Monster Hunter Rise: Hammer Time

Okay, yes, that title is on the nose. I had to come up with some kind of hammer-based joke, and this is the best I could do; judge me if you must, but I have no regrets.

Let’s talk about Monster Hunter Rise.

I got into the Monster Hunter franchise pretty recently–World was the first MH that I really sank my teeth into. I loved it! Big, awesome monsters; an engaging gameplay loop of hunting and crafting; and of course, a variety of great weapons to choose from.

I bounced around those weapons for awhile. I spent a long time with Duel Blades, then Sword and Shield; I toyed with Lance for a bit. But eventually I settled on Hammer as my chosen armament. Naturally, then, when the newest game–Monster Hunter Rise–hit the shelves last week, I had one burning question:

Is Hammer still good?

The answer, I can assure you, is yes. In fact, it’s not just good–it’s better than ever.

There are a few reasons for this. One that I want to talk about up front is the Hammer Charge. In World, you could hold right trigger to charge up your Hammer, releasing the button to unleash a deadly spinning attack. That’s a solid move, and it’s still here in Rise. But it’s no longer your only choice for charging. Now, you can actually switch your charge mode to replace the spinning attack with a more focused Big Bang hit–something I personally prefer.

Speaking of personal preferences, one of my favorite Hammer moves in World was the Spinning Bludgeon: a maneuver that sends you spinning through the air and, ideally, bashing your foe in the head with your Hammer. The only trouble with it was that it could only be initiated by maintaining a Charge while sliding down a steep incline or running up a wall; releasing the Charge in one of those states would activate the attack. With the new Wirebug mechanic in Rise, you can now pull off a Spinning Bludgeon anytime as a Silkbind move!

While I was initially ecstatic about that, I was pleasantly surprised when I unlocked my first Switch Skill and got the option to swap out Spinning Bludgeon with Dash Breaker. This move allows you to quickly close the distance with a foe by hurling you across the battlefield (swinging your hammer along the way, of course). The damage of Dash Breaker can be improved by Charging it up, too!

Speaking of Switch Skills, the other two available for the Hammer are also impressive. Water Strike replaces your basic Side Smash, and it can be used to absorb a monster’s blow before countering with an upswing. The other Switch Skill, Courage, changes your Charge Switch, allowing you to quickly chain Charge attacks together into a nifty combo.

While all of these tweaks and additions are great and sooth my Hammer-loving soul, there’s one new Hammer move that stands above the rest: Impact Crater.

A powerful Silkbind attack that consumes two Wirebug charges, Impact Crater is well worth it. Your hunter launches upward with a nice, crunchy Hammer swing before slamming back down on your target with incredible force. It’s strong, it’s awesome, it can be improved with a Charge–I love everything about it! Seriously, I spend a frankly silly amount of time each hunt just trying to set up the perfect Impact Crater on a monster’s head.

As you’ve no doubt heard if you have any interest in Monster Hunter, Rise is absolutely amazing–I’d say it’s an improvement over the previous title in every conceivable way. I’ll be talking more about it later this week, but I wanted my first post to focus on what really matters–smashing monsters in the face with a giant Hammer. All the rest is just gravy.

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