In 2018, my twin brother, Greg, and I decided to try out a new type of game. He recently delved deep into the monster collecting/hunting genre and it took very little convincing on his part for me to give “Monster Hunter: World” a try on the PlayStation 4. We quickly figured out which weapons our hunters would wield — he picked up the long-ranged light bowgun, while I decided the twin-bladed insect glaive suited me best. An expansion pack and more than 400 hours later, I found myself obtaining just about every armor set and insect glaive variation available. Additionally, I defeated just about every monster in the game save a special fight against “Final Fantasy’s” behemoth.

After my girlfriend, Navina Bhatkar, bought me a Switch for Christmas, I again grabbed my insect glaive and my brother and I tore through a whole new slew of monsters in the latest game built strictly for the Switch: “Monster Hunter Rise.” This time, though, I defeated every single beast in the game, and acquired just about every insect glaive and armor set available. An expansion pass, called “Sunbreak,” provided even more targets, armor and weapons to craft and took even more hours out of my week.

‘Rise’ on Game Pass

A couple of months ago, Greg and I heard Capcom decided to bring “Monster Hunter Rise” to Xbox and PlayStation consoles in January 2023. Only this time, the game could run at 60 frames per second, touted much better visuals and allowed gamers to play on 4k displays. At first, my brother and I talked about whether we should start over on a new system and which might provide the more optimal experience. However, Microsoft squashed all that talk by featuring “Rise” on Game Pass. Since we both subscribe to the service, we decided to go with that. This time though, we chose to learn different weapons.  My brother put all his focus into learning the hunting horn because “he likes to help people” by healing while party member performed songs. For me on the other hand, I tried out the long sword which lacked the mobility I yearned for before finally settling on the dual blades. I do believe the combat flows a bit better because of the higher frame rate, but both Greg and I don’t always notice that much improvement in the graphics.

The only major struggle I see in the Xbox version comes when trying to connect with others online. Maybe less people play on Xbox, but joining others in random hunts often ends in failure. The work around seems to involve hosting the hunt yourself, but you have no guarantee others will join in. One other caveat, this version of “Monster Hunter Rise” includes all the updates and special hunts right up to the release of “Sunbreak.” However, that expansion won’t release until March and might require players to pay for it.

‘Wild Hearts’

During one of our late-night “Rise” sessions, I asked my twin if he heard about this upcoming game that shared many of the same aspects on monster hunting. Koei Tecmo’s “Wild Hearts” takes a more serious, realistic approach to hunting with more of a samurai-styled flair. Set in feudal Japan, gamers seek to eliminate Kemono, enormous beasts that seem to resemble animals like rats, loins or porcupines. From the previews I’ve seen, the game seems to take direct influences from Japanese folklore.

The ascetic seems much more realistic and darker in tone than “Monster Hunter” games, making them seem cartoony by comparison.

Developers only have shared a handful of details about the game, but the weapons shown seem very interesting and fun to use. Like usual, players can slash away with a katana or fire arrows from afar with a bow. Yet, the bladed wagasa, essentially a parasol with blades attached to the end, intrigues me to no end. Of course, the newly debuted claw blade caught my interest, seeing how it looks like a ninja-oriented weapon. My brother, though, appears to have already decided on his weapon of choice after watching gameplay showcasing a massive cannon firing all sorts of explosive projectiles from a distance. After watching a preview, he went on and on for days about how awesome the cannon looks, so its obvious he will test that out one day one.

Up to three players can hunt together in “Wild Hearts” as opposed to Monster Hunter’s four, but in my brother’s own words, “That’s less people we have to worry about dying.” Overall, one extra person won’t make or break the experience and I trust the developers have reasons for restricting parties to three people.

If anything, “Wild Hearts” could give the “Monster Hunter” franchise a run for its money. And, the availability of both will only encourage fans of the genre to invest more time the hunt o whatever platform they prefer.

“Wild Hearts” will release on Feb. 16 for Xbox Series, PS5 and PC. For more information about the game, go to