More than three years after Monster Hunter: World, a new entry in the series will finally arrive on the Nintendo Switch on March 26. Monster Hunter Rise will be the first title in the series built from the ground up for Nintendo's current system. While Monster Hunter Generations Ultimate, an enhanced version of a 3DS title, arrived in the West in 2018, fans had to wait until the fourth year of the system's lifecycle to get an entirely new monster hunting experience.
time with the publicly available demo and a private demo at Capcom's Osaka HQ, in which I hunted the new monster Somnacanth in Frost Islands and tried out the robust character customization options for Palamute and Palico friends] Rise seems to have been worth the wait.
See Monster Hunter Rise's unedited gameplay in the video above.
I would like to start by reemphasizing how great Rise looks on the Nintendo Switch. It should not be forgotten that Rise is simply one of the most impressive titles you can find in the system, both from a graphical and technical point of view. While names like The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt and Dragon Quest XI may have been ported to the latest Nintendo, Rise is one of the few examples of dynamic open environments designed specifically for the Switch, as well as games like O Nintendo's Super Mario Odyssey or Game Freak's Pokémon Sword / Shield.
What makes Rise a great combination for the Switch is its focus on fun, fast-paced action. The newly added Wirebug mechanics allow you to swing around and climb up walls, which really changes the way you fight and explore. This new system has been compared to the philosophy of & # 39; scale anything & # 39; from Breath of the Wild, and while I think the comparison doesn't really do any games justice, rocking and climbing through an environment instead of carefully examining monster tracks feels like Nintendo's hybrid console / laptop.
A balance to satisfy all hunters
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From what I played, I feel that the most impressive thing about Rise is that it seems to have found a balance that welcomes new players while satisfying veteran hunters. New systems definitely make things more inviting, and a decrease in focus on preparation is hard to ignore – but Capcom never seems to forget what makes Monster Hunter so special in the first place.
Weapon types still have an impressive depth, for example, which makes them as rewarding to master as before. However, with an improved training area that allows for more customization and a reduction in the amount of materials needed to upgrade, change weapons and finally find a type of weapon that suits your style of play should be more tempting.
Eating Chef Yomogi's sweet Bunny Dango at the Kamura Village hub (or after going on a mission like in World) and collecting as many endemic life creatures as possible allows the player to enter the battle with more buffs than before. Don't you want that? Feel free to ignore some or all of the stats increases to create a challenge according to your preference.
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Cohoots, the beloved pets of Vila Kamura, automatically highlight the location of the monsters on the map the moment you enter an area. Although you do not know the identity of a monster until you actually find it, not being able to find your target should no longer be a problem for the less experienced player. This does not mean that the exploration is simplified. The Sanctuary Ruins and Frost Islands offered many secondary routes and hidden secrets. Especially if you are after Endemic Life, expect to make many interesting detours before entering the battle. The verticality that Wirebug adds to the scan is also great and makes the scan look genuinely different from previous entries.
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The loss of strength and sharpness of the weapon can be some of the most typical aspects of Monster Hunter. still intact, but here Capcom also came up with ideas to prevent newbies from getting too frustrated. You won't have to worry about resistance when walking on the Palamute (your new dog-like friend), for example, and you can regain your strength and sharpen your weapons while riding.
These are just a few examples of how Rise tries to match the needs of each type of player in a game. Although it is too early to say whether the team managed to find the perfect balance, what I played looks promising. Director Yasunori Ichinose acknowledged to me in an interview that getting a perfect score from fans and newbies is an impossible task, but he said he wants every type of player to be able to find at least one thing to love.
A good example can be the Palamutes. These new comrades enrich the exploration and combat of Monster Hunter and, at the same time, act as an additional layer of creativity and communication. From the color of the hair to the shape of the ear and the color of the eyes, the character creator allows a lot of freedom. Creating a unique Palamute, in addition to your own character and a feline Palico, almost feels like you are creating an entire family.
See the robust customization options for Palamutes and Palicoes in this video.
There are many cuddles, hugs, food, handshakes and other decorations available in the field too, and let's not forget the cute Cohoots, which you can pet and feed and dress as well. Combine that with the fact that Kamura Village can be fully enjoyed in multiplayer, and you will have a game that could potentially be enjoyed without actually going hunting. The hunting grounds can even be used to run Palamute races, with the specific endemic life functioning as checkpoints that someone needs to pass. I'm not saying that this will be the next Animal Crossing or Mario Kart. But, as Ichinose says, there seems to be something to love for each type of player.
Wide variation in monsters and locations
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Rise maps are considered to be roughly the same size as locations in the world, but appear to have been designed with a different philosophy in mind. While areas of the world were dotted with narrow paths and low-ceilinged caves, Rise's environments often appear to be more spacious, giving the player plenty of room to rotate and use the acrobatic Silkbind Attacks during battle. Although I have to admit that there seems to be less visual variety on each map, diving to attack a monster from a distance with Wirebugs is great.
As you get used to walking around with these domesticated insects, you'll start to realize how much they change the game. After getting the hang of the controls, you'll be jumping over obstacles and reaching the top of temples or waterfalls without losing your momentum. You start with two equipped Wirebugs, but you can find a third one that will allow you to temporarily rock even more.
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Ichinose told me that the team investigated the possibility of increasing the number of Wirebugs that you can become friends with; however, with more than four Wirebugs equipped, the game soon became very easy, which is why you will start with two Wirebugs and will have a temporary maximum of three throughout the game.
