Review: Monster Hunter Rise

Monster Hunter Rise is now available exclusively for Nintendo Switch. It is the first Monster Hunter game designed from scratch for the Switch. This makes Rise perhaps one of the best Monster Hunter titles today.

There are real wizards at Capcom. Monster Hunter Rise looks really good on the Nintendo Switch. It is by far the best Nintendo Switch title at the moment. In fact, it's so beautiful that after the very first images of the game appeared, fans thought the images were being shown on a more powerful Nintendo Switch . Around the announcement of Monster Hunter Rise there were rumors that a more powerful Switch would appear this year. But guess what, all these images were just recorded on the Nintendo Switch that already appeared on the market in 2017.

A technical pinnacle

Capcom is pulling all the power from the Nintendo Switch with Monster Hunter Rise. It is one of the first titles on Nintendo's hybrid console to run on the acclaimed RE Engine . This powerful Engine has proven itself time and again with the modern Resident Evil titles and Devil May Cry on the home consoles. Besides Ghost 'N Goblin's remake, Monster Hunter Rise is the only title from Capcom on the Switch that runs on the RE Engine and as far as I'm concerned it is more than approved for future Capcom titles.

It doesn't just look super slick in both handheld mode and docked on an LG CX6LA. I'm listing the TV model here for a reason because it's a 4K TV. What I notice with many Nintendo Switch titles is that it does not always look sharp on a 4K TV. Monster Hunter Rise has absolutely no problem with this. Of course a 4K broadcast would be even sharper, but this is the best you can get, at the moment.

Nice and sharp. But what about the performance of the small device? That is actually more than fine. While playing Monster Hunter Rise, you can play almost with a locked 30 FPS even in the multiplayer mode of the game. Things get very chaotic at times in Monster Hunter Rise. For example, four Hunters rush on a Magnamalo that swings a lot of attacks with many visual effects through the field. The performance remains very stable at all times and that is really great, especially when you consider how beautiful and detailed the game, world and characters are in the game.

Monster Hunter

If Monster Hunter World, the previous title in the franchise, was your first Monster Hunter, many elements may be familiar to you, but there are also some things that are new to you. If you are a veteran, then you are familiar with the phenomenon of Village and Hub quests. The Village quests are basically your 'Easy mode' story quests. The monsters in these quests are a weaker variant of the Hub versions. Here you will learn to meet the old and new monsters for the first time. In the hub you fight the same monsters, but these are more powerful. They have much more hit points and they are meant to be knocked out in cooperation. So in the Hub you mainly play with friends or strangers. The Village quests are always solo missions. Of course you can also do hub quests on your own if you are brave.

Monster Hunter pits you against big monsters spread over different levels of difficulty. Each monster is in some kind of division. At the time of writing, you will first play through the ranks in Low Rank and then High Rank. In High Rank, the monsters are even stronger and leave behind new materials for stronger equipment. After the launch in future updates, the Master Rank will be added and new monsters will appear.

Unique Action RPG

Monster Hunter is a very unique action RPG. The monsters do not have a life bar. You'll have to get used to other landmarks to see how a monster's health is doing. If you recognize that the monster is on its last legs, you may want to try to capture it instead of defeating it. This gives you a chance to use other materials.

While chopping and hitting a monster, you can break various parts of its body. This is visually shown, causing him to lose a horn on his head, for example, or get obvious scratches on his back. With some monsters you can even chop off the tail so you can strip it off the body for unique parts. This way you will notice more and more that a monster becomes weaker and goes through different phases during a battle. For example, the beast will try to flee several times, but even when it is almost dead, it still tries at all costs to deal with the dangerous fighters. If you've been playing Monster Hunter for years, this is nothing new, but Rise introduces next to new monsters, also a mountain of new ideas.

RISE!

Monster Hunter Rise is more Monster Hunter, but it doesn't stop there. There are brand new elements that make even Monsters from 10 years ago feel fresh. This way you only have two hops, instead of one. The feline Palico returns, but this time you also have the Palamute. A dog-like helper. You can ride on this beast so that you can quickly navigate through the map. The critter also helps you during battles and you can even fight with it while sitting on it! This addition is almost indispensable in the Monster Hunter formula, even though we have only been able to experiment with it for a week.

This also applies to the Wirebugs. This is kind of an evolution of the Clutch Claw from World. You have two bugs that can string a rope on cooldown. Here you can swing through the air as Spider-Man, you can climb walls and mountains, but you can also do attacks with it. The so-called Wirebug attacks are air attacks that will eventually allow you to climb a monster to temporarily take over!

With the Wyvern Riding mechanic, use your wirebugs to create temporary reins for the beast you're chasing. With this you temporarily take over the beast and you can make attacks with it. This allows you to do a lot of damage to another beast in a short time. You can also choose to have the monster save against something so that it lies on the ground helplessly for a few seconds.

Rampage in Monster Hunter Rise!

If that wasn't enough, there's a completely new game mode in which you have to stop hordes of monsters in a kind of tower-defense style. You set up bomb traps and guns to fend off the monsters. During the defense there are special bonus assignments that increase your defense level. This will unlock more gun options for the battle. It's a new mode for Monster Hunter, but of course we already know the concept. It's obviously not the star of the show, but it's a nice change from all the battles. The narrative missions of this are also accompanied by some cool cutscenes that further map the story.

Nintendo Switch Online

So far nothing but praise for Monster Hunter Rise on Nintendo Switch. It's a lot of fun to hunt Monster with friends. Coordinate and simply howl and roar when another frenzied attack sends someone back to camp on a cart. Especially with a game like Monster Hunter, a lively community is extremely important.

So don't let this be an option at all on Nintendo Switch to support this a bit. As you may already know, there is no voice chat on Nintendo Switch. Not at the system level and not in Rise either. If you want to play with friends then you have to move to a talking platform like Discord. There is also no option to message friends on the Switch. I saw almost half of my friends list online on Monster Hunter, but I couldn't send a message saying "Hey, I see you're playing Monster Hunter. How about defeating a few monsters together?"

It would make the already awesome experience even better. Because functionally, playing together works very well in Monster Hunter Rise. Hardly any connection problems of any kind. Joining a lobby happens in a split second. The foundation is incredibly stable, and the lack of these community options isn't Capcom's fault either, but rather a sour aftertaste of Nintendo's kid-friendly approach to online multiplayer.

Verdict

Monster Hunter Rise is by far the best Monster Hunter I've played. From the first moment, Capcom managed to hook me with this game. Thanks in part to the great work to make this gigantic game run smoothly on Nintendo Switch. The style and music of the game is truly top notch and the gameplay feels smoother than ever with the addition of the palamute and wirebug. In addition, Capcom has planned enough future updates to provide Monster Hunter Rise with new monsters for months after release. It's a shame that Nintendo Switch Online doesn't offer fans an option to communicate online, but even with that lack and the detours to be able to communicate with each other, it just shows what kind of a game Capcom has been able to put down.

 

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