- Assassin’s Creed Mirage Best Outfits - November 29, 2023
- Starfield Contraband Guide – Interstellar Smuggler - September 21, 2023
- Equilibrium Honkai Star Rail Guide – Become Stronger Than Ever Before - June 12, 2023
The Monster Hunter series was an anomaly in the industry for the longest time. Gamers that loved it really loved it, but many couldn’t see what all the fuss was about. There was a lot of busy work in the older Monster Hunter games, and they were relegated to handheld systems for many years. Make no mistake, the handheld games are superb, but it’s hard to convince the average person of that when playing for extended periods felt like it was warping the bone structure in your hands.
And then 2018’s Monster Hunter World was released and changed everything. World achieved the impossible and presented Monster Hunter in an attractive way to newcomers while respecting series staples. To this day, Monster Hunter World is Capcom’s most successful release ever.
If you’re a newcomer, there’s never been a better time to get into Monster Hunter. World is still popular, and the new kid on the block, Monster Hunter: Rise, is going from strength to strength. Both are critically acclaimed and offer hundreds of hours of gameplay, but which is the best? I hope to answer that here.
Main Differences between Monster Hunter World & Rise
- Monster Hunter: World has stunning visuals far surpassing Rise, which was developed to run on the Nintendo Switch. I’ll dive into this one in more detail later, but at face value, Rise looks like a tremendous graphical downgrade from World.
- Traditionally, Monster Hunter combat is ‘grounded’ with a select few weapons or abilities able to throw a Hunter into the air. This holds true in World but not so much in Rise, where combat has more verticality.
- Monster Hunter: World uses the same Mounting mechanic as the older games. This system has been completely reworked in Rise and replaced with Wyvern Riding, allowing the Hunter to temporarily control monsters.
- Tracking your target Monster is an integral part of hunts in Monster Hunter: World using the Scout Fly mechanic. This has been removed in Rise, and Monster locations are permanently visible on the map.
- Palico’s are the unsung feline heroes of the Monster Hunter universe, providing buffs and companionship on dangerous quests. For the first time ever, Rise gives you the option to bring a Palamute on hunts instead. Palamutes are large dog-like creatures, and you can even ride them into battle.
- Some quests task the Hunter with foraging for specific materials. In World, these quests can take a while, as objectives aren’t marked on the map and must be found naturally. In Rise, missions like this are simplified, with markers highlighting key locations.
I think it’s best to address the presentation first, as it’s the big elephant in the room. There are mighty differences in how World and Rise look, but one thing constant between them is the fantastic audio. Monster Hunter’s thundering orchestral score is full of masterpieces performed by the Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra. The soundtrack is so beloved they even perform live concerts.
Each piece of music is tied to a Monster, so if you fight a Rathalos in World, the accompanying tune will also be in Rise. Both games are tied for sound, with epic music accompanying battles against legendary dragons. My favorite in the series is only in Rise and Monster Hunter 4, but I can’t mark World down for this one.
Monster Hunter World
I mentioned the graphics as one of the main differences between the two titles, and I can’t overstate just how pretty Monster Hunter World is. I’m a firm believer that graphics don’t make a game good. However, gorgeous visuals help to make environments immersive.
In World, the maps are teeming with endemic life, and each unique environment is instantly recognizable. Locales are alive with unique flora and fauna, and World’s maps usually have a fair bit of verticality to them with stunning vistas if you look for them.
Every area has a unique feel, from the gnarled vines and dense foliage of the Ancient Forest to the muggy plains of the Wildspire Waste. The detail is staggering at times, and it’s hard to imagine that the series spent almost a decade prior on handheld consoles. The Iceborne DLC shows off Capcom’s prowess at environment building even further with the Hoarfrost Reach locale. I rarely see snow done as well as it is in Monster Hunter World, and it feels like you’re playing in an unforgiving, frozen wasteland.
