Monster Hunter: Rise Quick View

So the Switch came in on time, awesome. Kinda bummed that we need to keep buying external storage for every gizmo out there though! 32gb of internal storage is bonkers for a device meant to be mobile. I found a decent deal on a 512gb card though, so that’s done. Initial setup was fairly easy, at least the physical parts. Nintendo online, or account management, still feels like it hasn’t left the early ’00s. The e-shop is just a horrible experience – Nintendo is leaving millions of dollars on the floor here by not investing in better UX. It’s truly baffling that a cell phone from 2015 does a better job.

The Switch itself though, that’s clearly gone through some ergo work. It feels really well balanced, it has a durable feel, it’s responsive, the screen is clear and bright. Really well done.

MH:R

I know I can take screenshots, just getting them off the damn thing is going to be a fun run.

Rise is a strange game. I did play a small amount of prior MH games before World, I’m aware as to how meticulous and grindy they felt. There was a LOT of busy work and complex systems. World streamlined it all into an absolutely beautiful package and remains Capcom’s highest selling game of all time. If you played World to any degree, you would not call it simple. There are dozens of integrated systems, a very thorough combat mechanic, and a world that feels like an actual world.

Rise has the unenviable task of following up on near perfection. And somehow, with half the processing power, manages to get a lot right. I’m only a few hours in, so really just scratching the surface of what’s actually here, so take a cup of salt with this.

I have only the barest of experience with the Switch, so comparisons to other games is a challenge. I can say that it’s ultra smooth, the load times are great (should be!), there’s minimal clipping, and the creature designs still stand out. It just looks good. I realize it’s not yet taxing, there’s no big bodies of water, and I’ve seen only minor fire/ice effects. Perhaps later on I’ll see things that cause some slowdown. (Compared to World, even with multiple massive monsters on screen, I never really saw dips.)

Combat is still really tight and responsive. Most weapons work the same way as they did in World, with the same muscle memory helping. Each weapon has a couple new optional twists. Well, the Hunting Horn is an exception – it feels like it was rebuilt. It is much more forgiving, and allows for offensive single player content. World HH mains were mostly support roles. The game defaults to the long sword, which I guess will keep it as the #1 weapon again. Yet..

Rise focuses on the vertical aspect of the game, and each weapon now has the ability to attack with relative ease from the sky. It is hard to describe what adding a new dimension to combat really has as impact. World felt like a chess match, with relatively large spaces and a face to face combat model. Rise… this thing is all over the place. Monsters feel more aggressive, and in turn, you need to have a much better understanding of controls to find success. And learning the Switch controls at the same time as learning a new game, well it doesn’t always work. I’m learning though!

The home base portion is both smaller than world, and has more to do. Just feels like a better use of space. Canteen is still there, quests, smith, palico (and palamute dogs) to help out, missions for pets, argosy, and the list just goes on. The customization of characters is more fullsome here, both in terms of YOU and the variety of gear loadouts.

The zones themselves are rather well designed, though I’ve yet to discover a 2nd camp. Movement is easy enough with the Wirebugs (more in a future post), and there’s a LOT of vertical space to travel. The whole ‘find bugs for mission-specific buffs’ is a little iffy right now, truth be told. I really does put you in the space of optimizing a run to a monster, rather than just making it go as fast as possible with a canteen and food buffs.

I will say I had gladly forgotten about the 50m timers on missions. Dauntless had converted me to the 5-15m duration, and I’m not exactly looking forward to spending an hour in a fight again. At least the Switch has a super mega awesome pause feature.

So far, I’m rather enjoying myself. Monster Hunter has a certain polish and quality that just doesn’t exist in other AAA games. That trend certainly appears to continue here.

Now to try out a few more weapons!

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