Monster Hunter World really left a strong impression on the world…pun intended…making the introduction to the Monster Hunter series so much simpler, easier and more fun for players across multiple platforms. And for a series that has never been easy to just pick up and play, that was quite the accomplishment. So with Monster Hunter Rise being part of the mainline games of the series now returning to Nintendo’s platform, I know there are many out there asking, can Capcom “Rise” to the occasion – and the short answer is YES!
Welcome to Kamura
If you’re new to the Monster Hunter series it is quite simple: you take on the role of a Hunter in a world filled with mammoth-sized monsters. Your goal, to protect your village, its people and surrounding areas from being overrun by these fierce beasts. This time hunters will reign from the beautiful Kamura village. A village filled with immense culture, vibrant colour and an array of different characters. Just as in previous games, hunters will be aided by villagers such as blacksmiths, guild masters and shop owners who sell various items to assist during hunts. The village also possesses a training ground for hunters to practice their combo attacks across all 14 weapon types. And of course the gathering hub for hunters to gather and depart on hunts together. And for those not wanting to run around the village in between hunts, you’ll have access to the fast travel feature through the pause menu. Allowing players to move across different areas with almost no loading time.
Unlike previous Monster Hunter titles, Rise focuses a lot on vertical movement. Basically, look up and you’ll be able to reach a peak of a hill or even the roof of a building with the use of the new mechanics offered to hunters through wire bugs. These little bugs produce silk string so strong it allows hunters to transform into Spider-Man, without the Spidey sense or increased strength. Keep in mind though that hunters are only equipped with two Wire Bugs at the beginning of every hunt, with the option to pick up more across the hunting grounds. After a Wire Bug has been utilized, there is a cooldown period before you can use it again. Swinging through the air isn’t the only thing that Wire Bugs offer, but more on that later.
The game has also retained the ‘open world’ hunting area that was introduced in World. So no loading times or sectors separating a hunting ground. But be warned, this is a double-edged sword due to the beast you’ll be hunting also being able to follow you through the map continuously, sometimes making it difficult to heal up, sharpen your weapon or even just set a trap. Nevertheless, the new maps have been designed in the most opportunistic ways, so make sure to be aware of your surroundings and how to use them against the monster.
With great power comes great responsibility
Becoming a web-slinger or rather silk-slinger in a Monster Hunter game is a ton of fun. But as we mentioned earlier, Wire Bugs offer so much more than just swinging around an area. Activating a Wire Bug upon being hit into the air by a monster will allow the hunter to quickly escape to a safe distance as well as sheath their weapon. This’ll allow hunters to not only get to a safer position but also heal up much faster. Alternatively, you’ll also be able to use the Wire Bugs to perform attacks on the monster. By shooting the Wire Bug in the direction of the monster, your hunter will be flung towards it, and if you’re able to make contact, your hunter will perform special attacks known as Silkbind attacks. Not only is this a great way to inflict more damage and reposition your hunter but also to wear down the monster to eventually activate Wyvern Riding.
Ride ’em Cowboy
Another new addition to the series is Wyvern Riding. This can be activated in a few different ways, with one of them being the monster receiving a certain amount of damage from your Wire Bug attacks. Once hunters successfully mount the monsters during this time, they’ll be able to control the movement of the monster for a limited time. Launch the monster into a wall or obstacle or use the mounted monster to fight against other monsters. Hunters will be able to, while mounted, utilise light attacks (quick, with minimal damage), heavy attacks (slower attack movements with high damage), evade opposing monsters attacks, and finally unleash a powerful attack known as a Mounted Punisher. A type of ‘finish him’ move, without the same satisfaction as a fatality though.
A Monster Line-Up
Veteran hunters and new players alike will be glad to find that there is no shortage of monsters in Monster Hunter Rise. Not only has Capcom allocated a roster of returning legends, but has increased that roster with some intriguing new beasties. This means more weapons and armour sets to be created. Apart from the blacksmith’s wonders, these new beasties are just as tricky and ferocious as the previous monsters, with some possessing move sets that’ll make you want to pull your hair out. Some of them have attack patterns that’ll make you stare on in awe as if you were watching a dance being performed.
Be warned though, the Rampage is unlike anything you’ll have faced before.
