As a longtime fan of the Monster Hunter series, I await news of each new installment with baited breath, eager to see where Capcom is taking the franchise. With Rise, it has once again reinvented the formula in some significant and exciting ways. So far, as part of our ongoing IGN First coverage of Monster Hunter Rise, we’ve covered how Rise connects to the series’ past, we’ve looked at customising Palamutes and some of the most powerful weapons, and we’ve explored the links to Japanese folklore, alongside a whole lot more. Be sure to also check out IGN’s Monster Hunter Rise wiki for our wyvern riding guide, our Wirebug tips and our list of confirmed monsters.
And now, 24 of the most important things you need to know about Monster Hunter Rise.
1. You Can Zip Around Like Spider-Man With Wirebugs
Monster Hunter Rise introduces vast new maps, and a new way to traverse them: the Wirebug. These tamed insects let hunters shoot out bioluminescent strands to dart up sheer cliffs, swing through the air, and hurtle every which way. Unlike Spider-Man’s web shooters, they never run out (they simply have a short cool-down timer) and they don’t need to affix to a surface – you can dangle from anchor points in mid air.
Wirebugs also enhance the move set of every weapon class, enabling rapid repositioning and devastating new ‘Silkbind’ attacks.
Hunters carry two Wirebugs as standard, though you can often temporarily recruit a third in the wild. Maps are also dotted with Great Wirebugs – effectively cannons to propel you vast distances in a hurry.
2. Meet The Palamute: The Hunter’s Best Friend
Another way to traverse the vast new environments of Rise is the Palamute – a whole new class of AI companion. Like the feline Palicos, the canine Palamutes can draw enemy aggro and dish out attacks, but they also let you ride them. While on dogback you can guzzle restorative potions, sharpen your weapon, or just catch your breath while putting some distance between yourself and the magnificent beasts you’re hunting.
3. The Hunting Horn Rework Makes It the Ultimate Support Weapon
Since its introduction in the PSP era the Hunting Horn has been something of a contradiction: a support weapon class that’s extremely technical to use. Each attack corresponds to a note, and playing short tunes delivers buffs to all nearby allies. Certain hunting horns can nullify monsters’ status effects, like ear-piercing roars and the down-draft from their mighty wings. It’s always been a rewarding weapon class to learn, but few made the effort – player data gathered by Capcom shows that of the 14 weapon classes in World, the Hunting Horn ranked dead last, the most-used weapon of 2% or fewer players.
That’s about to change. For Rise, the Hunting Horn has been completely reworked, with more streamlined controls and handy on-screen guides displaying which note combos activate which buffs. A new age of belting dragons with giant lutes is almost upon us!
You can see the Hunting Horn in action towards the end of the video above.
4. Wyvern Riding Lets You Control Monsters
Use enough Silkbind attacks during a quest and you will reduce your prey to a ‘mountable state’, allowing you to leap on its back and control it like a giant puppet!
Alternatively, you can collect an endemic life form, the Puppet Spider, which can reduce a monster to a mountable state instantly.
Pulling on glowing silken strings, you can make a monster run, dodge, and attack other large monsters, or simply run into sheer cliff faces. Fill up your wyvern riding gauge and you can unleash the Mounted Punisher, a devastating special attack that inflicts massive damage.
5. Endemic Life Forms Now Confer Valuable Bonuses
Monster Hunter World introduced endemic life forms – adorable little creatures that scurried around minding their own business. Endemic life forms helped to build the illusion that you were trekking through a complex ecosystem, but in World they were little more than optional collectables. Not any more – now each and every one offers a valuable bonus: buffs to attack and defence, consumables to use in combat, and some even cough up valuable ores and armour spheres to upgrade your gear. Veteran hunters may wish to jump straight into the action, but rookies will do well to traipse about the map tracking down these colourful critters to get that extra edge in combat.
6. Monster Blight: Give Them A Taste of Their Own Medicine!
The most electrifying new use for endemic life is the opportunity to inflict Monster Blight – a new type of status ailment that can leave monsters charged with electricity or engulfed with flame. Gone is the monsters’ monopoly on hurling hadoukens of elemental damage – thanks to these combustible critters the shoe is on the other foot.[poilib element=”quoteBox” parameters=”excerpt=The%20most%20electrifying%20new%20use%20for%20endemic%20life%20is%20the%20opportunity%20to%20inflict%20Monster%20Blight%20%E2%80%93%20a%20new%20type%20of%20status%20ailment…”]
7. The Helper Cage Holds Five Endemic Life Forms
Some endemic life forms confer lasting buffs the instant you touch them, while others you will collect and store in your handy five-slot ‘Helper Cage’. All of these critters confer powerful benefits, like the Brewhare’s passive ability to boost the restorative power of potions. Others serve as powerful single-use items, like the poison-curing Antidobra, or the caltrop-like Trapbugs.