Naturally, Monsters have never looked as good as they do in World. Iconic beasts like Rathalos and Nargacuga almost look real, and all the added particle effects make their attacks look downright scary. Fireballs look like they would burn a Hunter to a crisp, and crazy abilities like Energy Blasts are as dangerous as they are beautiful.
Monster Hunter Rise
It almost seems unfair to compare Rise, a title optimized for the Nintendo Switch, to one of the best-looking games last gen. Because of hardware limitations, Rise was never going to look as good as World, and that gap is even more noticeable if you play on a PC.
With that out of the way, if you keep your expectations in check, Rise is still a pretty game and a massive upgrade from its handheld predecessors. Environments are just as varied as in World but less detailed. Rise cleverly distracts from this with its Wirebug/Silkbind moves which I’ll touch on later, but they are stylish and offer a beautiful visual flare to combat.
Monsters still look great, if a little bland compared to World’s offerings. Particle effects are understandably reduced, and some of the real ‘showstopper’ attacks lack the same gravitas because of it.
Every environment in Monster Hunter Rise is colorful, and although they seem a little muted, the map design is as solid as ever. Areas are certainly less complex in Rise, but it doesn’t feel like a negative. Plenty of well-designed locales are perfect for a scrap with a giant beast; ultimately, that’s what you want in a Monster Hunter game.
Armor sets still look great in Rise, and the added Armor for Palamutes is vibrant and detailed. Even with the limitations, cosmetic customization is mind-blowing, and you can express your individuality whether you want to be clad in heavy armor or not.
If you’re a Switch owner, you’ll know that many games suffer from lousy inconsistent frame rates on the platform. Rise is so well optimized that the game rarely drops below 30FPS. Nothing kills immersion like performance issues and stutters (I’m looking at you, Pokemon Scarlet/Violet), and considering how much goes on in chaotic hunts, it’s admirable how well Nintendo’s workhorse runs Monster Hunter Rise.
Amount of Content
Monster Hunter games have never been bastions of intricate storytelling and complex narrative. Instead, their charm and replayability come from the sheer amount of content. From monster count to quests and endgame activities, these all play a vital role in a game that can consume hundreds of hours of your life. So, which title offers more?
Monster Hunter World
- Large Monsters – 71
- Small Monsters – 23
- Grand Total – 94
Monster Hunter World has well over a dozen locales if you include the Arena maps and an impressive monster count. Every monster has a unique set of armor you can craft with its materials, which becomes a truly dizzying amount if you include High Rank and Master Rank variants.
There are 14 different weapon types in World. Each weapon has an extensive list of variants the Hunter can build with monster parts, and there are so many it’s unrealistic to imagine owning them all without investing thousands of hours into the game.
A generous list of Story, Hub, and Event Quests adds hundreds of unique scenarios. When a Hunter beats the main story in Astera, they can enjoy a completely new one with the Iceborne DLC and the new hub world, Seliana. For endgame content, Monster Hunter World challenges the player to tackle the Guiding Lands, a mysterious area with several environments that must be painstakingly managed. This is a grindy process, and many of the most challenging battles in the game are hidden behind it.
I’ll touch on Siege Battles more in the DLC section, but these unique quests put Hunters in fights on a far larger scale than ever before. One particular battle can be played with over 10 Hunters as you each form parties to take an enormous Monster down. If you’re successful, you can access coveted rewards and spend a very long time just fighting this foe on repeat.
Monster Hunter games are known for their ridiculous amount of content, and World brings the heat in this department. Admirable, considering it’s the series’ first game using a brand-new engine.
Monster Hunter Rise
- Large Monsters – 75
- Small Monsters – 34
- Grand Total – 109 (This figure will increase with the upcoming Title Update 5)
Monster Hunter Rise may be overshadowed by World in the graphics department, but that limitation doesn’t extend to content. Monster Hunter Rise has the largest monster count in the entire series, excluding Generations 4 Ultimate.
