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Monster Hunter Rise (NS)

Monster Hunter Rise (NS) - Review

by Paul Broussard , posted on 13 April 2021 / 3,240 Views

Arguably the most high profile Switch title since Super Mario Odyssey, Monster Hunter Rise has a lot of expectations to live up to. After Monster Hunter World brought the series’ popularity in the West to new heights, Rise has the somewhat unenviable task of catering both to newer players from World and long-time veterans. In response, Rise brings a number of significant alterations to the general gameplay loop, looking to improve upon past titles while also making newer players and veterans alike happy. So just how well does the Switch’s first big time release in over a year hold up?

One important change that you’ll notice right off the bat involves the amount of tutorializing. Rise is probably the most accessible Monster Hunter yet, which is both a blessing and a curse. It's certainly good to see Monster Hunter put more of an effort into helping new players get a grip on the general gameplay flow and the importance of things like resource gathering (especially after World basically ignored that). However, for series veterans, Rise’s early game can feel like a drag, as it re-explains a seemingly endless number of old mechanics. Some option to indicate whether you’ve played a Monster Hunter game before wouldn’t have gone amiss.

After Monster Hunter World integrated single player and multiplayer quests into a single list, Rise returns to series tradition by having separate quests for single and multiplayer. Before you get too excited about a deluge of content, they’re practically the same quest lists with the same monsters to fight, only with the single player ones toned down significantly. Honestly, I’d almost consider the single player quests not worth your time, as they’re pitifully easy and stop giving you worthwhile materials pretty quickly.

Unsurprisingly, this means that the bulk of the Monster Hunter experience is found in multiplayer, which brings up the inevitable conversation of the netcode downgrade going from more powerful consoles to the Switch. Perhaps the biggest disappointment is that online lobbies are now locked to four players, which means that if you want to get a large group of friends together and swap members between hunts, then there’s a lot more work to be done. The netcode also seems to have taken a hit from World, with monsters occasionally briefly freezing in mid-air and players lagging around the map.

Get past the technical nitpicks, though, and you’ll find that Rise has made a number of substantial changes to the general monster hunting rigmarole. The biggest one by far, I would argue, is the game’s speed. Rise does everything it can to make its general gameplay loop faster. Item pick-up animations are cut down substantially, the need to bring harvesting tools with you is gone, and the game provides players with a very helpful dog (or Palamute) that allows for quick traversal of each map. All of this helps to trim the fat of the experience and ensure that as much time as possible is spent on fighting monsters, which is much appreciated.

Another significant improvement is the increased focus on player mobility. Along with the aforementioned Palamute, players are now given access to wirebugs, which function as all purpose tethers that can be used to ascend walls, dodge attacks, pull the player towards a monster, and get around the battlefield quickly. Each weapon type also has a couple of specific wirebug skills - dual blades, for instance, allow players to embed a kunai in a monster which briefly explodes, or perform a quick dodge move. It’s a good way to make player characters feel a bit less like slow tanks.

A more questionable addition is the inclusion of rampage missions, which basically function as a suped-up tower defense segment, calling upon players to place various turrets and obstacles to slow monsters down and eventually kill them before they can make it far enough. It’s not... bad, by any means, but I can’t say it was ever particularly fun; I don’t play Monster Hunter for the chance to sit in a turret and plink away at monsters. Admittedly you can set up AI controlled turrets and jump into the fray yourself, but some flying monsters hover out of reach and will make a real pain of themselves until they’re dealt with, so you’re likely winding up in a turret sooner or later.

Where Monster Hunter lives or dies, though, is with the quality of the monsters in the individual hunts. For the most part, Rise does succeed here. There are a number of stinkers (in the case of Volvidon, both figuratively and literally), but on the whole Rise has a strong showing of monsters to fight, feeling both unique and generally not relying on annoying mechanics. There is still very much an addicting feeling to the flow of Monster Hunter; once you get a few buddies together and start bonking monsters, it’s hard to stop.

That said, despite the prior improvements, there are still quite a few sticking points that Rise fails to address. At times, enemy hitboxes can be very sloppily designed, and wind up only having a very casual relationship with the actual attack animations. Aerial hitboxes seem to be especially awful, and it doesn’t feel particularly justifiable for a series with Monster Hunter’s sales numbers to still struggle with making hitboxes that consistently match attack animations.

Another issue that holds over from prior titles is that Rise does tend to rely pretty heavily on reusing the same enemies to pad out high rank quests. A significant chunk of the mid game is spent refighting the same monsters that have already been fought in low rank quests, albeit they’re buffed to have more health or you’re required to kill two (or even three) of them rather than one. Again, for a game that I presume had a sizable budget behind it, this seems like rather lazy design.

