Monster Hunter Rise or World? Which game is better?

Turf war.

Monster Hunter fans have had to wait more than three years for a new entry in this power-selling franchise. With Monster Hunter Rise launching exclusively on Nintendo Switch this week, and with critics having now weighed in – read our Monster Hunter Rise review here – let’s look at which game is better: Monster Hunter Rise or Monster Hunter World?

When it was originally unveiled last summer, there was plenty of scepticism surrounding Monster Hunter Rise. After the terrific triumph of Monster Hunter World, followed up by the spectacular Iceborne expansion, news that the next game in the series would be focusing on Nintendo’s handheld immediately sparked questions as to how much of a step down Monster Hunter Rise would be from a technical standpoint.


Monster Hunter Rise vs. Monster Hunter World: Presentation

From The Legend of Zelda: Breath of Wild and Skyrim to DOOM: Eternal, the Nintendo Switch has continued to surprise us with the scale and fidelity of its software library, even if it has to occasionally rely on tricks such as cloud streaming shortcuts for games like Hitman 3.

Side by side, Monster Hunter World is easily the more technically accomplished game of the two. The sheer scale and detail of its busy biomes outmatches Monster Hunter Rise, though not by a huge degree. The developers at Capcom have been immensely clever with their latest game, adopting a more vertical approach and creating maps that are begging to be climbed and scaled.

This is very much a case of top-notch presentation versus portability. If you prefer playing Monster Hunter on-the-go or curled up on the sofa in handheld mode, then cutting edge visuals really don’t matter.

Monster Hunter Rise vs. Monster Hunter World: Innovation

Over the course of its seventeen year history, Monster Hunter has gradually introduced new features. Some, like Palico companions, go on to become core mechanics whereas others, like swimming, have been shelved.

Monster Hunter World changed up the formula in a number of interesting ways. When it came to expanding the series’ trademark action gameplay, it introduced the Slinger – an arm mounted attachment capable of harvesting projectiles from your surroundings, then firing them at monsters. Iceborne evolved this into the Clutch Claw which added the ability to latch onto targets while giving players new moves for each of the 14 weapon classes.

Meanwhile, Monster Hunter Rise has invented the Wirebug. Channelling your inner Spider-Man, you can use this device to swing through the air or zip towards terrain and monsters. Much like the Clutch Claw, it adds a whole host of new moves to your arsenal called Silkbind attacks. The extra mobility and utility the Wirebug affords outmatches the Slinger, hands down.

Monster Hunter Rise vs. Monster Hunter World: Accessibility

One common question asked about Monster Hunter Rise is whether it’s easier than Monster Hunter World. Having blitzed through the main story quests in less than a dozen hours, we pondered the same question. In a nutshell, Rise is certainly more approachable and forgiving, but it’s far from being a cakewalk.

The aforementioned Wirebug, along with powerful new Palamute and Palico companions, definitely tip the odds in your favour, even when throwing down against the game’s most fearsome monsters. The companions alone can dish out heavy damage while also drawing a target’s attention, while the Wirebug empowers each weapon with deadly special attacks and easier ways of repositioning for the optimum attacking angle.

That air of easiness definitely begins to fade as you start to tackle high rank assignments. Issued via the Gathering Hub, these encounters are clearly designed for multiplayer, dialling up the total hit points and lethality of the Monster Hunter Rise bestiary.

In terms of overall accessibility, Rise is the better choice. Although World made huge strides in streamlining the established formula and making it more player-friendly, this latest game goes even further. From the way it divides single player and co-op content to the spread of new mechanics that can help dominate monsters, Monster Hunter Rise doesn’t kneecap its monsters, it simply gives you even more inventive ways to dispatch them.

Monster Hunter Rise vs. Monster Hunter World: Impact

There’s a reason why Monster Hunter Rise isn’t grabbing as many 9s or 10s as Monster Hunter World: impact. For those who have followed the series for years now (some of us tracing our hunting careers back to OG Monster Hunter) World was such a massive step up, especially when compared to earlier entries in this now beloved series.

Capcom had struggled for so long to catch the eye of western audiences, many writing the series off as being both overrated and overly complicated. Those rough edges were worn down, Monster Hunter World banishing much of the needless busywork to focus more on action.

Somehow, Monster Hunter Rise continues to refine and streamline while also layering on its own interesting new ideas. I’ve found the game almost impossible to put down, but even I can’t argue that it’s had more of an impact on the series than Monster Hunter World did.

That doesn’t mean Monster Hunter Rise isn’t the better game, though. This is the most fun I’ve had with the series since picking up Monster Hunter Freedom 2 and it just goes to show that Capcom’s landmark action RPG is still best enjoyed as a handheld experience.

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Written by
Senior Editor bursting with lukewarm takes and useless gaming trivia. May as well surgically attach my DualSense at this point.