Monster Hunter Rise Impressions (A Johnny Rootbeer Guest Blog)

Monster Hunter Rise hit the Nintendo Switch a couple weeks ago and in between innumerable episodes of Sesame Street, diaper changes and chasing my daughter all around the eastern seaboard trying to put her shoes on, I’ve managed to spend some quality time with the newest angry animal extinction simulator.

2017’s Monster Hunter World was the first entry in the series that really clicked with me. Prior to that version, I would always buy the newest MH game, play for a little bit, then get frustrated and put it down forever. Luckily with World, Capcom had streamlined the series more exhausting aspects with more modern sensibilities and flair. I loved Monster Hunter World. The series that always made me feel like I was on the outside looking in, opened itself up to me and allowed me to enjoy what everyone else was raving about. Now, in 2021, I am very, very happy to report that Monster Hunter Rise takes those same modern sensibilities and makes them work even better for a more handheld/on-the-go format. 

The main attraction of these games is of course the monster fights, the game is basically all boss fights, all the time. What Rise has done differently than past games in the franchise is really put a focus on getting you into those fights as quickly as possible. When you start on a hunt, you immediately can see where each monster is on the map, although if you haven’t fought it before it will be shown as a roaming question mark. This is in direct contrast with Monster Hunter World, in which you had to spend a lot of time tracking each monster at the start of each hunt, every time. Not only is this not the case in Rise, but they also give you your very own customizable dog mount to zip you all over the map and back. Monster Hunter Rise wants you to fight monsters, and it wants you to fight them right now.

As the father of a 15 month old tornado of pure chaos energy, I appreciate this very, very much. The time that I have to play and enjoy video games these days has plummeted drastically and I really love that I can pick Monster Hunter Rise up, set out on a hunt and be done in 20-30 mins or so (probably a little longer for the bigger monsters that I haven’t fought yet). Being able to put the Switch to sleep mid fight is also very appreciated in this instance. It’s this focus on getting to the good bits that really makes this a can’t-put-it-down-even-though-my-wife-is-screaming-at-me-to-help-her-with-the-baby kind of game. When life comes a calling, just hit that sleep button and pick up where you left off later on.

Additionally, the hunter hub village is also a lot more concentrated and faster to navigate. No more taking a lift up to a whole other level just to find the smithy. It’s little things like this that may at first come off as Capcom cheapening the game, but in reality this is a Monster Hunter game for a specific type of player, a busy one. Monster Hunter World is still there to play, with its extensive preparation, exhausting (but still amazingly enjoyable) fights, so fans shouldn’t be heralding Rise as the end of the World (Get it?). Instead of making a straight port of World and putting it on the Switch, Capcom has taken the Switches own sensibilities and infused them into a whole new game. 

In closing, I previously thought that Monster Hunter World was made for me. Now, in 2021 in my still-new reality of being a father, I see that Monster Hunter RISE was made for me. And I intend to thank Capcom the best way I can, by enjoying the hell out of this game and thoroughly beating the shit out of every monster that comes my way. 

If you’ve always wanted to give Monster Hunter a try but weren’t sure if you’d be able to break through the demandingly high wall of entry, the wall is still pretty high, but much more digestible with this new release. Theres even a demo for you on the e-shop where you can try a few hunts along with all the weapons. Grab that giant sword and Rise to the occasion and check it out!

Other thoughts:

  • You’re given a mount right at the start of the game, the Palamute, aka A DOG. Your very own dog friend that you can customize any way you want. Your dog can zip you around the map, climb up to special areas and even attack and distract the monster for you during fights. Man’s best friend, monster’s worst enemy. I love it. I love it so much.
  • Shorter, more meaty/condensed hunts allow you to invest time into trying new weapons out. This time around I’ve played with a few weapons that I’d never tried before and found that I enjoyed them. 
  • Switch Axe is still my bread and butter.
  • I haven’t played online with anyone yet.
  • I like the new streamlined village hub, but boy do I miss Meowscular Chef cooking for you.
  • This is the first Switch game since launch that I have played docked for any significant amount of time. I even went out and bought a Switch Pro Controller for it. It’s that good.
  • The wirebug, a zipline tool that allows you to reach high up areas, is an incredibly useful addition. You can incorporate it into special weapon specific attacks, and even use it to ride on the monsters, wee!

Johnny Rootbeer is a friend of the program / friend in real life of Wicked Good Gaming and Not Another Gaming Podcast. You can find him on Twitter and on Instagram, and read the rest of his guest blogs right here.

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