As with World, every monster has a suit of armor and multiple variants to go with each rank. Weapon customization is the same, with an extensive tree to explore for each. There are so many to craft the average player won’t even use 10% of them.
There are fewer locales in Monster Hunter Rise, but it’s a negligible difference, and even though the maps are simpler in design, there’s plenty to explore. One unique addition to Rise is Rampage Missions, a hunting and tower defense hybrid. These Rampages are rough if you play solo but are fantastic with friends.
There’s a crazy amount of quests in Rise, easily into the hundreds, and although Rise doesn’t have the Guiding Lands like World, it has a couple of unique additions that are arguably even better. Rise introduces Follower Quests to the game, where you can bring NPCs to battle alongside you.
World has the Guiding Lands, but I prefer Rise’s Anomaly Investigations. I’ll touch on these more in the DLC section, but they offer a much greater variety of Monsters to battle without the need to constantly grind the mode if you don’t want to.
Gameplay & Core Mechanics
Coming from the same series, Monster Hunter: World and Monster Hunter: Rise share many similarities. Broadly speaking, both games capitalize on the same gameplay loop, but there are a few significant differences between the two.
Monster Hunter World
Tracking your target down is an integral part of the World, and Hunters close in on their prey with the help of Scout Flies that narrow down the monster’s whereabouts. This can be a little annoying as the Scoutflies sometimes get confused, but it adds to the hunt and makes quests feel more like events instead of simple kill contracts.
I’ve mentioned the map complexity already, but once you know your way around each locale, you can use dozens of natural traps in combat. These reward knowledgeable Hunters, and you can lure your Target into areas where you have the advantage.
Fighting feels faster-paced than the handheld titles, but not by much, and the planned, methodical approach to battles is usually the best. The Iceborne DLC added the Clutch Claw into the game, and it’s a point of contention because it almost feels mandatory. The Clutch Claw allows you to tenderize areas on monsters to take more damage and launch targets into walls.
Mounting, a staple of the previous games, makes a triumphant return in World, and Hunters can make full use of the map verticality to knock their foes down with relentless assaults from above.
Monster Hunter Rise
Compared to World, Rise is much more focused on getting you into the action as fast as possible. Monsters appear as small icons on the map, and additions like Wirebugs and Palamutes can get you into the fight within seconds. This does take a legacy element out of hunting which some players may miss, but it feels good when you want to get stuck in.
Wirebugs are the new gimmick in this title and are used to quickly traverse the map, climb walls and evade attacks. These same bugs are used for Silkbind Attacks, flashy abilities that are different for every weapon. These abilities give combat more nuance than ever, and you can customize them to suit your playstyle.
Silkbind abilities make for fast-paced battles, but they aren’t mandatory if you really hate them. You can happily hunt without them even though you miss out on valuable damage. It pays to be aggressive in rise, and fighting is arguably less systematic and more reactionary. This fast pace makes some dull monsters (like Jyuratodus, for example) much more exciting to fight.
Arguably the most significant change to combat is the removal of monster mounting, a feature that’s been a mainstay in the series for years. Mounting has been replaced by Wyvern Riding, which grants the Hunter complete control over a monster for a short while. Wyvern Riding lets you ride monsters into battle and attack your target for incredible damage.
Multiplayer has been a series staple of Monster Hunter games for a long time. Some of my most cherished gaming memories will always be epic hunts hunched over my Nintendo 2DS (yes, I had the console that looked like a slice of toast) with friends. Being a part of a hunting party is at the core of the Monster Hunter experience, so which title does it better?
Monster Hunter World
Nothing beats Monster Hunter with friends, but sadly with World, it almost feels like it’s hellbent on spoiling your fun. World has one of the most obtuse systems in place for joining your friends and a confusing clan creator to go with it. If you’re a member of multiple clans, you can’t quickly join your friends if they are in a different one to you, and on console, you will need to sit through punishing load times jumping between lobbies.
