It was January 26, 2018, when console players got their hands on Monster Hunter World, the newest Monster Hunter game, the first since Monster Hunter 2 in 2006. The game is now currently Capcom’s most sold game and is what almost revived the company after being in the shadows for so long. Ever since World dropped, Capcom has given us fans some fantastic games like Devil May Cry 5 and faithful Resident Evil remakes which retell both the second and third game, along with some other titles that were high tier.
Though it's one of the biggest games, it was announced back in October, Monster Hunter World's latest major content update will be the final one and only receive updates for bug fixes from here on out. It's still playable, however it begs the question, what's next? It's rhetorical but Monster Hunter has come back with a new game in the form of Monster Hunter Rise. A true return to the series, back to classic style for older fans only on the Nintendo Switch. This is actually very common for previous games since most of the series is known for being on Nintendo's systems and handhelds.
Fans may be confused but World was suppose to be more based on bringing the series to more people, being on PS4, Xbox One and later, PC. The game focuses on telling a story, simplifying the gameplay and style to feel more “Western”, and being a game anyone can pick up and play.
In an interview with The Verge, Producer, Ryozo Tsujimoto said on the matter: "As creators, I think it’s a very universal thing to want as many people as possible to get in touch with your work."
While that's a good idea, making (at the time) a game in the series for newer fans - and it worked since it's was one of the most sold games in 2018 - it's now time to go back to the classic style.
While Monster Hunter Rise was in the making, Monster Hunter World had another team developing that game and focusing on the new style. Rise was to be created to be in the style of the classic games. This way, they are making sure there are games in the series for the older fans that preferred the older games and the newer fans on console and PC.
Since it’s the older style, it will return to a more creative/traditional style game, so you will see how unique all the weapons and armor look, instead of a more toned down, “Western style” of all the equipment. It won’t look like another iron sword with a furred handle but instead could be a huge blade, curved and colourful. Western style was fine as it was able to look more appealing to the newer players, however, hardcore players felt cheated out of some very special looking equipment.
For those wanting to read a little bit on what comparisons or features there are to be aware of before diving into Rise, here’s some information for those who are new to the older style games. Though Monster Hunter is a series that's been around since the original PlayStation, there's been differences in all of the games. World, for example, is more in the line with fast paced gameplay than the other games.
Quests will not only be on a board, focusing on the story, but they will be split between village quests, story quests and multiplayer quests. Older games having a hub for solo and multiplayer where you could do everything you have to do; eat, side quests and update without changing areas and focus on that said stuff. Solo being more story focused; and multiplayer for teaming up and increasing your hunter rank to unlock more things to do and monsters to hunt, while keeping that material between both hubs.
Monster Hunter World: Iceborne introduced a new item to use called the “clutch claw”, a way to attach yourself to a monster to deal damage, increase movement and create a new type of playing style, which was welcomed. In Rise, it seems like the new version of this is called “wireclaw”, a hookshot-like item that helps you traverse the large areas, ideally for climbing, but can be used however you like.
Though tracking with paintballs or tracking flies seem to not be present, hopefully, we get some form of tracking monsters that make you feel like a hunter rather than a “go here for a monster”. Though, you can ignore those, and just go looking for yourself, there’s a level of saturation you got when landing your last paintball or seeing the quest monster’s status. It fleshes out the hunting and the monsters themselves since they are creatures too, they all have individual habits and behavior, making them all unique to each other instead of “just another boss monster”.
Palicos and Palamutes, which are the cats and dogs in the Monster Hunter series, are your partners that hunt with you! Palicos being one of the game's staples that you would create or adopt, with different looks, skills, and stats. These bipedal fur-balls were even playable in normal missions or had their own special palico quests in classic games, which were missing in World. Palamutes, a new component in Rise, being both a mount and another fighting companion with their own weapons and combos. Since mounts were a new feature to World’s DLC Iceborne, your palico befriending a small monster and getting them to side with you, must have been an idea they used when coming up with palamutes. Now not only giving us a constant mount, but introducing dogs to the series.
Another new feature is “Wyvern riding”, after fighting and weakening a large monster, if mounted, use said monster and use them to fight other monsters for a limited time. Similar to the “turf wars” in World, which has two monsters fight each other upon them being in the same area, it seems like it will be more of a player-controlled version of this.
Some smaller, noticeable things in the game is that it will be running the RE engine which mean it will look amazing, even on Switch. It seems like Capcom will be using that as their answer to the Unreal engine. Despite this, the game will feel a like sluggish, almost like the characters have weight to themselves but that's just another staple to the classic games. Though it sounds bad, you will get used to it and it's almost a mechanic of the game, plus it's been made easier since they included moving while healing from World. Rise is also having you hunt monsters for longer due to drops usually being harder, making you have to kill a monster a few times to get everything for that armor set. Armor is important to constantly upgrade and change, every monster will get harder, making it so you have to constantly change what you have. Armor strengths and weaknesses will also be more important than World and will be the reason why you need to change more frequently (even on low hunter rank quests).
2020, and this first half of 2021, sadly put a strain on everything worldwide, making a game, like most forms of entertainment, was a lot more difficult at home. Due to this, Monster Hunter Rise on release will not be a complete game, having around 30 hours and 58 monsters. Compared to World’s base game which had about 80+ hours of gameplay and a total of 31 monsters. Note that though Monster Hunter Rise and Monster Hunter World are from the same series, they will have slightly different game styles, with two different teams working on them. This is information I believe needs to be known for players from World coming to Rise. Players in Rise will be getting a free content update in April which will contain more monsters and a continuation of the story, hopefully endgame too with tempered monsters and elder dragons, but we’ll have to see.
For you newer players and fans to Monster Hunter, either from Monster Hunter World or to try the upcoming game, Rise, do not expect the same gameplay and style. Though it is in the same series, Rise is closer to the classic games, where World is supposed to be the start of a newer style game for console/PC players.
Though, in my personal opinion, a game should be complete when released, updates and DLCs are fine, but to buy a $60 game and for it not to be finished isn’t something I support. It feels like you’re buying into a bad practice, however, due to the last year I’ll let it slide.
Should you buy the game? Monster Hunter Rise is a new game in the series, closely resembling the older games on the Nintendo Switch. If you enjoy the hunter style games, played Generations and or World, or it genuinely looks interesting, the game will be worth it with more content coming not too long after the release. However, if you plan to play non-stop or if you're not to sure how you feel about the game, I would say wait a little due to it not being a whole game. It’s a game series I’ve recently come to love, both World and classic games, and though I’m slightly disappointed, it’s not their fault, and it will be still enjoyable to experience with my partner.