Monster Hunter Rise Shines in Gameplay but Struggles Online
Monster Hunter Rise surpasses its predecessors in almost every way, but it could be tarnished by a troubling online experience.
Outside of the characters and world introduced in Monster Hunter World, Monster Hunter Rise is an improved sequel to it in almost every way. For a Nintendo Switch exclusive, it is one of the more stunning titles thanks to the use of Capcom’s RE Engine, along with bringing new features and abilities on top of elements that players already know from the franchise’s previous entry.
After spending a few hours with the new demo that released yesterday, Monster Hunter Rise has what it needs to be a great win for Nintendo and the Switch platform. However, there may be one key factor that could stop players from staying longer than intended.
Monster Hunter World seemingly brought a significant evolution for the franchise, and while Rise doesn’t exactly evolve the franchise, it does build on World’s —what felt like near-perfect— gameplay experience for the better. Introducing the newest companion to the series, the Palamute is a large canine looking mount that will fight monsters alongside you as well as letting you ride across the environments you traverse.
One of the few criticisms I had in Monster Hunter World was how long it took to get from point A to point B. However, in Monster Hunter Rise, the Palamute remedies this by being able to navigate the world through running, drifting, dashing, and climbing walls. But not only is there a new companion to being a hunting partner, when playing solo a Palico pal —introduced in Monster Hunter World— will become a part of your team as well. In multiplayer, however, there is an option to choose from either one on who will journey with you.
Another new addition to traversal is the Wirebug. This new tool will allow you to zip forward or upward to either give you a boost in movement or to gain your position above your kill. To make use of this you’ll need to ensure you have enough Wirebug charge available, and the charge replenishes fairly quickly over time. The type of moves you perform varies depending on whether your weapon is drawn or sheathed.
Arguably the coolest introduction though is Wyvern riding. When encountering certain monsters in the wild, if they meet the requirements you’re able to mount them and use them as a deadly weapon against other creatures. Alternatively, you can violently launch them against a wall and deal some massive damage to their HP. With the numerous weapons, features, and abilities that are introduced through Monster Hunter Rise, the franchise has more variety than ever before.
Despite all of the great quality of life improvements that Monster Hunter Rise seems to be bringing, I’m worried about what the experience is going to be like online. After doing a few hunts with friends, the experience was worrisome, to say the least. I was consistently lagging to the point where I wasn’t much help to my teammates. Granted it could have been because I was playing via Wi-Fi instead of a direct ethernet connection, but Nintendo is notorious for having a terrible online play.
With a game like Monster Hunter Rise, if that is also the case for it come launch, I’m not sure how many players will stick around for the long run. Yes, you can play solo, but there is an extra layer of fun that comes when playing with friends. If Rise follows the same suit as Monster Hunter World, it will have at the very least a two-year life span of updates, events, and potential expansions.
Even though I love Monster Hunter, I don’t think I would come back later down the road if the online experience feels the same as it feels right now. I know that for many that play the series, they are ok with riding solo, but for me, similarly to World, it was my friends who kept me going.
Monster Hunter is one of those franchises where I forget how much I enjoy playing through the games until I’m actually doing so. I was planning on getting this at launch, and yet I didn’t particularly feel much excitement for it. But now, following my experience with the limited-timed demo, I can’t wait for it and hope that my potential reservations do not end up becoming a reality when the game launches in March of this year.