Monster Hunter Rise: PC - Hunting At Higher Resolutions
Monster Hunter Rise is old news at this point. Having come out on the Switch about 10 months ago, monster have been slain, battles have been won, armour has been forged and the Hunting faithful are probably looking towards the next big entry in the franchise. So why are we talking about it again? Well, It has finally arrived on a system that has the power to really do the game justice. Monster Hunter Rise is out on PC and trust me when I say, this is a port worth revisiting.
Monster Hunter Rise is a great game, there is no denying it. Paul James, in his review of the Switch version, said “While not the gigantic leap that World was a couple of years prior, Monster Hunter Rise, is a refined, sleek title that is suitable for new and old fans alike” and that still holds true. The game takes some genuine steps forward, despite being created for an underpowered platform. This isn’t suddenly a new experience on the PC, the game is essentially the same so I am not going to waste too much time in going over old ground. What I do want to tell you about is how that experience is much better had on the PC and how the extra power really makes a difference.
The first and most notable difference is the graphics. There is no escaping this was a game designed for the Switch, but on the PC the stylised look comes into its own. At true high definition (up to 4K if you have the screen for it) the detail and artistry really shines through. There is a wonderful hand-drawn feeling to all of the assets, a bespoke touch to the characters and the world. From the characters to the monsters, the game exudes the sense of handcrafted art, not machine produced graphics and the power of a PC brings that to the fore. This makes me smile because all the work that these clearly talented artists put in is not wasted on the ever-so-slightly muddy look of the game on the Switch.
The next significant upgrade is without doubt the framerate. With the majority of my gaming in this day and age taking place on beasty machines I have become somewhat spoiled when it comes to framerates. So when I discovered that Monster Hunter Rise could be played with an uncapped rate, well it made me a happy hunter. The jump from 30fps to 60fps in this title is significant and undeniable. Those extra frames add a level of smoothness to proceedings that the Switch couldn’t hope to replicate. As this is easily the quickest and most mobile of the Monster Hunter titles, this extra fluidity goes a long way to improving the experience in all areas.
In fact, this is a very good port of a console title to PC. None of the traditional port problems rear their head. The options screen features all the graphical and audio settings that even the most hardcore Master Race member could want and it seems that the game should run well on a range of PC configurations. Hell, it even passes the ultimate test for any console port, I could Alt+Tab without crashing the game, something that bigger studios than Capcom somehow fail to implement. It is evident that Capcom’s plan to prioritise PC development has led to this game truly shining, without any issues that come with quick port jobs.
So I’ve established that Monster Hunter Rise runs great on the PC, what about my thoughts on the game itself? Well, somehow Monster Hunter Rise offers both more and less than what Monster Hunter World did. Gone are the sprawling, complex maps, shared world and complicated and rewarding hunts and in their place is simpler maps, infinitely more mobile hunters and some interesting gameplay diversions. For many the differences between Rise and World will cancel each other out, giving both titles equal weight in their collections. For me, I perhaps enjoyed the more satisfying hunts of World, but only just. Ideally, Monster Hunter World 2 (or whatever it ends up becoming) combines the best of both titles and creates the ultimate Monster Hunter experience.
It would also be remiss of me not to mention the things that set my teeth on edge. For starters, the game begins with walls and walls of text. Obviously, a full tutorial might have been beyond the Switch’s capabilities, but that doesn’t excuse the mountain that new players will have to climb to get into the game. The second thing that gets on my nerves, and this holds true of all Monster Hunter games is inventory micro-management. It can get very confusing in the heat of battle to get to health or stamina potions and on more than one occasion unnecessary scrolling through menus was the cause of my demise. There is surely a better way to put all of these essential items at the player’s fingertips.
But these things are easy to look past when most of the game is so good. This is the best version of an already very good game and for fans of the franchise that can’t get enough (and there are a lot of you) or people that don’t own a Switch, now is the time to dive in. It is Monster Hunting at its best and while it might not have the grand scale of Monster Hunter World, it is no less worthy of your attention. Monster Hunter Rise is a unique, compelling experience that finds the perfect home on a more powerful system. Don’t miss it.