Monster Hunter Rise
There’s no greater joy than the moment something you’ve spent years not liking clicks. In 2021, I’m thrilled to admit that Monster Hunter clicked for me, and it only took its latest entry, Rise, to unveil the excellence of this 17-year-old armor-crafting fest.
For years, I’ve always known Monster Hunter to be a much-loved franchise with pulse-pounding fights and complex combat mechanics, but its often obtuse, slow-moving progression always kept me from loving it. But Rise breaks that down, streamlining the experience while allowing the series’ best parts to shine through sooner and more consistently. Of course, those parts being its monster hunting.
Even at Rise’s most complex, it does a better job pulling you into its time-honored gameplay loop. There are even fewer barriers across its basic systems and UI now, so you can quickly get right into the “rinse and repeat” cycle of hunting monsters and using their parts to enhance your character’s weapons and armor without much hassle. That was a godsend for me because all I ever wanted to do in previous games was get sucked into the combat and not get bogged down by constant foraging or dull tutorials.
And gosh, when I did get absorbed into combat, I started to discover the brilliance of Monster Hunter and what it does so well. As a fan of action games, like Devil May Cry and Dark Souls, I found that it, too, is a game about positioning and attacking intelligently. But it keeps you on your toes in an approachable way by often prolonging fights, stringing you from moments of intense combat to brief respite as your prey flees, then back again into the fray. The new Wirebugs only improves the pace of fights–something I admit is a significant contributing factor to what made it all click–allowing you to get right to the fun immediately, thanks to the high-flying maneuvers it provides you in and out of combat. It’s such a joy.
Unfortunately, I’m now running up against the word count, talking about how much easier Rise makes it to get into Monster Hunter, as well as the newfound appreciation it’s given me for the simple things it has always done. It makes me sad because I’ve not even had the chance to talk about how cute and charming it all is–the adorable Palicos and Palamutes are simply the best! But let me assure you, in this whirlwind of erratic passion, if there’s any Monster Hunter game that could get you into this series, it would be Rise. It’s an outstanding action game well-capable of providing you countless hours of extraordinary highs. Give it a shot; you won’t regret it.
— Matt Espineli, editor