Capcom has established Monster Hunter as a boss-fight-oriented action-RPG series that pits you against behemoth beasts. Each series entry builds upon the last, and considering Monster Hunter: World’s success, it’s no surprise that the upcoming Monster Hunter Rise uses World as its template. There’s more to Rise than what meets the eye; the game contains fascinating systems that greatly improve the combat, as well as clever streamlining that trims a lot of the excess fat handed down from older Monster Hunter games. The end result is a $59.99, Nintendo Switch-exclusive Monster Hunter title that expands your combat options without overcomplicating the controls.
Old Weapons, New Tricks
Monster Hunter Rise’s most noticeable and impactful change involves Wirebugs. These handy insects expel a supernaturally strong silk when tossed, letting you swing from the thread like Spider-Man, propel yourself forward across great distances, or pull yourself to greater heights. Rise has a fantastic amount of verticality compared to previous Monster Hunter games, and the Wirebugs let you climb, wall run, and parkour over mountainous landmarks.
In combat, you can liken the Wirebugs to the grappling hook or Clutch Claw introduced in Monster Hunter: World and its Iceborne expansion, respectively, but with greatly expanded functionality. The series always contained many weapons types and play styles, but all too often your movement speed was tied to your weapon. Not any more.
With Wirebugs, you can dash, jump, and vault to your hearts content, as they give every class a degree of mobility that is easily on par with the Insect Glaive, the jump-heavy weapon type introduced in Monster Hunter 4. This opens impressive offensive options. Now, you can perform leaping attacks with chunky weapons, such as the Hammer or Greatsword, at virtually any time, without the need to jump down from a ledge or slope. Better still, you don’t need to sheathe your weapon to utilize Wirebug abilities as you did the Clutch Claw, which is a significant improvement that makes the mechanics radically more accessible.
In addition to mobility, every Rise weapon incorporates Wirebugs into their attack repertoire. These new skills, called Silkbind Attacks, are unique abilities for each weapon type that accentuates what that weapon can do. For example, one of the Charge Blade’s Silkbind skills reinforces the shield’s defense by tethering it to the ground, giving you an easy, on-the-fly guard point to deflect attacks. If this Silk-bound shield successfully blocks an attack, the weapon’s phials are instantly recharged, giving you immediate access to one of your most powerful attacks.
Wirebugs also improve Monster Hunter’s mounting system by expanding what you can do when you hitch a ride on a hapless beast. In previous games, successive jumping attacks would weaken a monster, eventually leaving them prone to a mounted attack. After a button prompt, you could leap onto the stunned monster’s back and mash basic attacks to deplete its stamina and force it into a lengthy knocked down state.
In Rise, a new system called Wyvern Riding replaces the mounting mechanic. Silkbind Attacks weaken the monster in the same way that your jump attacks did in previous games, but once you’re prompted to mount, the system significantly deviates. Your Wirebugs bind the beast’s limbs to your hunter, giving you the opportunity to puppeteer your monster’s movements for about a minute.
You can, of course, crash the beast into walls to daze it like the Clutch Claw stun in Iceborne, but you can also use the system to force your monster to fight anything else on the field, including other monsters, albeit with a limited set of moves. You have a basic attack, a heavy attack, an evasive ability, and a rushing charge, and many of these can be modified with directional inputs, too. Rise incorporates Monster Hunter: World’s turf war system, so rival monsters attack one another when they encroach on each other’s territory.
The only fault I find with the system is that I dislike holding the R button to move the monster around—a minor nitpick. To budge your beast, the R button must be held before you can move the monster with the left stick. It’s a clunky control scheme, and while I did get used to it fairly quickly, I would much rather not hold R at all.
Monster Hunter World streamlined many of the series’ more tedious systems to be faster and easier, and Monster Hunter Rise retains many of these quality-of-life improvements and trims even more of the fat. It leaves you with a tight, boss-fighting package that wastes very little time dropping you into the action.
Like in World, Rise doesn’t require you to use specialized items, such as pickaxes and nets, to collect ore, insects, and other items. As a result, you can approach the resource you want and snatch it up without tools. Monsters are displayed on the map right from the offset, so there is no need for tracking or Scoutflies to discover their location.
In fact, Rise streamlines the environments to make them feel more like expansive arenas rather than the pseudo-realistic habitats found in World. Zones are still beefy, interconnected, and seamless, but pathways are noticeably wider and open expanses that give the map a classic Monster Hunter feel, without World’s confusing twists and turns.
Streamlined doesn’t mean dumbed down, however. Rise is packed with oddities to collect, just like older Monster Hunter games, but these are easy to snatch up as you run through the level. At the same time, the endemic life feels much more impactful and useful than in previous games, due to how Rise incorporates them into the gameplay.
Rise’s flora and fauna serve as arcade-like power ups, rather than materials or resources you use for crafting back at base, or cosmetics for decorating your home. This gives these critters a dynamic new value that previous games only touched upon.
Brightly colored Spiribirds boost your Hunter’s stats during a mission, enhancing your attack, defense, health, and stamina. Elemental dung-beetles can be pocketed and tossed when needed to afflict a monster with unique elemental debilitations for a minute or two. The fire beetle does damage over time, while the water beetle weakens a monster’s armor for a bit. World’s toads return, but because you can now carry and manually set them down, their poisonous effects are all the more useful. There is much fun in collecting and experimenting with the wildlife you find on the map.
You can partner up with your classic feline companion, called a Palico, as well as a new canine buddy called a Palamute. Both fight alongside you and support you in battle, but each has a distinct purpose, too. Your Palico supports you with buffs and healing, while your Palamute acts as a mount for speedy terrestrial movement. Unlike World’s mounts, your Palamute can be manually controlled, letting you zip around the map to explore and retrieve items as you see fit. Granted, this is not that radical a change from what World already established, but the manual 1:1 control and ease of use is welcome.
Visually, Monster Hunter Rise is not on par with World, but it has a similar graphical aesthetic, one that features Japanese flair. The Nintendo Switch is surprisingly capable at handling the visuals. Rise displays at around 720p or so when docked, moving at a fairly solid 30 frames per second. 60fps would have been nice, but a stable 30fps is a fine compromise considering the visual improvements over the Switch’s last Monster Hunter title, Generations Ultimate (an upscaled port of the 3DS title).
Rise contains more hit effects and blood spatter than World, which makes combat look flashier. Unfortunately, that also has the adverse effect of obscuring the action when too many attacks go off at once. An option to tone down those effects would be most welcome.
New, Improved, and Coming Soon
Monster Hunter Rise is shaping up to be a fantastic series addition that combines Monster Hunter: Worlds’ streamlined elements with Monster Hunter Generations’ expansive ability system. I have a few minor nitpicks: I dislike the overly flashy hit effects that can obscure your vision, especially in the multiplayer mode with several players attacking at once. In addition, holding the R button to move your monster during Wyvern Riding is needlessly clunky. Nonetheless, Rise contains excellent improvements and changes to the Monster Hunter formula, mechanical overhauls that make the game one of March 2021’s most anticipated titles.
Monster Hunter Rise (for Nintendo Switch)
The Bottom Line
Monster Hunter Rise looks to improve upon Monster Hunter World by streamlining and beefing up your kit for maximized man-versus-monster action.
Monster Hunter Rise (for Nintendo Switch) Specs
|Product Games Genre||Role-Playing|
|Product Price Type||Street|
|Product Games ESRB Rating||T for Teen|
|Product Games Platform||Nintendo Switch|