Monster Hunter Rise's PC Port is going to make me abandon my Switch copy
I loved Monster Hunter: Rise when it came out on Switch earlier this year, and regardless of what I'm about to say - if you only have a Switch, have no doubt. It's still an excellent place to play the game. It's just that after experiencing the same game on my high-end PC? I'm simply never going to be able to go back. Maybe if Sunbreak wasn't going to be on PC day and date, or if cross-save was considered, things might be different - but now that I'm being forced to make a choice, the answer's simple. Capcom gave us early access to the PC demo that's landing later this week, giving me the chance to get down and dirty with the pre-release state of the upcoming PC port. When Capcom announced it, they highlighted a number of features, most of which are expected with modern PC releases. Higher resolution and framerate support, high-quality textures ultrawide support, to name just a few.
First things first - we took the chance to record an entire (failed) hunt against a Magnamalo at 4K/60 max settings (with a couple of post-processing effects turned off, to taste), which you can watch below:
As you can see, the game ran flawlessly on my desktop with a Ryzen 9 5900x and an RX 6900XT. What you couldn't see on that video was the amount of headroom the port provides, nor some of the finer details of the graphical settings on display. By default, Max Settings for Monster Hunter Rise on PC offers a 150% render resolution scale. So what you're viewing in the video above is actually my PC outputting a 6K/60 output downsampled to 4K/60. Beyond that, my system has no trouble pushing the limits of my 4K/144hz display - rendering the game at 6K/144hz without breaking a sweat, usually hovering around 70% GPU utilization. While this is a Switch port, and thus it was expected that it wouldn't be nearly as difficult to run as Monster Hunter: World - the game's visuals still scale up very nicely, and it's clear that the vast majority of players will have no trouble running the game on their systems.
The game offers a wide variety of graphical options, including support for uncapped framerates, HDR (although not shown in the above gallery, you can turn it on from within the game itself instead of requiring HDR active in Windows), proper UltraWide monitor support (alongside the ability to tweak the UI layout to your liking), and much more. It even adopts the same graphics settings preview that other RE Engine titles on PC currently offer. As far as Graphics settings are concerned, I have absolutely no complaints. The game already runs like a dream on max settings, so I can only assume with the granularity of the options available that it should prove rather scalable.
Similarly, players are given plenty of options for their input settings. While not pictured, keyboard and mouse are offered full key rebinding. However, the same does not appear to be true for gamepads as of the demo. This may change for the final release - but at least for the time being, players are given the option to switch between Xbox 360, Xbox One/Series, and Dualshock 4 button prompts. The lack of gamepad rebinding feels like a bit of a nitpick, especially considering the game still offers plenty of options to tailor your controller experience, even on Switch. On that note, it does feel like an odd omission to not include Nintendo Switch button prompts as an option.
During our early access period, I took the chance to test out some online play with a friend of the site that is located in India. Despite the great distance between us, the few hunts that we did partake in featured very little lag, and overall felt quite stable. We didn't have any major hitches or stutters - and that's even with him admitting to playing the game while on a wifi connection halfway across his house. It's a small anecdote, but does bode well for the connection stability of the port - Monster Hunter: World's multiplayer on PC notably has stability issues, as any longtime players can attest to. Hopefully a good sign of things to come.
The most immediate takeaway I had from my time with the PC demo is that it feels like the game itself is already ready to release on PC, which leaves me wondering why we still have 3 months to wait until the full release hits the platform. Maybe that has to do with some sort of exclusivity deal with Nintendo, but I really don't know. What I do know is that the game is already in a fantastic state, and what few issues I do have with the port as a whole feel like mere nitpicks at the end of the day. It's been a while since I've played Monster Hunter Rise, but I absolutely can't wait to get my hands on the final state of the PC port come January 12, 2022.
Early Access to the Monster Hunter Rise PC Demo was provided by Capcom.