I haven’t exactly been the longest fan of the series, having been one of many people who played a demo of a previous game and struggled to get the hook of it. With 4 Ultimate and the lure of a second stick, the demo of that game finally got its hook into me, and so it was I upgraded to a New 3DS and bought 4 Ultimate with it.
That game is what got me into the series, but then arrived Generations Ultimate on the Switch. I could forgive some issues with the 3DS game, but a 3DS game on the Switch (which Gens Ultimate technically was) made it harder to overlook such issues. Four years from when the Switch launched, a truly new Monster Hunter has arrived – building on from what World – the powerhouse console game – delivered.
I’d played the demo, but too much Hyrule Warriors had made me lose the Hunter edge. The commitment to any move you made. As such, I was failing very easily (and while live), but with time I relearnt what it was to be a hunter, and so when the full game released and I was back on the GRcade Twitch channel for a first play, it went a lot better. Too bad I never got much chance to show that, but I’ll be returning this Friday for a second play of it live, having now progressed to three star quests.
There’s a lot to enjoy here, if you are the sort of person who enjoys a challenging fight, but that’s not all there is to face off against, with smaller monsters and even collection missions also being on the roster. Those quests are sorted by a ranking system, and this is an easier system than previous games. Before, the key quests would not be noted as such, making it harder to know which you needed to complete to move up a rank.
With Rise, all key quests appear on top of the list and are marked as such, so if you are so inclined, you can just complete those quests and move to the next rank. That applies for both the village quests and the hub quests – which are the online missions capable of being completed either solo (which would be hard but possible) or with a team of hunters.
Expeditions are now separate from the quest ranking system, and these have been given a bit of an overhaul in that large monsters will now appear within the maps, along with the fact you no longer have any fail conditions while within them. No time limit and no failing the quest after fainting three times. This is a very welcome change, as along with the fact you can now use a detailed map to see where all the material collection points are (along with filtering down to a specific type), it makes the expeditions a lot easier to use as a quick material hoarding session.
The maps are no longer sectioned off into areas with a load screen between them, making for a much free-flowing gameplay experience. That, and the additional things such as the new wirebug ability hunters have. Should a hunter get knocked down, the wirebug allows them to easily get back up and into the fight. But that wirebug is useful for so much more, such as allowing walls to be scaled faster, a new way to dodge out of the way of attacks, and even launching yourself into monsters for a stronger attack.
What also helps is the new palamute buddy. Before, you had the help of palicoes – cat creatures who could attack and support. Now, the palamute joins the team to offer a greater range of attacks and support. They’re rideable, getting you around the map faster. But by riding them, you can use certain items on the move. Whetstones are usually risky to employ, as you’ll be crouched in one position for critical seconds which could allow monsters to attack. On a palamute, however, you can be quickly heading away from danger while using one to then turn around to attack once your weapon’s sharpness is at maximum again.
Despite the demos still being difficult to get to grips with for newcomers, I’d wager this is the most user-friendly Monster Hunter to date, as there’s plenty of other quality of life changes that make the experience a lot easier to get to grips with. Auto-crafting of materials you find will keep you stocked up on potions, antidotes other helpful items when you pick up the materials needed in the field. It can be set for any craftable item, so if you’d rather turn it off, it can be done.
Auto-sheathing of weapons is also a thing, which will put your weapon away after the game determines there’s no threat to you. The thing is, you kind of want control of when you do that sort of thing yourself, so get in the options and turn it off as soon as. The normal sheathe button of Y will do the job easy enough for when you decide to escape the danger, but there’s now also the use of the sprint button to perform the action as well. Two actions in one. How lovely. Plus, using the sprint button stops accidental item usage, so there’s good in it.
There’s a lot to love about getting stuck into the action of a hunt, and knowing your weapon is the key. Expeditions are great for doing so, as already mentioned, since there’s no longer any fail conditions and your whetstone supply is now endless (and helpfully on the north position of the quick select wheel). For me, I chose the weapon I’ve used throughout the series – the dual blades. Speed is key for me, and the demon mode they have improves that further – along with boosting the power of attacks.
Each has their advantages for those who know how to manage them. There’s weapons for all types of player, such as bowguns for ranged attacks or the longsword that may be slow but packs a punch. If you are wanting to get into the series, don’t bother with the demo. Get the full game and get into the expeditions, trying out each weapon to see which fits for you. Then, take a look at the weapon tree for your chosen weapon at the smithy and track what you need to upgrade that weapon.
Monster Hunter is a game about slowly working up to be the best, which the demos never focus on. They put you into a fight with the most basic gear against monsters at a higher ranking than you can tackle. Yes, even the easy quest. That is one recommendation I can give, and the other is that you should absolutely give this game a chance if you enjoy any sort of action game. Enjoy the thrill of the hunt, and working to be the best hunter you can.