"Monster Hunter: Rise"

(Capcom)

The realm of video games is exciting and fantastical, and as the medium continues to develop, there are a variety of ways to immerse players with the use of new personas. When reality gets boring, taking on the role of a monster hunter is a perfect escape, allowing players to travel to distant lands and combat fearsome beasts. 

Monster Hunter: Rise is the sixth installment in Capcom’s long-running action role-playing game series, which released on March 26 for the Nintendo Switch. Following the success of its predecessor, Monster Hunter: World, Rise has a fantastic entry storyline for newcomers and veterans alike, offering a unique setting, new and returning beasts and an engaging online experience for players looking to team up for the game’s challenging missions.

Rise’s story takes place in Kamura, a fictional village set in an ancient Japanese era. Fifty years ago, Kamura was hit by a calamity known as The Rampage, a series of massive monster hordes that nearly wiped out the village. Circumstances have changed since then, and the village is prepared to handle the incoming Rampage once again. 

As a customizable character, players take on the persona of the Hunter who is tasked with defending the town from the incoming onslaught of monsters while also slaying threatening beasts.

As the Hunter, you take on town quests to fetch specific materials, slay small monsters or take on the big beasts. Players begin with weak equipment and armor, but they can grow and develop better weapons and gear by completing quests and harvesting parts from slain monsters. This creates a simple and captivating gameplay loop, as it’s satisfying to watch your character grow ridiculously strong over time. 

The game’s visual and style is based on feudal Japan, which is a wonderful direction for the series to move away from the consistent fantasy setting of older games. Accompanied by a beautiful Japanese-styled soundtrack by composer Satoshi Hori, the aesthetics are breathtaking, from the colorful village of Kamura to the solemn Shrine Ruins and the bleak Frost Islands.

The game’s five different maps are rich in detail and intricacy, leaving many places for target monsters to be lurking and setting a grand, yet unsettling atmosphere. Players’ hearts will be pounding when they see their target in the distance, accompanied with quiet, droning strings, that explode in a mighty crescendo when blade meets skin and the beast roars a battle cry. 

Hunters can choose between 14 different kinds of weapons —  ranging from the user-friendly sword and shield to the helpful hunting horn. No matter the weapon, the controls are complex and come with a steep learning curve; but when mastered, players become lean, mean, monster hunting machines, ready to take on the biggest of beasts. 

With the addition of Wirebugs and Palamutes, players have new ways to utilize their weapons, delivering devastating bashes and quick combos after lunging off of their canine companions at the monsters. 

While the game is fun to play alone, Rise is best played with others. The fun and skill factors are increased tenfold when team members cooperate to slay the monster, each person coming along for the ride with their own feline or canine companion. One person can inflict damage with the Charge Axe while another player supports the team with stat increases, all while two agile Sword and Shield players draw away fire. 

It’s a satisfying feeling to take down a monster with players from around the world, especially considering how isolated people feel with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. When you join a game, there’s no need for words to know who’s the target. 

Monster Hunter: Rise is a spectacular addition to the role-playing game series, fitting nicely on Nintendo’s portable console. It’s the most ambitious game on the platform since The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, given the number of monsters and the grand scale.

For those who want to join in on the beast slaying, Monster Hunter: Rise is now available to purchase on Nintendo Switch, with a PC release scheduled for early 2022. A free demo of Rise is also available to download on the Nintendo eShop if you’d like to try before you buy.

 

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