Monster Hunter Rise: PC version review



Monster Hunter Rise finally arrives on PC: will the RE Engine once again prove to be a small technological masterpiece?

In Japan Monster Hunter has always been a cult. Inextricably linked to handheld consoles – culturally the most popular among gamers in Japan – after the monstrous success of Monster Hunter Freedom 3 (here known as Portable 3rd, in fact) the saga is considered in those parts a sort of must-have for any hardware “travel”, and it is therefore not surprising that Nintendo wanted at all costs to grab an exclusive chapter for Switch … especially after the explosion of popularity in the West came after the excellent World and Iceborne.

This spike in notoriety has exceeded -most likely- even Capcom’s considerable expectations: taking advantage of the loss of audience of some well-known online titles and cleverly placing itself in the middle of that exodus, the software house has captured a gigantic fanbase of newbies that have made a series formerly known by few on our shores more mainstream than ever.

With the increase in success, however, levitano also the expectations of the public, increasingly hungry for novelty and content, so it is testament to the ability of the current Capcom that Monster Hunter Rise has managed to stay behind such desires, thanks to a gameplay more advanced than ever and a technical sector to say the least exceptional if you consider the platform chosen.

Today, however, our intent is not to retrace the history of the success of Monster Hunter Rise or the whole saga, but to analyze its placid landing on the tumultuous shores of the PC user: a litmus test is important both to further consolidate the already popular RE Engine that moves everything, both to ensure a further enlargement of the fanbase after the excellent sales on the Nintendo console. For the review of Monster Hunter Rise for PC we tried a long time the game, trying to properly assess the technical features, and we found ourselves in front of a real gem of optimization, even higher than our wildest expectations. Let’s see why.

Structure: the old and the new

Monster Hunter Rise: the teostra set always has its why

We’ve already reviewed Monster Hunter Rise on Switch and analyzed its structure, but it is always good and right to give a dusting to the whole thing. The latest Monster Hunter Capcom is in fact a curious fusion of old and new, which evolves in a sensitive way several elements of the saga, but at the same time is slightly detached from what we saw in World and Iceborne to return to a more classic vision of progression.

The narrative element is in fact here skin and bones, less integrated to the progression and mainly related to the Village Quest (although, especially in the final, not exclusively to those). These are mostly cutscenes tucked between a main quest and another, and designed to carry forward a trivial plot that resembles those seen at the dawn of the series. If nothing else, the characters that surround the events are pleasant, but do not think you’re in front of a Monster Hunter with a particularly structured story: as always, the heart of the series is the basic loop of gameplay, everything else is decoration.

Monster Hunter Rise: a couple central to the game's storyline

Speaking of the village quests, they return in perhaps even easier form than in the past, and are a perfect introduction to hunting for those who haven’t had a chance to practice with the previous chapters (or for those who want to quickly get to the tougher challenges offered by the game). The monsters, after all, have low life points during these missions, and any hunter with a little experience can complete them under ten minutes each. Finishing the mandatory ones, however, allows you to unlock special quests with multiple monsters to be eliminated that allow you to move to the next level of the “guild quests”, more similar to the level of challenge of the Monster Hunter past and necessary to unlock later High Rank, where in some ways the real game begins. It is a shrewd content management, which is not lost in frills and allows players to approach the adventure at their own pace. In addition, it’s nice to see how the most boring and backward structures – such as quests to recover eggs and materials – have been largely eliminated or dampened by changes to the gameplay, for a general experience much more focused on hunting. Undoubtedly the best choice, given the level reached by the combat system in this chapter.

Gameplay

Monster Hunter Rise: wire bugs offer unprecedented mobility in the series

As mentioned just above, the gameplay here is emperor: each chapter is an action of rare mechanical complexity, where the choice of a weapon immensely changes the approach to battles, the variety of systems is absolutely impressive, and the development of the character is related solely to crafting his equipment with the pieces of the eliminated monsters.

Already World and Iceborne had implemented multiple new features in all this goodness, significantly speeding up and modernizing the experience (though not everything went down smoothly with veterans), yet Rise is perhaps the biggest systemic revolution since then, as it not only applies a “customizable” approach in some ways close to that seen in Generations with styles, but significantly expands mobility with the addition of wire bugs: for all intents and purposes the equivalent of wind-up maneuvers that allow hunters to move freely through the air.