Those issues aside, Monster Hunter Rise is certainly still fun. The quality of life improvements are welcome additions, as is the greater focus on mobility and speeding up the game. I can’t say that I personally view Rise as the ultimate culmination of years of Monster Hunting progress as some reviewers seem to, but if you’ve enjoyed previous hunting outings then you'll absolutely feel right at home here.

VGChartz Verdict


This review is based on a digital copy of Monster Hunter Rise for the NS, provided by the publisher.

Read more about our Review Methodology here

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Shiken (on 14 April 2021)

HUB quests are not "multiplayer" nor are they even hard to do solo. They just happen to be the hunts that you CAN do co op in. Hunts scale based on party size, and can be comfortably done by yourself. As a newer player, I do it all the time. Multiplayer is just an option to farm materials faster, but not effective for money farming due to the pot being split between party members. So I have to give a hard disagree with the notion that the game relies heavily on multiplayer, as it is not needed at all (not to downplay how fun it is).

The Village Quests are mainly for new players. If you do them first, you jump straight to HUB rank 4 to avoid repeating lower level hunts. This is something that is very important to mention, as it kind of negates the whole "same quests repeated" point you made. Though if you do HUB first, that is somewhat true as you will still need to later do Village to see the Magnamalo story arc and get a few facility upgrades in your village. But even then, by doing HUB first you will be so OP for Village that you can stomp them out pretty quick.

I have not had a problem with hitboxes as a Switchaxe main. Cannot comment beyond that.

So far about 50 hours in, the game has been a joy to play. I foresee sinking hundreds of hours into it as more content continues to drop. As it stands now, the game is easily a 9/10 for me and a GotY contender. As more content drops, I see that score changing to 10/10 overtime.

No disrespect to your review or writing, I just humbly disagree overall.

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MTZehvor Shiken (on 15 April 2021)

I probably should've been a little less liberal with the term multiplayer; I was more attempting to get across that the worthwhile content in the game is in the hub quests without consistently reusing the word "hub." In hindsight being a bit more specific about that would have helped clarify.

That's an interesting note about being able to skip low rank hub quests if you do the village quests first. I did hub first, seems a little weird to not allow you to skip low rank for whichever option you don't pick first.

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Shiken MTZehvor (on 15 April 2021)

I can agree with that, as it does not make much sense to me either. Maybe it has to do with the Magnamalo story arc being worked from VR1 through up to VR5, while the HUB story doesn't even start until HR4 (right where you skip to).

What they could have done was make Village automatically level 6 if you cleared up HUB first with a similar test hunt, and then let you progress through urgent requests at that rank to progress the story and unlock facility upgrades. Not sure how much extra coding would be needed to make that happen though, and time may be been the main reason.

If time is really the case, perhaps a similar method to skip village rank levels to play the arc on a higher difficulty will be added as well when the level cap is removed. Only time will tell, but I doubt this will be the case as I feel unlocking the HUB level cap could complicate it even more.

I get why they had them progress seperate, so players would not be locked out of co op. But it does feel like Village was meant to be finished first, so what they should have done is allow HUB hunts but make the Village ranks and test quests associated as part of the requirement to advance hub up to HR4 indefinitely. While progression was really good for someone like me, who did Village first, I cannot deny that it feels like those who did HUB first are being punished for one reason or another.

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SvenTheTurkey (on 13 April 2021)

I hate to nitpick, but it's definitely not the highest profile switch game since Odyssey. At the very least you'd have to say smash bros. But even more accurately, it would be the highest profile since animal crossing.

All that aside, yes, it's one of the biggest tent pole titles for switch. It's a welcome addition to the library.

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Cerebralbore101 (on 13 April 2021)

I found the tutorials to be welcomingly light. World had the handler NPC, and all those tracking quests. Getting through low rank in World seemed to take ages. I could speedrun Rise's low rank in ten hours.

Monster Hunter isn't padding the game out by reusing creatures in the late game. Instead they are giving people a chance to learn the monsters' attack patterns, before the real game begins. Most seasoned players will make a beeline for high rank asap, because the low rank armorsets aren't worth bothering with. Everybody knows MH doesn't even start until high rank.

The netcode and lack of voice chat is more a problem with Nintendo than a problem with Rise. Honestly, Rise's multiplayer is leagues beyond most other games' multiplayer functionality on Switch.

Most monsters aren't airborne, so I haven't had a problem with aerial hitboxes. World had something like 50% of all the monsters be fliers. As a Greatsword/Gunlance user I was left either shooting flashbombs (which made the fights too easy) or waiting for the monsters to land (which was time consuming). But anyway, if you really have a problem with aerial hitboxes just use the Jump Master and Anti-Flinch skills. And you should only have a problem with them if your character is using a weapon that sends you airborne often.

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Spindel (on 14 April 2021)

Regarding the wirebugs I can't wait until Capcom get the rights to an Attack on Titan expansion for this game :P

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