8. Rise is a Love Letter to Japanese Folklore, Culture, and Aesthetics
The fantasy world of Monster Hunter hosts myriad exotic races and cultures, with realms inspired by everything from Pacific islands to the Swiss Alps. The village you’ll fight to protect in Rise is an homage to feudal Japan, and the new monsters you’ll fight have all been inspired by the ghoulies and demons of Japanese folklore – the yokai and oni. Judging by the outfits worn by the residents of Kamura Village and their proficiency with Wirebug manoeuvres, the secretive ninja clans of Japan’s past were also a strong inspiration.
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For those who’ve been following Monster Hunter for a while, Rise closely resembles the final PSP title in the series, Monster Hunter Portable 3rd. As of this writing it’s still the best-selling Monster Hunter game in Japan, with over 4.8 million copies sold – although with the massive Switch install base, that figure might finally be surpassed.
9. Monsters From Every Gen Return, Including Many Fan Favourites
Monster Hunter is not unlike Capcom’s Street Fighter series, in that along with new characters, fan-favourites from older games will often return. Just as no Street Fighter would be complete without Ryu and Chun-Li, the mighty Rathalos and Rathian fire-breathing wyverns are back to scorch cocky hunters. Plenty more classic monsters will be joining them: the hyper-aggressive Tigrex, the water-logged Royal Ludroth, and the T-Rex-like Anjanath, to name a few. (Check out IGN’s wiki covering all the confirmed monsters here.)
Plenty of iconic small monsters return as well, including the shark-like Zamites and those furry, furious boars, the Bullfangos. For series veterans, every trip to the wilderness will be a trip down Memory Lane.
10. Upgrading Weapons Has Become Much Faster
Monster Hunter games are all about defeating monsters and then using their power against them – slaying the frigid Lagombi to make an ice element sword, or besting the noxious Pukei-Pukei to make poison resistant armour. Upgrading your weapons used to require farming a heap of materials, which meant lots and lots of grinding.
To encourage players to branch out and see more of what all fourteen weapon classes have to offer, Rise will require significantly fewer monster parts for weapon upgrades. Considering that all weapon classes now have completely revised move-sets, there’s a lot of new gameplay to explore.[poilib element=”quoteBox” parameters=”excerpt=Rise%20will%20require%20significantly%20fewer%20monster%20parts%20for%20weapon%20upgrades.”]
11. Prevent Kamura Village From Being Wiped Out by Monsters!
Monster Hunter games are legendary for their special end-game co-op battles against gargantuan beasts, like the battleship-sized Lao-Shan Lung, the Jhen Mohran sand whale, or World’s living volcano monster, the Zorah Magdaros.
In Rise the novel new co-op mode is The Rampage, in which hunters will join forces to protect Kamura Village from an onslaught of multiple large monsters using batteries of cannon and ballistae to halt their advance. Once again, the inspiration for this mode comes from Japanese folklore – the tales of the Hyakki Yako, a procession of supernatural monstrosities that occasionally emerges from the spirit realm to wreak havoc.
You can see Rampage gameplay in the trailer above.
12. Explore Kamura Village With Your Friends
Previous instalments of Monster Hunter confined player interaction to the Gathering Hub and the quests themselves, but Rise considerably expands the scope for co-operative shenanigans. Now you and your friends can go flaneuring in Kamura Village together, and join forces in a significantly upgraded Training Room. This safe environment for practising weapon moves now features an animatronic wooden monster dummy resembling a Tetranadon to fight, a significant upgrade from World which had you belting a wooden stump.
13. Beware the Sticky Fingers of the Thieving Melynx!
One of the more endearing quirks of the Monster Hunter series is the antics of the Lynians – races of intelligent kitty-cats that can walk on their hind legs and indulge in all manner of hijinks. While your loyal Felyne companions, the Palico, will assist you on quests, their mirror opposite are the Melynx, tribes of thieves who will pounce on you mid-quest and steal your gear! If a Melynx nicks one of your items you can strike him to get it back, but if he makes his escape all is not lost. Just look for their secret hide-out, where you can retrieve your property from their hoard of ill-gotten loot, and maybe return the favour by rummaging through their equipment stockpile and expropriating some barrels.
14. Rise Was Developed Simultaneously With World
Monster Hunter Rise was in development for over a year before the release of Monster Hunter World. The Rise team paid close attention to what made World a success, and as such all the quality of life improvements that World players enjoyed are present: auto-combining of gathered materials, the radial menu, accessing your full item box and equipment collection in the base camp, and more.[poilib element=”quoteBox” parameters=”excerpt=The%20Rise%20team%20paid%20close%20attention%20to%20what%20made%20World%20a%20success…”]
15. Extracting Resources Now Only Requires One Button Press
Rise builds on the quality-of-life improvements introduced in World in many ways, not least with regards to resource extraction. In older Monster Hunter games you’d need to tap a button repeatedly to extract every last lump of iron or clump of herbs from a resource node, but now you can extract them all with a single button press. Every aspect of the game has been tuned to accelerate your movement through the map, reducing the time to confrontation with your mission objective to the absolute minimum.
