Monster Hunter Rise is here on Nintendo Switch and I’m delighted to report Capcom’s franchise is better than ever.
The action role-playing game for Nintendo Switch is the sixth mainline instalment in the series and ambitiously attempts to marry the best of what has come before with a host of new features.
Well I say attempts… it does more than that, it succeeds – and then some.
In this version of Monster Hunter you have a new animal companion, a Palamute, which you use to ride across the map or into battle.
It’s literally a game changer and the crowning achievement of Monster Hunter Rise without a shadow of doubt. More of this later.
Monster Hunter Rise review: Kill, kill, kill
As with previous Monster Hunter titles, Rise sees the gamer play the role of a hunter tasked with killing or trapping large monsters. You use a variety of weapons, tools and environmental features to damage and weaken them while surviving attacks.
You are rewarded with loot – usually in the form of monster parts from the beast you’ve defeated. You use them to forge armour and weapons as you work your way up the monster food chain.
Several of the monsters from previous titles return, along with a bevy of new beasts for you to tame.
Slash and bash
Rise features all 14 weapon types from the Monster Hunter Generations and World games – a mix of swords, shields, staves, bows and guns.
Monster Hunter Rise uses the map approach introduced in Monster Hunter: World rather than the zoned format of earlier games in the franchise.
As implied by the title, maps are more focused on vertical movement than in previous games. And there are new tools to help with vertical scaling.
Palamute pumps your attack force
As mentioned earlier, a major help when it comes to vertical scaling is new companion the Palamute. It’s a dog-like creature you can ride without losing stamina.
You ride the Palamute to scale cliffs and it can perform attacks while fighting monsters alongside cat-like companion Palico.
The Wirebug is another new tool and is similar to the Clutch Claw in Monster Hunter World: Iceborne.
The Wirebug allows you to grapple and swing across gaps or to higher locations and interacts with each weapon type, adding to its moves and combos.
The Wirebug also allows you to take on certain monsters in Wyvern Riding, allowing the hunter to mount and control the creature to a limited degree. That allows you to lead it into areas better for combat or to fight with a different monster.
It’s truly epic.
And the good news is you can enjoy it with friends as Rise features local and online multiplayer modes with up to four hunters in a group. If single player is more your thing, you can hunt with both your Palico and Palamute companions.
In the online modes, however, you must select either the Palico or Palamute to join you.
Monster Hunter Rise on the Rampage
Another addition to Rise is Rampage, a survival mode where players defend their village from several monsters. Before and during the attack players can set up siege weapons and instruct non-player characters to target monsters while players themselves attack directly.
Rise really is Monster Hunter at its finest. The Wirebug adds immeasurably to the experience in terms of exploration and combat.
New moves and traversal options mean there’s a lot less grind. Unlike previous titles, you can jump straight into the thick of the action.
There’s remarkable depth to your weapon selection and combat, and plenty of customisation to boot.
Rampage is a welcome addition, adding to Rise’s overall scale in a new and interesting way. It’s not a gimmick or last-minute add-on to pack out the offering, this is a well conceived, expertly woven element to the game.
Let’s hear the negatives
There are some negatives. Just as you’re getting into the flow, having to return to village and hub quests is a pain. The story itself is thin compared with other action RPGs. That’s a disappointment but has never been Capcom’s strong point if truth be told.
Overall, Monster Hunter Rise is a superb addition to this much-loved series and one that will have you coming back for more as you increase your powers and arsenal to take on the biggest and baddest this unholy universe has to offer.
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