Monster Hunter Rise Magnamalo PC screenshot

Monster Hunter Rise continues the proud tradition of poking oversized monsters with ramshackle things vaguely resembling weapons while accompanied only by household pets. It might drastically reduce your life expectancy, but you can't deny that it sounds like a remarkably fun way to spend the evening!

So if you're curious just what Monster Hunter Rise has to offer and how it differs from the excellent Monster Hunter: World, as well as what the freshly released PC port is like, allow me to share my thoughts after a rather eventful playthrough.

Video version of the review (~12 minutes)

PC Port Impressions

Unlike some of the PC ports released over the past few years that required numerous patches in order to become properly playable, Monster Hunter Rise worked like a charm for me from the very start. The only technical issue I encountered was a performance hitch whenever running water appeared on screen for the first time in a session. This was especially noticeable in the buddy area of the village as the gigantic waterfall would slash my FPS down to single digits, though thankfully the stuttering would quickly fade and the performance would return to being rock solid afterwards.

When it comes to the technical quality of the visuals, the PC port of Monster Hunter Rise mostly looks like a sharper, slightly cleaner version of what you might see on the Switch. So if you were hoping for drastic improvements outside of the framerate and resolution options, I'm afraid you won't find that here.

Monster Hunter Rise screenshot of the waterfalls

The waterfalls are lovely, but my game really didn't like to see them

However, while Monster Hunter Rise might not have the same sort of graphical fidelity as the more technically advanced Monster Hunter: World, it more than makes up for it with its charming art style. The world is just brimming with personality, and the same goes for many of the over-the-top characters and monsters you'll meet on your adventures. So even though the quality of the ground textures might be lacking for a PC game in 2022, that quickly stops mattering when you're leaping through the air towards a kung fu crane in the ruins of an old Japanese-style temple!

Similarly, your choice of controls doesn't really matter either. Both the mouse & keyboard combo and the gamepad work equally well and I've had no trouble switching between the two. That said, if you do decide to play Monster Hunter Rise with a mouse & keyboard, make sure to adjust your keybinds as the defaults are a little bit awkward for some of the more technical weapons.

So if you're here purely to check the quality of the PC port, I'm happy to say that Monster Hunter Rise is one of the good ones. It might not be a massive improvement over the Switch version, but it looks, runs and plays well, which is all I can really ask for.

New Additions

On the gameplay side of things, Monster Hunter Rise mostly sticks to the Monster Hunter: World formula, though with a couple of notable differences. The most important of these are the additions of the wolf-like Palamutes that you can ride around at high speed, the Wirebugs that grant you a massive degree of vertical mobility, and the tower defense inspired Rampage segments.

For the most part Palamutes function like everyone's favorite feline friends Palicos and will do their best to assist you in combat, even if this means latching directly onto a monster's nose in order to stun them! Outside of combat you can use them to zip around the maps, make large jumps you wouldn't be able to do on foot, and surprisingly enough, drift around corners like in kart racers in order to gain a speed boost! It's a bit silly, but I can't deny it's a great time!

Monster Hunter Rise petting the Palamute

Best of all, you can hug and pet all the good boys and girls!

The Wirebugs are a subtler but far more important addition. These handy little bugs allow you to essentially grapple towards thin air, which is both useful for navigating the maps and avoiding monster attacks. Once you get the hang of it, the Wirebugs offer impressive vertical mobility, especially when chained together with the new wall-running mechanics. At that point pretty much any mountain or hill becomes easily accessible, which makes for some highly engaging exploration.

Wirebugs are also really useful for dishing out damage as they can enable aerial attacks and a whole assortment of new combo moves. And if that just wasn't enough, the Wirebugs also happen to be instrumental in Wyvren Riding - a new ability that lets you puppeteer a giant monster in order to make it fight other monsters, slam into walls, and most excitingly, slam into other monsters! Doing so grants you a large chunk of extra loot, so as risky as it might be, it's well worth making an enemy out of two massive murder-machines at the same time!

Monster Hunter Rise screenshot of the Wirebugs

Wirebugs might just be the best addition to the series in years

Rampages I'm not a big fan of. In theory they serve as a tower defense inspired mini-game where you place a variety of traps and automated turrets, along with some you can man yourself, and then you gun down hordes of monsters as they charge at you. The whole thing sounds like it should be great fun on paper, but the execution leaves a lot to be desired.

The biggest issue is that Rampages range from being incredibly easy to incredibly frustrating, with very little in between. You're either mowing down all of the monsters before they can do much to you, or you're getting overwhelmed and constantly knocked to the floor. Neither extreme is all that fun, so besides getting some upgrades here and there, I mostly just ignored Rampages.

