It’s been a little longer now, so perhaps it is time to give Monster Hunter Riders a more deeper review than the initial first impressions. The game is a strategy RPG that launched for mobile devices in Japan, if you weren’t aware, using the Monster Hunter IP as its base.
First thing’s first, it is a free to play title compared to the premium console games featuring gacha and various mechanics common to mobile games. Spend energy to play the variety of quests on hand, be it grinding out materials or advancing the story. Riders itself is based off a Monster Hunter spinoff, namely, Monster Hunter Stories. Riders has its fair share of story and accompanying cutscenes, which you’d definitely enjoy more if you understand Japanese.
While the name may be Riders, the players aren’t strictly able to mount the creatures except when executing certain moves. The battle is very similar to Monster Hunter Stories, except even further simplified. Commands consist of Normal Attacks, and other skills you have equipped beforehand. 30 SP is recovered every turn, which is then used to perform skills. As you might expect, striking the opponent with their weak element will deal extra damage.
If you’re looking for something meaty in strategy, Riders is perhaps too simplified with lots of game effects or toned down even after comparing to Stories, which was one of my original concerns. Fans of the series won’t be seeing the breadth of techniques from the mainline games, and Riders and Monsters will always share their HP pool.
It’s in the name, so this would be one of the key features of the game. Various unique riders are available, bringing their own set of skills. The characters have a certain energy injected to them thanks to the voice overs, and you can hear more of it by giving gifts to the Riders to deepen their trust. The armour designs in Riders are different from the main series, like how Mary sports Rathalos goggles.
As is typical of gacha games, Riders are available in differing rarities, from 3- to 5-stars (highest). The higher rarity Riders will have better base stats, as well as having more skills to unlock. The lower rarity Riders can’t be promoted into higher rarities, and their upgrade materials are accordingly different. At the very least, you don’t have to worry about spending too much on lower rarity Riders once you get higher rarity ones. The gacha system is the only way you can recruit new Riders.
Comparatively, Riders doesn’t have many monsters available to start. However, we’d expect Capcom to gradually add them in as events, as with how the start of the game offers Rathalos and Lagiacrus egg events. You can obtain most of your monsters through events and quests, with a couple of them exclusively through gacha. The monsters also have various rarities, from 1- to 5-stars, as well as having their own skills. As usual, the higher the rarity, the better the skills available to learn.
Riders will have their base stats, amplified by their partnered monsters according to level, and changing their elemental resistances and weaknesses. This element of gameplay brings a little twist, as you juggle your stable of monsters from Rider to Rider. Riders can have some innate bonuses, that can get boosted with a monster with a relevant skill. Monsters will be bonded to a rider, but if you want to move them, you’ll need a Transfer Ticket.
To start off, without spending money, it is most definitely possible to start off right with a few 5-star Riders and monsters, with Capcom offering decently generous gems through quests, rewards and gifts. You can also try to get the best start possible with the first rigged 10 draw, where you’re allowed to reroll as many times as you like before you confirm. With how common rerolling is within gacha games, more games should have a similar system.
The game already has an auto play function that can also automatically redo quests, handy if you just want to leave the game on while you do something else. You have a variety of methods to farm up Rider and monster shards, such as through event trades or expeditions, for upgrades.
There is presently no PVP format, for the more competitive players. Rider equipment cannot be changed, so they’ll be stuck with whatever look or weapon they have, which might irk those who like their customization. The trailer for the game has showed off quite a few monsters, but the starting selection is quite poor compared to the Riders. We’d be expecting Glavenus, Zamtrios, Barioth, Ivory Lagiacrus, Pink Rathian, Azure Rathalos, Rajang, Deviljho, and Teostra in the near future.
For the Monster Hunter fan who also enjoys gacha games, Riders could be something for you to spend time on. For those of you who have favourite voice actors play some of the Riders, you can select them on your home screen to listen to them talk. The monsters will also be in the background, and you can watch them sleep on occasion just for some flavour. Definitely temper those expectations some with the game just starting out.