Monster Hunter’s measure of progress is typically related to the weapon upgrade tree. There are 8 tiers of each weapon, and more weapon options than there are monsters. As you complete more quests, and kill more monsters, the tree ‘fog’ lifts and you can see what crafting material requirements are needed to make something. When you’ve unlocked the entire tree, then you’re in end-game.
I’m currently at rank 7, having taken down Magnamalo from the village, which rolls the first set of credits, giving access to 6 star quests. The village part is important, as MH:R actually has two modes. The Village quests are story related and unlock village items. Things like better food. The Hub is the regular mode and required to progress in order to improve your hunter rank and access tougher monsters (e.g. High Rank). I’ve yet to complete a single Hub quest…
I know I said 2 modes, but there are actually a few more. Arena quests are closed circuit fights against specific monsters, with specific gear loadouts. Better rewards if you clear faster. Training quests are just basic intro bits to the mechanics. There are plenty of requests/side quests to collect/kill things to have village upgrades (get Submarines!!). And finally, there are Rampage quests, which are a sort of tower defense mode. I’ll get into that in another post, it gets complex.
I tend to think of the Switch as an easy access console. I think that’s more because their first party games are more family oriented as compared to Sony/MS (God of War, Last of Us, Gears of War). Rise is not a first party game, and I would really struggle to call it accessible. MH: World was revolutionary in terms of making the series have global appeal, and Rise takes that foundation and then doubles down on the vertical aspect of combat. The World barrier of Anjanath shows up much earlier here. The map feels more claustrophobic than World, and that can cause some camera issues if you’re near a wall.
Put simply, you need to learn real quick about monster tells and how to tactically attack. A button mash approach is going to get you killed faster here than World. Now for the good news! Magnamalo is twice as easy as Nergigante was – there’s no insta-kill dive bomb attack here.
This is the part that really ups the complexity. Wirebugs allow you to swing across the map, recover quickly from knock back and come with 2 specific attacks per weapon. A Charge Blade has a quick dash and a counter, both useful but not crazy essential. Longsword also has a counter, but the Helmsplitter is the real big show here. Knowing when and how to use them makes a huge difference! Heck, some monsters have area attacks that can be completely negated by taking a Wirebug to the sky and just hanging there. Which leads to the next interesting bit…
With enough Wirebug damage, a monster enters a rideable state. Or, if two monsters fight each other, this will also trigger. Attack once and jump on board.
If you’re in a monster duel, then you can use light/heavy attacks on the other monster, which deals some decent damage and has a high chance at drops. If you’re just 1v1, then you can force them into the wall a few times for some damage and a quick stun. The cooldown for riding is about 10 minutes or so, and really makes a huge difference in terms of drops rather than damage. So you’re highly incentivized to use the Wirebug as much as possible.
This is so much more complex than World… yet appears simple. You start off with a Palico (cat) and Palamute (dog) which accompany you on fights. In the basic sense, Palicos are very similar to World in terms of providing support. Palamutes are more combat focused, and simply amazing in terms of traversing the map. You can hire any two, so if you want two Palamutes, go nuts. Where is gets more complex is in how these buddies actually work.
Both have passive skills that are randomly selected and can be slotted. Things like Health Up or Knockout King. They only impact the buddy, so optimization here is more about ensuring they survive than much else.
Palamute attack skills are based on gear selection – similar to Palicos in World. Things like threat generation, or passive healing, or defense. This means that unless you’re super min-maxing, the starter Palamute is more than enough to get you through the entire game.
Palicos are different. They come with active skills that are a combination of role and RNG. The level 1 and 20 skills are locked to their role – healer, gathering, warrior and so on. Learners will want Healer, farmers will want Gatherer, and group play is likely to want Assist for some extra buffs. The random skills at 5, 10, and 15 can make a difference. Any level 5 Palico can access a healing bubbles skill, for example. So there’s some optimization to be had here.
How? Well, you can scout buddies based on a subset of items – looks and role. If I want a brown tabby Gatherer, I can narrow down my options from a pool, which resets after every battle. From that list, you can work through the RNG to find your optimal Palico.
You’ll use the Palicos and Palamutes in a mercenary mission mode (like in World) and submarines (similar to the garden from World). You can also train your buddies in a dojo, so that you don’t have to bring an underleveled one with you in battle.
Moving on Up
It took me this long to figure out how the basics work, and to unlock the foundational items. It feels like I’m just dipping my toe here and I have a LOT of time already in-game. I haven’t even looked at the multi-player component yet given the ability to pause is super useful!
I’m still trying to find the right Palico build, and will work on the Hub quest lines next. I’m really happy that I put so much time to learn the game in World, because that’s a major step of progress that Rise takes for granted. I really didn’t think we could have more systems in a MH game, but Rise somehow manages to deliver on this, and does so very well. And I can only assume as more and more content (monsters) are added, that this will eclipse World in terms of amazing gameplay and content. Absolutely worth the purchase.