Capcom has established Monster Hunter as a boss-fight-oriented action-RPG series that pits you against behemoth beasts. Each series entry builds upon the last, and considering Monster Hunter: World’s success, it’s no surprise that the upcoming Monster Hunter Rise uses World as its template. There’s more to Rise than what meets the eye; the game contains fascinating systems that greatly improve the combat, as well as clever streamlining that trims a lot of the excess fat handed down from older Monster Hunter games. The end result is a $59.99, Nintendo Switch-exclusive Monster Hunter title that expands your combat options without overcomplicating the controls.
Monster Hunter Rise’s most noticeable and impactful change involves Wirebugs. These handy insects expel a supernaturally strong silk when tossed, letting you swing from the thread like Spider-Man, propel yourself forward across great distances, or pull yourself to greater heights. Rise has a fantastic amount of verticality compared to previous Monster Hunter games, and the Wirebugs let you climb, wall run, and parkour over mountainous landmarks.
Monster Hunter: World and its Iceborne expansion, respectively, but with greatly expanded functionality. The series always contained many weapons types and play styles, but all too often your movement speed was tied to your weapon. Not any more.
With Wirebugs, you can dash, jump, and vault to your hearts content, as they give every class a degree of mobility that is easily on par with the Insect Glaive, the jump-heavy weapon type introduced in Monster Hunter 4. This opens impressive offensive options. Now, you can perform leaping attacks with chunky weapons, such as the Hammer or Greatsword, at virtually any time, without the need to jump down from a ledge or slope. Better still, you don’t need to sheathe your weapon to utilize Wirebug abilities as you did the Clutch Claw, which is a significant improvement that makes the mechanics radically more accessible.
In addition to mobility, every Rise weapon incorporates Wirebugs into their attack repertoire. These new skills, called Silkbind Attacks, are unique abilities for each weapon type that accentuates what that weapon can do. For example, one of the Charge Blade’s Silkbind skills reinforces the shield’s defense by tethering it to the ground, giving you an easy, on-the-fly guard point to deflect attacks. If this Silk-bound shield successfully blocks an attack, the weapon’s phials are instantly recharged, giving you immediate access to one of your most powerful attacks.
Monster Hunter Rise is shaping up to be a fantastic series addition that combines Monster Hunter: Worlds’ streamlined elements with Monster Hunter Generations’ expansive ability system. I have a few minor nitpicks: I dislike the overly flashy hit effects that can obscure your vision, especially in the multiplayer mode with several players attacking at once. In addition, holding the R button to move your monster during Wyvern Riding is needlessly clunky. Nonetheless, Rise contains excellent improvements and changes to the Monster Hunter formula, mechanical overhauls that make the game one of March 2021’s most anticipated titles.