Monster Hunter Rise is the latest title in the Monster Hunter series available for the Nintendo Switch. In this installment, many new features and quality-of-life changes have been made, making it the perfect time for people new to the series to try the game. Monster Hunter Rise is one of the best Monster Hunter games yet.
Village Quests is the story mode of the game. The story is not that great compared to the previous Monster Hunter stories, but the story is not the main reason to play a Monster Hunter game in the first place. The story begins when your hunter is tasked to do what’s in the game’s title: hunt monsters. As you progress, you fight the main character of the installment, Magnamalo, a giant wyvern that looks similar to a tiger and whose appearance is based on a samurai.
Eventually, you will hunt the final bosses of the game, two serpent gods, and the story ends until the game gets updated. The village quests gameplay is one of the most accessible quests for the series in general, so if you are starting the franchise, try the village quests before heading into hub quests. If you end up solo running the village quests only, there are special license quests where, if you beat them, your hunter rank rises, and you will not have to redo the low-rank quests again after you finish story mode.
After you complete the village quests, you have to do hub quests, which continue the story. While village quests are for solo hunters only, you can embark on hub quests solo, with friends or with random strangers. This is where the game picks up, as does the difficulty; depending on your hunter rank, monsters get more challenging, and you have to hunt more of them. The online mode for Monster Hunter Rise is one of the best I have ever seen for the Nintendo Switch; a connection error occurred once, but otherwise, there were no lagging problems, disconnecting time or frame drops. Clips of funny glitches and bugs circulated online, but these are unlikely to ruin the game. With the helpful tutorials the game gives you, you can easily find friends to play with. There is also a chat function with stickers and gestures. It is a great function, but unless you have a USB keyboard, it is a bit of a pain to type with a controller or, even worse, a joy-con.
Rampages are one of the game’s main mechanics. In the story, the rampage is a chaotic ordeal where tons of monsters attack the village at once. The townspeople make sure to train for it, as the last rampage 50 years ago almost wiped out their homes. Think of it as tower defense where you not only need to defend the gate with the upgrades you get throughout the mode, but sometimes you need to conquer enemies yourself as well. At first, it doesn’t seem straightforward, especially if you have not played a tower defense game before, but after a couple of tries, you’ll get used to it and it can even be fun. Keep in mind that if you start with hub quests, you will not be able to view the rampage mode tutorial; you have to head to village quests for that.
As a rookie hunter, there are many weapons to choose from. You have your melee weapons like the long sword, hammer and dual blades. You also have your ranged weapons such as the bow, light bowgun and heavy bowgun. All come with different kits and features, so you have plenty to experiment with. If you want to try them all out at once, there is a training area where you can test them all quickly. If you click on “weapon controls” in the menu, you learn how to use each weapon and even combos for them.
One weapon new to Monster Hunter Rise is the wirebug. With the wirebug, you can move around much more quickly on the maps. You can even do combos with the bug, like throwing yourself in the air and jumping down for an air attack. There are also silkbind attacks that involve your wirebug; it is fun to incorporate these attacks into your combos, so make sure not to forget them in battle. Later on, you get access to switch skills, which are skills that you can apply with any weapon you have. Depending on the skill, your weapon will either buff you, refill your meter if your tool has one or do a counter or damaging move.
The hunting horn is one of the best weapons, not just damage-wise but fun-wise as well. It is far more than just a support weapon. The only thing it supports is your back from carrying your team; you can deal massive damage with the horn while buffing yourself and others. And the best thing about this weapon is how you can play with it: You can do a guitar solo on a monster’s head to knock them out.
The Beasts of Monster Hunter Rise
Monster Hunter Rise features monsters new and old, big and small, fun and annoying. There are over 20 monsters, and more will be coming soon in the update in late April. So far, one of the best monsters is the Goss Harag, a giant bear or demon-like ice monster who can use its breath to form an ice sword and mace on its arms and use them as weapons to chop or smash you. Another great monster is the Bishaten; while it is not as strong as other monsters, it is quite fun and creative to see this giant monkey monster throw all sorts of fruits at you, like one that can blind you or one that can poison you, while also doing tornado spins on its tail. Even returning monsters’ fights are a blast, especially if you never played the previous games. There are so many fun fights, and it is hard to get bored.
Palamutes and Palicos
At the start of your adventure, you get to customize your own Palamute and Palicos. These buddies are pretty much just a dog and a cat, except the dog can fight with weapons, and the cat can talk, work as a human and assist you in battle depending on the type you have. And yes, you can pet both of them. You can even shake the dog’s paw and play with the cat; you will die of cuteness. Palamutes are new to the series in general; the main mechanic for them is that you can ride on their back. They are great for mobility; you will not have to run across the map anymore to find or chase a monster. You can even use items and sharpen your weapons on them, and they can fight with the tools you provide them.
