Throw the Apprentice Into the Ring
I’m gonna start with an admission – Monster Hunter Rise is the first true MonHun game I’ve played. The only other game in the series I’m very familiar with is Monster Hunter Stories. And even that I didn’t buy until long after the initial release. My point being that I am very much a newbie to this series. But all the things I’ve been seeing about Monster Hunter Rise got me excited, so I decided this will be the entry I become immersed in this long running Capcom series. As such, it just made sense to try out the demo. Several bruises later, here’s my thoughts.
The first thing I appreciate about the Monster Hunter Rise demo are the two tutorials. One is there to explain the basics of moving around and utilizing the Wirebug, while the other is focused on riding a mounted monster. It’s fun to grapple up surfaces with the Wirebug, and riding the Palamute around is a dream. That mostly is what the first tutorial consisted of. I thought it would be a blast to ride a mounted monster, but it was a bit tricky in execution. I got my butt slashed to ribbons by an Arzuros I was nominally supposed to be riding, but I finally stumbled onto their back. It’s just that the tutorials, while handy, also lack a lot of important details.
Additionally, as a noob I wish the demo went into more detail about the nuances of combat. I tried out a variety of different weapons – the Long Sword, Sword & Shield, Dual Blades and Switch Axe. I could tell from the brief descriptions that each weapon had a special way to use it, but the demo only told you how to do basic attacks with X and A. I’m sure the Switch Axe, in particular, is a very complex weapon, but all I could do was swing it about. I definitely preferred the weapons with less wind-up time, since I like dodging about and harrying my foes.
Besides the tutorial missions, there’s also two hunts. I tried the beginner hunt against a Great Izuchi all by my lonesome. At first it seemed simple enough, but I quickly learned to deal with the grunts he constantly summons. Once I started to understand the rhythm of the Izuchi’s attacks, I gradually took less damage. I was pleasantly surprised that he runs away, forcing me to chase him and finish the job. I ended up following the dinosaur to several different locations, and he made me earn my victory. It was especially fun taking control of a nearby monster and smashing into him on one occasion as well.
Though the Izuchi hunt was difficult for me, it wasn’t unfair. I sincerely believe it’s just a matter of my lack of experience and the lack of details the demo provides. But I’m glad I didn’t stop there, since I would have come away from Monster Hunter Rise with a false impression. Long story short, I wound up playing with a gamer friend who goes by Chi, and that was the highlight of my demo. We teamed up together to hunt the Mizutsune. How bad could he be, I figured? It’s just an asian-themed Loch Ness that fires bubbles, after all.
Well, we wound up hunting the Mizutsune twice. Chi is far more adept with MonHun than I am, and even he had some issues with the beast. The first time we encountered it, I rushed in with Dual Blades and quickly got demolished. The second time, we both played more carefully, but my partner got destroyed, which ended our quest. But it’s far more fun hunting with a friend. Even though we weren’t communicating directly while we played, the sense of camaraderie really lends a lot to the experience. It was also nice that we didn’t experience any lag, especially after seeing lots of gamers complain about that online.
While the Monster Hunter Rise demo did disappoint me in some ways, overall I’m still excited for the full game. Once I can do things like browse the best way to use a weapon and fully comprehend the mechanics of the Wirebug, I think this will be a lot of fun. And honestly, after mostly playing Monster Hunter Stories, the graphics here really impressed me. Each monster is lovingly crafted, and they all feel like living and breathing creatures. My fingers are still crossed the plot is something interesting, but either way I’m hopeful my first MonHun will provide hours of entertainment. If you are curious about the latest MonHun game, you still have the rest of the month to try out the demo.