Monster Hunter Rise review: Rises to meet my expectations on Switch

Capcom /

Title: Monster Hunter Rise
Developer: Capcom
Publishers: Capcom
Platforms: Nintendo Switch (reviewed)
Release Date: March 26, 2021

When I was told there was going to be another Monster Hunter game for the Nintendo Switch, it didn’t really blip on my radar. This was despite being a big Monster Hunter fan.

The previous Switch release, Monster Hunter Generations Ultimate was, at least to me, not that fun. I’ve always been on-again, off-again with Monster Hunter but Monster Hunter World proved that Capcom could make these games a lot more fun. Generations Ultimate felt like a massive leap backward.

Monster Hunter Rise blows my mind at how well this game works on the Nintendo Switch. While it drained my battery at a ridiculous clip in handheld mode, the game is stunning. The world is gorgeous and filled with detail and the realms where you fight the monster, unlike Generations Ultimate — which was broken up into small sectors and walled by loading screens — is a massive singular area where you can get from north to south with no loading (unless you fast travel).

The world is built with a lot more verticality now that Monster Hunter has added something I’ve always wanted: jumping. It’s still not regular jumping, but now with the new wirebug, you can fire out a thread that you can use to launch yourself up into the air in whatever direction you want. There are even areas in the stages above you that you can only access quickly with this ability and I love it. Mobility has never been Monster Hunter‘s strong suit and this is a massive leap in the right direction for me.

Monster Hunter Rise
Capcom /

The wirebug also comes in handy for attacks. Not only can it lead to more spectacular dodges, but you can work it into your attacks. For example, I’ve always mained the hammer (yes, I’m one of those). Now I can shoot the wirebug up in the air with my hammer out, shoot up in the air hitting my target like an uppercut and then come spinning downward with enough force to get my hammer stuck in the ground for a moment.

When you do more of these wirebug-assisted attacks it starts to tangle the monster in it, slowing it down and eventually allowing you to mount it. Every large monster in the game can be mounted with rare exception. And while they don’t handle well at all (they’re very upset that you’re up there), driving the beast into a different monster and attacking it leads to a very fun kaiju fight.

Another welcomed change are the aesthetics. The caveman aesthetic of bones and animal skins everywhere are gone.  Monster Hunter Rise throws all that out the window and gives us something more likened to feudal Japan. Everything from the town to the characters has a very Japanese feel, with most of the armor you build looking more like gorgeous samurai armor sets. The game even starts you off with the long sword instead of the great sword or sword and shield-like past games.

Monster Hunter Rise
Capcom /

As you make your character you’ll also discover a lot of hairstyles that wouldn’t look bizarre in a samurai tale.

You don’t just get to customize your character in this, however. Monster Hunter Rise gives you a full-on menagerie of animal helpers who fight along with you. The always popular Palicos return and just like in Monster Hunter World, can you fully customize them down to a pattern, color, and shape. You can even purchase gorgeous DLC that turns it into a nine-tail fox, though that lacks any sort of customization so my dreams of having an Alolan Nine-tails following me around failed.

In addition to the Palico though, a new animal buddy is introduced: the Palamute. The Palamute is a massive dog that you also get to customize. I made mine look like my real-life American Eskimo/Husky mix with two different colored eyes; but,you can design it in so many different ways. This large, good boy not only fights alongside you, weapon in mouth, but you can also ride on it at high speeds through the game world without draining stamina. It’s amazing for exploring the game areas and I love it. You can also attack, perform certain actions (like sharpening your weapon), and scavenge for items while riding.

Combine all this with the fact that you can all get matching armor and interact with each other and you get full-on squad mode. Here’s my team celebrating after an early victory.

If it’s not enough, you also get a pet owl. This can also be customized, although the owl doesn’t really do much. The Cohoot is like Hedwig in Harry Potter, showing up mostly to drop off letters and just look cool. But you can also have it land on your hand and pet and feed it. Even my owl, who is customized to look like a clockwork and metal wonder, gets really happy when fed to the point of cuddling my, assuredly splinter-riddled face.

The game isn’t without problems though. While Monster Hunter Rise is absolutely a masterpiece and the monsters look astounding, the game is plagued with traditional Capcom story faults. The women usually exist as servants and bland NPCs, and the people in leadership are so bizarrely alien that it makes me wonder if anyone at Capcom has actually met people outside their facility.

For example, here’s the town leader and your boss, fresh from graduation from Final Fantasy X’s Tidus School for Natural Laughter.


But beyond the story faults, the game is amazing. The multiplayer works just like in World and so far I’ve yet to run into anything that slowed me down from having fun. If you liked Monster Hunter World and were afraid that the Switch couldn’t cut it, this game cuts it like a charge axe.

Monster Hunter Rise. 8.5. Monster Hunter Rise is everything that made Monster Hunter World stand above the other series’ games with additions of fun new features that add to the gameplay. While Capcom still struggles with issues of storytelling and gender roles, the gameplay itself more than distracts from the weird hub world. With graphics I didn’t think the Switch could maintain and remarkably solid controls, Monster Hunter Rise is an absolute must for fans of the series or just people looking for a fun action-adventure for their Nintendo Switch.. Capcom.

A copy of this game was provided to App Trigger for the purpose of this review. All scores are ranked out of 10, with .5 increments. Click here to learn more about our Review Policy.