Monster Hunter Rise gives the Nintendo Switch a main game of the saga again and it's nice to come home. As a seasoned hunter, with thousands of hours accumulated playing the previous games, I threw myself into the adventure with my head down and lived these last days of my life totally immersed in Rise. However Monster Hunter is like this: either you give 100% or nothing. A title in which it can take hours to forge the armor we desire is undoubtedly a bane to leisure, as it steals it all without scruples. And hunting is never enough: there are always new prey around the corner, fiercer and more difficult to tame. Despite asking for some commitment to be loved, Monster Hunter Rise pays off in full, introducing a series of new features that make the gameplay much more fun and, above all, much less frustrating.
Kamura is a charming town that houses a Hunting Base and other buildings useful for the experienced adventurer. It's the main - and only, indeed - Monster Hunter Rise hub, and it's a bit bigger than the villages explored in the other games. One of the areas available is a gym to train and test the various weapons, a really useful element for old and new players: the title does not add new weapons but provides each one with different exchangeable skills that modify the combat, so you can test them before jumping into the game. scrum is a great idea. One of the new potentials of the Double Blades, which I prefer, facilitates the aerial dance, allowing you to jump on the monster and hit the most delicate areas. Multiplying these changes by all the weapons available, you get ua variety of gameplay like never before and the potential to customize your own style of play. The Wire Insects represent the second great novelty introduced in the title and allow you to speed up the movements and perform additional types of moves, different according to your equipment. It takes a bit of time to become familiar with the shots so executable and I admit that for the first few hours of the game I have neglected them a bit, but it soon becomes evident how they are fundamental strategies for moving quickly and repositioning in front of or behind the monster that we are challenging. They are also useful for exploring quickly and climbing steeper walls, saving you a lot of time.
Comrades in arms
Another area available in Kamura Village is Companions Square, where you can recruit Felyne and Canyne allies, train them or send them on missions to obtain items. The cat mercenaries are known to all fans of the saga and do not need great explanations: they are useful companions who follow us in the missions and can learn different skills by dedicating themselves to heal, attack or various types of support. The Canynes, on the other hand, are brand new: adorable little dogs, they are efficient in biting and distracting monsters but above all they are rideable to move quickly on the map without consuming stamina and being able to climb walls quickly. During the ride we can even consume objects, whip the weapon or strike at the small monsters we meet, so the mechanism is really comfortable. Of all the additions in Monster Hunter Rise this is the one I preferred: moving in the huge expanses of ice or sand wastes a lot of time and saving it is a cure-all. In Rise there are also the Owls, for a total of three animal companions to take with us. The latter actually play more of a supporting role, as they allow you to enrich the map of each area, marking the presence of the various monsters, collection points and other elements worthy of relief. Plus, they're so cute and we can dress them up ridiculously, as well as cuddle and feed them before going on a mission. Who knows if doing it increases our luck with drops?
Every explorer's dream
In short, Monster Hunter Rise allows you to explore each area more quickly, also taking advantage of a detailed and well-crafted on-screen map. This was absolutely necessary following the choice to introduce open maps and not divided into zones as before: each region is very large and intricate, characterized by caves and reliefs of various heights on which to climb. Finding the collection points for rare minerals or relics is not always easy and also following the various monsters in their movements is not immediate, as well as taking some time to climb the walls. Consequently, the Wire Bugs, the companions to ride and the detailed map are fundamental aids to fully enjoy the experience. Environmental interactions have also increased: fauna and flora play an important role in combat, providing support and enhancement to the hunter. There are countless insects and small animals that increase our attack strength, defense, resistance, the affinity of the weapon or even that heal us, heal from poison or make us irresistible to monsters. I've also encountered less common creatures, which grant better rewards or leave rare materials to collect, and I'm sure I need to find more. All this swarming with aids on the field allows us to add various levels of strategy to the fight, taking advantage of bonuses and malus or making two monsters approach each other to make them fight. Territorial Disputes in Monster Hunter Rise are very frequent and it almost always happens to find residues of a monster or another on the ground, which means that they have given a good reason even before we arrived. Making enemies collide with each other is undoubtedly a smart move and can be accomplished simply by bringing them into contact or riding them, making them puppets at our command. This mechanic takes advantage of the Wire Insects and it is essential to master it, as it simplifies our life and is very satisfying.
Who is afraid of the desire sensor?
