Yes, with Monster Hunter Rise releasing on Playstation 4 and 5, and Xbox One and Series S/X, it absolutely brings tears to my eyes. But, understand, that’s tears and tears. “Wait, didn’t you just type the same word twice?” Not quite.
Anyone who knows me understands how much of a fan I am of the Monster Hunter series. I endure jabs almost daily from a certain Seasoned Gamer for my love and appreciation of the greatness found in these games. But, while I can certainly acknowledge that the Monster Hunter series isn’t for everyone (no game really is, except for Tetris), I am thrilled that a new audience can now enjoy this wonderful game. Seeing this new audience enjoying a game that has brought me so much joy absolutely brings tears to my eyes.
By the way, if you want to get up to speed on the game itself, please check out our review for Monster Hunter Rise when it originally launched on the Nintendo Switch. You can find that review here:
For this article, I wanted to go over a few differences that I noticed between the Switch version and the version on Xbox Series X that I have been playing. I imagine that the Playstation 5 version is near-identical to this Series X port, but I cannot attest to it personally, nor can I say how well the PS4 or Xbox One versions play. Given that the game is releasing on Game Pass, I figured this would be the audience that will most likely give it a try with no real strings attached. While I will not delve too far into explaining much of the game itself (the posted review still holds purpose, after all), I will go over a few things to expect for this crowd.
Before that, let’s dive into the differences that I noticed on the Series X. This is where the other side of “tears” comes into play. After booting the game and creating my character, I began walking around Kamura Village, the location where you begin the game. This brought tears to my eyes, but not of the teardrop variety. The screen tearing was on an insane level, unlike anything I noticed in the Switch version, docked or undocked. Going through the menu options, I was delighted to see a plethora of graphics options. However, none of them solved the screen tearing issue.
This may be something that is addressed in a future patch, but, in the mean time, I just sucked it in and accepted the reality. My tears would be accompanied by tears, so on I went. While out hunting monsters, it was rare that I noticed the screen tearing, however, because the wondrous graphical effects filled the screen, and the impressive monsters required my focus.
On the Switch, Monster Hunter Rise was impressive for what it could accomplish on that system. But on the Series X, it is absolutely buttery smooth. The frame rate holds up very well, even with all of the graphical bells and whistles engaged and set to max. While the game isn’t the finest display of graphics you’ll ever see (Monster Hunter World is far more impressive in this vein), the art direction is charming and beautiful, to the point that the game spaces will have your jaw dropping in points. Mixed with the Crisco frame rates, the game is even more enjoyable to play than its still-incredible Switch counterpart.
Another thing that impressed me, especially since I wasn’t even thinking about it at first, is the loading times. In the Switch version, once you accept a quest, you have to wait for a few moments for the quest to load in. Once you finally get the green light to set off on your quest, you still must wait for a few more moments while the area itself loads in. It’s not a horrendous wait time, but it is there. In the Series X version, however, load times are nearly non-existent. It had me remembering the old cartridge games from my youth, where you instantly loaded into an area once you selected it or went there. That’s how it is, here: you press the button to set off on your quest, and the next second, you’re in. There’s no time to take a breath while preparing for the loading; once you press that button, it is on!
There is a strange filter that the Switch version uses, making characters have a bit of a “sewn together” quality to them. This relic remains in the Series X version, but it is much less pronounced. The graphics pop with a greater degree of fidelity, even without reaching the heights of MH World. Witnessing these upgraded graphics out in the field, with giant monsters and all sorts of effects thrown every which way, manages to impress considering the concoction of underlying systems interweaved together. No doubt, a contingency of players will scoff at the graphics, proclaiming them to not be impressive enough for their liking. But, as in all Monster Hunter games, it’s the gameplay that truly shines, and the increased frame rate found here is much more desirable than any ground-breaking graphics. Still, what is here remains very pleasing to the eyes, especially with the added touches and upgrades.
One negative that must be mentioned is the lack of Sunbreak at the start. I cannot emphasize enough how much the Sunbreak expansion adds to the Monster Hunter Rise experience, and, while there is certainly plenty to do and discover in the base game, including a large amount of bonus and optional quests and monsters that were added after the original Switch release, Sunbreak is one of those expansions that feels necessary once you play it. It honestly is one of the greatest expansions to a game that I can remember playing. Thankfully, it will not be a long wait as the Sunbreak expansion is set to release for these other consoles sometime during the Spring. In the mean time, there is plenty to experience, including a host of end game activities that the original on the Switch was sorely lacking.
Beyond these differences, the game is the same incredible experience as the original Monster Hunter Rise on the Switch. It can be daunting for new players, especially with so little explained during the game. There is a ton of depth in the game, and while there are plenty of tutorials in the game, it can still be bewildering trying to figure out all of the game’s systems.
My advice for new players is to be sure to delve into the options found in the menus, and take some time to read about the systems. Then, go to the practice area and try out the weapons, paying attention to the combos and abilities of each weapon, keeping in mind the complexities of each and figuring out which goes well with your style of play. There are slower, methodical weapons, and there are lightning fast, flashy weapons, along with everything in between. Each presents a completely different play style, along with unique systems and versatility among them, making the game feel much different depending on the chosen weapon. I’ve heard plenty of stories of people hating their time with the game until they tried a specific weapon that clicked with them.
There are a lot of systems that constantly get introduced, including well after the credits role. Anyone who has played a Monster Hunter game knows that when the credits run, the game is still getting started. Many more systems are still introduced well after the “end of the game.” And more monsters, along with special end game types, will make an appearance during this time. So something to keep in mind is to simply relax. There is a lot of game to learn, but you don’t need to know even half of it to enjoy playing the game. As you play, you’ll understand more and more, with aspects suddenly making sense one after the next. Resist the urge to feel like you need to know every single thing, and enjoy the game on your own terms.
I cannot overstate how overjoyed I am to see Monster Hunter Rise on these other systems, with more people being able to now enjoy it. It truly is a fantastic game, one that places gameplay above all else. And I’m excited to hunt alongside those of you hunting monsters for your first time, as well as those of you coming over from World, ready to experience the new delights that Rise has to offer. Happy hunting to each of you!