Rise brings a new mode to the gameplay, and I’m still on the fence for it. Rampage is pretty much a different take on tower defence, what with installations, waves of enemies, and a large final boss at the end.
The mechanics are pretty straightforward. You have a big gate on one end, and you need to protect it from a pile of baddies. As each battle progresses, and you complete sidequests in that battle, you gain levels allowing to use better defensive structures. You get a layout, plenty of locations to build, and auto or manual structures. Monsters come in 4 types – gate crashers, melee, ranged, and then the apex bad guy. You can use ballista, canons, wyvernfire, bombs, and town NPCs as potential defences, each with their own strengths. Some require a whole lot more setup (wyvernfire is a laser tripwire, so positioning and aiming is key).
The thought process here is that you prioritize targets in order to protect the final gate, picking off enemies with the right tools, which will allow the final monster to show. I will say that it’s hard to fail the first part, if you’re paying attention to what’s going on. At least, at the initial levels.
The high rank Rampages though, that’s really a different bit. Quite a few have 3 waves, and the monsters within are quite a bit more difficult than the lower level ones. There’s a big difference in challenge between an Azuregos and a Mizutsune. Thankfully you’re given access to powerful tools, like the Dragonator, which deal tremendous damage to those bosses, if you can get them lined up.
Apex monsters, the final boss, are the equivalent of triple enraged monsters. Where a normal monster could take 1/4 of your HP with a hit, odds are an Apex will deal 80-90% per hit. tldr; you’re going to die if you go toe to toe and are not paying attention. Thankfully, there are no death limits… which gets me to the larger point with this mode.
Multiplayer mode adds an HP multiplier to enemies to account for more players. This is offset by a standard 3 death limit across all players. Any 3 deaths and the mission fails. Rampage has no such penalty.
Manual defences allow for aiming, and since there are a dozen or so stations that can be used (replacing them before breaking saves a good 30s cooldown), so there’s a very high incentive to manually oversee everything. Clearly, more people make this process a LOT easier. Which effectively makes this mode designed for online play.
The rest of the game has a small weight towards multiplayer being better than solo. The max death count and collision detection make it so that you need to coordinate attacks for success. The gains are generally in terms of time spent, where battles are typically half the duration, less so in terms of overall success. Rampage though… I don’t think it’s possible to fail if you’re in multiplayer, while it’s certainly possible in solo mode.
All of my issues with Rampage mode are nitpicky items. It has a half dozen mandatory missions throughout the campaign, and the rewards within are generally within their own progress tree. It’s linked to the main game, but clearly quite optional. It’s also quite well balanced, and shows the overall design quality that Monster Hunter is known for. The environment has always been a key factor in taking town monsters, so it’s interesting to see this mode for all-in on the concept.
I personally find less enjoyment here, because you’re not really fighting the monsters, things are fighting them for you. It’s certainly an interesting mode… maybe it will grow on me.