When I reviewed Monster Hunter Generations Ultimate for the Switch back in 2018, I loved it, but stated that it felt a little dated by that point because of the loading screens between sectors. Especially if you were coming from World, MHGU felt sluggish by comparison.
It was still a fantastic MonHun portable experience, though, and it looked good, but with the release of last week’s Monster Hunter Rise, it feels like the series has finally reached its full potential on Nintendo’s newest console.
My first thought when I booted up Monster Hunter Rise on Switch was that it looked surprisingly gorgeous. Built with Capcom’s impressive proprietary RE Engine, Rise is graphically and aesthetically pleasing to the eye. The environments aren’t as detailed as what you might be used to in World, of course, but it’s still easily one of the prettiest games you can get on the Switch right now.
The cutscenes and animations are fluid, the character models look good, and most importantly, everything feels really freaking smooth.
Gone are the archaic sector load screens from MHGU, Monster Hunter Rise features seamless worlds that you can explore freely. The levels here are much smaller than the vast ones in World, but that makes it perfect for a compact experience.
Couple the smaller levels with the newly introduced wirebugs and Palamutes, which offer more traversal options, and you can zip across the environment very quickly. The Monster Hunter games have never exactly been known for the speediness of the player characters, so Rise surprised me in that regard, but it’s a pleasant one nonetheless.
That’s not to say that the iconic clunkiness of the series has been completely done away with; weapons still feel incredibly weighty when you’re swinging them around, and you still need to be mindful of when and how you attack.
The difference is that Rise makes it easier for you to recover from your mistakes; get hit by a monster, and you can recover quickly by using the wirebug. You can use it zip around and away from a monster, giving you time to assess the situation.
Rise is definitely one of the easiest Monster Hunter games I’ve played, and while that might be off-putting to some, I enjoy the fact that I can quickly knock out a couple of easy hunts and then put the Switch away to do something else, and come back later.
Not all hunts have to be 30 to 40 minute-long affairs, and Rise’s structure fits the handheld nature of the Switch perfectly.