As we all rise to play the newest Monster Hunter game we’re noticing new things all over. The previous main entry Monster Hunter World drew quite the crowd and the DLC of Iceborne only did more for its popularity. However, this is the first real sequel to the series in quite a while, and it’s got quite the reputation to uphold. The real question is: Does Monster Hunter Rise maintain the core gameplay of its predecessor while still adding enough new content to set itself apart? Well, that’s what this list of differences is going to try to answer…
The Big Ones!
These are the changes that, for lack of a better word, change the game. They mostly cover new content, mechanics, and aesthetics. What’s most important is that they change the gameplay and player experience.
Showcased right on the cover and all over Rise’s promotional material, these canine companions made quite a splash. Joining the hunters alongside the Palicoes, Palamutes play a support role in more ways than one. Aside from fighting and granting buffs to their hunters, these large dogs serve as very convenient and practical mounts that hunters can ride at almost any time.
While riding a Palamute, hunters can chase more easily after fleeing monsters without having to worry about stamina drain. On top of that, hunters can do almost everything they can on a Palamute that they can on foot such as use items, gather, carve, and climb. Despite how fast it is, Palamute riding does have some limitations such as not being able to attack at full strength. However, an upside comes in the form of being able to customize your Palamute with weapons, armor, and abilities.
The Monster Hunter universe has an unusual obsession with insects, and Rise’s Wirebugs do nothing if not strengthen that argument. These bugs replace World’s Slinger/Grapple by allowing for quick movement as long as they have the energy. Hunters can aim almost anywhere, fire a Wirebug, and launch themselves a short distance. This allows for way more mobility and navigation, easily giving hunters the option to climb vertical surfaces and zip over large gaps.
Even though the Wiredash (described above) is the most-used maneuver, the bugs are still versatile. They also grant the Silkbind ability which allows hunters to entangle monsters in an attempt to mount them. Then there’s the Wirefall ability letting hunters launch themselves back into the fray after falling down. Lastly, there are set points where Great Wirebugs can be found and placed to launch hunters across the environment.
While previous MH titles have the option to mount monsters, it’s never been at Rise’s level. In World, there were only two ways to do so: Use the Grapple claw to attach to a specific part of the monster's body or jump on top of them from above. However, these are little more than fancy QTEs where you have to mash the attack button and hold on as long as you can. In Rise, once mounted, hunters can take near full control of a monster’s actions.
This can be an effective and fun tactic in many ways. When the monster is alone, mounting them can let the hunter launch them into walls and obstacles to deal heavy damage and knock them down. When another monster is involved, the hunter can try and mount either of them to initiate battle. While mounted, the hunter can urge the monster to attack, dodge, or move around. Build up enough power and the hunter can unleash a monster’s Mounted Punisher dealing lots of damage to the target. This adds a whole new aspect to monster conflicts and turf wars.
Petalace & Stat Boosts
In World, stats are boosted by eating at the canteen and using certain items. In Rise, those options still exist but there’s a new one that takes precedent. A new item known as the Petalace is introduced, appearing as a necklace made of flowers that can affect several of the hunter’s stats. The reason for the flowery design is due to a new form of endemic life, primarily Spiribirds, which look like bloated, glowing hummingbirds. By running into these creatures in the field, hunters can increase one of their prime stats (Health, Stamina, Attack, and Defense) temporarily during a hunt.
These creatures are found all over the field and can quickly stack to give hunters a quick boost when needed. They also take the form of other glowing creatures such as squids. Having a huge number of stat-boosting collectibles to find adds more to the exploration aspect.
MH tends to fill the maps with tons of animals, big and small. Some are just to look at, others are for catching, and in the case of Rise, they can act as items. Unlike the Spiribirds, these animals work like items and need to be collected before they can be deployed. While a few familiars like the toads from World return, there’s plenty of new creatures to meet. Rather than acting like environmental hazards that need to set off, collected creatures active upon deployment.
These animals serve various roles from elemental attacks to traps to simple recovery alternatives. There is a limit to how many can be carried and they don’t stack, but thankfully they don’t take up space in your Item Pouch. As a result, these creatures only exist out in the field, so be sure to make good use of them during the hunt.
The Little Ones!
While maybe not as significant as the other changes, sometimes it’s the little things that mean the most. The items on this list mainly cover the ways in which elements from the previous game are different.
The Dango Canteen
World had a canteen and cooking mechanic which, let’s be honest, none of us really took seriously. We don’t have time to mess around with food combos, so we pick the Chef’s Special, get a solid boost, and dash out of there. In Rise, the canteen is changed quite a bit. Instead of a huge platter, you get skewers with dango, a doughy Japanese treat. However, in addition to the standard stat boosts, you can pick three dango of your choice which actually affect the gameplay. This can be as simple as increasing how many materials you can gather to resisting falling on your butt.
Palico Support Types
The Palicoes in World only have their gear and a specific tool they carry into battle. The Rise Palicoes are more versatile and can choose one of several support types such as Healer and Fighter. They also get different skills that you can equip as you see fit. They still have their detailed gear and will learn new attacks as they level up. You can also change their behavior, which will affect how they behave when confronting monsters.
Focusing more on the Palamutes and Palicoes, it turns out they are more than just your partners. Previously in World, you only got one Palico partner, and all you could change about them was their equipment. Rise not only starts you off with two adorable partners, but gives you access to a facility which allows you to hire different partners with different skills. This is especially useful considering that your starting Palico can't change whatever support role you pick for them. This makes it so you can have the right team for the right hunt.
No Scoutflies or Tracking
If there’s one thing you can say about World, it’s that it definitely forces you to explore. You arrive at the camp and have to run around hoping that your Scoutfly friends pick up on monster tracks or fluids. It could be tedious at times, but it definitely felt like a real hunt. Rise simplifies this by literally marking quest-important stuff on your map. Both monsters and materials appear as bright dots that you just need to go to and do your thing. It reduces the exploration and mystery quite a bit in favor of faster gameplay.
This could be a big change, but it may be subtle enough to slip under the radar. World is on a huge scale and getting around mainly on foot only makes it feel bigger. The regions in Rise are still quite big, but the new elements make for an overall faster experience. It also applies to the harvesting mechanics which allow you to drain gathering points with just one action.
More Changes to Come…
Monster Hunter Rise did just come out of the gate with some updates quickly following behind. There are definitely more changes than the ones on this list, but these are arguably the most notable. The Switch console does not frequently handle games as large and detailed as those in the MH series. There will likely be more patches and updates as the player count continues to grow and discover more. With a PC release down the line, it would make sense for some players to wait and see what happens. Until then, Rise is a nice follow-up from World and we’re anxious to see more changes in the future.