Attack patterns aren’t the only things you’ll need to keep an eye out for, the new monsters are just as if not more ferocious than the current roster. Some of them make use of projectiles that detonate a short while later affecting any hunters close to it with certain status effects. One thing for sure, hunters will not be bored and have the opportunity to hunt many types of monsters such as dragons, lizard-like monsters and prime-ape type monsters as well. Needless to say, it’s going to be a ‘Rampage’!
The Rampage Approaches
Rise has an exciting mode called Rampage. These Rampage quests task the hunters with defending Kamura. During a Rampage, monsters will try and attack the village in hordes. Luckily for the village, the hunters have set up a type of tower defense and you will be at the head of it. During a Rampage, players will have the option of activating hunting installations such as ballistae and bamboo bombs to name a few. These can be set up to be used manually by the hunter or automatically by a villager whilst the hunters go head to head with the horde. Some of the other installations work as booby traps, triggered by the monsters upon passing over them.
Rise focuses a lot on vertical movement. Basically, look up and you’ll be able to reach a peak of a hill or even the roof of a building
The key to ending a Rampage is to defend the stronghold and attack each monster within the horde. Be warned though, the Rampage is unlike anything you’ll have faced before. This time around, you’ll be facing monsters in numbers. What’s more is that each monster within the Rampage is tasked with different duties. Some will focus on breaking down the gates, while others aim for the hunting installations as well as attacking the hunter. Icons above each monster will help to identify where to prioritize efforts to create a more streamlined defense. Materials acquired exclusively in the Rampage will also allow hunters to upgrade their weapons with Rampage Skills. Skills that’ll assist the hunter in increasing their defense, affinity or even attack.
With that many monsters on the roster and a Rampage to deal with, hunters are going to have their plates full. Luckily, just as the roster is filled with dangers, it is also filled with great opportunity. And as mentioned earlier, tons of armour sets and weapons to create. This time, however, Capcom has made things a little easier, allowing hunters to create weapons and armour with fewer materials than normally required. This will allow players to branch out more into the 14 different weapon types to find the best toolset for the job. Yes, all the fan favourites will be available to select from, including the Great Swords, Long Swords and surprisingly a new favourite, the Hunting Horn.
Your gear won’t be the only tool at your disposal granting you more of an advantage over the beasts. Another new addition to the series is the Endemic Life and new buddy. Let’s start off with the Endemic Life. Some of the endemic life spread through the hunting areas will grant the hunters stat boosts. For example, the clothflys, if grabbed, will increase temporarily a hunters defense. Whereas a stinkmink (a type of skunk creature) can be captured and used by the hunter to secrete a smell upon themselves to lure the monster towards them. However, the most intriguing Endemic Life forms are the Spiribirds. Bird-like creatures are attracted to an item equipped by the hunter known as a Petalace. Each Spiribird that you encounter or tread close to will be immediately drawn to the hunter and depending on their colours, increase a specific stat of the hunter. Green Spiribirds will raise your HP, red Spiribirds will grant an attack boost, orange Spiribirds raise defense and yellow Spiribirds increase stamina. So with skunks, birds and moths all helping you in a hunt, what more can you ask for…perhaps a Palamute?
Hunters have for the longest time had furry assistants known as Palicoes accompanying them during hunts. Cat-like animals are not only capable of supporting the hunter with healing items but also attacking the ferocious mammoths you’ll encounter. However, this time around Hunters will have more than just their furry little felynes, but canynes as well, or Palamutes to be more precise. These dog-like creatures are not only larger than Palicoes, allowing the hunter to ride them across hunting areas, but also capable of fighting alongside their hunters. Hunters will also be able to use items whilst riding a Palamute. So if a pesky monster has decided to make a run for it, just hop on your Palamute, and during the journey, you’ll be able to heal up and sharpen your weapon.
All in all, Monster Hunter Rise is an excellent addition to the Monster Hunter series. Combining all the flavours of spice from previous games, with intriguing players in a number of exciting new additions to the series, with Wire Bugs, Wyvern Riding, new Monsters, Endemic Life and mans best friend, the Palamute. If you’re a Monster Hunter fan, this one is not to be missed. And you can be sure that you and your hunting guild will be putting in hours upon hours before you know it. Admittedly, the story is terribly short with not much meat to sink your teeth into. However, do not let this reduce from the fact that even if you’re a solo player, you can expect hunts in the gathering hub to range anywhere from 15 minutes with weak monsters, to over 30 minutes on some of the games more flagship monsters. After all, we’re here to HUNT!