Monster Hunter Rise is an action RPG from Capcom with the purpose of delivering the experience of its previous title, Monster Hunter: World, on the weaker hardware of the Nintendo Switch. Now that Monster Hunter Rise has a PC port, we can review how it handles the jump back to higher specs.
You play as a newly promoted hunter on Kamura Island, an idyllic village, tasked with stopping monster rampages spurred by a monster known as Magnamalo. Despite a bevy of awesome cutscenes and likable characters, the plot is pretty shallow, which isn’t surprising given the franchise’s history of prioritizing the endgame multiplayer experience, but monsters, missions, and mechanics are introduced at such a quick pace it’s easy to lose track of what’s presented.
The core of what makes the Monster Hunter franchise work is still very much present. Using your choice of 14 distinct weapon classes, you set out into vast hub locations to track down and slay imaginative creatures. The spoils of your victories are used to make your equipment strong enough to take down ever more dangerous monsters. The process of crafting the perfect tools and defenses for the task at hand is a wonderfully addictive loop, particularly because each weapon is massively fun and rewarding to master.
Rise doubles down on the combat by adding new Switch Skills to your arsenal — unlockable variants for some of the well-established combos. These skills allow you to hone your play style not just by the weapon you pick, but by the way you want to use it as well. In conjunction with the new Wirebug — an effective air grappling hook — it grants hunters much more mobility and versatility than ever before, even enhancing traversal itself.
Many of the non-combat game systems from Monster Hunter: World have been streamlined. For example, the cooking system has been trimmed down from World’s complex sequence of mixing and matching multiple types of ingredients to grant layers of specific buffs. Now this system uses only fluffy rice dumplings called dango and shrinks the list down to three varieties to mix and match. Changes like this are scattered throughout the game, which keeps the focus on fighting monsters but chips away at the satisfying preparation that should come with being a hunter. Likewise, some of the more involved story quests are replaced by rampage quests, which provide an unsatisfying tower defense minigame I could have done without.
Nonetheless, Rise feels like a fully fledged companion to Monster Hunter: World — if not a proper sequel — and while the RE Engine is an improvement over Capcom’s previous MT Framework, this game was made specifically to run on the Switch and has been moved to PC with minimal upgrades or changes.
The game on PC benefits slightly from some enhanced textures, lighting, and resolution options; differences in colored fog in the distance were some of the only visual changes I could spot. You’re also free to fully uncap your frame rate if the locked 30 on Switch isn’t working for you, but gameplay-wise, the PC port is indistinguishable from its Switch counterpart. So if you were holding out for a drastic visual improvement, the port may disappoint, but that doesn’t mean the game wasn’t already gorgeous.
While Monster Hunter Rise does slim down parts of its RPG experience, it’s not enough to make it unrecognizable to fans. The addition of Switch Skills and Wirebugs add so much to the combat that I hope they find their way into the next multiplatform release, because they are fun and engrossing mechanics that enhance an already stellar foundation.
Monster Hunter Rise is out for PC on January 12 for $59.99.
Watch our full Review in 3 Minutes for Monster Hunter Rise on PC.