Monster Hunter World was my Fortnight where I was in there every night slaying monsters, with the just one more match mentality. I sunk so many hours into the game, and still barely saw all that the game had to offer. Then Monster Hunter World: Iceborne came out which was much like a sequel offering almost as much content as the base game. I think most people would have been happy to have Monster Hunter World continue with big expansions, instead we will probably get a proper Monster Hunter World sequel in the next couple of years. Monster Hunter Rise was a weird release being exclusive to the Nintendo Switch and like a spinoff. It was likely already in the works when the success of Monster Hunter World became a hit, and now we finally have Monster Hunter Rise on all platforms.
Storytelling is the same as previous entries where you have a base camp and must protect it from monsters, with fetch quests in-between. Each mainline quest has you tackling a new monster with an intro video of the monster David Attenborough style. Story is thin, which is ok as you’re here for the gameplay. Monster Hunter has an addictive gameplay loop, even with somewhat clunky combat, it always feels rewarding. You will replay similar quests slaying the same handful of monsters with slight variations. The key to the addiction is the grind for the gear that feels rewarding when you get a new armour set, or weapon. Every battle is never really the same as different variables affect each battle. When two large monsters come across each other and battle things hit a new height. It’s like you’re witnessing a Kaiju battle and you’re in-between it. Monster Hunter Rise is as long as you want it to be. There is a soft ending for the game where you defeat the cover boss at the end of around fifteen hours of gameplay, and get your fill. Or like most who play Monster Hunter it’s where the game really begins, and you start to take on the high ranking quests that net you better rewards. To put it in perspective I finished the soft ending with the credits rolling and obtained only 2% of the PlayStation trophies.
There are so many little things that have been refined in Monster Hunter Rise. You now have a mount that you can ride at any time, with the ability to attack and pick things up. This mount makes the gameplay more fluid as you chase after monsters once they leave to recoup, unlike previous entries where you are chasing after them by foot and draining the stamina bar. The load times are nearly nonexistent when heading out to a mission, where Monster Hunter World would take minutes to load. This game can be played incredibly well solo, with the addition of your mount you now have two NPCs fighting against a monster taking away some of the agro that the monster would have sent all your way. The smaller maps have you spending less time chasing the monster, and if you faint much less time getting back to the monster.
Most of the negatives of Monster Hunter Rise come from originally being a Nintendo Switch title. Frankly, it’s a surprise how this game ran on the Nintendo Switch to begin with, nor how it would be enjoyable with the analog sticks. The scope of each map is much smaller than Monster Hunter World, which is ultimately fine and makes it easier to catch monsters as they have less terrain to trek. The biggest detractor of the game is how Nintendo’s online system has worked itself into the game. You need to provide a twelve letter id code to join friends in online, whereas multiplayer was a breeze in Monster Hunter World. Every time you do an action that will be seen online you are prompted with seemingly Nintendo’s code of conduct. No bullying, profanity, things that are expected with any game. It’s a surprise how integrated these were in the PlayStation version.
There is competition on the horizon next month for Monster Hunter with Wild Hearts. Considering Wild Hearts is an EA game it will likely have a ton of micro transactions and battle passes, so I’m not sure it could ever replace Monster Hunter. Later on in the year the Monster Hunter Rise: Sunbreak expansion will be available for purchase as well. This will likely be when the exclusivity ends with Nintendo. Knowing that Sunbreak came out on the 30th of June 2022, I would guess it will be available to purchase from 30th of June later this year.
Overall, Monster Hunter Rise is just as fun as Monster Hunter World and a great entry point for beginners. In a year of big releases this will be an ideal game to enjoy in the downtime of those releases.
Available now on PlayStation, Xbox, PC, and Nintendo Switch.
Check out our review of Monster Hunter World HERE