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One of the great pleasures of recent years has been seeing Capcom's Monster Hunter series go mainstream. It's been a bit like seeing an old friend finally fulfil their potential and get the plaudits they deserve, and the best thing about it all is knowing that millions more are now onboard with an action series that is, in my opinion, pretty much as good as it gets. Playing through Monster Hunter Rise on PS5 as it makes its way to Sony's console - and as it also hits Game Pass on Xbox - underlines what a special series this is. Getting reacquainted with everything that Rise introduced to the formula just confirms my initial belief that this particularly is a modern masterpiece - the best Monster Hunter to date, I reckon, and as such one of the very best games of the last five years.
I can empathise with those that were slow to warm to the series' charms; it took me a fair while myself to get onboard, and it took the encouragement of a small band of enthusiast friends for me to finally succumb with Monster Hunter 4. Back then, an arm around your shoulder was needed to get past the fussiness of those first few hours spent gathering and grinding, and to explain the thrill of the hunt and precisely what it is that makes the series' fuzzy analogue combat so special. Now that's no longer really necessary, and Monster Hunter's got a surer sense of itself and is so much quicker to get you to the action.
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