need to know
What is it? Murder monsters and make cute hats out of their faces.
expect to pay £50/$60
audit date GeForce GTX 1070, 16GB RAM, i7-7700HQ
multiplayer game 4 people cooperate
association Official website
The real pleasure of my gaming career has been watching Monster Hunter go from being a niche darling to a huge success in Japan, and then progressing in the West—Monster Hunter: World—to instant fame and global hit. That may have oversimplified the arc of Capcom’s excellent Beasts Challenge, but the series now has a huge fan base and the resources behind it, which has resulted in a game that has gotten better and better over the years, as well as a clear split.
There’s Monster Hunter: World taking over the series, which has the fundamentals but is a very big-budget endeavor — with gorgeous, smooth animations and the visual and aural spectacle of jaw-dropping monsters. Monster Hunter: Rise is another offshoot, following in the footsteps of games like Generations and closer to the series’ portable legacy: smaller, more contained maps rather than larger, more open-world-style exploration.
Of course, Rise was originally designed as a Nintendo Switch exclusive, and while this PC version is a nice port that does everything you’d expect, it’s a far cry from the kind of straight-forward visual “wow” factor that World does . It also can’t compete on things like textures or custom animations of stunning monsters fighting each other.
The truth, though, is that Rise is the better game.
Monster Hunter’s problem for new players is also the game’s main strength: it’s a combat system of almost unparalleled depth and precision, with dozens of fundamentally different play styles. It was overwhelming at first. Rise easily has the best onboarding experience in the series, and along the way introduces several new mechanics that enhance the hunting experience even beyond generations.
One of the most fun additions is your Palamute, a rideable dog. Sure, you still have your Palico, but the dog changes the traversal of the game, arguably, it’s always been a weak – or at least not prominent – element. Series veterans will recall a lot of the long hard rides on the map you’re familiar with, just because that’s the way it is, but in Rise you can choose between with and without a dog, which now includes wall runs and spiderman-style grapples Doubles as an essential combat tool. Not only can you get around faster than ever, but it feels great to do so.
This in turn changes the tempo of the fight, but in a great way. In older monster hunters, there were always moments in a fight where your prey realized they were in trouble and took off. You can rarely stop them from escaping or interrupt these action sequences, but for now, you can just jump on the dog to give chase. It might sound a little psychopathic to me, but it’s very satisfying to chase down a wounded creature trying to escape and start it with your buddies.
performance and settings
The GTX 1070’s performance was smooth — not as different as you might expect. Rise sometimes had issues with screen tearing, but I didn’t notice any dropped frames or other performance issues. Before the graphics settings allow you to toggle various options on or off to your liking, there are some basic presets, as well as support for ultrawide monitors and uncapped frame rates.
The obvious caveat here is that if you’re playing this at 4K at max settings with a large device…it’s never going to compete at that level. However, if you can live with some jagged edges and fuzzy textures, the art style more than makes up for the grunt.
One quality of Rising that may not be obvious is that it removes a lot of the drudgery that the game used to bring. For example, where you used to have to look up the “critical missions” for each hunter level online, now the game will just tell you. The upgrade tree for weapons is clearer. Each important element has a small tutorial or guided task. It throws away everything that’s a little annoying.
This in turn means that you spend most of your time playing Monster Hunter: Rise, actually hunting monsters instead of fiddling with menus or trying to figure out what to do next, and hunting is definitely something I play The reason for these games. You can zoom in on hunts with almost zero downtime, and combined with the generally faster game pace, it makes Rise feel more rhythmic and dynamic than older games. The verticality of its placement and the way you shuttle around them quickly becomes second nature, and from the opening seconds it feels like the chase begins.
Monster Hunter has always been ruthless: if you take its monster lightly, even the most overgrown will quickly drive you away. Rise follows the usual pattern of introducing wilder, weirder things (like Tigrex), grim classics (like Rathalos), and (mostly) awesome fighting ancient dragons.
It’s actually hard to describe a “typical” hunt in Monster Hunter: Rise, because part of the game’s inexhaustible quality is that there are now so many large monsters that it can mix and match them into endless new combination. It’s also less shy than ever to have monsters fight each other, which was a rare occurrence in old games but is very frequent now (you can also temporarily “ride” monsters during these periods and enjoy Godzilla moments).
The monsters look absolutely stunning, and the older monsters are more aggressive and surprising in their behavior than ever before. This game is a riot: I chose gunlance (again) because I love it, the weapon has some familiar moves, but also a whole bunch of new moves that make it feel brand new. The more Rise you play, the more it has to pay. You start unlocking special moves, giving each weapon’s action set a new angle of approach, or doing a 10-ton slam if you need to (Gunlance’s biggest downside is always low mobility, but in Rise, when you do dog-style It feels irrelevant when sprinting, fighting, and force blasting across the landscape). Sometimes you try a new ability, deal with what just happened, and then imitate the chef’s kiss and silently thank Capcom’s brain for the idea.
Rise’s wide variety of bestiaries and weapons means it won’t stop offering new stuff for a long time, even if the game is going at breakneck speed. There’s a lot going on here, and all the layouts and explanations are better than ever, and all the little details that once annoyed players are gone. Of course, this could be the origin of the Nintendo Switch game, and it’s shown visually. But who cares, because it’s hard to shake the feeling that Monster Hunter Rise is as good as the series. That is: do your best.