Monster Hunter Rise is an example of exactly how to take an established formula, put it on hand-held, and not reduce its quality in any way. Quite simply, Capcom's latest entry in the Monster Hunter franchise is a masterpiece that proves yet again, that you don't need powerful tech to make a powerful experience.
I sat down to play Monster Hunter Rise with skepticism. We received our review copy after the game had launched, and after many outlets had already cast their opinions (to great acclaim), so I was curious about whether I would agree. I do, and I don't to a certain extent. But what I will say, is that this is without a doubt the best game to come out on the Nintendo Switch for a good, long while. It's also one of the best games of 2021 (so far). Why? Let's take a look.
Monster Hunter Rise Review: Presenting Perfection
From the moment I stepped into the world of Monster Hunter Rise, I felt right at home. The presentation was breathtaking, taking full advantage of the Nintendo Switch's 6.2", 720p display. That's saying something, because the Switch's screen has always been a bit outdated. Trust me, it's a beautiful game, and you are best to run it on the smaller screen, or the game is going to chug like a steam train without enough coal.
Jokes aside, the detail with which Capcom have brought the Monster Hunter world to life, is a treat to behold, and its classic charm is back in all of its portable glory. What I love about Rise is that, whilst the story here is as soft as fairy floss, the characters are unbelievably charming. That charm drives you through the experience. It motivates you to get to that next hunt, and see it through to the end.
Considering the game's scope, beauty, and insane scale, I would also like to note that the loading times are insanely fast, something that is a massive step up from Monster Hunter World, which was painfully slow. Finally, we have the monsters themselves: they are absolute crackers! Varied, insanely detailed, and just as epic and gorgeous as World's collection. The fact that they managed to pull all of this off on the Nintendo Switch, is beyond impressive.
Monster Hunter Rise Review: Portable Monster Hunting Action
It was unbelievably hard to whittle down the content available in Monster Hunter Rise, to fit it all into a succinct review, and thus I will say this: Monster Hunter Rise improves upon all the established tropes of the franchise, whilst introducing a variety of great new features. Not everything works perfectly, though. The "tower defense" style Rampage hunts are fun, but present little challenge, and whilst it is fun to ride Monsters, it does kind of minimize the impact of encounters.
This is all okay, though, because with the new Silk Binds and Wire Bug mechanics, you are on your feet faster when you fall, and you have an insane amount of more verticality and movement versatility than in any other Monster Hunter game. I like to compare Rise to Bloodborne. Whilst they are supremely different games, the way that Bloodborne took the style of Dark Souls, sped it up a bit, but still managed to keep the mechanical depth that made Dark Souls so great... well, it is a very similar situation here, and I love it.
Look, we won't go into the specifics of the controls (we're sure you can figure it out), but when it comes to combat, Monster Hunter Rise goes above and beyond to prove that you don't need to be slow to be challenging. The last addition we'll mention is the Spiribirds that you can find across the map, each of which increase your stamina, health, attack, or defense. They are a nice little addition, but to be honest, I didn't think that they really added that much to the game.
Monster Hunter Rise Review: Murdering Multiplayer
This, my friends, will likely be the shortest of all this reviews sections - and the reason for that is pretty simple. Multiplayer is fantastic. This could perhaps be the first time that a game on a Nintendo platform like this has nailed this kind of Multiplayer so perfectly. You can begin games with friends through a "lobby" into which four people can join. Hub Quests are a whole lot of fun, and I had an absolute ball playing Monster Hunter Rise with my mates. Though, at times, the UI can be a tad fiddly. All in all, a fantastic feature, and something great to see on the Switch.
Monster Hunter Rise Review: Our Verdict
Monster Hunter Rise brings the perfect blend of style and substance. It is a deep and unforgiving game, yet has a charming and quirky style that not only abides by Monster Hunter standards, but makes its own mark. There is a huge variety to the monsters that Rise pits you against, and the verticality and speed that comes with Silk Binds, adds to that variety. This is because every encounter is different now, and thus every encounter needs to be taken on differently.
You build upon your skills throughout the experience, improving upon yourself with every swing of your sword. With friends, it's even better, even more fun, and works like a charm. Your new rideable dog-thing (Palamute) is adorable, and so is the ability to now ride Monsters. These are all fantastic additions, and whilst the game is a little short at this present time, and while the end-game is a little bit "eh", Monster Hunter Rise will continue to evolve, making it the new "must play" for the Nintendo Switch.
- Release Date: March 26, 2021
- Developer: Capcom
- Genre: Fantasy-Action
- Single Player & Multiplayer
- Time to beat: 50+ Hours
- Platform: Nintendo Switch
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