Before we start - yes, you can pet the dog.
Companions have always been a massive part of the gameplay aspect of Monster Hunter games. Up until now, the only companion that has been available to players has been a Palico - a small cat-like creature that walks on its hindlegs and assists hunters in various tasks. Monster Hunter Rise is not only bringing back the classic Palico companion, but there is a new companion called the Palamute - a dog-like companion that is ride-able and assists in hunts.
Following the clever naming scheme of a "pal calico," Palamute comes from a "pal malamute," with both calico and malamute being types of cats and dogs, respectively. Before we talk about the new Palamute companion, let's get a bit of background on the Palico and MH Rise changes things.
Monster Hunter Rise: Palico
Monster Hunter fans will recognize the classic feline (or as they say in-game, felyne) companion - the Palico. Exactly the same in appearance as they were in previous titles, Palicos are reliable little critters that assist with everything the hunter does - be it hunting a giant monster, forging stronger armor, cooking delicious food, or gathering a variety of materials.
In the monster hunter world, the hunters and felynes live in a symbiotic society. You can usually see the cute cat creatures all over the hub area doing various tasks. Their most notable contribution, however, is that they assist the hunters in taking down large monsters. They have their own armor, weapons, and gadgets that they use to assist the hunter in various ways. Aside from that, they will also collect a variety of materials during the hunts.
Palicos can also be leveled up. In order to do this, the hunter will simply need to complete hunts and quests - just like in older games. This enables the companion creatures to be able to better assist hunters in all their tasks. They will be able to dish out more damage, apply better buffs, or even gather more materials.
Palicos have the ability to befriend other creatures known as tailriders in the games. Tailriders are stray creatures that can assist hunters during the hunts. Their assistance only lasts during the specific hunt in which they were recruited by the hunter's Palico.
As in the previous games, MH Rise will bring the ability to customize the Palico too. This enables the player to change the Palico's appearance as they desire when scouting.
New to MH Rise is the feature to be able to communicate and interact with the Palico. While the player could only interact with the companion in the Gathering Hub in Monster Hunter World and could issue commands by leveling them up, the player can now directly communicate with the companions (even Palamutes) through an in-game command.
Monster Hunter Rise: Palamute
New to the series are the new canine (rather, canyne) companions called Palamute. These dog-like creatures assist the hunter with mobility and accessibility during the hunts. You can ride them around the map, allowing you to traverse without having to spend your own stamina.
Players can do a variety of things whilst riding the Palamute companion. By pressing Y, players can use some items like potions or berries while riding. The Palamutes can also climb wall faces and perform jumps.
The Palamute can be controlled with the left stick when mounted. While you're moving around, holding R makes the Palamute dash, pressing ZR makes it jump, and pressing ZL makes it drift. Immediately after a drift, the Palamute gets a speed boost. You can also jump off the Palamute when approaching a monster to perform an aerial attack by pressing B while dashing.
The Palamutes can also attack while you're riding them. Press X to attack for up to 3 consecutive attacks.
In contrast to Palicos who focus more on buffing and debuffing in a fight, Palamutes are more attack focused. They prioritize physically attacking the monsters.
Palamutes can also be interacted with by using commands. This lets hunters automatically mount the Palamutes without having to hold the A button next to them. This is useful for when you need to pursue a monster by traversing areas that are hard to maneuver and you are short on time. Additionally, you can also pet them, shake their paws, or even give them treats!
How great is that??
From the trailers, it seems that Palamutes seem to be capable of wielding weapons and wearing armor. Just like the Palicos, they can don equipment crafted specifically for them in order to assist you better during hunts.
In addition to scouting Palicos, Palamutes are also able to be scouted through the Buddy Scout facility. It seems that the NPC Iori is in charge of the scouting. It is also confirmed that you will be able to customize the scouted Palamute, similar to Palicos. They will also be able to be trained and level up.
In solo quests, it seems like you will be able to bring two companions with you. These can be two Palamutes, two Palicos, or a Palamute and a Palico. In Multiplayer quests, you can only be accompanied by one companion. It seems that depending on the situation and the type of monster being hunted, players will have to make the decision of which companions to bring along. During my time with the demo, I didn't see a single Palico. I expect to see them more often in the main game, though, as they remain trusty battle companions and can affect the monster in ways Palamutes can't. However, the Palamutes are much more agile, and they make monster pursuit and obstacle traversal much easier.
That's all for our pre-release guide to Palicos and Palamutes! We will be exploring their mechanics in-depth once the game releases, so stay tuned! Feel free to check out our other guides on our website!