Wire bugs are a stratospheric addition that we already talked about in the previous review: they offer a myriad of additional escape and approach options, a control of your alter ego never seen before in the series, allow you to recover from the ground instantly, and even go to change the basic maneuvers of the weapons used. That’s right, because their charges are also consumable for the execution of some special moves, which can be replaced as the game goes on.

The link with Generations is right here, because these choices lead to the use of styles often completely different from the basic one (such as the double blades, which can become almost an air weapon, or the hammer, whose charges are transformed into small combos loadable that vary completely the pace). The transition from one style of combat to another is not sudden and immediate as in that chapter, but there is a greater degree of customization that allows you to adapt your weapon in a way we think even more pleasant to your habits.

Monster Hunter Rise: now is not the right time to stand in front of a Valstrax

Overall. Fabulous for anyone who loves complex, well-calculated combat systems, and a sensible step forward that really bodes well for the brand’s future. And yes, we’re well aware that some stumbles were there this time as well: the ability to ride monsters perhaps overly facilitates multiple hunts (though not as abusable as the repetitive wall stuns seen in Iceborne’s speedruns), companions sometimes make fights a bit chaotic (and Felyne are infinitely more useful than Canyne, despite the possibility of riding the latter), and the implementation of the Furies – horde phases to be addressed in a manner similar to sections tower defense, very different from the classic hunts – not everyone liked, since this new mode is sometimes badly balanced (too easy in a group, even irritating at times in single); yet it would be foolish in our opinion to criticize the playability of this Monster Hunter. It is mechanically the highest point of the series, no ifs or buts.

If you then calculate the fluidity resulting from the unlocking of the frame rate on PC, things get really clamorous at times; on the other hand, a system built around the complex movement where the fluidity of dodges and attacks in the air are an integral part of almost every battle earns endless points from precise commands without any delay in response.

Technical compartment: an optimization from king of the hunt

Monster Hunter RISE: a Chameleos, clearly visible

Already on Switch Rise was a small miracle of optimization, with its 30 fps too stable and a graphic quality among the best seen on the hybrid of Nintendo. On PC, however, the always excellent RE Engine once again finds its natural ecosystem, thanks to a port really high quality. We tested the game on a pretty powerful configuration, true, but we never had half a hiccup with every option set to the maximum, high-resolution textures and frame rate unlocked. If you decide to keep everything still at 60 fps there are no drops, frameskip, or freeze of any kind (very few microscopic scatterelli seen only in the village of Kamura happened only once, and we have never seen them appear in the maps). Things are even more striking during the exploration of the maps, where the frame rate unlocked traveled constantly above 150 fps regardless of location, even in the most excited phases of the battles (including Furies). The fact that the movies are still at 30 fps, however, is a lack to say the least negligible. Pure graphics options available are respectable, and outside of those “predictable” you can even set the screen to 21:9 for ultrawide (also usable on normal screens to widen the view, although of course you have to live with the black borders), the vignetting effect, depth of field, motion blur, and even additional aesthetic filters rather impressive (including a couple that bring the aesthetics of the game to get very close to the black and white movies).

Of course, the polygonal models are always those and the general level of detail is not frightening, so it is quite obvious that an engine already optimized very well on Nintendo Switch does wonders on a good PC, yet, given some modern port anything but sparkling, it is really nice to see Capcom once again on the piece with a job of all respect. The only real wrinkle? It is not possible in any way to import saves from the Switch version, and there is no cross play with players of that platform. If you want to be ready for Sunbreak, you will have to do it all over again.

If nothing else, it won’t be the base version of the game that’s waiting for you: Rise on PC contains all of the post-launch updates, including the game’s true ending, and you won’t be short of things to do in the final stages. The only thing is that we didn’t get a chance to test the game’s stability on the web during our review. We do not believe there will be major problems, but it is worth pointing out, because in this field the bugs can always occur, and the online experience is always an integral part of Monster Hunter.

Comment

Monster Hunter Rise is an almost flawless port, which improves the already remarkable experience offered by the original game thanks to an optimization of all respect. The base, on the other hand, is nothing short of granitic, being the best Monster Hunter mechanically around. Now we just have to evaluate the online stability of the game properly (which should not create problems, but you never know), but barring unexpected disasters we sincerely believe that this version of the game is the best way to enjoy its excellent combat system to the fullest.

PRO

  • Very good quality port, really well optimized and full of options
  • The game contains the main content updates
  • Exceptional Combat System further elevated by the introduction of wire insects
  • Furies won’t go down with everyone
  • The increase in maneuvers actually lowers the overall difficulty, especially for experts
  • Have you noticed any errors?
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