Monster Hunter Rise’s PC port looks great at 4K and 60FPS •

Monster Hunter Rise's PC port looks great at 4K and 60FPS •

Almost a year after its release on Nintendo Switch, a new PC Steam version of Monster Hunter Rise has been released – finally allowing us to push past the set limits of an already superb Switch version. Higher resolutions, smoother frame rates and a suite of graphics options all play to the PC’s strengths as you’d expect, of course – along with support for ultrawide monitors and chat vocal. So the basics are all present and correct – but does the new PC port meet the technical compromises present on Switch, especially given Monster Hunter Rise’s move to a more demanding and open world design? Likewise, what other improvements make a difference on PC?

In all honesty, the Switch version is remarkable on its own. It is a bespoke version of the series built first for Nintendo hardware, and remains an exclusive in the console space. Monster Hunter Rise is also the first in the series built on RE Engine, the same as Resident Evil 7 and Village, allowing Capcom’s team to produce more open world environments on Switch with fewer loading screens. , removing the partitioning of the seen areas. in the series so far. Nintendo’s Tegra X1-driven console handled it well, although some aspects fell short of 2018’s Monster Hunter World: the lack of shadow animation for trees being one, as well as a speed of 50% animation on ranged enemies.

So how does the PC compare to the Switch? Simply due to running at 4K resolution on PC, environments like the Sanctuary Ruins, with its dense thickets and evolving skyscrapers, become even more eye-pleasing. Small details around the hub area are also more striking at high pixel output. On the frame rate side, there’s of course an added benefit to its 60fps combat too. Time an attack, dodge, and use the new wireframe bug mechanic to leap across large gaps – it all becomes more accurate at 60fps. Going back to the Switch version will hardly be flattering in comparison, and honestly, it’s to Switch’s credit that it holds up just as well as a fixed 1344×756 resolution. Meanwhile, Switch is also capped at 30fps, with occasional frame rate issues – though at least the framerate graph rarely hovers below 30fps in early missions.

Here’s Digital Foundry’s info on the PC version of Monster Hunter Rise, with Switch comparisons.

Of course, a simple jump to 4K and beyond isn’t enough to impress on its own. The increased pixel count puts pressure on Capcom to make sure the world of Rise also stands up to closer scrutiny. As a result, a respectable number of extras are added to the PC graphics menu to aid it. Maximizing the game on its global “high” preset qualifies us for a 150% picture quality setting. This effectively upsamples the image from a higher base resolution for a sharper image, in addition to existing FXAA and TAA techniques. High-res textures are also enabled, along with ambient occlusion, dynamic shadows, and the option of swaying foliage. The detail of the mesh – which covers drawing distances for trees and distant objects – also increases up to high, as well as the quality of shadows. In motion, it’s a satisfying improvement. Even running on a Ryzen Threadripper 1950X processor – an admittedly aging model, and hardly ideal for gaming – there’s no problem hitting 60fps. In this case, our Titan RTX – a graphics card just a little faster than an RTX 2080 Ti – pulls its weight, bringing us to a 4K picture, and the result is evident in our video analysis above.

One of the biggest promises of the PC version is its improved texture quality. However, the upgrade in practice isn’t as widespread as I’d hoped, though it’s still noticeable where it appears. In general, the high resolution texture option affects materials for character models, creatures on the ground, and objects around the central area. Switch has already pushed a respectable asset quality, but PC gets a clear advantage in close-ups of Master Hojo’s mount, for example. Looking at the settings, VRAM usage is barely maxed out on modern GPUs, but compared to the Switch’s 4GB RAM allocation, this gives Capcom some leeway to improve quality. Textures are crisper in most cutscenes; paved floors, clothing, market stalls. Again, unfortunately, this is not a universal improvement. Details on Fugen the Elder show a real mix of fortunes: his skin shaders get a real resolution boost, while other elements, like his chainmail, use the same low-res texture map on PCs and Switches. Likewise, the ground textures in the Sanctuary Ruins area often default to the same active as Switch. At the very least on PC, the presentation is improved on the ground with a higher texture filter setting – even if the asset is similar.

A big upgrade for PC at least comes in the form of a tier of detail. The Sanctuary Ruins show this best: by simply swiping towards the initial field, the PC pushes the much-improved foliage design the distance. Plants and trees move away, as well as a cascade of shadows pushed back. Overall, most areas in Rise are self-contained enough to not reveal much of a glitch on Switch – but it’s a nice bonus on PC in the open spaces. Fixing enemy animations at 50% on Switch is also hugely welcome. At range, enemy animations are cut off at 15fps on the Nintendo console, but on PC there is no adjustment from a 60fps target. All visuals run at the same refresh – 60Hz in our capture – and so, consider that a ticked box for the PC version.

A final pillar of this PC version is its phantom upgrades. Maximum shadow quality is well worth the cost of a GPU, giving thicker, more abundant shadow under plants. Definition is sharpened on character shadows, as well as those cast from overhead swaying branches – a marked improvement over the Switch implementation. An added bonus: tree shadows now animate correctly, gently swaying in the breeze – where Switches remain static no matter what. Now, unfortunately, just like with delivery on Nintendo’s machine, ambient occlusion is still very tentative when the camera gets too close, creating stippling artifacts. This is particularly evident on the characters’ collars, or the shadow under the chins. PC improves the accuracy of Capcom’s AO method, but it’s not entirely cleaned up. Also, in some cases, maximizing the quality of PC shadows can produce additional artifacts on Switch – stripe shadows being the main culprit – although this is rare.

Inevitably, the game runs smoothly on a card like the Titan RTX – and it’s promising to see 4K, max settings weren’t a barrier for us to hit 60fps. The only small problem? For the game’s opening menu and cutscenes, the PC code reverts to a cap of 30 frames per second, regardless of the selected game frame rate. That 30fps cap comes into play during the opening scenes with Master Fugen, as well as hub pans. It’s also unfortunate that, much like the Switch’s 30fps cap, the PC runs with an uneven frame rate at these times as well, creating a slight jitter during movement. It’s a small flaw on an otherwise well-balanced package though, and thankfully most of the cutscenes run at 60fps thereafter.

All in all, it’s great to finally see Monster Hunter Rise running without limits on PC. The increased resolution and increased frame rate alone are easily the two biggest upgrades, far exceeding the expected specs on Switch. Textures, shadow upgrades, and expanded LOD settings are less impactful than expected, but at least refine the presentation. Without a doubt, Monster Hunter has never looked better. That said, there are a few outstanding criticisms to address on PC: cutscenes locked at 30fps stand out, as do occasional shadow artifacts.

A game like Monster Hunter Rise translates well to PC, although there are still a few spots on our wishlist. The icing on the cake would be allowing both Switch and PC to work in harmony via some form of Steam Cloud cross-save support. The idea proved successful for The Witcher 3 and Divinity Original Sin 2 on Switch, allowing players to pick up the game at home with a desktop computer or on the go. Also surprising is the lack of high-end PC luxuries like ray-tracing support, present as a feature on the RE Engine – where we settle here for screen space reflections and shadows a la square. Still, at its core, Monster Hunter Rise is a solid PC conversion worth recommending. Frills or not, it’s a satisfying conversion – if it has a few extras to excite the high-end PC user.

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