Azurephile gives this a solid "Rad" on the Ghost Scale
This is fun, with very few issues, and is well worth your time.
Azurephile gives this a "Rad" on the Ghost Scale
This is fun, with very few issues, and is well worth your time.
Monster Hunter Rise arrived on the Switch almost one year ago. I didn’t pay attention to it, being a Switch exclusive, since I don’t have a Switch. However, it arrived on PC last month and I decided to pick it up. This version comes with many graphical upgrades including high-res textures (up to 4K) and HDR among others. I recently dived into 1440p with a new monitor, but I found out I could actually play the game at my max (not native) resolution of 4Kx2K. I found a comparison video of the version from both systems. It actually doesn’t appear to look or perform badly on the Switch.

I played MH World, so the game play isn’t new to me. That was my first MH game and I really enjoyed it, until difficulty made me very angry and I stopped playing. I did make it far enough to where I was playing the Iceborne expansion, which added Master Rank to the game, which is the highest difficulty. This time, MHR didn’t make me angry much, but I reached a point where the difficulty increased and I decided to take a break from it. I played a lot of it and now I’m feeling a bit burned out on it. Still, it’s good.

If you’re not familiar with MH, basically it’s a game where you’re a hunter and you go about hunting monsters. It’s really that simple. You hunt them and get parts to make new weapons and armor to hunt new monsters and repeat. There are 14 different weapon classes to choose from like the Sword & Shield (my choice), Dual Blades, and Heavy Bowgun just to name a few. Combat mostly involves two-button combos. Basically, you go to the village, you check in with whoever is giving out quests, pick one, and then you’re transported to the area to hunt one or more monsters. Monsters are often very big and powerful. There are a lot of fantasy elements to them. Some look like dinosaurs! Elements and status effects are in this, too.

As you complete quests, your Hunter Rank will increase thus enabling you to take on tougher quests and more difficult monsters. The game has a big multiplayer focus, but it has a single player side, too. You can do pretty much everything solo, but there are quests in which you can join a few other players to do. You can even send out a help request, getting a random person from the Internet to join in your hunt. I’ve read that monster difficulty will scale with the number of players. I haven’t tried multiplayer, so I can’t speak on this feature.

The game play may be simple, but it can be fun and even very frustrating. Monsters aren’t easy to take down, even the weak ones can take a beating. Monsters are HP sponges, so a monster typically runs away eventually and you’ll have to catch up to it to continue fighting it. This will happen multiple times during a hunt. They get weak after a long battle and eventually tire, which is noticeable when they quit attacking and just stand there like they’re trying to rest a bit. In the end, you can hunt them to death, or you can capture them, which is supposed to give more rewards. Trapping them is often a good strategy for winning, because monsters will tire after a certain point and it will become obvious when you can trap them, which will finish the fight earlier than normal.

MHR has some new game play features, as does every evolving game series. I probably won’t cover them all here, but I’d like to point some out. One of my favorite features is that even though I’m playing solo, I’m not fighting alone. In MHW, you have a palico, which is pretty much a cat companion. It’s not like a IRL cat, it can walk, talk, fight, gather, and generally help. There are now different types which signifies it’s specialty. There are healers, warriors, and bombardiers just do name a few. MHR also gives us a palamute, which is a dog. You can ride palamutes, which makes map traversing much easier and more fun. It also helps perform actions which would make you stop in place and thus vulnerable. Now, instead of sharpening your weapon in this way, you can hop on your palamute and do it and run out of the way when a monster attacks. While not riding, your palamute will join you and your palico in battle. However, you can choose to have two palicos or two palamutes with you instead of one of each.

There’s also an owl, but you don’t usually see it and it doesn’t do much. It’s explained that we can see the map we’re on and where the monsters are, because of it. There is an icon for each monster on the map and undiscovered monsters are seen with a question mark. Each map is rather big and there are no loading transitions, which is something the game did long ago. Everything moves fluidly. In fact, load times in the game were just not really there. Loading the game up took the most time, but that was mostly through logos. The load between quests is extremely small, too. It’s so short that I don’t get enough time to read the text in those screens (it’s not important anyway). It's possibly due to running the game on a NVME SSD.

I remember in MHW, there was a tool we could use like a slingshot. There were different things we could do with it. It’s not in MHR, but is instead replaced by what’s called a “wirebug.” You get to shoot these wires out vertically and horizontally. You can also explore the environments much easier with it. You can also use it for an attack. You can use it to get into the air to attack a monster on your descent. It does a certain kind of damage that air attacks do. This damage can bee seen with a brief blue background to identify the type of damage. When a monster receives enough of this damage, it can be ridden.

“Wyvern riding” is a new feature where you can actually jump on to and control a monster with the wirebug. Often when other monsters start to fight each other, one will take enough damage and you’ll be able to ride it. From here you can have it use a strong or light attack, evade, or launch it into another monster or a wall for damage. You’re in control of it, but it won’t last very long and it doesn’t happen very often.

One game play addition happens to be Rampage Quests. In these quests, a horde of monsters will attack the stronghold and you have to keep it defended, making sure the final wall doesn’t come down. It’s a bit like a tower defense game. There are multiple platforms on which you can install various kinds of weapons. These are mostly turrets. You have a limited number of these you can install. Some are automatic and some require you to use manually. You’ll shoot the monsters with these installations mostly, but there will be a “counter signal,” which means your attack and defense are boosted and it’s time to fight monsters like you normally would. There are limited installations, too. These are usually a character from the village. They don’t last the whole rampage, so it’s better to save them.

There are a few types of monsters in a rampage quest. There are icons on each representing what they do. The worst, I think, are the big gate crashers. You want to get rid of these ASAP. There are flying monsters that will target you. If you get hit while using turret, you’ll get knocked off of it if you’re not pressing the defend button. There are a few waves and during this time your stronghold will level up, which will give you access to more and better installations. At the end is a kind of boss-like monster that needs to be defeated.

I wasn’t particularly fond of rampage quests and didn’t like them much. The one introducing you to the quest type is easy, but the ones after that are a bit more difficult. I failed the second one maybe twice, but I did some searching with Google and YouTube and managed to finally succeed. These are the quests done with multiplayer. However, I’d strongly advise making sure everyone’s chatting together so that the defense can be well coordinated.

I’ve enjoyed the game and I’m really glad it gave me the opportunity to test out my new monitor features. At first, I was afraid it was going to make me very angry again like MHW did, but it didn’t. It did get frustrating and I did get tired of it, so I am taking a break from it now. There’s an expansion that’s supposed to be out perhaps this spring, so I may jump back into it. If you like MH, even if MHW was your first, I think you’ll enjoy this. If this sounds interesting to you and you’d like to see it or try it out for yourself first, there’s a demo for it both for Steam and Switch I believe.

For the most comprehensive MH content see Arekkz Gaming on YouTube:

Let me know what you think about this game. Have you played it? Have you played MHW or another MH game?