Monster Hunter Rise (Nintendo Switch) Review

By Sandy Kirchner-Wilson 22.04.2021

Review for Monster Hunter Rise on Nintendo Switch

Monster Hunter Rise is the latest entry in the long running Monster Hunter series. The publisher and developer Capcom have seen huge success in Japan ever since the first Playstation 2 game which was further compounded when the series moved onto the Playstation Portable. The worldwide audience has always flipflopped but seemed to really tune into the 3DS games and the last title Monster Hunter World, the series' big return to home consoles. Rise looks to bridge the markets by coming to Nintendo's hybrid console allowing for that ideal mix of at home and on the move gameplay.

The time of rampage is here. Kamura Village is on edge and a new hunter has just been appointed. This hunter is player designed, as is customary in the Monster Hunter games and is also a silent protagonist. The village chief is prepping the main character to help protect the village and to prepare for the rampage. This event sees monsters come into the area every few years causing wide-spread destruction. This frames all of the main missions in the single-player game and is the subject most discussed in the smaller interactions around town. Rise sees a much more character filled town with many npcs having well defined personalities and roles offering a much more fleshed out experience between hunts. A particular highlight is the Bunny Dango cafe which comes complete with a theme song.

Screenshot for Monster Hunter Rise on Nintendo Switch

Gameplay will feel familiar to all of those who have played a past Monster Hunter game. The experience felt very similar to Monster Hunter Freedom: Unite which was a particular highlight of the series stint on the Playstation Portable. The way the various town functions are tied together offering a plethora of services for the hunters and an easy gate between multiplayer and single player questing is a huge boon to this game. It is a feature that World was a bit more obtuse with. Focussing on the single player aspects primarily, the town's functions directly support the gameplay loop of Hunt, Craft, Prepare then repeat. The town hub supplies shops, blacksmithing, food preparation, side quests as well as the player's own house all within a very short walk of each other keeping downtime to a minimum. The single player missions are offered right in the centre of town via one of the twin shrine maidens in the village. Speaking to her will open a list of quest types from small sub-quests that net a tiny reward to the all important training quests which players will need to master the new traversal systems and monster wrangling. Progressions through the main quests will unlock different level quests to pick from each getting more complex and difficult as players progress. Each new level of difficulty is bookmarked by Urgent Quests.

Hunting itself feels very refined. Each area and large monster is introduced with a stylistic cutscene with chanting and narration similar to the Japanese art of Kabuki theatre. Each area also benefits from a totally unique design and biome from crumbling temple to snowy mountains, everything is covered and feels totally different and full of atmosphere. Each hunting ground is presented as a sandbox area with no loading screens and plenty of unique little features not found in other Monster Hunter games. Core gameplay feels the same as previous games though maybe lacking a tiny bit of the animation refinement found in World. All of the weapon types from previous games are here and function the same meaning the lumbering great sword and nimble dual blades are as familiar as they have always been. They also retain the same attack patterns from previous titles allowing for some slick combos with plenty of dodge points.

Screenshot for Monster Hunter Rise on Nintendo Switch

New to this title however, is the game-changing Wire Bug tool. This is by all regards a type of grappling hook system. It gives players a huge range of mobility, from vertical leaps to quick dashes, which are perfect for avoiding attacks. The feeling of zipping up cliffs by wire jumping then wall running feels great, never before in a Monster Hunter game has the verticality of a stage felt this important. This mechanic has so many uses that it pays to experiment and to take the training missions seriously. It allows hunters to tie down monsters, this can be done to aid in capturing them or to get a few good hits in during a tricky fight. It also allows for the best new feature, riding monsters. Players can leap onto bigger monsters and influence them using the wire bug tool as reigns. It feels great and really emphasises the series signature focus on player agency.

Visually and sound-wise, everything feels amazing. Every area, cutscene, and event has amazing music with a good range of themes and some tunes featuring vocals making them stand out against the usual instrumental themes of previous games. They are mostly heavily Japanese themed to fit the new aesthetic of this particular setting, owing the game its own deep seated sense of place. Obviously landscapes are not as bustling with foliage as they were in the previous game, as this would likely have made the game run badly on Switch, but the way it's placed and the varieties in each map makes the game world no less impressive, especially as a handheld adventure. There is also an abundance of colour on show despite the kind of washed out visual styling meaning that shrine gates with red wood pop out of the environment and bamboo forests have a nice mooted daylight look. It's excellent. This is also true in the nighttime versions of each area where a more dark blue hue is applied and lots of elements in the levels gain an almost ethereal glow. These elements are paired with some cool effects like water reflecting characters and monsters and a variety of light sources making places pop.

Screenshot for Monster Hunter Rise on Nintendo Switch

Obviously visual makeup is important, but it's supported by an amazing underpinning design sensibility. With stunning monsters, many new to the series and a plethora of equipment designs. Player characters and the two animal sidekicks are designed by the character creator allowing for a huge amount of customisation from hair colour to fur patterns with some of the most varied choices in the series so far. Unlike World, the character model isn't presented in a higher quality than the playing model so the character will not suddenly look different once the gameplay starts. Adorning the character with custom monster armours is a great experience and is the perfect payoff for all of the hard work hunting the bigger monsters. The way characters and monsters animate lends hugely to the satisfaction found in the combat, as well as in defining which weapon is the best in the game. The design detail and sensibility is also present in the user interface design which is very slick and simple yet has layers and layers of depth for those who like to get more info. Honestly, this game looks and feels incredible, and also runs very well with no discernable slow down affecting the gameplay.

There are of course, a multitude of multiplayer options from local co-operative play to full online team hunts. These are typically accessed at the gathering hub but there is a plaico who can act as a quick access menu for multiplayer in town. From what cubed3 has managed to test, there is really good netcode supporting the multiplayer. It's basically lag free and matching with other players is simple and smooth. Hunting in teams is where the most fun is to be had in Monster Hunter games, teaming up with friends to murder giant creatures seems to be a hit. Most of the quests are excellent but there is the occasional gathering of eggs which is a bit more laborious but with team mates it can remove a wedge of the frustrations.

Screenshot for Monster Hunter Rise on Nintendo Switch

Cubed3 Rating

Rated 9 out of 10

Exceptional - Gold Award

Rated 9 out of 10

Monster Hunter Rise is a triumph. It may not have the shiny 4k HDR visuals of its predecessor but the more modest, design-driven visuals are a delight to behold. Gameplay is as solid as ever and features much more freeform with the new traversal tools putting it above many of the other games in the series. The new setting and characters create a much more involved scenario full of charm and fun Japanese influences. For fans of monster hunter this is an absolute no-brainer but for new players, this is a fantastic place to start. Not only will Rise teach everything there is to know about its systems, but it is one of the purest fun experiences currently available on Nintendo Switch.






Action Adventure



C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  9/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   


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