totally playable monster hunter rises solo. You can complete all the main storylines without jumping into an online lobby. Kill this, capture that, go out and carve another. It’s a straight-through line that’s easy enough, even for a complete beginner (you’ll probably get knocked over by a few horns and claws along the way).
But that’s not the best way to experience Monster Hunter. Not to mention Monster Hunter Rise – the latest game in Capcom’s long-running series. Originally released on Nintendo Switch, then on PC, and now on all other consoles, Monster Hunter Rise is a fascinating entry in the acclaimed action RPG series. It was the first game after Monster Hunter World; the game that dragged the franchise into the mainstream. Rise is different from World: it’s easier, more readable, and more “arcade”.
Hunting in Rise is fast, fun and crazy. With the help of your Palico and Palamtue (a cat and a dog in Monster Hunter parlance), you can mount into battle, find your prey, and set out to take it down. Break out its body parts, slicing off all the parts it needs to attack you, and weaken its defenses, and eventually you’ll kill it–or capture it. Congratulations; you and your pet caught a monster. Now, slice it apart and see what you can get out of it.
The core game loop is the very basis of Monster Hunter’s survival. If you’re not overwhelmed by the paced way the game forces you to engage monsters, you’re probably better off looking elsewhere for excitement. But once it hooks you — or claws — there’s really no other game quite like Monster Hunter. It’s the kind of game you can play for five hours without really noticing, or just play for 20 minutes “so you can catch another Rathalos” because you want the attack boost bonus for wearing full dragon armor.
Early in my career, I was lucky enough to be introduced to Monster Hunter by a good friend. As an enabler, he managed to get me a copy of Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate on the 3DS. A greasy takeaway, a case of beer, and a sleepless night, I’m hooked. My Sherpa deduced that a set of Tetsucabra armor would get me through the early game with ease, so we started the game killing about 20 rock-loving frogs as I started to master the Insect Glaive’s nimble controls. I practiced my moves, figured out how to compliment his hammer style of play, and bought myself some nice gear.
“This is Monster Hunter,” he smirked at me as we crossed the threshold from low to high together, “you haven’t even scratched the surface.” He was right. I played at least another 200 hours on the 3DS and my thumbs were blistered and then callused from rubbing against the nasty rubber bumps on the New 3DS model. I hunted ancient dragons, tiger/dragon hybrids that looked like they were made of gunpowder, proud lion beasts with magma claws and flaming manes. I am fascinated.
I’ve played every Monster Hunter game and expansion since. But I don’t think I would have done it without an eager friend showing me the (admittedly complicated) ropes. Now, I wouldn’t have gotten through Monster Hunter Rise for the third time if my patient partner hadn’t let me push the cart – again – as I learned that Devilhjo can be really aggressive at high levels. I wouldn’t take it lightly without showing me how armor set bonuses work, or why getting the right gems in your gear is essential if you want to see those blue crit flares popping up Learn the story of Kamura Village.
That’s why Monster Hunter Rise coming to Xbox Game Pass is the best thing ever to happen to the series. Capcom had put the series on the service before – Monster Hunter World was a big draw for it, a few years ago – but that game was pretty old. It’s seen its day in the sun, and people chasing new, shiny games have turned to Outriders or Destiny 2’s latest expansion, or something else.
Monster Hunter Rise was added to Game Pass last week, the same day the game arrived on consoles other than the Nintendo Switch. I’ve seen internet forums and social media posts extolling how good it is – and I couldn’t be happier. This is probably the best entry point for the series; with incredible tutorials, countless quality of life improvements, improved mobility and traversal options, and some of the best new monster combat the series has seen in years (especially It was the Magnamalo fight that was a highlight).
With Xbox Game Pass, the barrier to entry is all but removed: Capcom won’t ask you to pay over £40 for a game that might not be right for you. All you need is a free night and your console storage, and you just might find your next gaming obsession – for the cost of a monthly subscription to Game Pass.
Even better, the game’s service finally gives carte blanche like me to let my buddies know the secrets of gaming’s best action RPG franchise. I don’t have to convince diehards to drop their cash, or join a complex MMO-like service (sorry, Monster Hunter World, but you end up being very inaccessible and top-heavy). “Come to Kamura Village,” I can say, The weather is mild, and we’ve got some great tutorials to teach you how to use the Switch Ax you’ve always loved.”
With wirebug technology, automatic map markers, a refined hint system, and more, Monster Hunter Rise makes getting started with the system a breeze. Your earliest hunts are probably one of the easiest in the entire series, and the overall difficulty of the game has been lowered to appeal to a wider audience. There are even some easy combos you can type into the controller to make you feel proficient: a simple knowledge of dodging scrolls, blocking, or iframes will easily get you into Rise’s end game. Any Elden Ring or Dark Souls player will feel right at home here, the doors are wide open.
We haven’t seen the impact of Monster Hunter Rise’s arrival on the service yet, but I’m excited: Monster Hunter was already huge, but after two years of being shut out from Xbox and PlayStation players, it’s finally time for the world See why I love Rise as much as I do.
Now is the perfect time to try your hand at Monster Hunter, I promise.
Monster Hunter Rise is out now on PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, PC and Nintendo Switch. It’s available on Xbox consoles and PC through Xbox Game Pass. You can check out our best Monster Hunter Rise beginner tips here.