Monster Hunter Rise – Review (Xbox One)

Welcome hunters, both veteran and new, to Monster Hunter Rise.

Monster Hunter Rise is the latest in the Monster Hunter series from Capcom. Players take the role of a newly certified hunter from Kamura village, the games base of operations. You start off with creating your hunter, the character creator doesn’t allow you to change your body type, other than gender, but you can alter almost everything about your face, hair and voice. You have similar options to change on your two companions, including naming them. The names you pick will be visible to others if you choose to play multiplayer, so choose wisely. Once you have chosen your character’s appearance and that of your companions (called buddies) the Palico, and the new Palamute, you begin the game by meeting the village elder and the twins Hinoa and Minoto.

Hinoa and Minoto will be your quest givers. Hinoa is the lady to speak to for single-player quests, and Minoto is the lady for Multiplayer. You are informed that a Rampage has begun and is heading for the village, an event which happened 50 years prior where a horde of monsters attacked and devastated the village, this has made the nearby monsters begin to act dangerously, and so you are asked to use your new hunting skills to help out. Village quests are tiered and can only be attempted by a hunter of the same rank or higher, while side quests are not tiered and can often be completed on any map, though some are specific to certain maps such as collecting certain items or killing specific monsters.

Residents of the village will ask to speak to you every so often with an urgent request, when this occurs their speech bubble above them will be red. After you have spoken to them you can pick this quest when you speak to Hinoa, completion moves the story along by unlocking the next quest level. You will see speech bubbles in blue and yellow pop up too, blue are often small requests that vary in objective, for instance the first one you receive is from the village elder who asks for a well cooked steak, once you have been out on a hunt and brought some meat back with you, you can cook it and speak to him again to receive your reward. Yellow speech bubbles indicate a general request or quest such as collecting certain items that are hidden throughout the game.

Don’t worry about not knowing how to do things in the beginning as the game throws tutorials at you constantly for the first hour or so of play. Everything you do will trigger one, most of them are short, but if you feel you don’t need them you can easily skip them. If you do decide to skip them or forget how to do something, you can revisit them in your hunters notes.

There is a small area of the village set aside from the rest where you can train with your weapons, all of which are available from the beginning in basic form. Its not strictly necessary to train before you venture out to hunt monsters but it will help to grow your skills and make combat more enjoyable (and save you some money and materials on health potions). You can swap between weapons and any items you are currently carrying by going to your item box, there are several of these in the village including one in your own house, and there is always one at the camp of every quest where you start your hunts. Also in this area is the buddy vendor, where you can hire new cat-like Palico’s and dog-like Palamute’s with different abilities to your starting pair. Even if you would rather train your originals than change them, hiring new ones allows you to send them out to find items for you while you hunt, you can do this by talking to the captain of the Argosy which is docked there. You can also exchange items with her for the occasional rare item.

Preparation is key to being a successful hunter. once you have encountered a beast you gain an entry in your hunters notes about it detailing its threat level, physiology, weaknesses, ecology and the materials you can get from it. Make sure to read these and equip yourself with the relevant ammunition and potions.

Each hunt gives you a time limit of 50 minutes to complete the task, while it shouldn’t take you that long to complete your objective it does allow you to search for hidden area’s and items, such as the scrolls that can be found throughout the game. The long time limit also helps as the bigger monsters have a habit of running off after taking a certain amount of damage. You can track them on your map as well as locking onto them and having a directional pointer showing which way the creature has gone. The new Palamute buddy can be ridden and used to climb certain surfaces much quicker than you can on your own in search of your prey, it also helps you in combat along with your Palico.

Each map is a fair size, which along with your Palamute, can be traversed by the use of wirebugs. You have two regular sized bugs which you can use to climb to higher levels or run along walls, but you can find more temporarily in the wild, they also allow you to dodge away or towards enemies and recover quickly when hit, you are given a few giant wirebugs by a veteran hunter in the village, which allow you to cover much greater distances, they cannot be moved once used but you can use them repeatedly.

When out in the wilderness you will come across many forms of what the game calls Endemic Life, non-monster creatures which usually provide benefits to you if you run into them or pick them up, there is a green floating vigourbug that heals you which i found very useful. There are many types of endemic life, each of which will gain an entry in your hunters notes once you encounter them. Those that provide benefits to you are colour coded, so a red bug will increase your attack power, yellow will increase your stamina and so on.

Running and fighting will slowly deplete the amount by which your stamina bar regenerates, some endemic life will restore small portions of it to keep you going, but you are better off using items that you take with you. Not to worry if you have forgotten your items, as mentioned earlier there will be an item box in your camp at the start of every hunt, but there will also be another box for depositing quest items and other goodies you find. Once you deposit things in this box they cannot be taken out during the hunt, but the box does have some things you can take out, health potions and stamina rations as well as ammunition are resupplied for every hunt.

Combat to me felt slow and cumbersome in the beginning until I trained up a bit and got the hang of the lock-on system, which doesn’t cause your screen to continually follow your target around like most games, you have to press LB to refocus on the creature. I actually liked this myself as I was not limited to one view in combat and it leaves you free to move around much easier. Once I knew what I was doing, hunts became much more fun and the flow of combat was more fluid, also finding a weapon that really suits you I think helped, the hammer is my favourite.

The buddies are invaluable to you, both in combat and out. My Palico has an ability to drop a plant in combat that provides a healing aura which saved me more than once in the big monster hunts, and being able to send them to find items for you while you hunt is very useful. Hunts can be a little repetitive at times as you get sent to the same map multiple times to hunt a different creature, though it does give you more opportunities to find secrets you may have missed on previous visits, and more maps become available as you level up and the story progresses. The story I thought moved at a nice pace and tied in nicely with your regular hunts. As you progress, the monsters become bigger, more powerful and more monstrous looking. New to Monster Hunter is The Rampage as briefly mentioned earlier, this is a tower defence mode where you have to defend the village from multiple monsters at once, including the use of siege weapons and help from NPC’s.

A review code for Xbox One was provided by Capcom

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