Monster Hunter has always been a difficult series to pick up and play. It has a simple premise of fighting monsters to upgrade your gear, but it also has a lot of intricate mechanics.
Battles can’t simply be walked into and monsters can’t just be strong-armed. Each fight will have to be carefully planned and each facility available will have to be utilized.
Each new title has streamlined the experience, making it more accessible, but it still has a barrier of entry due to how the game tries to teach all of said mechanics, and that barrier is still much too high. The game throws way too much information at you from the start, expecting you to learn and retain all the while.
I’ve played Monster Hunter World for over 250 hours, and I still don’t understand everything the game has to offer. When I learn a more advanced mechanic in the game, it’s usually because a friend explains it to me, not the game.
I have trouble retaining info just by reading it. It’s much easier if someone walks me through it carefully, and I know other people are the same.
Monster Hunter Rise has this exact problem. It doesn’t feel like you’re using all the tools being presented because the information is just thrown at the players and it turns into a big jumble of word salad.
There is no time to register everything there is to read and implement it into gameplay. There is no gameplay that shows, instead of telling either. Instead, there will be giant walls of text telling you why the feature is essential and how to use it.
Not everyone learns how to do something just by reading about it. And anyone who has played Monster Hunter is going to know that in the heat of battle, there’s no time to think about the three-page tutorial that was intended to be read ten minutes ago; instead, the hulking monster running towards the player is what any focus will be diverted to.
Monster Hunter Rise tries to teach all these things at once, on top of learning the primary gameplay loop of killing monsters and how to use whatever weapon the player chooses. When anyone plays a game for the first time, they want to get going and get to the meat and potatoes of gameplay.
Monster Hunter Rise instead opens with walls of text that describes everything from eating food, how to gather plants, and every minor gameplay feature it has to offer. If veteran players like myself are getting overwhelmed, then I’d be willing to bet that new players are as well.
New additions make gameplay more manageable and faster, like the wirebug, but that’s just another mechanic someone has to learn and master. And just because combat is a bit easier and gives more options to move around doesn’t mean Rise is necessarily newcomer-friendly.
I’m not trying to scare people off from trying Monster Hunter Rise because it’s incredible. Capcom just needs to better implement its tutorials and how it teaches the player the mechanics of the game.
Monster Hunter Rise throws relatively simple monsters at the player in the beginning. They should use this time to show and tell the players its mechanics. Mechanics like why gathering materials is so important, why a monster will have to be hunted repeatedly to get new weapons and armor, and how new additions like the wirebug works.
Once acclimated with the game, lots of time will be spent in the hub world of Monster Hunter Rise. The hub is where food can be eaten to give a player an edge in battle, buy items, craft new equipment, and do a host of other things, a lot of other things.
So much so that it can feel like the surface has barely been scratched when it comes to everything the hub has to offer. Lots of time will be spent here preparing to hunt monsters and optimizing equipment so that fights aren’t as difficult. It’s a shame that not all the facilities presented will be used because players don’t understand what they do.
Again, when first going to the hub, the game bombards the player with tutorial after tutorial, telling them what each person and facility does, but it never makes you actually use them.
Players may not even stay interested long enough to attach themselves to a long-winded game like Monster Hunter Rise and to learn all they have to. If someone is coming into this game without any previous experience, they could easily get overwhelmed by the walls of text trying to tell them how to play this new game.
Regardless of its barrier to entry, it is important to stress that Monster Hunter Rise is a phenomenal game. It is a title that is both fun to play alone and with friends, and features some new additions that have made it even more fun to play than the series previous installments.
It is just a shame that the game’s tutorial system is implemented so that it’s never shown how the gameplay works, it always just tells how the gameplay works, and it tells far too much at once. And a further shame that new players might be driven away because of it.