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Monster Hunter Rise Nintendo Switch Game Review

Stand Toe to Toe Against Massive Beasts.

Reviewed by on Apr 09, 2021
Rating: 5 Star Rating

Monster Hunter Rise is the latest in Capcoms mega-popular creature-hunting series where you and your friends go toe-to-toe with massive beasts! Is it the new favorite, or should players return to Monster Hunter World? Check out Kidzworld to find out!



Video games are often about putting you in the role of a powerful hero, but Monster Hunter goes a bit further by taking a step back and focusing on one kind of fantasy. In Monster Hunter, your goal is simple. Set out in search of a massive beast, fight it, and then harvest it for materials. You would think that this formula of rinse and repeat would get old, but as the games before it, Monster Hunter Rise once again proves to be one of the most enjoyable games on the Nintendo Switch. Even if you have never taken the plunge into one of these games, Rise is as easy a recommendation as it gets.

Squaring off against a massive monster.Squaring off against a massive monster.

A Village Under Siege

In Rise, you play as a created character who you can customize with a ton of different options right out of the gate. Your character might not say much, but they are full of personality in the game's cutscenes, town interactions, and battles. I was surprised just how fast I grew attached to my hero. Along with your created character are your trusty Palico and Palamute companions that you can spend ages customizing as well. Your group is tasked with defending the small Kamura Village from a horde of monsters that runs amok every fifty years. It is all hands on deck, and every hunter is ready and eager for the job. The story setup is simple enough but never gets in the way of the gameplay. Monster Hunter is all about the monster hunts and Rise gets you into the action quicker than ever. Before each big quest, you get a creative cutscene showing the beast in action, but it is clear most of the attention has gone toward making the gameplay shine brighter than ever. The biggest obstacle in your way when you begin is the many tutorial messages as you get to know the game's systems and the friendly NPC characters. You are going to need to pay attention to these, though, especially if you are a new player. It can be a tad overwhelming at first, but the game quickly becomes second nature after a few hunts. Once you get through the seemingly endless walls of text, the game blossoms.  

Peaceful Kamura Village.Peaceful Kamura Village.

A Party of Good Boys

In addition to your character, you can create and customize a catlike Palico and wolflike Palamute to aid you in your journey. The Palicos will be familiar to Monster Hunter fans, but the Palamutes are a brand new and tremendous addition to the formula. There are just enough customization options to make the animals feel like your own, and Palamutes are just as useful for getting around as they are to helping with combat. You can ride (and drift on) them! And it is awesome. I was attached to mine immediately, and their inclusion alone makes Rise feel better to play than Monster Hunter World. Having this band of furry companions around in battle and interacting in cutscenes creates a wholesome feel to both the game’s quiet and hectic moments. Watching your character give their Palamute love after a tough fight is nearly as much of a reward as the monster parts and resources you take home.

Your Palamute is your hunter's best friend.Your Palamute is your hunter's best friend.

A Vast Arsenal

Monster Hunter has always been as much about the equipment you take into fights as the beasts themselves. The wide collection of weapons to wield and armor sets to collect return, with each hugely changing how the game plays. Picking a favorite weapon will be the new players’ priority. Luckily, there is even a training area where you can try them all out if you are not sure which one to commit to. Each weapon feels like an entirely new game, with how they function being incredibly different from weapon to weapon. If you want to hang back and shoot at monsters from a distance, there are ranged tools like Bows and Bowguns. Want to get up close and hack and slash? Dual Blades are your friend. Feel like being a walking tank? The Charge Blade, Switch Axe, or Gunlance let you deal big damage while being protected behind a shield. If you were to try and master each type, the game could be played for an unbelievably long time, and stay different and exciting the whole way. But, I recommend just picking out a couple and mastering them. You get materials to upgrade and craft new weapons on your hunts, and it is best to upgrade and forge your favorites instead of trying to craft them all as you go.

Which weapon will you choose?Which weapon will you choose?

Armor sets are centered around specific monsters, requiring you to hunt a specific beast a bunch to get a full head-to-toe set. If there is a particular monster you like or one that you wish to proudly display that you bested, you can make armor out of its pieces. If you are like me and worry more about how your character looks than stats, your options are a bit more limited, however. It is much better to craft new pieces of armor that you might not love the look of instead of trying to upgrade your favorite-looking one. You are going to need all the help you can get in some of the tougher fights, so try to pick stats over looks. There is a system called Layered Armor that lets you put pre-determined looks over any armor set you want but as of now, the options for this system are limited. Hopefully, they will add the option to create a Layered Armor version of every set, but for now, these are limited to some collector’s edition items and DLC.

There are so many different sets of armor to craft and collect!There are so many different sets of armor to craft and collect!

Other than the Palamutes, the Wirebug is the other enormous change to Monster Hunter’s combat in Rise. They work like organic grappling hooks that let you quickly scale up environments and make clever dodges during combat. You start with two Bugs, but more can be found while scavenging in the environment during hunts. It is a blast to grapple up the side of a cliff and run up the rest of the way, having to bound off the surface when you run out of stamina, and grapple back to safety. Rise’s new movement options make for a much quicker time between setting off in an area and engaging in battle. Getting to the fight is nearly as fun as the fight itself in Rise, which makes the hours of gameplay fly by like never before.

