If you’ve struggled to get into Monster Hunter and think that this is the one because your friends are telling you the game is more accessible…
Monster Hunter Rise has received plenty of quality of life improvements, as happens with every iteration.
The updates make things simpler. Herbs can automatically be turned into potions. You can auto-craft traps. The low-ranks fights are easier than ever.
But the truth is Monster Hunter Rise hasn’t flipped a magic switch that means this is the one. Oh, it’s absolutely a blast, and arguably the best it’s ever been, and even the most accessible it’s ever been, I’ll concede.
But if you’ve bounced off of the last three attempts to get into the series, the problem isn’t the Monster Hunter game. The problem is your introduction.
I first played Monster Hunter, like many western players, on the Nintendo Wii. Monster Hunter Tri had a demo that I played…shortly.
Or wait. That’s not quite right.
I first played Monster Hunter on the PSP. I picked the bow and spent about 20 minutes getting crushed by a giant rabbit (if memory serves).
And promptly quit.
There were no health bars, no damage numbers, and no suggestion I was making any progress whatsoever. To make matters worse, the bow requires you to hit specific parts of the monster to make even a meaningful impact. I got slapped around, dealt with imprisoning attack animations, and otherwise had no fun.
Ditto the Wii demo.
I had my fill. Monster Hunter wasn’t for me.
Then my cousin spent a thousand hours on Monster Hunter Tri and begged my brother and me to play with him when Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate came out for the Wii U.
At the time, there weren’t a whole lot of new games coming out on the console, so my brother shrugged, said what the hell, maybe the third time’s the charm, and picked up a copy.
I am happy to report the third time was the charm.
Now we’re Monster Hunter fanatics, or at least main stays (I put closer to 150 hours in per game than the thousands you regularly hear about online). I got Monster Hunter 4U, Generations, World, Icebourne, and now Rise.
Having traps be made automatically is handy, sure. Not having to track a monster with a paint pellet to figure off where it runs off to? Nice. (Even if the cordoned off sections of previous games were easier to traverse than World’s labyrinths.) No more warm and cold drinks is its own blessing, too.
But when you’ve jumped in to try Monster Hunter, how often are those the gates that kept you from diving in deep?
The updates make things easier when you’re already a fan, but they won’t help you become enamored with the game.
So what made me change my mind?
I had the right teacher.
Single-player is the worst way to learn Monster Hunter, full stop. If you’re buying into the series hoping to fall in love, a mediocre (if present) story isn’t the way. Sure, people manage it (somehow) (don’t ask me) (I’ll never understand it) (I think single-player hunting is mind-numbingly boring). But if it didn’t work for you in prior games, it won’t work for you in Rise. Because Monster Hunter is a multiplayer game.
Like in most progression-based multiplayer games, Monster Hunter is at its best when you experience every fight together. If your friend is already on the end game and is begging you to get into it, catch him next time. There will be another Monster Hunter game. Maybe another Monster Hunter Rise. And your chances of enjoying it will increase exponentially. If you start now, your friend will just be doing all the work for you. And that’s just no fun.
It may have quality of life improvements, but navigating Monster Hunter Rise is just as obtuse as it has ever been when it comes to joining a multiplayer lobby with your friends. It’ll take a bit of reading. Hopefully somebody to tell you which cat to talk to and which option to select. You’ll have to manage a short tutorial, some conversations, and more reading, and only more reading if you’re hoping to learn anything any way at all other than by doing.
(I don’t recommend it.)
Then, when you’re lobbied up, you’ll have to eat some food, pick a mission or join up, and ready up. Ultimately? Not hard, but a lot. This isn’t your standard join-on-friend-and-go accessibility. Manageable, yes, but emblematic of the series as a whole.
Rise has the leg up on World, though, since you don’t have to have seen cut scenes in order to play together, so that’s something.
I’m not trying to discourage you from attempting again to dive in deep into Monster Hunter. If you manage it, there’s a rewarding multiplayer game awaiting you. But do it right. Get a friend who won’t rush ahead. Who will happily explain the ropes, or take care of the traps, or help you figure out where to get the missing crafting materials you need.
And don’t expect things to be different.
Save the tutorial text, the Youtube walk-throughs, and the wiki dives for later. The best way to get into Monster Hunter is to play, not study. Pick a weapon (not the Bow) (I cannot stress enough that you don’t start with the Bow, or the light or heavy Bowgun; they’re not beginner friendly and have a whole extra set of resource management added on) (I recommend the Long Sword, Hammer, or Hunting Horn) (because those are what worked for us). So, pick a weapon. And get out there.
And make sure your friend(s) is committed to being along for the ride.
And if you don’t have any friends who play Monster Hunter…then what are you hoping for in the first place?