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Monster Hunter Rise is now almost two years old, which is worth keeping in mind when jumping into the current-gen console versions for PS5 and Xbox Series X. Originally launched as a Nintendo Switch title, Rise frankly often doesn’t look as visually sharp as Monster Hunter World, which is going to be a turn off for some fans. But forget about all of that, because Monster Hunter Rise is one of the very best games in the series, and it plays amazingly on the new consoles.

Monster Hunter is a series all about hunting monsters – duh. Playing as a very-human hunter, you arm yourself with weapons and strap on special armor in order to take on creatures that are often elementally-charged hybrids of dinosaurs and mythical creatures. In order to do that, you work your way up the ladder. You find a weaker monster, hunt it, make tools from it, and then go on to the next monster. It’s a simple but satisfying formula, one that only gets better when it’s executed by a full team of four friends.

If you’re jumping back into the series after World, then you’re going to notice some key differences aside from the graphics. A new Canyne support animal has been added to your party, and you can ride it into battle, making map traversal much easier than before. You can also wall run up almost any surface, allowing you to break away from the laid-out paths and explore some secret areas, or just make your own shortcuts.

Monster Hunter Rise reptilian monster with purple glow coming from it.

Magnamalo is the title monster for Monster Hunter Rise.

You’ll also be equipped with wirebugs – living creatures that you can use as grappling hooks – which you can use to dangle in mid-air from the creature’s thread, or leap up cliffs, pull down monsters, and even ride on them. Even the weapon movesets have been expanded since World, with new wirebug attacks opening up more possibilities for every weapon type. It’s almost too much to take in, and it marks a wonderful improvement over the previous games in terms of immediate, satisfying gameplay.

Not everything’s perfect though. Monster Hunter Rise on PC and Nintendo Switch is currently a full-feature package, including the new Sunbreak expansion, which introduces many more monsters into the game, in addition to armor, weapons, and areas. Unfortunately, you won’t be able to play this on PlayStation or Xbox consoles at launch, and will instead be waiting until late Spring 2023 for the opportunity to purchase the new expansion.

Wyvern Riding is fun, but not necessary.

Wyvern Riding is fun, but not necessary.

But hey, let’s not mope for too long, because PS5 and Xbox Series X owners are in for a real treat. As we already saw with Monster Hunter Rise’s PC port, the game runs marvellously well, easily achieving 60fps while playing on a Steam Deck. And so on PS5 and Xbox Series X, the real fancy feature is the introduction of 120hz modes.

Rise’s three graphical modes all run with an unlocked framerate on PS5. The Performance mode offers a soft image, with a locked 120fps. Default offers a sharper image, but the performance still hits 120fps a majority of the time, with some dips that will be unnoticeable with a VRR display. Finally, the Graphics mode enhances things with a full 4K resolution, and a frame rate that still manages to stay north of 60fps. With VRR enabled, this is an amazing way to play, and while it’s possible the frame rate could take a harsh dip with multiple players, monsters, and explosions on screen, it’s an excellent experience in our time with it.

Canynes are one of Rise's best new additions.

Canynes are one of Rise's best new additions.

Monster Hunter Rise’s base game is already a brilliant package, and while this does feel incomplete with the Sunbreak expansion, this port makes Monster Hunter Rise a great PS5 and Xbox Series X title, and an essential game to play on Game Pass this January 20.