in Capcom’s RE engine. It’s a marvel in how well it runs, how it looks and how it delivers the Monster Hunter experience, either docked or on the go (I definitely did a quick hunt on the toilet the other day….).

Graphically, this is, arguably the best a Nintendo Switch game has looked since Mario Odyssey or Breath of the Wild.

What Capcom have achieved here is excellent. Carrying the overall aesthetic of World over into a tiny cartridge. Sure, the maps/biomes don’t “feel” quite so alive, but compared to the other titles in the series, MH:Rise is next-level stuff.

If you showed me this a couple of years ago, Switch would have been the absolute last guess I made. Sure, it’s not 4k, 60fps with ray tracing and DLSS. But nothing I play is anyway, so it makes no odds!

MH:Rise plays so butter smooth, it’s worth taking a minute to give it some attention. Four hunters wailing on an AI monster, perhaps two. Palicos and Palamutes chipping in, and no discernible drop in frame rate at all. Hats off to Capcom, seriously, this is something massive next-gen AAA titles can’t seem to manage with all the GPU/CPU/Memory they can get a hold of.

 

Multiplayer – Good/Bad

MH:Rise splits the multi-player and single player experience into two completely separate entities. “village quests” for solo play and “Hub Quests” for online multiplayer hunts.

I can’t lie, this is a little bit disappointing for me personally. I like to just smash through hunts and replay them with random people. Responding to SOS calls etc.

MH:Rise has left me with a separate quest list to do solo, and I can’t just leave it all incomplete. So I’m running two sets of quests at any given time. It’s a bit annoying.

Sure, the solo hunters of the world have everything they want, with an nicely siloed-off set of quests. But I have to say that I preferred the MH:World style of hunt.  You set-out solo, do what you can, but you can call in random allies if needed. No separate lists, just post quests and you’re done.

When you’re playing hub quests though, it’s all the four-person fun you could want. Total chaos, but the very essence of what makes Monster Hunter so great, for me. Especially when you find that unspoken synergy, and everyone is just working together without so much as a quick communication to everyone else.

 

Wyvern Riding

Mounting from MH:World is gone. I’m gutted, I LOVE mounting, and then later on, using the clutch claw.

But MH:Rise has pulled a new trick out of its hat. Wyvern Riding!

Get your monster down with enough of your wirebug attacks and you get a prompt to “ride” the monster. Then, you’re literally Remy in Ratatouille! Pulling those strings, controlling your monster like a puppet.

This is great fun, but actually really useful, too. If you’re on your way to the intended target and stumble upon a different monster in the area, why not ride it to your target?

Use it for light attacks, heavy attacks and eventually their full attacks. Wear-down your target monster, with another monster!

If you get to mount your target, and there are no other monsters about, that’s no drama. Just force the monster to charge into the wall for some nice damage! Regain your footing, and go again! And again if you have a third wirebug.

Awesome!

It requires a bit of effort and isn’t as frequent as the MH:World mounting. But MH:Rise took the best bit of the Clutch Claw (forcing a monster to charge into walls), and made a full feature out of it.

 

Rampages

I didn’t realise how much I needed a mode like this in Monster Hunter!

Rampage quests scratch an itch of mine that sees me work in small contained arenas, with some micromanagement and some chaos.  There’s something about it that just hits me just right.

The monsters of the world in MH:Rise, are rampaging against your village. Coming in droves to smash down barriers and cause general chaos. So the premise is there, it’s enough to give an excuse for the mode, and that works for me.

To stop the rampage, you need to set-up and fortify the area and hold off waves of the attacks. It’s tower defense, but Monster Hunter style.

Using my wirebug to get from platform to platform. Setting up cannons, miniguns, and other gear, you prepare to fight for the lives of everyone in the village. Hold the monsters back!

It’s cool tower-defense, and playing with others makes it all the more fun.

 

Streamlined

MH:Rise has definitely streamlined some elements.  To the complete benefit of the hunter, but to the detriment of the overall experience, if you ask me.

Mining, digging-up bonepiles and doing those day to day farming bits in a map have been smoothed-down to a one-time action.  No more standing around and repeating the button press 3 times.

It’s weird, because you still get the same amount of items, but there’s no effort.  No fear of being knocked-down by a nearby monster.  I kind of miss that danger, and that little bit of effort to get some items.

Furthemore, you can do all of these actions on the back of your Palamute as you ride them across the map.  Not only that but MH:Rise lets you sharpen your weapons and use items on the go, too.

Streamlined, and absolutely improvements in making your hunts more efficient.  But I think there’s something lost in the effort to speed things up.  You had to choose to take time out to mine, or use an item, or to sharpen your weapon.  Everything was deliberate and you had to be a little more careful.

Fact is, you’re able to do more with less effort, and that’s rarely a bad thing.  So you can maximise your routes, you can obtain items quicker, and you can prep yourself for the next phase of a hunt whilst on the go.  That’s awesome.  But there’s something about it that takes away from the overall Monster Hunter experience.  Strange to miss such banal actions, but hey, here we are.

 

So far, so good!

So yeah, it looks great, it plays great, the changes have been made to make it more efficient on each hunt.

Being on the Nintendo Switch, I can play it wherever I want and having that freedom allows me to find time to play, that I wouldn’t necessarily have otherwise (in bed, watching TV passively in the living room etc).

MH:Rise is most of what I love from MH:World and it’s accessible whenever I want it, without being chained to a desk or TV.

The more I play, especially alongside MH:World, the more I realise that there are some bits that evidence MH:Rise as a little bit pared-down, by comparison.  But it’s minor and the experience is generally great.  Better still, this is a game on the Switch that’s delivering an experience almost the same as I get from an Xbox One, PS4 or PC, and that’s incredible.

I’m working on some video content, for the first time ever (genuinely nervous about that!) and I’m doing my best to stream my playthrough as much as possible, time permitting. So please keep checking back here for more stuff coming soon!

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