The Wirebug helps you reach places faster, and makes the game more fun than before.The Wirebug helps you reach places faster, and makes the game more fun than before.

Quests A’Plenty

Once you have picked your favorite weapon, customized your pet companions, ate a meal of mochi at one of the village’s shops, it is time to hunt! There are two types of quests in the game, Village and Hub quests. Village Quests are played alone, only joined by your companions and where you will meet all of the monsters and visit every area for the first time. After completing a certain amount of quests, your hunter rank goes up and you are given access to new areas and even tougher beasts to slay or capture. The Village Quests are, for the most part, fairly easy and doable as long as you are often upgrading your gear. Think of Village Quests as Rise's story mode. These should be taken on first, but if you feel like taking on a real challenge Hub Quests give you just that.

You often return to Hinoa to accept and turn in quests.You often return to Hinoa to accept and turn in quests.

In Hub Quests, you can group up with three other friends for hunts of truly epic proportions that take the whole team to coordinate if you hope to succeed. These multiplayer quests are tough but are also where the game’s greatest thrills can be had. And in a rare showing for a Switch game, connecting and playing with friends is incredibly fast and easy. Gone are Monster Hunter Worlds’ odds requirements for players to group up. Just get in a lobby, and get hunting. The feeling of besting a massive foe side by side with your friends has to be felt to be understood. This is where the game is going to last the longest once players have cleared the main story, which alone can take a long time to finish depending on your skill and how often you take on side quests. Monster Hunter Rise is a huge game, and more content is coming in the future.

Bowgun Use a Bowgun to strike a beast from afar.

The Thrill of the Hunt

What about the monsters themselves? There are around 61 monsters to hunt in the game, and even though you will fight many of them more than once, it does not get repetitive. You set out in one of the large open areas, track down the beast on the map all the while collecting materials along the way and engage the monster. It is that simple, but the small actions add up to dynamic and constantly refreshing gameplay where each fight needs to be taken seriously and prepared for. There is always something different to make each battle feel unique, but more often than not simply using your weapon is just plain entertaining. Using the Wirebug to thrust yourself airborne before slamming down with a smashing attack, or sending a flurry of strikes into a monster with the Dual Blades feels satisfying every time.  Be it the weapon you take into the field, or the path that the beast leads you down as it runs away injured, the game manages to stay fresh even in battles you have completed before which keeps grinding for Parts enjoyable.

The different types of locations helps keep things fresh.The different types of locations helps keep things fresh.

Sometimes in battle, other monsters on the map will clash with your current target. You can then mount the beast and engage in enormous monster-on-monster combat! These details add up and make the game stronger than it might first appear jumping in. There are also a couple of different types of quests other than fighting the large monsters to break up the pace as well. When the infamous Rampage happens throughout the story, you man giant siege weapons and defend your home turf in a completely different way than typical battles. Other quests see you collecting items in the world, fight packs of multiple smaller beasts, or just explore to see what secrets you can uncover. If you do start to feel a bit bored with your current setup, you can try a different weapon or ramp up the challenge by taking on Hub Quests. I always felt like there was something attractive waiting after every milestone completed and goal achieved.

Wyvern Riding lets you battle monsters toe-to-toe.Wyvern Riding lets you battle monsters toe-to-toe.

Final Thoughts

Even though Rise is held back by the power of the Switch, it is one of the most stunning games available on Nintendo’s console. Even when colossal monsters are on screen, the game runs smoothly and looks beautiful in both handheld and docked modes. It certainly does not hold a candle to Monster Hunter World’s visuals and majesty, but it makes up for it in nearly every other way that counts. The game’s faster pace makes playing for long stretches (almost too) effortless, and the charming tone of the world and characters keeps the feeling of existing in this world inviting.

Once you find a weapon that suits you, Rise melds into a seamless treadmill of hunting, upgrading, and interacting with characters. The experience unfolds in a way that stays engaging far longer than you might expect thanks to fast-paced yet epic-scale encounters against increasingly imaginative beasts. There is always something to chase, be it new gear or foes to square off against. If Monster Hunter World’s post-launch support is anything to go on, there will be even more quests and fights to look forward to into the future as well. The game’s charming atmosphere, spectacular battles, and addicting gameplay loop make it a must-play for all Switch owners even if you have never tried out the series before.

You eat Mochi to buff your stats before battle, just hope you like the Palicos' song.You eat Mochi to buff your stats before battle, just hope you like the Palicos' song.


  • Spectacular monster battles
  • Fun cycle of fighting, collecting, and upgrading
  • Charming characters and tone


  • Less visual customization than MH: World
  • Held back by the Nintendo Switch hardware  

Monster Hunter Rise Video Game Rating: 5

Monster Hunter Rise's Box ArtMonster Hunter Rise's Box Art

Available now for Nintendo Switch!