The most baffling part of Worlds Multiplayer is story quests. If you’ve got your buddies with you, they can’t even join your hunts until you’ve seen the target monster on your own for the first time. That means you must start a quest on your own, track down the monster, watch a cutscene, and then abandon the mission before restarting it with your friends.
Remember, Monster Hunter World doesn’t show the target’s location on the map, so this process can easily take over 10mins. That’s 10 mins where your team has to patiently wait for you.
Despite the hurdles, it’s still worth suffering through World’s clunky infrastructure, as hunting with friends is incredibly fun. Weapon classes are balanced, and even though some are absolutely better at certain things, using your favorite is never a hindrance to your team.
Hub Quests and Event Quests thankfully dodge the cutscene issues, and over the years, World has amassed an impressive list of missions to challenge with friends. Monster Hunter World has an ambitious Squad System allowing up to 16 Hunters to exist in the same instance. Each quest is restricted to 4 Hunters at a time but relaxing in a bustling Hub full of Hunters showing off their gear is a unique, enjoyable experience and something rarely seen outside of fully-fledged MMOs.
World allows Hunters to partake in impressive cinematic quests against dangerous Monsters, including Fatalis, a Black Dragon whose a legendary part of Monster Hunter lore.
Monster Hunter Rise
Rise has a far more straightforward multiplayer interface than World and remedies many of its issues. The Hub is the home of multiplayer quests, and to join your friends, all you need is for them to be on your friend list and the 4-digit code for the lobby. Alternatively, you can leave the Hub unlocked, and players will naturally leave and join throughout the session.
Hubs are restricted to just 4 Hunters in Rise, so the community feeling you’ll get from populated World lobbies is gone, but as quests are limited to 4 players, it can be overlooked. You can leave your hunts open for random players to join, and even though content is still being added, there are many quests to conquer. Rise still has cutscenes, but they play at the start of missions for everyone if someone in the party hasn’t battled the target monster before.
In the Sunbreak DLC, players can take on Anomaly Investigations, and in this mode, you can join random Hunters against ‘Afflicted’ monsters where you’ll never know what you’ll face. These feel like Strikes from Destiny, a playlist you can use when you don’t have any particular objective and just want to hunt. I’ve spent hours on this mode helping other Hunters, and it’s rewarding to assist in brutal battles while earning valuable crafting materials.
Likely due to system limitations, the spectacular Siege Quests from World are absent in Rise. There are still massive monsters to conquer, but there’s a noticeable reduction in scale. Still, seeing your fellow Hunters bound around the stage Wyvernriding and sailing through the air on their Wirebugs is as awesome as it sounds, and the multiplayer combat is as slick as ever.
Monster Hunter games are known for their high-quality DLC. Traditionally, these were exclusive to Japan under the guise of G-Rank expansions. In the West, we used to get the games a year later, but with the expansion built in. Now, those expansions come in the form of Iceborne and Sunbreak for World, and Rise, respectively.
Monster Hunter World: Iceborne
Iceborne introduces a new base of operations, new locals, and unforgiving Master Rank quests. Within the first few hunts, your high-rank gear from the base game is completely obsolete, forcing you to upgrade.
Many new monsters enter the fray, including the flagship Elder Dragon, Velkhana. Even with excessive grinding, Iceborne is a challenging DLC, and many players note the punishing difficulty increase. This is great for veteran Hunters and those seeking a challenge.
After the main story is beaten, Hunters can access the Guiding Lands. This area is split into several different biomes you level up through hunting. Once you’ve leveled up specific areas high enough, you’ll unlock battles against some of the most formidable monsters in the game. The downside is, leveling up one place negatively impacts the others, so there’s an odd balancing act to maintain. If you enjoy grinding, this is a non-issue, but it feels like an odd inclusion.
