Monster Hunter Rise is the latest release in Capcom’s popular series, and it’s set to arrive exclusively on Nintendo Switch in March. Here’s why veteran Hunters should be excited...
As far as Capcom franchises go, Monster Hunter hasn’t been around for that long. Dating back to 2004 (aka the age of Tobey Maguire Spider-Man) it quickly became something of a cult hit thanks to its blend of action-RPG mechanics, crafting, and hunting down various monsters in often spectacular style. Thanks to the impressive HD modern-console-powered Monster Hunter World from a few years ago, recently the series found the sort of global success it hadn’t seen before. So much so that we even got a Monster Hunter movie -- one of those Hollywood joints starring Mila ‘Leeloo Dallas Multipass’ Jovovich.
It wasn’t very good.
As for the games though, Capcom has been firing on all scales-crafted cylinders lately and there’s plenty of good stuff coming in Monster Hunter Rise. In fact, if you’re a fan of the series here’s everything you should be excited about after we got a sneak peak at what this latest hunt for gamers will offer.
The pre-hunt meal changes. A nicer UI; you choose what bonuses you want to cook up and send it off to the chef. It's a much-needed overhaul to the clunky meal selection menu of ye olde past.
General UI improvements across the board. If you’re coming from the last Switch game, what you’ll find here is nothing short of a huge improvement. Ol’ Cappers has definitely been influenced by the success and style of Monster Hunter World when it comes to Rise -- and that’s something Nintendophiles should be very excited about. Also, the game is running on Capcom’s impressive RE Engine, making this the best looking handheld Hunter to date.
They’ve improved how you interface with Palicos. Palicos, for the uninitiated, are the annoying yet charming feline companions players can train, dress up and take with them on hunts, or generally through the world. In Rise they appear to be much more configurable, with greater control over skills and other attributes, hopefully expanding usefulness. And cuteness too, cause you know, more dress up.
Conversely, the addition of Palamutes -- giant dogs in the game -- is... well… really great. Their inclusion here feels like a perfect fit in this crazy universe. Not only can you play with your pet, craft a matching outfit and go on hunts together. You can use these pups as mounts. Which brings us to our next point.
Traversal. You can ride your palamutes to zip around town and while on the hunt -- very cool. Not only that, Capcom has introduced the Wirebug feature where you can grapple and fling around like never before (think Lost Planet, if you’re old enough). No longer do you have to waste stamina searching for a monster, now you can do it faster than ever and with style!
Wirebug gameplay (and the ability to fling around, adds a new dimension to every weapon). Usually this is reserved for special builds ala MH4 or the insect glade weapon. This is going to open up additional playstyles, so be ready to switch it up and to rethink strats.
Wyvern riding. You could always mount a monster, but this time if the monster is weak enough you can gain full control. Multi-monster fights were always quite tricky to handle, so this added feature will be a lot of fun to test out while adding another tactical layer to how you approach each skirmish..
Helpful wildlife. Spirit birds, an interesting small addition, will help you locate buffs while on your hunt. Additionally, there’s the puppet spider, and this thing is cool because you can use it to ‘trap’ a monster while you’re fighting it. Not sure if you can use it for those pesky capture quests though, so we’ll have to wait and see. Finally Capcom has what it calls a “Stinkmink”, which you can use to draw monsters to you. On the account of it being an odour monsters can’t get enough of.
New training area. While we’ve never really used them in the past games (elite skills will do that), the one in Rise is decked out like one of those rides Xzibit used to pimp. Not only can you test your weapons with combos and practice coop tactics, you can set the dummy AI to use simple commands, like attack a certain player this way or that.
Graphics. If you’re coming from the last Switch Monster Hunter, Rise is a night and day difference. The town feels more alive, the biomes have much much more detail, while the heroes and the monsters sport infinitely better animation. Shading is also vastly improved. We can’t wait to check this out in more detail -- and seeing the impressive RE Engine make its way to the console is an added eye-candy bonus. Obviously if you’re coming from Monster Hunter World, it's not as technically impressive, but it sits somewhere in between the last Switch joint and World. Which is great because it shows Capcom is really investing in how the series looks on all platforms.
No loading screens between areas. This is a first for Switch and handheld Monster Hunter games and gives it all a more open-world feel that isn’t simply a string of connected rooms and environments. Exploration has always been a part of the series and it's something that was pushed to the fore in Monster Hunter World. Plus, this is further proof that Capcom is looking to push the Switch hardware as far as it can go with Monster Hunter Rise.
We’ve obviously only scratched the surface of what to expect in the next instalment in this ever-successful franchise. It feels more at home on a Nintendo platform though, and will offer myriad hours of gameplay and challenge to any budding young hunter and their friends. Seeing RE Engine debut like this is also a huge boon and has us, and the rest of the larger Nintendo-owning community looking towards a future where more and more Capcom titles make their way to the Switch.
Regardless, this will be a successful addition to the Switch library, but more importantly it’s a game that is showcasing not just a desire to expand a franchise to as many platforms as possible, rather a developer and publisher looking to make the most of its decisions, dedicated community and potential new hunters. We can’t wait to get in and Rise to the occasion.