My tenure in Monster Hunter World was long, arduous, and worth every infuriating death. The game cemented the series as one of my all-time faves and made Monster Hunter Rise my most anticipated game of 2021. Bar none. I spent so much time in the game that I got to know a lot of weapons like the back of my hand. They’re trusty and comfortable — just like the series itself for me at this point. But I also really, really want to master the rest in Monster Hunter Rise… And I’m not sure which side is going to win out.
Thankfully, my beloved Hunting Horn might just have my back yet again. Most weapons in Rise are very, very similar to their MHW counterparts. A lot of the extra nuance comes from super-moves via the new Wirebug system. The Hunting Horn, on the other hand, feels like a brand-new beast. In the demo it’s fast, furious, and still fills that signature support role I love.
What really sold me on Rise is nowhere to be found in the marketing material, though. it’s a special technique called “QTABS,” or “quick turn-around backwards slam.” The unique attack began as a glitch that Hunting Horn players exploited as a fast, powerful new attack. Capcom has kept it — and even refined it — over the years. Though it’s basically never mentioned in the list of weapon controls. I instantly checked to see if it was in Rise via the demo. Sure enough, there it was. And the old muscle memory instantly told me I can reacclimate myself to this new game.
I recently got to interview Ryozo Tsujimoto and Yasunori Ichinose (the producer and the director of Monster Hunter Rise, respectively). During our talk, they explained the Hunting Horn received extra love make it a more “action-oriented” weapon. And it certainly shows. I almost can’t believe how nimble and powerful it feels in my hands. At the same time, it lets me help and protect my friends who don’t play as much of the game as me with bard-like buffs as I whack away with the blunt instrument. It’s a great middle ground between my fear of messing with a good thing and wanting to try something new.
Not every change in Rise lands with me. I don’t love the non-diegetic objective markers, for instance. I’m also going to miss playing at 60 frames per second on my PC (at least for a little while). But they’re a small price to pay for so much more Monster Hunter to enjoy. Because one thing I’m not worried about changing is the roster of beasts to bash against.
MHW featured a fairly restrained bestiary compared to, say, Monster Hunter Generations Ultimate. The latter game pits you against a sentient beetle queen who builds a mech out of webs and ancient ruins. The tradeoff in that prior Nintendo Switch title was far, far rougher gameplay. I’m pinning my hopes on Rise bridging the gap.
The monster squad thus far features some returning favorites of mine (Mizutsune, the bubble-breathing luck dragon, for one). But I hope things get even wilder from there.
I’m spoiled; I know! I’ve been able to enjoy the best of both Monster Hunter worlds. Now I want it all in a single package. Plus I want it to feel as welcoming and familiar as ever before. It’s too much for any single game to achieve. But that’s what happens when you find a new favorite franchise — you start piling on expectations. I wish I could say writing about games put me above that sort of thinking, but… no.
Thankfully I’ll have my beautiful baby Hunting Horn to carry me (and my companions who won’t stop carting) through this time of transition. It’s exactly what I need to bridge the gap between the game in my head and the game I remember.