The movement in Rise of the Monster Hunter finally clicked for me as I hovered over the Lagombi’s head.
The Lagombi is a heinous monster hunter beast, a bear-like creature that glides on its belly at high speed. When it slipped, I dodged, but it didn’t take long to realize I wasn’t doing a good job. Movements left and right were too slow; I needed to think vertically.
I started anticipating the Lagombi’s slides even before I finished the first fight. Then I used my new Wirebug to soar into the sky and suspend above my prey. The beast got tired of looking for me, and I fell from the heavens and hit the monster with a huge hammer blow.
This is not the Monster Hunter of Monster Hunter: World. To augment is faster – players have a lot more mobility in the game, and it’s even better starting point for new hunters.
Lower the floor and raise the ceiling
The Monster Hunter series is notorious for being hostile to newcomers, with deliberate combat and lots of complex menus to navigate. Players gather resources, face lengthy boss fights with energetic monsters, and skin their prey to craft better gear for the next hunt. The streak is slow, a trait that offers finesse to players who have mastered its timing, but can put off newbies trying to survive their first hunt.
The Wirebug – a living creature that gives you the ability to cross the sky like Spider-Man – changes that. The X button takes me straight into the air and A launches me forward while holding the ZL trigger on my Switch. I can also hold ZL to aim my Wirebug more precisely, hitting ZR when I’m ready to fly a short distance. I can press A in the air to hang from a Wirebug indefinitely, or press B after getting hit by a monster to get back on my feet. The variety of movement options provides a level of finesse I’ve never had in a Monster Hunter game before.
The Wirebug is not a tool you need to equip Rise of the Monster Hunter; it’s an unlimited system with a short cooldown, and it’s always with you, even in town when you’re crafting weapons. I have two Wirebugs when I start a hunt. I can use them back to back to run twice as far, or just one at a time to get in the air for a quick strike. I can climb a mountain alternating between zipping and running sideways. The Wirebug opens up the whole map as a playable space, instead of the prebuilt alleys and arenas of previous games where I can fight beasts and collect mushrooms.
This mobility makes it possible to give To augment a more modern feel than its predecessors. Instead of lying on the ground after a big hit, I can use my Wirebug to recover in the air. This allows me to get to safety and heal before the monster can catch up with me. I don’t just have to choose between dodging left or right; i can also dodge at the top. I can escape a fight by climbing a mountain or follow a retreating monster by going over certain buildings. I have a better chance of saving myself from the often brutal enemy AI.
But this mobility goes both ways. As it lowers To augment, it also raises the skill cap, allowing for amazing games. I started To augment using the Wirebug just to dodge and recover, but it didn’t take me long to learn how to sidestep combat and hit the monster from creative angles. I can zip up to dodge an attack, dodge through the air again, and drop my hammer on the monster’s head with a crack.
It’s a satisfying feeling, having total control of my movements.
The Wirebug gets even more complex. I can spend my Wirebug charges to do powerful Silkbind moves, which deal a special type of damage that tires monsters and allows me to ride them.
Monster Hunter: World allowed me to ride on the back of a monster and knock it over to damage it. But Wyvern Riding, the new mounting system from To augment, that’s something else entirely. When I board my monster, I am no longer a Hunter from the small village of Kamura. I am the Tigrex or the Magnamalo, and I can use this powerful body to deal high damage. This breaks up the monotony of the 20-30 minute hunts that new players go through – but, like all things in To augmentit also allows veterans to prove their skills.
The Wirebug changes the whole rhythm of To augment. Monsters attack faster because I can dodge faster. The areas are more vertical because I have the means to climb hills, mountains, buildings, cliffs and cliffs.
It’s liberating, and it makes Monster Hunter: World – just three years old and the current gold standard of accessible monster hunting games – feels archaic and slow by comparison.
A new speed limit
The Wirebug creates a host of gameplay opportunities outside of Monster Hunter’s minute-by-minute combat, and To augmentThe new Rampage mode is perhaps the best example of what is now possible.
Rampage is a tower defense quest that takes place in a variety of arenas, all located around the village of Kamura. A horde of monsters is attacking your house and you have to fend them off.
Rampage takes place in the game’s normal third-person perspective. But the arenas are huge, and the distance between where I am and where I need to be makes walking far too slow. I have to close and around the map to set up turrets and upgrade my base as I progress.
Arenas need to be large to accommodate the size of some of these monsters, so a tower defense mode like this wouldn’t work without the Wirebug’s added mobility. The freedom to fly from turret to turret keeps Rampages from being boring and leaves me juggling turret repairs and setting new traps for monsters – a welcome departure from more structured hunts.
Despite my Wirebug zip, To augment is still Monster Hunter at its core. It still delivers those bullshit moments, like watching helplessly as your hunter is dragged back to town because you couldn’t get him up fast enough. It’s the kind of frustration that has Monster Hunter veterans looking at you and shrugging their shoulders because…yes, it will happen.
Rise’s more modern sensibilities don’t eliminate deaths that feel unfair or stuns that feel too long. The monster should be able to stun me the same way I can stun it, according to Monster Hunter’s own philosophy. Corn To augment is another moment of growth in the series. The bullshit still exists and the monsters are still frustrated, but new players won’t encounter this nuisance as often as they used to, as they now have more tools to save themselves.
Rise of the Monster Hunter takes the accessible base that Capcom has built World and expands on it without breaking what makes Monster Hunter fun, including deep combat and the feeling of progression as you defeat, skin, and carry one monster to battle the next. Yes World was the first step towards a new era of Monster Hunter, To augment goes even further.
Monster Hunter: World was a game I would recommend to friends, with some caveats. Corn To augmentGameplay variety and mobility – all fueled by this little Wirebug – make this a must-play for Monster Hunter skeptics and die-hard fans alike.
Rise of the Monster Hunter will be released on March 26 on Nintendo Switch, and in early 2022 on Windows PC. The game was reviewed using a Switch eShop download code provided by Capcom. Vox Media has affiliate partnerships. These do not influence editorial content, although Vox Media may earn commissions for products purchased through affiliate links. You can find additional information on Polygon’s ethics policy here.