I’ve been playing Monster Hunter since its days on the Playstation Portable, and it’s still taking me to school every generation. I feel that it’s a great thing, to be playing what is essentially the same game over the span of 10 to 15 years, but it still manages to enamor and surprise me with its every iteration.
Monster Hunter Rise is a really great game – but it can be overwhelming at times with its dozens of mechanics and tutorial windows it attempts to dump on you from the beginning sequences. This is one of the most beginner-friendly releases in the franchise, but being a mainline game, it carries its complex architecture with it that may turn the casual player away before they get to the raw meaty parts.
Fret not, for here’s a good place to start. I’ll be reviewing the game in full after I’ve given it 50 to 100 more hours… but for now – join me in class: it’s Hunting 101.
The Village of Kamura
A prepared hunter is usually a successful hunter – so we all have to familiarize ourselves with our base of operations, something that we had not been able to visit during the demo, if you’ve tried it in the last couple months.
- Right off the bat, check your courier cat Senri for your downloadable goodies. Any player who bought the game can get free stuff from here, but if you’ve played the demo too, you get a care package to start you off your grand adventure. Senri is the cat atop the mailbox just below the big stone steps in front of the Steelworks in Kamura.
- This is the village map, accessible by holding minus (-) on the controller. The ellipsis icon bubble appears next to the names of the places you can go over to sometimes: Red means there’s an urgent quest there, Blue means you can get an optional sidequest, and Yellow means someone there has an item to give you.
- Steelworks is the center of Kamura; the blacksmithy, consumable items shop, canteen, and main quest-giver are all here.
- Commit to memory where your Item Box is (beside Hinoa in the village), for it is the one important location not marked on the map. It’s where you equip gear, restock items, and even change your appearance and voice (only gender and facial structure cannot be changed from character creation). In addition, this where you will be able to equip your purchased DLC cosmetics and/or voices.
- The Dango Shop is where you eat before a quest, to buff your health and stamina (plus a few more things depending on the flavors you choose). Make sure you eat before EVERY quest. It helps, a lot. Check if you’ve eaten before departing by looking for the Dango icon beside the DEPART button after you’ve accepted a quest.
- You can change BGMs for areas in the village from those songs you have unlocked by progression in the game, inside Your Room. The Housekeeper is also here, who offers a shortcut for some features in the Buddy Plaza, if you want to save time. Also, I wonder what lurks behind the tatami panel in there?
- Do the training quests from Utsushi in the Training Area, especially for the mounting and wirebug mechanics. Wirebugs can be quite a handful (especially if you didn’t play Iceborne with the Clutch Claw, or the Rise demo). Wirebugs are a new mechanic, and everybody knows that a game with a grappling hook is a great game. It’s ZL to draw a wirebug, R-stick to aim, and ZR to launch the bug and yourself.
- In Rise, you can take up to two Buddies with you: a Palico (the cats) and/or a Palamute (the dog). Palicos are like an extra hunter with certain specializations (like a healer), and Palamutes are mounts that let you zip around the big quest areas with ease. The Buddy Plaza is where you manage and take care of your furry friends. Hire 13 more Palicos or Palamutes as soon as you can. You’ll only be able to bring two of them at a time (only one if in multiplayer) but the extra Buddies can help in other ways in the Plaza.
- The Gathering Hub is where multiplayer quests await: you can do these on your own, but note that they are at a considerable difficulty level above the regular Village quests, to account for more players helping each other out in there.
Venturing out into the wilds: Questing and Hunting!
We won’t be all experts in just a single run around Kamura, but that’s OK! You’ll surely get familiar with it soon enough; now it’s time to go forth and hunt some monsters. A standard ritual of play is (by no means is this the only way to play, but it’s a nice rhythm to follow and start with):
- Eat at the canteen
- Check the blacksmith for any upgrades you can afford
- Restock items at the item box
- Accept a quest
When you’re out there, you can get some free and temporary supplies (you don’t keep them after the quest is done) from the blue box at camp, but you can still enter your tent and refill item stocks if you forgot (or are in the middle of a long hunt, and you ran out).
While on a quest, get as many stat-buffing Spiribirds as you can, but there’s no need to get all of them before facing a monster. Pick up Endemic Life along the way – these almost always have a very relevant use in the hunt (e.g., Blast Toads knock a monster down, Escuregots give out a healing gas, etc.)
On quests with multiple monsters, you are not required to hunt all of them, but riding and attacking with large monsters does a lot of damage quickly to other large monsters. Non-quest-target monsters also have a lower initial resistance against mounting attacks (blue damage numbers). It’s very much worth it to mount a different monster than your quest target along your way, and ride it to your target and whack ‘em.
When fighting large monsters, it is important to know when it is your turn, or theirs. Most monster attacks have a tell or even a warning sound cue, and that tells us to get moving and get out of the way first. While some weapons will allow you to stand your ground and not take a scratch, most will prefer that we pick our moments and attack when a monster is vulnerable or otherwise recovering from a move that takes a long time. A patient hunter is a hunter that can finish a quest.
Whew that’s it for now, brave hunter! I hope to see you one day while we’re on the hunt – I’m sure you’ll be hella stronger than me already by then!
Monster Hunter Rise is now available for the Nintendo Switch.