Palicos are back and as valuable as ever. Palicos have different types: healer, assist, fight, gathering and bombardier. All come with varying abilities. The most useful are healers so you do not have to rely on your potions or gathering all the items and monster materials that you need. When you are off on a hunt, you can choose to either bring one Palamute and Palico or bring two of the same species; however, if you are on a quest with other people, you can only get one companion. The most popular option is the Palamute for traveling. Still, a Palico, especially a gathering type, is the best choice, as not only can it help with healing and status effects on the monster, but it can also get scarce materials from monsters.
As for your pet for this game, it is no longer a pig, but now an adorable owl called a Cohoot. They are popular in the village, and they help you discover the locations of monsters. In the town, you can call them to you, give them outfits, feed them and pet them. They deserve it for all the hard work they do to help your hunter.
This Japanese- inspired village contains all sorts of facilities dedicated to helping players before they head off to a hunt. There live all the supporting characters that help you become the best hunter in the village. They are all one happy family, and they want to see you grow as a great warrior. There’s Elder Fugen, who helps keep the morale up with his weird laughter. The twins Hinoa and Minoto are in charge of the village and hub quests.
And there are also the characters in charge of the shops and facilities: Yomogi the Chef is one of the cutest little girls in the game and is the one that feeds you with small Dango treats. The Dangos mark a major difference from the last installment, Monster Hunter World, where you get a big feast of food. It is a shame, but it does make sense because you would be vomiting all that food after being hit constantly by monsters. As for the Dangos, they are a lifesaver. If you eat three of them, you get boosts and bonuses ranging from boosting your attack and defense to specific improvements to your weapon. Also, the songs are the best part of the whole game, and you must not skip the Dango songs. You’ll really want to have Dango afterward, especially with all the delicious details and descriptions the game gives.
Next is Kagero, your typical mysterious merchant who never shows his face. He sells you all the items you need for your journey. He also holds lottery events for items and eventually allows you to make talismans that can provide all sorts of extraordinary abilities depending on the materials you give away. Hamon the Blacksmith gives you all your weapons and armors; there is also a Palico next to him that provides weapons and armors for your animal buddies as well.
Master Utsushi is the ninja who trains all the rookies to become hunters. He is also known as the “ha ha, you’re here” guy because of all the tutorials that involve him, not to mention his personality — the way he talks makes you think he’s some surfer ninja. But he provides the arenas where you can switch skills and speedrun killing beasts. Guild Master Hojo oversees all the quests and treats you like his grandchild.
Buddy Handler Iori is the boy who handles all of the Palamutes and Palicos; it is always adorable seeing him play with the animals alongside him. From him, you can hire any Palamute and Palico in store; you can even create a buddy from scratch with whatever you like, and Iori will find the perfect buddy for you.
The Felyne Chief Kogarashi is a veteran Palico who handles the Meowcenaries. With the Meowcenaries, you can send off the buddies you do not carry with you to their own hunts. They can bring back all sorts of items and even rare things to help make secret armor sets. Lastly is Rondine the Trader, a foreigner from a land far away to trade with the village. You can get all sorts of items from here, and you can even send off your buddies in submarines to get even more.
Is Monster Hunter Rise Good for Beginners?
Yes, it is one of the best ones to start as a beginner besides Monster Hunter World. As a beginner myself, I had a hard time trying to get into the series and thought the game was slow and clunky. Still, once you start to play more, you get used to it, and soon you have fun. You play it like it is intended as a role-playing game (RPG), where you strategize about when to hit the monster instead of just mashing buttons. The community is willing to help you out and teach you all the ins and outs of hunting, so you won’t be confused on how to play. The tutorials in the game are so helpful, so do not skip them.
Ready to Hunt?
Monster Hunter Rise is right there with Persona 5 Strikers as one of the best action RPGs of 2021. The game is fantastic; there is so much to do and explore. And there is so much more that I didn’t discuss: the landscapes, the miniature monsters, the fact that Capcom, the developer, was able to make the game as smooth as butter on the Nintendo Switch — everything is so good. The only con is the story, but later on, Monster Hunter Rise will be updated, and the story will get better. And even if you beat story mode with your weapon, there is no stopping. You can practically restart your adventure by trying out new weapons, new kits or a new profile. In general, you will never finish this game until Capcom says, “This is the final update.” If you are still on the fence, there are demos available in the eShop. Join the hunt, and let’s slay these monsters for good.