The Monster Hunter series has always been about patience, skill, and determination, but recent entries have opened its doors to a whole new generation of fans and gamers introducing difficulty settings and QoL changes to help bring in new players smoothly while rewarding and challenging the most hardened veterans. Monster Hunter is still not approachable, not without a guiding hand, but it has finally secured its place in the mainstream.

You are a hunter in training at Kamura Village. Fifty years ago, a great evil named Magnamalo set upon Kamura amid a rampage. It left nothing but destruction and evil in its path. The plot of Monster Hunter has never been too important. Your job is to simply slay the beast, or accomplish the task, the game points you at. You have your pick between single-player Village Quests that will focus on upgrading your power and defeating Magnamlo or multiplayer Hub Quests that serve as the core of the Monster Hunter experience.

Monster Hunter Rise is much more fast-paced than previous entries. Each map is a compact sandbox instead of one giant world for you to traverse. These maps are big and varied enough to host many different types of locations to fight in. There will always be some corner that you missed or some item to just get you by. Rise introduces two brand new methods of transportation in the palamute and wirebug. As the good hunting wolves they are, palamutes will fight alongside you while wirebugs can be used both offensively and defensively in combat to dodge or mount the beasts you’ll face.

There are fourteen weapon classes to choose from in Monster Hunter Rise, but I only messed around with two. Once you’ve selected a type, using the materials you gather on your hunts, you’ll select a family to go down. Different families will have different stats, strengths, and weaknesses, varying greatly even among a weapon class. Your weapon class, and family, will be what determines how you go about taking a monster down.

Monster Hunter will never be about one size fitting all. Each creature has a diverse moveset to overcome, but your hunter never has to stand alone. Of course, you can call in another hunter locally or online, or rely on your trusty palico and palamute to help you beat a beast down, but you can also choose to mount a different monster with a wirebug and force it into combat or capture a monster in a trap. Every option provides you with different items and rewards to further your quest.

Monster Hunter Rise never feels stagnant. Over twenty hours in, I still feel like I’m barely scratching the surface and I’ve never been forced into grinding or completely changing my playstyle to overcome an obstacle. Monster Hunter will never be the most technical experience, but it might be the most meat on a game I’ve ever seen.

Monster Hunter isn’t a franchise for everyone. Its long-winded, multi-page, text tutorials didn’t do me any good. Almost everything I learned I got from an online tutorial or asking my friends. Capcom pushes the Switch to its absolute limit with the RE engine. Rise looks impossibly beautiful and runs like a dream. Locally, I never noticed a single hiccup. While the online gave me nothing but trouble, I would highly recommend Monster Hunter Rise to anyone willing to take on its challenge.

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