I use the word “finally” a lot when talking about releases, but it’s more than fitting here. Finally, finally, Monster Hunter Rise is coming to Xbox and PlayStation. It launched on Nintendo Switch in March 2021, then on PC in January 2022, and is finally coming to Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, PS4, and PS5 on January 20th, 2023, for $39.99 with free previous-to-current-gen upgrades. What can you expect in terms of gameplay? What benefits do the new platforms offer? Let’s look at 15 things you should know here.
Setting and Story
Monster Hunter Rise is set in Kamura, which suffered a catastrophe known as the Rampage. About 50 years prior, it wiped out the village, and since then, its Hunters have trained to prevent it from happening again. As a new Hunter, you report to Fugen the Elder to shore up defenses, take down various monsters – including the new flagship monster, Magnamalo – and ultimately drive back the Rampage. If you weren’t a fan of Monster Hunter World’s story, Rise is lighter and gets into the action much sooner.
In addition to Kamura with its various areas, you venture to five surrounding regions in Rise – the Shrine Ruins, Flooded Forest, Frost Islands, Lava Caverns, and Sandy Plains – with monsters unique to each habitat. Each is smaller than World’s biomes, but there’s still plenty to see. You’ll come across endemic life, which can temporarily increase your health, attack, stamina and defense, and the new Palamutes act as mounts for quick traversal. They also help out in combat, along with the classic Palicos.
Weapon Trees and Armor
As with previous games, Monster Hunter Rise sports 14 weapon trees. You have the popular Longsword, speedy Dual Blades, and ever-reliable Sword and Shield, along with large weapons like the Greatsword and Hammer. Then there are weapons like the Insect Glaive, which offers extensive aerial mobility and deploys a Kinsect to gather buffs for you, or the Switch Axe, which morphs between a sword and axe while dispersing powerful explosive discharges.
The Charge Blade is a complex weapon where you fill phials and charge its sword, shield, and axe for devastating attacks. The more defensive-minded can use the Lance and Gunlance, the latter providing more explosive goodness while the former is the peak of defense. The Hunting Horn is good for support, though it (and the Hammer) deals excellent stun damage. Finally, you have ranged weapons like the Bow, Light Bowgun and Heavy Bowgun. Each weapon is vastly different from the others while having dozens of upgrades throughout the game.
You can also equip various armor pieces which provide different Skills and augment certain play styles while increasing your defense. These are crafted from monster parts, leading to the gameplay loop of slaying monsters, crafting better gear to hunt tougher monsters, and repeat.
Wirebug and Silkbind
New to Monster Hunter Rise is the Wirebug, which offers extensive mobility over previous games. You dash through the air or along the ground and recover from falls. It also helps for hanging in mid-air, though it isn’t required to wall-run anymore. You can also use Wirebugs to execute new Silkbind Attacks, like the Longsword’s Sakura Round Slash or the Sword and Shield’s Metsu Shoryugeki. Switch Skills are also available, which can change how a weapon behaves, leading to cool play styles like Aerial Dual Blades or the Blast Dashing Gunlance.
Taking a page out of Monster Hunter Stories’ playbook, Rise allows you to mount and control monsters temporarily using Silkbind. Upon dealing enough damage to a monster, it will enter a stunned state. When using Wyvern Riding, you can either slam it into a wall or use it to attack another monster with light and heavy attacks, eventually dishing out massive damage with devastating Mounted Finishers.
A lot was made of the Rampage before the base game was first released, but what is it? The short answer: Tower defense. The long answer? A hybrid tower defense mode where you can mount turrets, summon allies, position traps, and fight waves of monsters while defending key objectives. Rampage Quests present a change of pace from regular Hunts and allow for crafting unique weapons and using Rampage Skills to enhance them. Though mandatory to advance the story in some places, it won’t be to everyone’s taste.
In terms of the endgame, Monster Hunter Rise is a bit more scaled-down compared to the base version of World. Apex Monsters present a challenge and allow for crafting some strong Decorations. You can also get into the fashion endgame, farming Layered Armor sets, and try to get a Talisman with the best combination of skills and decoration slots (which is highly RNG-based). The end game doesn’t have a lot of content, unfortunately, but it should keep you occupied before Sunbreak arrives.
Black Belt Armor and Defender Weapons
For those who are new to the Monster Hunter series, or playing through a second time, free Black Belt Armor and Defender Weapons are available to provide a boost through the early quests. You can even upgrade the weapons to ensure their viability, though your defense may start to suffer by the time Magnamalo shows up. There’s also the Guild Cross set, which is good for gathering, and the Veteran’s Talisman which provides the Constitution and Recovery Up Skills.
Graphics Modes and 3D Audio
Perhaps the best part of playing on Xbox Series X and PS5 is the support for 4K resolution and 60 frames per second, along with HDR10. You can also play at 120 FPS and 1080p resolution with a supported monitor and take advantage of Variable Refresh Rate. It also supports 3D Audio for current-gen platforms, so you can hear a monster’s roar with more clarity before being one-shot.
While the jury is still out on Activity Cards and Game Help support, Monster Hunter Rise will support the PS5’s DualSense controller. Both ranged and shield weapons use Adaptive Triggers. You’ll feel the recoil of firing with the Light and Heavy Bowguns, and the impact when a monster collides with your shield while blocking.
If you’re still on the fence about Rise, then try before buying with Game Pass. It launches for the subscription service on Day One, and along with Xbox consoles, it’s also playable on PC and via the Cloud. All in all, another great addition to the Game Pass library.
No Crossplay or Cross-Save
Monster Hunter Rise is listed as supporting Xbox cross-platform multiplayer, meaning cross-gen multiplayer between Xbox One and Xbox Series X/S. Similarly, PS4 and PS5 players can match with each other. Unfortunately, Capcom has confirmed that there’s no cross-platform multiplayer support between PlayStation and Xbox (or either console with PC, for that matter). Even worse is no cross-save, so if you played a decent amount of Monster Hunter Rise on PC and want to carry your saves over to the new platforms, you’re out of luck.
On the bright side, Monster Hunter Rise on PlayStation and Xbox appears to contain all of the post-launch updates, from the final story boss and true ending to the addition of new monsters like Teostra, Kusahal Daora, Chameleos, and Crimson Glow Valstrax. You also have Apex Monsters like Apex Zinogre, Apex Diablos and Apex Rathalos. Free event quests – including collaborations with franchises like Sonic the Hedgehog, Street Fighter and Mega Man, which grant new Layered Armor for your Hunter, Palamute and Palico – should also be available.
One PC-exclusive feature that will be coming to Xbox and PlayStation is the four cinematic filters that change the overall look of the visuals. These are Black and White, Sepia, Japanese-style, and Warring Lands-style. If you want the action to resemble an Akira Kurosawa film (if it had giant monsters), then this is your chance.
Sunbreak Launching Later
Sunbreak, the massive paid expansion for Monster Hunter Rise, isn’t launching alongside the base game on Xbox and PlayStation. Instead, it’s out in Spring 2023, which is not terrible since players can get used to the mechanics and gameplay before tackling Master Rank quests and monsters. However, even your best High Rank armor set will become outdated a few quests into the expansion. So if you don’t enter with full Crimson Glow Valstrax armor, it’s not the end of the world.
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