I received a copy of Monster Hunter Rise as an early birthday gift. The reviews for this one have been quite good, and I do find it interesting that this is a Switch console exclusive.
My history with the Monster Hunter series is limited. Back when I was heavily playing Xbox stuff, I got into Monster Hunter World and thought it was fantastic. Then sometime last year I went back and played Monster Hunter 3 on Wii U (and 3DS) and just couldn't get into it the same way. The obvious thing is that World (effectively, Monster Hunter 5) really sort of modernized and streamlined the game. Kind of. I mean, the Monster Hunter games are still really heavy and have mountains of menus to navigate and systems to understand. But World made a lot of efforts to make the series moderately approachable. The other thing about Monster Hunter 3 is that I hated the swimming sections. Thank goodness those didn't stick around.
Anyway, Monster Hunter Rise is the sixth mainline game, and it picks up where Monster Hunter World left off. Meaning, it's also streamlined - as best it can be for a Monster Hunter game. It also makes some interesting additions. For one thing, now you've got a dog that you can ride that can be really helpful not only for getting around quickly, but also for evasion during healing. The wirebug system is now used for gaining vertical mobility. This is interesting (and why the game is called 'Rise').
If you've never played a Monster Hunter game, you should know it's a super slow burn. Probably the first 30 minutes was character customization, really. Then there's tutorials to play through - helpful ones, luckily. Quests come in various flavors as well. There's the main quests of course, but then there's side quests and town quests, the latter of which tend to work as further tutorials and seem worth looking into.
In my first few hours, I attempted to play Rise solo. This was a pretty bad idea, and almost resulted in me thinking I wasn't into the game. I think I had forgotten that one of the things that made World click with me was the (random) teamwork aspect, whereas one of the things that made me bounce off of Monster Hunter 3 was that it felt so lonely and difficult to go alone.
Since switching over to playing the game with help requests turned on, it's made the experience way different, and way more fun. I've also gotten comfortable playing with a bow as my main weapon, at least for now. It just fits my desired play style. I think I've now knocked out three of the main quests, so I'm still really early in the game.
But Monster Hunter Rise is really good. But it's also not really a chill game. So I tend to have this thing now where I play a few quests and then log out because it can feel too demanding otherwise.
I've done some experimenting with weapons now, and it seems like I'm more of a light bow gun guy than a traditional bow guy. It's nice to not have to get stressed out managing stamina with your weapon. I'll say that much.
My only one complaint about this game - and it's not really about the game play - is that Rise seems to drop connections way more often than any other Switch game I've played. I very rarely got connection issues in hundreds of hours spread out among Overwatch, Splatoon 2 and Tetris 99. Yet, in Rise I've experienced several in just the past few days. There's nothing as frustrating as losing all of your teammates during a hunt.
But Monster Hunter is such a unique experience to me. On the surface, it's not that interesting of a game. Like, there's a very specific loop to it with very little variation. You basically go out, hunt one big monster, let it soak up your attacks for a long time, kill it, come back, upgrade your gear, and repeat. And yet... somehow, it's totally compelling. It sucks you in really good.
There's no denying that it's super satisfying to beat some behemoth. You're up against this gigantic beast that feels like an insurmountable obstacle. It fights back and hits hard. It tries to run away and hide. There are other, lesser creatures to worry about at times. Even the environment can work against you. But when you watch that monster fall, it does feel good.
Progress is slow in this game, but not glacial. Each upgrade to your armor and weapons is minor, but somehow feels major.
Right now, I've been sticking with a system of going back and forth between the single player and multiplayer quests. I've got 3-star quests open on the single player side, and 2-star quests in process on the multiplayer side. And I don't know what to say other than I'm having a pretty great time with Monster Hunter Rise.
Well, it took quite a few hours but I found something I don't like in Monster Hunter Rise: the rampage quests. Rampage is basically tower defense. I hated these in Monster Hunter World as well, and hoped that maybe they'd be forgotten in Rise. Nope.
These kinds of quests are tedious. They completely break the flow of the game. And even though it's a hub quest and I have help requests turned on, I've failed this one three or four times, and never had anyone join my game to give me a helping hand, which would have made it much easier to push through.
For now, I'm going to either take a break from Monster Hunter Rise, or just play more of the non-rampage quests and ignore this "urgent" request.