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Over the past few years, the Monster Hunter franchise has become one of my favorite games, with hundreds of hours of play on multiple platforms. It combines fantastic boss fights with a great sense of progression and targeted loot. Monster Hunter World is one of those games I play every chance I get. Even the Iceborne expansion offered far more than any new standalone game, with tons of content to dive into and an even more impressive post-launch offering.
The World is a game I kept coming back to because it’s a great game to play with friends, but it was time to move on. Now, three years later, we get the new Monster Hunter game. One that goes back to its fan base on Nintendo systems. Monster Hunter Rise is the next big thing in Capcom’s franchise, this time set in a more feudal Japan.
You are the new hunter of Kamura village. They go on quests to prepare for the Rampage, an event that sends monsters from the neighborhood on a rampage to attack the village. No one knows what caused this eruption, and that is the central mystery of the game. As always, the story only serves to introduce the new gameplay mechanics and the many new monsters you’ll have to fight during the story and beyond.
For the uninitiated: Monster Hunter is about hunting monsters, chopping them up and making better equipment out of their corpses. So you can boost your combat performance and take on more serious threats. The game has a ton of armor and weapons that require multiple monster parts to create. So you have to go back and keep killing monsters and breaking certain body parts during the fight. It’s a constantly exciting game cycle that forces you to progress.
There are a large number of variations in the fourteen weapon classes. Each has its own movement and feeling that radically changes the way the game is played. There is an impressive range of different play styles. They have weapons ranging from simple swords and swords to more exciting things like an axe and a hunting horn. Personally, I’m the Insect Glaive boss, and it’s always a pleasure to soar above a monster in spectacular fashion, performing aerial combos and dodging while barely touching the ground.
It wouldn’t be a Monster Hunter game without a decent list of monsters to fight. Among them are perennial favorites like Narcacuga, Khezu, and Zinoge, all of which offer familiar but interesting challenges. Then there are some new additions, including a brand new flagship monster called Magnamalo, which is one of the most fun I’ve had in the series. It easily tops my list. Each monster has its own unique attacks and strategies that change depending on the situation. There is a lot of variation in the monster design, especially when you reach a high monster rank where things really take off.
If you come straight from the world, you’ll notice some changes right away. Firstly, the route between the village and the centre has been redrawn to match the old data. The village is currently strictly isolated, but that is also what makes it lighter than the world. I was disappointed that the main quest line wasn’t much of a challenge until it reached a higher rank. On the other hand, the center offers about the same experience, as you can hunt with up to three friends. Monster Hunter is at its best right now.
A new game mode called The Rampage adds a layer of tower defense strategy to the franchise. It’s all about prioritizing your hunting team’s objectives and drafting weapons that will help you fight off the attack. It’s a decent addition, but I’m not sure it will hold up in the long run without something to make it more interesting. Overall, however, it is in many ways a direct successor to Peace. All the streamlined elements are back, removing much of the tedium from a franchise that has given most a hard time. Instead, he focuses on all the strengths of the franchise. There are many things to discover and amazing changes that I won’t list here. If you loved The World, you’ll love Monster Hunter Rising.
Although the gameplay is very thin, Rise has a lot of tricks up its sleeve. As the name suggests, Rise offers much more verticality than ever before. Your hunter can run along the wall to reach higher places. But that’s not all, Palamute makes his debut as an incredibly useful canine companion. Not only can they help you in battle, but they are also available to ride; the expansion mechanic introduces more to Iceborne. You can also collect resources and sharpen your weapons while riding Palamute. These features alone reduce travel time, so you can get into the fray very quickly. Of course, the Palikos mainstay also returns.
Then you have Wirebugs, which is by far the biggest addition to this game, replacing Slingshot. It’s a versatile tool that will help you make your rounds, battle or not. Outside of combat, you can use it to move up the ranks much faster. Once you’ve mastered the movement, you’ll soon find your own routes on the map that you can use to collect resources and native life to help you in your hunt. Combined with the race wall and Palamutes, you can cross the map in seconds.
The Wirebugs really excel in combat, however, as they allow you to quickly regroup or launch airstrikes with any weapon. And not only that: If you suffer a setback, don’t wait: pressing ZL+B will get you back on top. This acceleration of Rise’s gameplay is a nice change of pace and means that every second of the hunt has an impact.
Finally, we have Wyvern Riding. Here you can see the forces acting on the clutch and the clutch cam in the previous item. While turf wars used to be a lot of fun to watch (and believe me, they still exist), now you can do battle with a different monster. This is an exhilarating experience that will allow you to fulfill your dream of fighting Kaiju. Although I miss the editing mechanisms, this product is a great substitute. The controls are a bit clunky, and I wish they were a bit harder to remove. You don’t need a strategy. There are also one or two interruptions in the installation that can rob you of the experience. An odd bean counter, but one that pops up often enough to be mentioned.
For the first time in years, the Monster Hunter franchise has traded Capcom’s NT Frameworks engine for the much better RE engine. We’ve been impressed with this bike more than once: Resident Evil 7, Resident Evil 2 Remake and Devil May Cry 5 are all technological marvels. But until now, we’ve never seen it on the Switch, and I think we have something very special here and a taste of what’s to come.
The game is beautiful, with a stunning art style carrying the graphics. The armor and weapons are all fantastic, while the monsters themselves just look incredible on the Switch. The only downside is the environment, which often seems to lack detail. They never had the wow factor that Peace had. Considering it runs on weaker hardware than the last generation of consoles, that’s impressive. The refresh rate is 30 frames per second, with a small drop here and there. This is an impressive game from Switch, and I highly doubt we’ll see anything better. I also played the vast majority of games in portable mode.
The sound design is also excellent. In fact, I think it’s the most powerful thing we’ve seen in a Monster Hunter game to date. The new music for the forest battles is some of the best I’ve heard in a long time, and the new rendition of Proof of a Hero gives the game a surprisingly feudal Japanese touch. Elsewhere, we have a pretty decent voice. One of the strangest additions, however, is the voice acting of your fighter during battles. Sure, it’s divisive, but I really enjoyed it.
Monster Hunter Rise is an excellent continuation of the Monster Hunter franchise that feels even better after the already excellent Iceborne expansion. It’s a game I will come back to again and again. I’m looking forward to the PC release next year.
|The RE motor makes its debut at the switch. Although it has shortcomings in some areas.||It’s the same basic gameplay as World, but with some welcome additions.|
|The soundtrack is great, with good voice acting.||Monster Hunter Rise is an absolute joy and a game I will return to for the next installment.|
|Last block : 9.5|
Monster Hunter Rise is now available on the Switch.
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