Monster Hunter Rise screenshot of the Rampage mode

It's a neat idea, but it needs a lot more work


Outside of these three major additions, Monster Hunter Rise feels like an arcadey, streamlined version of Monster Hunter: World. So if you're looking to get straight to the hunts and want as few diversions as possible, Monster Hunter Rise should make you very happy. On the other hand, if you're expecting to see the series make an ambitious step forward with its gameplay like it did with Monster Hunter: World, I'm afraid you might just leave disappointed with how closely it follows the established formula. But given how strong that formula is, it's hard to really blame Capcom for playing it safe.

After all, hunting giant monsters with equally giant weapons is every little kid's dream, and Monster Hunter Rise has some magnificent weapons! Every single one of them has unique mechanics and playstyles, every single one of them has plenty of tricks you can pull off, and every single one of them rewards skillful use with ever-more elaborate combos.

Monster Hunter Rise screenshot of a longsword attack

Unsurprisingly, fighting huge monsters with friends is pretty darn fun!

For example, the weapon you'll start the game off with by default is my personal favorite - the longsword. However, simply hitting a monster with the longsword is not going to get you far. In order to make it deal any sort of real damage you'll need to buff it up by unleashing a powerful yet slow chain of attacks, which first requires you to build up your spirit energy by doing basic attacks or simple combos.

When you first start using the longsword you'll be beyond clumsy and you'll probably spend a solid few minutes setting up your big attack, only to get smacked at the very end of it and sent right back to the start. But once you get some experience and learn how the monster you're hunting works, the longsword lets you become an overpowered anime character. You can fly through the air, parry every single attack the monster ever throws at you, and in true anime fashion, even dramatically sheathe your sword and let the monster think it has a chance before slicing it into ribbons!

This isn't unique to the longsword either. All fourteen of the weapons are remarkably well put together and offer a similar power trip, provided you're willing to stick with them and learn all of their intricacies. Combine this with a monster roster that steadily grows in power so you're never without a challenge, and you've got yourself a recipe for some highly addictive action!

Monster Hunter Rise screenshot of the food

Speaking of addictive, the food here looks way too delicious!

While this type of complexity does make Monster Hunter Rise a joy to sink one's teeth into, it does also create a big problem - how do you teach new players all of this? Well, if you know the answer I'm sure Capcom would love to hear it because Monster Hunter Rise has no idea!

The tutorials cover only the very basics of gameplay, while all of the important stuff you need to either painstakingly learn yourself through hours of trial and error during which your damage output will be pathetic, or simply by going to Youtube to watch a 10-minute tutorial on your favorite weapon. Neither option is ideal, but that's just what you'll have to do since your enjoyment of Monster Hunter Rise will drastically increase once you figure out just what your weapon of choice wants you to do with it.

So while this might go counter to every instinct you have for action games, my recommendation would be to immediately look up a brief tutorial for your weapon, head straight into the training area before even doing your first big hunt, and then practice some of the combos until you're confident with them. I know this isn't as fun as running straight at a monster and learning through experience, but given how tricksy and obscure some of the weapon mechanics are this is just something you'll have to do in order to set yourself on a good path.

Monster Hunter Rise screenshot of the player running away

And remember, running away is also a perfectly valid course of action!

Story and World Design

In keeping with the streamlined approach, both the story and the world design are comparatively basic. The story in particular is barely present throughout the campaign and mostly serves to string together the various monster hunts. Despite this, I'd still advise against skipping the dialogue as there is plenty of cheesy nonsense sprinkled throughout that will likely make you laugh, be that intentionally or not.

As for the world, it's essentially a playground. It's nice to look at and there's a couple of fun little attractions sprinkled throughout to make your hunts more memorable, but outside of that it's a lot less elaborate than what you might expect from Monster Hunter: World's successor. You don't even need to track monsters this time around - their exact position is marked at all times on the always-handy map!

Basically, both the story and the world are just there to push you from one monster hunt to another, perfectly willing to take a step back in order to let the excellent combat carry the whole experience. So while I would've liked to seen a bit more effort put into these elements, especially after just recently coming off Monster Hunter: World, I can't complain too much as all of this was always a side attraction. At the end of the day we're all here to smack monsters over the head with silly weapons, and when it comes to that, Monster Hunter Rise delivers in cat-themed spades! 

Monster Hunter World screenshot of a silkbind attack in use


Closing Thoughts

While it plays it a bit too safe for my liking, Monster Hunter Rise is still a phenomenal game and a worthy companion to Monster Hunter: World. Similarly, the PC port lacks some of the bells and whistles you might expect after Monster Hunter: World, but it's still well optimized and runs at a smooth framerate all the way through.

So if you're itching for some monsters to hunt and disturbingly delicious digital food to scarf down, Monster Hunter Rise is well worth checking out. But if you already own the Switch version, I wouldn't bother getting another copy as the improvements just aren't big enough to warrant another purchase.

Monster Hunter Rise screenshot of Kamura Village