The best thing Iceborne brings to the table is a small selection of battles designed for Hunters with the best gear in the game. Fan favorites like Alatreon are reimagined with World’s stunning graphics and bring some of the most terrifying beasts in the Monster Hunter universe to life. The Fatalis fight is one of the hardest and most beloved in Monster Hunter history and serves as a fitting reward for Hunters who manage to make it to the end of Iceborne.
Monster Hunter Rise: Sunbreak
With the Rampages over, Sunbreak tasks Hunters with a fresh challenge in the new Hub world of Elgado. Like World, the DLC offers new quests, Master Rank difficulty, and plenty of new monsters to battle.
The stars of the show are a brand new trio of monsters called the Three Lords, and their designs are based on Western horror/folklore. Sunbreak significantly increases the difficulty, but less so than in World. Sunbreak lacks the grandeur you’ll find in some of Iceborne’s endgame battles, but it has a few extras to make up for it.
You can battle with NPCs at your side in Follower Quests. Initially, these were restricted to a few quests per character but now include every Hub Quest.
I mentioned Anomaly Investigations earlier, and these offer an excellent experience for Hunters that want to grind. These quests allow Hunters to fight dangerous versions of previous monsters that get progressively harder. Unlike World’s Guiding Lands, these battles include the entire monster roster and don’t need to be maintained.
Anomaly Investigations reward Hunters with materials for advanced crafting methods. These crafts aren’t required to beat any content in the game but are perfect for players that want to min-max.
Title Update 5 isn’t out yet, so it’s hard to say how Sunbreak will end. Capcom has added great content in the previous updates, but as battles are typically on a smaller scale than World, I doubt we will see any hunts like Fatalis.
Which Is Better?
Both Rise and World are of such high quality I’m going to upset a massive chunk of the player base no matter what I say, so here goes… Monster Hunter: Rise is the winner for me.
Although lacking in graphic fidelity, I love the faster-paced combat and Switch Skills give players more ways to express themselves than ever before. Each weapon feels so deep and complex in Rise, thanks to all the Silkbind abilities, and I prefer the streamlined multiplayer even if it misses out on the impressive Siege Quests.
If graphics are a sticking point, or you prefer the more grounded combat of previous Monster Hunter titles, World is absolutely the one you should choose, but both set an industry standard in the sheer amount of content. You can’t go wrong with either, and I daresay you should play both.
In many ways, Monster Hunter games are a genre of their own and offer a gameplay loop you won’t find anywhere else. Still, If you’re looking for new ways to scratch that hunting itch, try these titles for size.
- Monster Hunter: Generations Ultimate – An old-school Monster Hunter game with the highest creature count in the series.
- Dauntless – An MMO-lite focused on battling giant beasts called Behemoths.
- Toukiden: Kiwami – A hack n’ slash where you battle mighty demons. The weapon system takes inspiration from the Monster Hunter games.
If you’re interested in trying Monster Hunter Rise but don’t know where to start, we have a couple of handy guides you can check out here:
Frequently Asked Questions
Question: Why does Sunbreak have poor reviews on Steam?
Answer: Unfortunately, some PC players have fallen victim to an awful game error that corrupts save data. It’s hard to tell how widespread the issue is, but it’s problematic enough to affect the overall user score on Steam.
Question: Which is tougher, Rise or World?
Answer: Rise was criticized for being too easy on release, although Sunbreak certainly remedies that. World is the harder of the two games. The final fight in Iceborne is one of the hardest in Monster Hunter history, with many veteran players taking dozens of attempts to beat it.
Question: How does World still have such a massive player base on Steam?
Answer: One possible reason is Monster Hunter Worlds’ robust modding scene. The World page on NexusMods has an impressive assortment of mods that offer everything from graphic enhancements to custom monsters.
Rise gives players everything they could want on a plate to be consumed immediately. World makes you work for it, but the work is (usually) fun. If you want the prettiest, most immersive Monster Hunter experience, World takes the top spot. Rise is the Monster Hunter game for you if you want instant gratification and a more streamlined experience.