Monster Hunter Rise (PC) Review

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Does exactly what it say on the tin!

For this guest review, we’ve handed Monster Hunter Rise over to friend of NGB and amazing Twitch streamer Shogun Ash for his thoughts on the PC version of the Nintendo Switch classic!

It’s safe to say that I’m a big fan of hunting monsters in video games and fighting with or against them. It’s kind of my thing. And yet, somehow, I’d never managed to get my hands on a copy of Monster Hunter, until now.

HUNTIN’ AIN’T EASY

If you’re new to the idea of Monster Hunter, the core premise of the game is this: you are a monster hunter, and immediately outside of your village are various biomes swarming with – you guessed it – monsters. And you need to hunt them. Now, of course, that’s oversimplifying it greatly, there’s a story, a whole economy and more that ties into it all. You’ll need to manage resources, navigate social dynamics and work strategically alone or with partners to succeed. It’s definitely mechanically complex, but not overwhelming.

For what seems like such a simple and repetitive gameplay loop, the game’s mechanics are what really set it apart as a work of art and provide depth and replayability. Item crafting is easily the most important thing. During a mission, you’re going to need plenty of items to support you on your quest. From potions to traps and stamina regeneration, items are key to any hopes of success against the massive array of creatures you’ll have to face. Preparation isn’t something you can skimp on in this game. Pulling up without the right gear is going to leave you in a pickle, so learning the item combos and having everything pre-crafted specifically for that mission is of primary importance. But that’s not where it ends. On even the simplest missions, you can quite easily run out of healing items and you can only carry so many traps and stat buffs with you, but thankfully there’s the ability to set things to auto-craft in the field, so if you manage to pick up the right ingredients mid-mission, you can quite easily replenish your stocks on the go. The emphasis and importance that the game places on preparation and adaptation in the field make this more than just an action game where one chases down monsters and takes home the spoils. There’s action, adventure and real-time strategy all woven together in a tapestry of brilliance that shows why this series is loved far and wide.

THAT HUNTIN’ LIFE

A day in the life of a typical monster-hunting mission begins with a trip to the merchants in town to buy and sell all you’ll need to be prepared for the task ahead, before nipping over to the blacksmith and equipping the latest upgrades for your favourite weapons using the raw ingredients from your previous missions. Once you’ve got your items and weapons all sorted, it’s off to choose your mission. Quests are divided by difficulty and complexity, as you work your way up, you’ll unlock harder missions, but initially, you’ll be limited to one-star quests and as you prove yourself, you’ll gradually work your way up. As you head out on your mission, you can make your last-minute tweaks and preparations as well as finalising your loadout. Taking the time to head in the tent to chow down on a stat-boosting Bunny Dango or customising the skill loadout for your furry partners could be the difference between success and failure. As you leave the start area and progress into the biome, you’ll want to check your map for signs of the larger monsters on the map, as these will typically be your targets. If it’s a monster you haven’t seen or hunted before it’ll be denoted by a question mark, whereas a repeated adversary will show their individual icon. You’ll want to track these around the map and cut them off in order to begin your skirmish.

Each monster has its own strengths, weaknesses and patterns that will become apparent during the duration of the hunt, and picking up on these will make your life that much easier and your battles that much more successful. As you progress through the fight, you’ll be able to identify the more important parts of the monster and hone in on them to cripple their mobility, offence or defensive capabilities. As you do large amounts of damage to the monster, they’ll flee to give themselves time to recover health and stamina by sleeping in a different section of the biome, which also gives you time to regroup too. The key to success is balancing the time you’ll need to reset your own health and weapon sharpness whilst not giving the enemy too much time to do the same. With a limited amount of time to complete a mission, you won’t want to be spending too much time chasing an enemy around the map without making enough of a permanent dent in its condition.

MOUNT, EXPLORE AND TAKE IT ALL IN

At certain points in the hunt, you may even chase your mark into the territory of another monster, triggering a one-on-one fight, at which point one of them will inevitably be vulnerable enough for you to mount them. If you mount the new monster, you can use it to attack your mark for an essentially risk-free way of dealing a ton of damage, whereas mounting your mark means you can hold it still to be a sitting duck whilst the aggrieved monster does your dirty work for you. Once you’ve managed to deal the finishing blow, the hunt will automatically end, giving you a 60-second timer to reap the rewards and scavenge anything in the immediate vicinity before displaying all of your rewards to keep or sell and returning you to the village to hand in your quest and take on the next chapter in your monster-hunting career, chasing down bigger, badder and more troublesome creatures and increasing your legendary status among your peers.

Whilst all this is going on, it can be hard not to get lost in how alive the biomes feel. From both the art style, the level design and the NPC programming, the entire world of Monster Hunter feels as if it would exist on its own without you. You can watch from a distance and various wildlife roams around grazing, interacting and even attacking each other with no human prompt whatsoever. To reduce this part of the review to a graphical discussion does it no justice and instead, this game should be applauded not just for its visuals, but for creating entirely believable ecosystems in a fantasy game that simply requires you to chase down its inhabitants. They’ve gone above and beyond, from interspecies dynamics to destructible environments, when you’re not hunting a monster, there’s a Pokemon Snap-esque level of world and environment building on display here, perhaps even better. The real value in this, however, is the insane replay value. For a game with such a basic gameplay loop, there’s so much depth and scope for progression that there’s always something to call you back. Whether it’s progressing the story, mastering a particular strategy, gathering enough of an ingredient, attempting to speed run a mission or simply taking in the world around you in an exploration mission, this is a world you’ll want to go back to time and time again.

5 1 vote
Article Rating
9

An incredible game with tons of replayability and a phenomenal world for players to get lost in. While it can take a while to get in the swing of things, once you do, an amazing experience awaits.

Editor-In-Chief - NGB. Started writing for NGB in 2013, 3 years later I was running the show. I love what we do here, if you want to get involved, get in touch! PSN/Xbox LIVE/Steam - Winstano

@winstano

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