Last year when we got the news of Monster Hunter Rise, I was excited but cautious. The trailer looked interesting and showed off a new world and ascetic for the series. The use of the new Wirebug mechanic to zip around the map looked very interesting and it made me wonder what cool tricks I could pull off. However, something was bothering me with what I was watching. It looked like Monster Hunter, but to me, it didn’t feel like Monster Hunter at base value.
I think part of it has to do with the two latest games in the series, Generations Ultimate and World. My expectations for both games were flipped when I first played them. I thought I was going to love Gen Ult since it was classic Monster Hunter that I enjoyed and I was going to hate World since it felt “dumb down” for a western audience. World ended up being a fun game that felt easier than other games, and Gen Ult felt frustrating to play. I don’t know if the influence of World had something to do with it, but even with Generations on the 3DS, something just felt “off” with the game. With Rise, I wanted to be excited but didn’t want to be disappointed with the end result.
On Wednesday, January 7th, a new showcase for the game was shown along with a demo of the game. I don’t tend to play a lot of demos, but I was really excited to play this one. This was a chance to play a version of the game and form my own opinion on it. So how was it? After playing 2 hours of the demo, I can comfortable say that all my doubts of this game are gone and it has the potential of being one of my favorite games in the series. After taking some time observing and learning some new things, I have come up with my initial things that I like a dislike so far. I expect some of my feelings may change when the full game is released.
- A great mix of environment detail from World that is easy to understand and navigate.
While World was very pretty to look at, and seeing the game in HD was a treat, none of the environments stood out to me. The Ancient Forest for example was a great opening level that taught you a lot about the new mechanics. To this day though, I still get lost and confused when trying to get to places. The details felt too great at some points and I could never appreciate the small things since the world was the main attraction. Rise doesn’t have the great detail of World, but that makes it better to play in my opinion. The map is smaller so I can take the time to understand my surroundings and I can appreciate the little details when I see them. The Shrine Ruins that you have access to in the demo is more interesting than any locale in World (in my opinion). There is something about going up and down the waterfall and then viewing the desolated shrines ruins that is hidden in the forest and swamp that just feels good to be in. I can easily understand how to get to places without having to remember specific location marks that I have to constantly remind myself to follow.
- The return of unique and creative weapons and armor.
Plan and simple, I love that we are getting creative weapons and armor again. It was one of the biggest things missing from World that made things a bit bland. The game feels colorful again and I’m looking forward to see the other designs in the game. From the demo, I like the Switch Axe weapon and armor since I look like a character from Kingdom Hearts, and the design for the Hunting Horn set was really impressive.
- Quality of life changes from World are included.
One of the best things World did was speeding up the game. I know some people were fond of taking a victory pose after taking a potion, but I appreciate not having to stop the action to run to a different area to restore health and remove status aliments. Being able to stay in the action and take care of anything (minus resharpen your weapon) keeps me engaged and in the battle at all times.
- I didn’t know I needed a canine companion along with my feline, but I love it.
So who wants to race palamutes when the full game releases? The palamute is a new companion to the series that is badass. You are able to ride it to traverse faster and use recovery items while riding. I still love Nico the Palico, but I am definitely going to do my best to create Repede from Tales of Vesperia in game.
- I have new things to learn and master.
Finally, the wirebug mechanic is a fun tool that I’m still rattling my brain around. One of my complaints about Generation Ultimate was that you had several styles you could chose from, but had to take time to be familiar with all of them. With a simple, dedicated new mechanic, I can take my time to practice it and get more familiar with it over time. This new addition is something new for me to learn that is going to take hours of practice to get used to, and I find that exciting.
And now for my minor complaints. The first one is another new mechanic introduced to the game, Wyvern Riding. It feels good to pull off and being able to control any large monster you are facing. What I’m not to jazzed about are the mechanics when riding. You have to hold the R button at all times to be able to move the monster. I know realistically it is hard to tame a wild animal, but it makes the controls a bit stiff when trying to do things. Another minor complaint I have is that I feel that there are a lot more inputs to remember to do things. During my playtime, I felt like I was constantly forgetting how to do certain inputs and it was frustrating not pulling off certain things. I will take this as me being rusty and obviously not being familiar with new mechanics. Eventually that issue will be taken care of once I’m able to practice more.
So those are my initial impressions. There are other little things that I didn’t notice at first like how your character is more talkative than usual. Your character will say hints about monster behaviors that is excellent for new players if you are not observant. I am very excited to play this now, and I’m upset that I didn’t pre-order the collector’s edition when it was in stock. The demo is available until the 31st of January, so if you want to try it for yourself go for it.
Thank you for reading,