Both the sanctuary ruins and the Frost Islands have an obviously Japanese-inspired setting, with atmospheric stone lanterns and snow-capped torii gates leading to solitary shrines and temples. It was nice to see that the type of endemic life you encounter seems to differ between the maps as well, a puffer-like creature being an example of something I only found in the Frost Islands area.
Interestingly, Flooded Forest – the third map Capcom has revealed – shows a ruin that seems inspired by South American cultures rather than Japanese or Asian. With Sandy Plains and Lava Caverns revealed after Nintendo Direct on February 17, it looks like the full game will contain a wide range of locations.
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The same can be said about monsters . The return of monsters such as Tigrex Pukei-Pukei and Tobi-Kadachi will add many variations, while new monsters such as Magnamalo Tetranadon and and and and and and and and and and and and and ] Bishaten bring an authentic flavor to the Japan-inspired world of Rise. Most new monsters were inspired by yokai the ghosts and spirits of Japanese folklore, and Capcom went further to include attack patterns and intimidation methods based on these inspirations. Being attacked by an open hand attack from a Tetranadon or dodging the khaki fruit that Bishaten throws at you should create a challenging and engaging experience to watch.
Fighting Somnacanto in the Frost Island area was cool, but as my character in the demo was already wearing Somnacanth armor, I felt a little bit over-equipped. During the battle, Somnacanth usually stands, making it difficult to hit his head. He has some brutal physical attacks, like a top hit, and an attack in which he slides through the water on his stomach at devastating speed. Your breath attack puts the player to sleep, which I imagine could be fatal if you fought with less equipment. This attack also has a very long range, but you should be able to see it coming when you start charging.
Because of my strong equipment, I was not obliged to observe his attack patterns as closely as most players need. , and my advantage made it difficult to imagine how difficult the monster would be on a first hunt. That said, designed as a mix of western and Japanese mermaids, Somnacanth exudes personality. Her demonic appearance and mesmerizing voice are a unique blend, and a cute swimming style inspired by the otter gives her an identity of her own.
The Rampage – an event in which many monsters attack Kamura Village at the same time – will be the main focus of the story. This should further improve the Japan-inspired scene, as the event is based on Hyakki Yako, an ancient Japanese myth in which a horde of yokai parade at night. As can be seen in The Game Awards 2020 Trailer you will prevent monsters from invading the village from a fort, using cannons and ballistas. The latest Nintendo Direct trailer showed the twin maidens Hinoa and Minoto joining The Rampage, the ability to mount monsters in the fort (more about mounting monsters later) and Apex monsters that look different and appear to be stronger than the monsters normal.  A game focused on Capcom's experience
At its core, the battle system itself looks very close to the previous entries in the series, and I mean that in the best possible way. Here too, Wirebugs are the biggest game changer, allowing for extra mobility and last-minute dodges. Heavier weapons that take longer to spin, especially seem easier to maneuver, thanks to increased mobility. Silkbind Attacks are great special attacks that give each type of weapon an additional layer of personality.
A succession of Silkbind Attacks can take monsters to a mountable state called Wyvern Riding, another new Rise feature. It's cool how a new system connects directly to the next, although a monster can also be put into a mountable state through an endemic life called a puppet spider (which allows you to fire strings that restrict it) or because it has two monsters attacking each other. I love how during Wyvern Riding you never feel completely in control. The monster's animations show how it is trying to resist, and it can be difficult to go in precisely the direction you want. You can almost feel how the hunter is pulling the Silkbind's strings at full strength.
From a gameplay point of view, Wyvern Riding is quite simple, with a weak and strong attack, the ability to evade attacks and the option of throwing the monster on the walls so that it is damaged. The Mounted Punisher – a special attack unique to each monster – can be triggered if you manage to fill the Wyvern Riding bar within the time limit.
What makes Wyvern Riding interesting is the strategic layer it adds to hunting. When riding a monster, simply throwing it against a wall to deal great damage is an option, but you can also use it to bring a second monster into a mountable state and mount that monster to attack its original target. Common open-world solutions, like luring one monster to another and watching them fight until one becomes mountable, create cool emerging situations, in addition to the game's already robust main action.
Most types of weapons have been slightly adjusted, but look almost the same as before, with the Hunting Horn being the obvious exception. With each attack corresponding to a different note, several melodies allow buffs of statistics, but in previous games the player was forced to memorize them, which made the Hunting Horn an interesting but intimidating support weapon. Although the main philosophy behind the horn did not change in Rise, the melodies became simpler and the note combos displayed on the screen became much more useful.
This is just another example of how Rise simplifies the experience, keeping the core intact. With all these tweaks in one game, my impression is that Rise looks more like an action game than any other Monster Hunter title. This does not mean that the layered RPG elements in the series are not yet a big part of the experience, but it does seem that there is more freedom as you want to get involved with them.
I can understand that for some fans, this new balance may seem a little worrying – the reduced amount of materials needed to update weapons and armor and the removal of hot drinks (an item previously needed in cold areas) are some of the changes most controversial for the Hunter fan base monster. Personally, I'm a little sad to see that the Scoutflies and the monster tracks that World introduced are gone. However, in the end, I am confident about the direction that Ichinose and his team are taking: a game that prioritizes pleasant action above all. After all, action is Capcom's specialty, and Rise may be the purest action game in the Monster Hunter series.
Monster Hunter Rise will be released on Nintendo Switch on March 26th. For more details on Monster Hunter Rise on this month's IGN First, be sure to check out our gameplay video Somnacanth Quest a detailed interview with director Yasunori Ichinose and a gallery showing ] how their monsters were inspired by Japanese folklore .