That question is almost always, immediately and aggressively met with a resounding “No!”. But hear me out. I think Monster Hunter Rise is the best in the series.
As I’ve been playing Wild Hearts to review it over at fullsync.co.uk, there are obviously huge parallels to be drawn. I mean, it’s a monster hunting game that follows in some of the well-trodden foot steps of the Monster Hunter series.
What’s noticeable about Wild Hearts, though is that it’s completely free from the shackles of having 20 years worth of series to maintain. It doesn’t have to bring back old mechanics that were great over a decade ago. Wild Hearts is quicker, less dense with menus and systems, and just easier for new players to get on board.
With that said, I think it’s time to get matter of fact around Monster Hunter Rise and the rest of the series. Certainly I’ve only played World and Monster Hunter 4 prior to Rise, but I’ve spent enough time with them to know what’s good, what’s bad and what is just “Monster Hunter”. Monster Hunter Rise is the most efficient, accessible game in the series, and I promise you that’s a good thing.
Here’s my thoughts on why it might just be the best so far.
Quality of life
This is the big stuff, straight out of the gates. Rise does what the others, in my experience do not, and really thinks about how best to keep the action flowing.
Traversal with Wirebugs and Palamutes. Sharpening, collecting and dashing around, all without skipping a beat. Sure, the ebbs and flows of the series may well be missed. I get it, that breather when a monster scurries off elsewhere in the map is golden. But why play the game like American Football with all the stop-start stuff?
Finesse comes from constantly flowing and moving/reacting to that flow. Rise has made this viable now in ways that it just wasn’t before.
Automatically making items in your lists, so you can collect materials and not have to go to a menu, or back to a camp or something. Sure, this was in Monster Hunter World, but it’s just proof that Capcom want to streamline the moment-to-moment action.
There’s plenty about Monster Hunter Rise that needs improvement, but these are largely relics of the franchise. Obtuse matchmaking seems like a step back from Monster Hunter World. Having to use a separate hub and board.
But if we just consider how efficient the game is compared to its predecessors, it’s a significant improvement. Better still, it’s never ever at the detriment to a hunt or to the wider game. Changes are purely there to help keep you engaged and it works.
I’ve found some of these end-game monsters to be tough, so certainly I don’t think they’ve dumbed-down the hunts or the monsters themselves. This is still pure Monster Hunter, it’s just become better at being a modern game.
Onboarding new players is still tough. So much text, so many menus and systems to understand. I’m no veteran, but I’ve played enough to have learned the flow of the game in and out of hunts. But it doesn’t come easy, and should you expect your players to have to invest a lot of time just to get into your game. Monster Hunter Rise is the best yet, but there’s plenty of room to improve.
Monster Hunter Rise
I actually started this piece last year, but it wasn’t a priority and kind of got left on the back burner. Monster Hunter Rise has seen several title updates since, but nothing really to help improve the accessibility to the game itself.
Launch on other platforms has happened, and again, no real change. I had hoped at least for something like cross-platform play so I could play with friends without having to consider starting another version of the game, again. It’s clear that Capcom have plenty of room for improvement, and Wild Hearts has really shown that being free from a legacy means it can really mix things up and make for a more free and accessible experience.
Monster Hunter Rise is absolutely the best game in the series, bringing it on leaps and bounds in the past couple of years. Lets see where the series goes next. Certainly, seeing the new Capcom ID changes recently, I can only assume that cross-save is going to be a thing soon. Tying your platforms together and sharing progress across them.
I have no doubt that the best is yet to come. Perhaps having some genuine competition in the genre will help push things along even further? I love this series and want to see it evolve and get picked up by more and more players. So lets look forwards to whatever is coming next!