The imaginary Bits & Pieces office has been ringing with the noises of dango getting munched and monsters being biffed over the last week. We’ve managed to spend quite a few hours going after the land’s most dangerous beasties both solo and as a squad, so here’s what we’ve been thinking about Monster Hunter Rise, the newest entry in everyone’s favourite creature bashing series. It released on the 26th of March – exclusively for Switch, so far – so we’re technically a little bit late. This is due to the intense analysis we’ve been doing, and definitely not laziness – read on.
Gav: It’s been a little while since I’ve stepped into a Monster Hunter game, despite how much I like the series. I played Monster Hunter World but skipped the expansion, Iceborne, mostly because I know how much of a timesink these games are for me. Once I pop (a monster) I just can’t stop (popping monsters). Since this is a full-featured new game, I have dutifully put all the important, story-rich games I have had backlogged for months to the side and began grinding for bits of gear again. A true curse.
Nevi: Much like Gav, it’s been a while since I said goodbye to Monster Hunter World. And while I never played Iceborne I thought it looked very cool, but I didn’t have the time to keep up with the game. However, that hasn’t stopped me picking up Rise. I think my excitement for this latest instalment came from it being on Switch and as a Lite owner it got me reminiscing of the Monster Hunter games of old. So I’m looking forward to many hunts with the Bits Boys in the coming months.
George: It’s been a while since I played Monster Hunter. My previous experiences were akin to being thrown in at the deepend before you can swim, only there’s also a shark in the pool. Playing on PSP was as much a battle against the controls as it was against giant monsters. And when you’ve been given a copy of a 200hr save and are expected to immediately tag along on high level hunts there’s not a whole lot of opportunity for actually having fun. Rise then has been an infitenitely more friendly experience. Everything feels a little more accessible even as the beginning of the game relentlessly dumps systems and tutorials on you.
Gav: I’ve not yet reached High Rank yet, but have progressed a decent way through the game, both in the Village and Hub quests – which are here again. Much of this game’s organisation might strike you as very similar to the older games in the series – the dual solo/multiplayer questlines, dumped for World, make a comeback, as does the lobby system (which is pretty good). If there was one thing they aimed for with this game, it’s generally increased quality of life. Rise really is a game of maximal convenience, from the constant vision on monsters on the map to the ability to use items while riding your dog. Did I mention the dog? Extremely sick.
Nevi: The dog is a fantastic addition to the Monster Hunter cannon. After a few hours riding around eating meat and sharpening your weapon all while mounted, it feels like this is how Monster Hunter should always have been.
Gav: Rise goes out of its way to fire-hose you with mechanics from the very beginning. Despite in many ways cutting out a lot of the inconvenience of the older games, it does more by slapping additional functions and mechanics on top rather than making any alterations to the core design of the game. See: dog, Petalaces, the enormous quantity of Endemic life, etc. However, that essential monster-biffing experience avoids getting caught in the crossfire, and is still as enjoyable as ever. While the Wirebugs, Silkbind attacks and Switch skills run the risk of bloating the game’s combat, they slot in quite elegantly to the journey of battling the series’ ever-expanding roster of weird beasties. And what a roster – I loved World, but it definitely targeted a more grounded feeling than the increasingly-colourful portable games. Rise‘s selection of weird new monsters is maybe the most interesting yet.
George: I’m loving the additions the game has made to ease of movement, especially when having a second analogue stick makes it possible to actually see where I’m going. Between the Palamute allowing rapid transit around the map and the monster location always being told to you, hunts no longer grind to a halt as you wander the map on foot trying to locate the monster that your paintball narrowly missed. The wirebugs feel great, a powerfull skill that needs some careful management as it can be all to tempting to wire bug unessecarily leaving you withouth a quick escape at a crucial moment.
Nevi: Rise succeeds in being about as newcomer friendly as a Monster Hunter game can be, but I think the Endemic Life is very confusing. For new players who are still trying to understand the basics of the game having all these weird animals that don’t clearly state their purpose is a little overwhelming. I’ve played Monster Hunter since the first PSP game and I’m still a little baffled by the Endemic Life. I also think that Rise has missed a trick by not letting you capture these little creatures to populate your house like you could in World. This helped the world of World come alive and gave you something else to do other than hunts.
George: Yeah I don’t have a particularly deep understanding of the endemic life, I just know that running round the map and munching on the bugs is a good idea?
Nevi: There’s a lot to like in Rise and I can’t wait to see all the monsters, explore all the areas and make some wicked armour sets. We’ll no doubt be covering Monster Hunter Rise in more detail over the next few months, so watch this space.