Monster Hunter Rise Is Tough To Get Into As A Newcomer

Monster Hunter Rise Is Tough To Get Into As A Newcomer
Screenshot: Capcom

Don’t beat yourself up if you can’t get into Monster Hunter Rise. Fans of the kaiju-killing series are legion, and this latest entry, out last week for Nintendo Switch, is arguably the buzziest game in the world right now. But it sure doesn’t make things easy for newcomers.

For all intents and purposes, I am new to Monster Hunter. I played about an hour of Monster Hunter World, which one colleague described as “nothing.” Given the apparent scale of these games, yeah, 60 minutes might as well be zero. ( pegs a completionist run of World at 355 hours.) But I’d heard Rise streamlined Monster Hunter’s intricate systems, and that it’d be a blast as a multiplayer game.

So, about that: Setting up multiplayer in Monster Hunter Rise is not as simple as popping into a Halo lobby or queuing up in Destiny. First, my roommate and I each spent one metric eternity going through all the character creator segments. We both went online, a process that involved not navigating menus (as it would be in any other game) but talking to a palico. I didn’t see where my friend’s invite went, so I opened up the list of open lobbies and just so happened to stumble upon his. I was able to pop into his game in a snap, which was a pleasant surprise, particularly given Nintendo’s notoriously wonky connection issues. Starting a mission, though, was a different beast.

My friend started an early quest — “Shady Monster,” the one where you’re tasked with taking out an Aknosom, whatever that is — which we figured would bring me along for the ride automatically, seeing as I was in his party and social hub. Not so. I tried to join his session by heading to the quest board, and very sensibly clicked on the “respond to join request” menu, which pulled up a list of missions I could join. I selected “Shady Monster” and ended up in a match with three strangers. Uh, what the hell?

Turns out, my friend should’ve just waited, and I should’ve just hit the first option on the quest board, “join hub quest.” By the time we actually started, y’know, hunting monsters, an hour had passed. Frankly, I don’t know if the wait was worth it. It turns out Monster Hunter Rise is still quite confusing.

Yes, you can ride the dog. (Screenshot: Capcom) Yes, you can ride the dog. (Screenshot: Capcom)

We successfully queued into “Shady Monster” together and immediately got lost. My dog attacked some peaceful herbivores who were doing nothing but minding their own business, munching on grass. This started a fight, which forced me to put them down, which made me feel guilty. Eventually, my friend and I found the monster we were supposed to kill. Notably, it did not have a health bar, so gauging progress was impossible. I died. Several times. We ended up failing the mission. Oops!

Next, Rise tasked us with taking down a Kulu-Ya-Ku, which appeared to be a flightless bird-lizard beast the size of an albertosaurus. Finding the thing was simple enough. (Pro tip: Head to the massive question mark icon on your map. Not sure why we didn’t do that the first time.) But once again, the lack of a health bar proved maddening. After taking an indeterminate beating, the Kulu-Ya-Ku would run away, thus forcing a brief chase sequence. Three chases later, it still wasn’t dead, a clear violation of the Video Game Rule Of Threes. Eventually, two other random players spawned into the mission and helped carry us to victory.

But it felt, to me, a hollow victory, completely unearned on account of the fact that I had no clue what the fuck I was doing. I’m so used to “Y” being the heavy attack button that I accidentally consumed all of my potions — that’s the action button for any equipped item — before I needed to use them. Holding down “L” and using “A” to cycle through items, rather than the directional pad, as one might expect, threw me constantly. I’m sure the veritable treasure trove of items I picked up along the way can all be used for crafting, or selling, or trading. I haven’t popped into those systems yet, overwhelmed as I already am by everything else.

Here’s the thing: I would very much like to get into Monster Hunter Rise. There’s so much to love here. The art, while fuzzy on Switch, is gorgeous, all vivid and inspired. Every corner of the game just oozes charm. The fact that you can ride your dumb dog absolutely rules. The music — my god, the music. Monster Hunter Rise is, on paper, my jam. And yet…as a newcomer, this one might take a moment to click.