16. The Graphics Are Last-Gen, and That’s A Good Thing
Monster Hunter achieved blockbuster success on the PSP, a hand-held system with a screen just 480 by 272 pixels. Capcom made the best possible use of that space through imaginative graphic design, rich use of colour, spectacular monsters, and truly bizarre equipment. Many complained that the weapons and armour sets in World were too grounded, too staid. Rise returns to the PSP aesthetic with anime mega-swords and outfits that would make a cosplayer weep.
Thanks to its exaggerated, cartoon-like action Monster Hunter doesn’t need state-of-the-art graphics to look good – and to be fair Rise looks great for a Switch title, especially in portable mode.
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17. Game Director Yasunori Ichinose Returns
Monster Hunter Rise is in good hands. The game director is Yasunori Ichinose, who is responsible for some of the best instalments in the series, including Monster Hunter Generations, and Monster Hunter Freedom Unite – arguably the game that elevated the franchise from being a niche title to a cult hit. He’s clearly leveraged over a decade of experience to push the Monster Hunter experience in a bold new direction.
18. You Can Now Throw Barrel Bombs Downward
Wirebugs have made a wealth of three-dimensional combat moves available, and this versatility extends to your consumable items. Large barrel bombs have long been a staple of the series, dealing massive damage to trapped or sleeping monsters – and now you can drop them too. Vault yourself over a monster, select large barrel bomb from your item menu, and bombs away!
19. The Familiar Pattern of Monster Progression Returns: Raptors, Fire Birds, and Cranky Kongs
Rise continues the tradition of easing in new players by tasking them with defeating a succession of large monsters with progressively more complex attack patterns. Early on you’ll face the Great Izuchi, a comically bellicose giant velociraptor. Later you’ll confront the Aknosom, a goofy fire-spitting bird in the tradition of the Yian Kut-Ku and the Qurupeco. The simian Bishaten echoes the monkey mischief of the Congalala, and Rise’s flagship monster, the Magnamalo, is uncannily like the tremendously popular Zinogre.
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20. Beginners Shouldn’t Worry About DPS
Newcomers to the Monster Hunter experience should resist the temptation to go in guns blazing, as all large monsters have complex attack patterns designed to wreck the reckless. Instead, you should observe their behaviour, study their moves, and only strike when you’re confident you have an opening. The two most important pieces of advice given to new hunters still apply in Rise: “Don’t get hit. Hit it until it dies.”
This principle applies in co-op as well. Beginners shouldn’t worry too much about min-maxing gear or having the highest DPS – just stay alive, get in the odd hit, and you can still make a contribution and have a rollicking time.
21. Beware the Horrifying Khezu!
Few monsters embody the unique charm of Monster Hunter like the Khezu, a white wrinkled freak that looks like a giant frozen chicken with a telescoping neck – a chubbier cousin of the Mass Production Eva Units from Evangelion: Death & Rebirth. He’s blind, he’s constantly sniffing around for human prey, and his electric attacks make him aggravating to engage. But there’s something endearing about this shrivelled, wailing wretch, and he’s very popular in Japan – at one point you could buy Khezu plush toys!
The Khezu makes a triumphant return in Rise, and his beautiful grotesqueness embodies Monster Hunter’s quirky, freaky soul.
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22. You No Longer Need Hot Drinks on Cold Maps
In all previous games in this series hunters needed to consume cold drinks on desert and volcano maps and hot drinks on icy maps, lest their health or stamina bars gradually whittle away to nothing. But no longer – Rise does away with this requirement.
It may seem like a minor point, but this is one of the most controversial changes in the game. In the eyes of some die-hard fans, every inconvenience removed chisels away at what makes Monster Hunter special and risks ruining the magic of the series.
I’m of the opinion that the soul of Monster Hunter remains intact, for now. You’ll know they’ve gone too far if they ever get rid of weapon sharpening.
23. An Ultimate Sequel Or Robust DLC Is Practically a Certainty
Capcom has displayed a well-established pattern when releasing Monster Hunter games: when a new instalment is a success, it is followed a year or so later by an enhanced edition that adds a new ultra-high difficulty tier of quests, a handful of all-new monsters, and a menagerie of sub-species variants of existing monsters. Add all the new craftable weapons and armour sets and it amounts to a massive content update.
Given the huge Switch install base and the hype surrounding Rise, there aren’t many things that could prevent an Ultimate edition at this point. The only question is whether it will be available as a stand-alone game you can import your old save into (like Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate), as a download (like Iceborne), or both.
We’ve already been promised loads of new content in the form of a steady supply of post-launch Event Quests. Whatever Capcom decides, expect Rise to be supported for a long time.
24. Rise Is A Monster Hunter For Everyone
Capcom has taken great pains to make this the most accessible Monster Hunter game ever. Rise builds on the dozens of quality-of-life improvements in World, adding a gentler difficulty curve in the single-player Village Quests to make the game much less intimidating for new players. For advanced players, all the combat complexity you’ve come to know and love is still there, now enhanced by a slew of Wirebug fighting moves that catapult you into a z-axis of new possibilities.
This is the most innovative Monster Hunter game to date, and there’s a very good chance it could also be the most successful.
James Cottee is a veteran of both the Australian games industry and the art of Monster Hunting. You can find him on Twitter.