I liked all of the new monsters available in Monster Hunter Rise. The Magmamalo, beast symbol of the new game, he is really a tough nut to crack and fighting him wasn't easy. The Goss Harag is a kind of bloodthirsty Yeti with ice blades and has become my new favorite, because challenging him is really fun and adrenaline-pumping. Although the monsters available at the moment are just over thirty, a rather depressing number after the Monster Hunter Generations Ultimate roster, others will almost certainly be added after launch and I still find that the selection of those present has been well done. There are all the more classic creatures and new additions in thickness, which will soon become well-known names in the saga. New monsters mean new gear, and both the added weapons and armor matched my taste. Fanatics of the series know how difficult it is to make some rarer equipment, for which it is necessary to procure materials that are found with a frequency of 1 or 2%. This title makes no difference - the damn plates and rare rubies are still present, but finding them is a little easier. The new fighting styles and the frequent Territorial Disputes mean that monsters almost always “lose pieces”, making it easier to break claws, tails and manes. Each of these damage increases the drop of rare items, making our life easier. This does not mean that luck plays a fundamental role: I had to kill more than 20 Anjanath to be able to make the armor, while I found the Rathalos plate on the first shot. What a bad life. There are also neat Hunting Notes that list all the materials we've gleaned from a monster so far, including drop rates and suggested methods for finding them.
I liked all the changes introduced in Monster Hunter Rise madly, with the exception of the Fury. This mode on paper is exciting: it is a sort of Tower Defense, in which we have to place turrets and other offensive tools to block the advance of multiple monsters at the same time. I've always hated missions in old titles where you had to use Ballistas and Cannons and this time it makes no difference, plus I found these missions quite confusing and, I admit, quite anxious. It must be said that probably in multiplayer they give their best and I have not had the opportunity to test them. If you overcome by obtaining certain objectives, they pay off with coupons that can be used to upgrade their weapons and the commitment is fully rewarded, since we are talking about upgrades not just.
Gather friends - at a safe distance
Multiplayer has always been the cornerstone of Monster Hunter and Rise is no exception, indeed it increases the dose. The missions of the title are divided between Village and Hunting Base and the latter correspond to those of the online hub, in which to look for other players to collaborate with. Loffline mode in this case only covers up to a certain Hunter Rank and everything else is playable only at the Hunting Base: the real story unfolds there. The choice may seem unusual but I think that for a series like this it has a rational, moreover it is necessary to consider how these missions can also be tackled alone, albeit with many difficulties: the monsters of the Hunting Base have many more life points and in general they are bigger (literally) and badder than those in history. Practically missions in Kamura play the role of tutorials to direct hunters, especially novices, to the next hardcore mode, including the entire High Rank. I was only able to try online multiplayer for a few days, as print servers were shut down around the world afterwards. I have not encountered any problems: it is easy to create rooms or search for them, I had no connection errors and everything went smoothly. It is also possible to join other players once the mission has started or send real requests for help, like in Monster Hunter World, so I really have nothing to criticize about this mode, apart from the usual lack of voice chat, which we are more than used to by now.
Art and care
From a technical standpoint, Monster Hunter Rise holds up well on the Nintendo Switch. It's not World and it doesn't even want to be, again aiming for a more cartoonish aspect. I found some really ugly textures, including those of the mountains, and in general the ambient colors a bit grayish, while the colors and the appearance of the monsters are nice and contrast well. The game appears fluid and perfectly enjoyable even in handheld mode, so much so that I was convinced to get a Nintendo Switch Lite just to play it like this: undoubtedly the Pro Controller is more comfortable, but even so you can have fun without problems. I didn't notice any particular frame rate drops even in the most excited fights, so I'm more than satisfied. The music is wonderful: many are sung and listening to them is a pleasure. All it classic Japanese style chosen for the title fits him perfectly: you will love the introductory videos of each monster, they are to be seen and reviewed for hours. An excellent work of attention to detail.
Monster Hunter Rise is a valid title in the series. In some respects it is my favorite: it offers a good level of challenge, interesting monsters and an improved gameplay made more intuitive and less frustrating, as well as an easy-to-use multiplayer mode. In short, it seems to have taken the best from every past title, but everything is to see how it will be supported after the launch and how the post-game will be enriched, which for now is at least bare. Needless to say, it is an absolutely necessary purchase for all hunters, to whom I recommend also getting the Magmamalo amiibo and maybe even the Canyne plush. Why? But why yes, you obviously want them.