Next I think I’ll give single-player, complete with all its tutorials, a fair shake. Truth is, I’d really, really like to fall in love with this long-running series that is beloved by so many people. For any series veterans reading this, perhaps you have some tips that could help a newcomer get up to speed? Or at the very least hit the point where I can convince my bosses to give me a day off to play? That’d be swell.

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  • I feel exactly the same way. So much about it seems to go against what you’d consider normal, I’m constantly accidentally having potions or using wrong buttons that I’m used to using in other games for similar actions. I’m getting used to it but that’s after having watched a number of “how to play Rise for beginners” videos. Still not sure how to join in a multiplayer game, I can get into a lobby but can’t seem to figure out what I have to do to play with them? Seems so pointlessly confusing.

    • When your in a lobby someone posts a quest in the hub area (near the canteen) and people join it from the board. You can’t play the village quests multiplayer, the game never really explains this.

      • Every time i’ve joined a lobby though nothing happens? It’s like nobody is picking a quest and I end up just leaving.

  • “Next I think I’ll give single-player, complete with all its tutorials, a fair shake.”

    This is where you are meant to start, so the confusion was bought on by yourself. Why do you think tutorials are actually made?

    • The tutorials aren’t especially great, and there’s a lot of stuff the game will just never tell you. The Rise tutorials are an improvement on World’s, but you’ll still need to research a bunch of stuff online to figure out how it’s supposed to work.

    • I’m just in a bit of shock over that being the end point of the article.

      “Yeah, since I didn’t bother learning how to play, or finding out what the buttons did, maybe I should do that now?”

    • I did single player first, been reading all tutorials and so on and still found it really confusing, there’s still a lot that doesn’t get outright explained and lots of things that aren’t made clear as to their purpose such as the Meowcenaries and Argosy or how to use them effectively. And if they do explain it, it’s not in a way that someone who has never played a MH game will understand without having to search for a more clear answer on the internet. At least that’s been my experience.

  • The online stuff is really just Nintendo’s shitty online system messing up the way MH online has always worked.

    Rise goes back to the old system of separate single and multiplayer quests (In World, every quest is single and multi), which sucks a bit, but the singleplayer quests are so badly undertuned that it’s basically impossible to fail them.

    Also, you’re not really supposed to use the L+Y/A setup for switching between items. You’re supposed to assign the items you need to the quick menu (L+right stick) and use them from there. It takes a little bit of setup, but it’s way easier than shuffling through everything.

    Overall, I think Rise feels better to play than World. It’s a little faster in terms of combat, and the stable framerate just makes everything a little smoother (unless you play World on PC in glorious 60fps, of course).

    I have some friends who are MH veterans who prefer Rise to World because to them, it feels more like an older game in the series. I think they’re idiots because those older games suck (I tried so hard to get into the Switch version of Generations but holy shit that game is awful), but hey, at least we can play MH together now.

    Also, monsters don’t need healthbars as you can visually see how healthy they are just buy looking at the monster and observing its behaviour. First it’ll have visible injuries from where you’ve broken parts of its body (and most monsters with tails can have them cut clean off), then it will start whiffing attacks more frequently, and finally it’ll start staggering around and drooling as it gets close to death.

    (Also, in Rise, your palico will tell you when a monster is close to being trappable if you’d prefer to trap, rather than kill, it.)

  • So you skipped the tutorials, went straight into MP and your complaining about the game being tough to understand?

  • I haven’t played a MH game in years and I played with a friend who was a complete noob. We had no issues doing online matches (apart from a brief bit of confusion as to whether Village quests could be done online or not) and we spanked many monsters and had fun being punted across the map. If you can’t read the instructions provided by the game, and it gives a shitload of them, you’re the problem, not the game.

  • I felt the same way when I played my first Monster Hunter (Monster Hunter Tri on the Nintendo Wii). I wish there was an easy fix to getting started but all I can say is to play single player and give it time. Once you’ve figured it out, Monster Hunter is awesome. You’re lucky also in that the quality of life changes in Rise make it even better. Once upon a time you didn’t even see the little damage numbers when you hit your monster (as in Rise), you had to gauge its health off behaviour alone.

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