I’m not writing this from home. I’ve returned to the honest working-folk fold as the holidays… are over. I swear, I think that the alarm going off this morning might be the evilest sound I’ve heard in a good long while. Probably since the first alarm heralding the end of the holidays last year.

If I’d thought about this earlier than now — my lunch break — I would’ve uploaded some of the latest screenshots I’ve taken in my Monster Hunter Rise adventures. But I didn’t, so they’ll have to wait. (Or, in the more likely event I don’t get this finished here at work, will add them in later. ;))

Something I didn’t quite appreciate yet while putting together my experiences after just a morning with Monster Hunter Rise is that the Village is a strictly single-player experience. The interplay between ranking up in Village and the Hub is very well done, but it was still an odd realisation for me to come to. Apparently pre-World, this was normal for the MH series. But coming from World where all missions could be done in MP — albeit, awkwardly the first time through — it was very strange.

At first, I really didn’t like it, but I’ve come around. Which is a good summary of a lot of my experiences with Rise where they were different from World.

In any case, into High Rank now! Albeit just. Took on the 4-star hub urgent quest which saw us doing battle with an Apex Azuroth at the end of one of Rise’s ‘Rampage’ missions.

Apex Arzuros. A very big, very angry bear… thing.

Sidebar: The above was as far as I got from work over lunch. Back home to finish now! And I’ve played through to the 5-star missions! The ‘urgent’ mission to upgrade from 4- to 5-star mission availability required us to fight a Jyuratodas.

In case you’re wondering, that right there is a Jyuratodas.

A big angry (this is a bit of a theme) fish… thing. But this angry fish has legs, which it will occasionally rise out of the muck to use and chase you down.

Just like this one is doing to me in the above screenshot.

Spoiler: In the next moment after I took that screenshot, I had less health. Taking action screenshots via keyboard shortcut while playing on a controller is hard! And I haven’t been recording footage of playing to grab them from.

One thing that has been weirding me out though is the different presentations of monster difficulty in this game. For example, sticking with fishy-boi above, in Monster Hunter World you first encounter them as a low rank push-over monster. In Rise, they’re an ‘urgent’ quest for entering into a higher level of high rank!

Or weirder still — Zinogre, which was first accessible in the guiding lands (one of the end-game sections) of World showed up as a low rank monster in Rise!

*shakes head*

Despite some readjustment being required on my part, I’m loving it. None of the Switch limitations matter in any meaningful way. Sure, the areas are a bit smaller. But it hardly matters while in the thick of battle with your current nemesis.

Magnamalo, Rise’s title new monster, was no joke.

I’ve settled pretty firmly into Bow being my main weapon for the time being and found I know how better to control it now. So that’s two weapons in the Monster Hunter series I’m somewhat comfortable with now! Sword and Shield, I wouldn’t go so far as to say ‘comfortable’ with, but I could make a decent showing of myself with them if a challenge mission didn’t allow for either Bow or Longsword to be used.

The wirebug mechanic, I won’t lie, I thought was going to really throw me (but not in the intended, good, way). And yeah — at first, they did. It’s only relatively recently I’ve started using the wirebug recovery move with any regularity to get back into the battle more quickly, or, to make a hasty getaway so I can chug a potion.

Now though, it’s second nature — and the bow aerial jump, allowing you to take several shots from the air is amazing. Although I still sometimes attempt to trigger it a little too late to avoid a charge and end up getting bowled over in its short (but not nil) execution time. You raise your arm, fire the wirebug above you, then it starts to lift you into the air. So if a steaming mountain of mad monster is already heading your way — quite often it’s too late and you should just dodge roll.

Magnamalo mission complete screen — look how lucky I got! With a tail and *two* plates in one kill, my first solo kill incidentally.

I think we’re going to be quite comfortably done with Rise — in the sense of getting to the final rank of monsters and past the second credits roll for the high rank story) — before Lost Ark hits. I’m not even 100% sure we’ll play it solidly between now and Lost Ark’s release. It’s possible though.

Either way, I’m already excited to return for Sunbreak, the expansion later this year. And I’m so glad that it seems like the Sunbreak expansion will release simultaneously between Switch and PC, too!

I don’t even know what will be in Sunbreak yet. They haven’t said a lot about it. But it pretty much doesn’t matter, in the span of two games — Monster Hunter has entered into the realm of the few franchises I can trust beyond a doubt to be good.

That’s not to say that whatever the next Monster Hunter is, I won’t be hoping fervently for it to be baselined around something more powerful than the Switch! Give us a Monster Hunter World 2 and I’ll be beyond happy. :)

Not to say Rise can’t be pretty in its own right — the redone Monster textures, in particular, are stunning.

Naithin

Gamer, reader, writer, husband and father of two boys. Former WoW and Gaming blogger, making a return to the fold to share my love of all things looty.