Monster Hunter Rise - Demo Impressions

Platforms: Nintendo Switch
Monster Hunter Rise - Demo Impressions

As a massive Monster Hunter fan, you can imagine my elation when not only a new trailer for Monster Hunter Rise launched this week showing various new features, but a playable demo dropped as well. There must have been a huge demand for the demo too as the EShop seemed to buckle under the pressure of all the avid hunters trying to download it.

Monster Hunter Rise is the next instalment in the 'portable' Monster Hunter series and not really a follow on from Monster Hunter World but Monster Hunter Generations Ultimate. After a lot of quests over the weekend, I can say that some of the quality of life improvements from Monster Hunter World have made their way over the portable line of titles and it is magnificent.

Yep, the bubble dragon Mizutsune is back.

I have played thousands of hours of Monster Hunter and always preferred the portable titles. Don't get me wrong, I loved Monster Hunter World but there is something amazing about hunting in bed, when you are out and about or whenever you have a few free minutes. In this demo, you have two main quests which can be played solo or co-op, both locally and online. There are also two training quests that take you over the basics and the new wyvern riding mechanics.

This will not be a deep dive by any means but I just wanted to give my thoughts on what is on offer. Firstly, the main new additions. The Wirebug is the main new system. This system lets you use a small bug to traverse to never before seen heights, add new weapon moves to your combos and even bind down a monster to ride it. While I initially thought this looked a bit 'gimmicky' I have really grown to love the new system.

I'm flying!

The Wirebug gives the new maps in Monster Hunter Rise a much more vertical feel. You can climb very high, soar through the air and reach areas previously not reachable in a Monster Hunter game. Each weapon style, which is all 14 types, have 2 Silkbind attacks which use said Wirebugs to great effect. Whether it be to close distance to the monster fast, evade out of the way or cause massive damage, Monster Hunter Rise has by far the most aerial and fast-paced combat in the series to date.

Another one of my favourite features is that now you can choose to take either a dog or cat on your quests, it has always been cats previously, which I did not mind but I am a dog person at heart. It is nice to be able to take a pooch out and ride it around the map, and having it be able to fight the monster with you is a joy. What a good doggo! All four players can now take their companion on the quest too, instead of only being able to if you are in a quest with fewer people like before. It is all impressive so far.

Good doggo!

Along with these new attacks, each weapon has been tuned and changed in various ways. Take the hunting horn, for example. You no longer have to play your horn to give your team vital buffs, they now happen automatically as your bashing monsters over the head. This one change alone, in my opinion, elevates the hunting horn up the pecking order of weapons and I loved using it in the demo. It is now a much more smooth offensive experience and so much more fun. It goes for all the weapons too, they all feel familiar yet slightly new, which is great and it certainly makes the game feel fresh.

We also have some Monster Hunter quality of life changes along for the ride, for the first time on a portable console we have seamless areas, no more loading screens at all. We have unlimited whetstones, pickaxes and no longer have to paintball monsters to track them. Gone is the tracking system from Monster Hunter World and it is replaced, at least in the demo, with a set of arrows showing the way to your prey. I suspect it will not be this easy in the full game but we will see. It is certainly nice to see some of the console improvements be added to the handheld line of titles.

I'm riding a monster, awesome.

On to the wyvern riding then, in more recent titles we have had monster mounting and I knew it would not be long until we had full wyvern riding and here we are. Using your Silkbug attacks you can ride wyverns and use them to fight each other, utilizing their attacks and hopefully, if you do enough damage, use a powerful finisher to whittle down your enemies health. It is certainly a fun system and I cannot wait to see what people do online with multiple monster quests. Fun times are definitely ahead!

Overall my thoughts are overwhelmingly good. I may be a bit biased due to being a massive Monster Hunter fan but what we have here is very impressive. We have what I love about the portable games with the quality of life improvements from Monster Hunter World, throw in Wirebugs, monster riding, new monsters, a massive amount of helpful endemic life, tweaked weapons and dogs into the mix and I think we are on to a winner. Roll on 26th March. I cannot wait!

Oh, another little thing, the demo is restricted to 30 quests but you can just delete your save data to play more. Happy hunting, people!

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