Monster Hunter Rise isn't coming to PC until sometime next year, but a few of us are already having a blast with it on Switch. It's especially great to see so many of the quality-of-life changes introduced in Monster Hunter: World, like load-free zones and streamlined sharpening, present on the Switch's first game in the series. Portable monster hunting has never been better, but some of us aren't excited about what Monster Hunter: Rise's Switch-first design means for its forthcoming PC version.
Graphically, Rise is a notable downgrade from 2018's Monster Hunter: World. This is expected—World was developed with the PC, PS4, and Xbox One in mind. Its zones were dense, expansive arenas with thick vegetation and graphical touches that made areas feel larger than they really were. Despite the game's impressive output on the Switch's limited hardware, Rise looks a bit flat next to its three-year-old cousin. It's possible that Capcom will totally revamp Rise's PC version to be more in-line with World, but it's more likely that we'll get a slightly nicer looking port of the Switch game that runs at a higher framerate.
Is this a big deal? Let's discuss.
Morgan Park: I'll kick things off by shooting myself in the foot: I haven't played Monster Hunter Rise yet. My reluctance has to do with the game's Switch-y nature. Watching Rise gameplay, my eyes keep dwelling on the lack of foliage, the flatter textures, and diminished lighting. World really popped on the screen and Rise isn't giving me the same vibe. Am I alone?
Wes Fenlon: I'm saving myself for the PC version of Rise, after playing months and months of World on PC and having a blast with my co-op crew. From my perspective, the PC version will be a huge improvement over the Switch purely because Nintendo still treats voice chat as an afterthought. I don't want to have an earbud in one ear connected to my phone just to chat with my friends on Discord when it's so much easier on PC. And the action in Monster Hunter feels so good, I'd be sad playing it at 30 fps. My only disappointment here is how long we have to wait.
James Davenport: I'd love to play with you all in a Discord channel on my PC without juggling headphones and audio sources, but truth is, I rarely play MH with pals online. I am not the kinda person to mine the endgame for everything either, so I never need closely coordinated teammates for the level of play I top out at. I can definitely see the hardcore player getting deep into high rank stuff and hitting those frustrations, but I'm really pleased with how quickly and easily it is to play with strangers on my Switch.
As for how it looks, I think I'd care more if Monster Hunter had a world and story I gave a damn about. The environments are flat and empty, but the monsters and the hunters look better than I imagined anything the Switch could put out. My PC-tinted graphical standards melted away in service of the play immediately.
Morgan: That's fair. Though, World's environmental density is more than just eye candy. The "flat and empty" quality that James mentions is exactly what takes me out of the moment and makes it feel less like a "hunt." I've also heard that Rise makes it even easier than World to track down targets (which was already pretty easy with Scoutflies), so maybe the pursuit is no longer an important part of Monster Hunter.
Mollie Taylor: I was honestly a little worried about the visual downgrade from World to Rise, but once I got my hands on the game I didn't care anymore. Sure, Rise isn't as visually dense as World, but Capcom has done a bang-up job of still making each area look great, and I'm loving the Japanese folklore influence on the entire game, especially in places like Kamura Village and the Shrine Ruins.
I think even if they just do a few tweaks on PC it will still look grand. Rise's stripped-down visuals feel in line with the more streamlined experience the game offers, and really isn't as big a deal as I thought it would be. World will always be the prettier sister, but Rise is too damn fun to give a crap.
Morgan: But… but foliage density! Dynamic shadows! Raytracing!
Wes: It's hard to predict what the PC version is going to look like right now, but sure, it's probably not going to have World's level of detail. As Mollie points out, though, Rise does have a really nice aesthetic, which I'd prefer to another game that looks exactly like World. And look at it this way, Morgan—even if Rise isn't as dense and detailed on PC as World was, that should make it much easier to run. World really hammered my PC, but I'm hopeful I'll be able to play Rise at a full 144 fps.
James: The animations are so fluid that I oddly don't notice the fps discrepancies between the usually 100+ I hit on PC and the 30-ish Rise hits in docked mode. I'm nuts about this kinda stuff, like when going from playing Sekiro on the PC to the TV—I can barely stand it. Maybe it's because MH gives players some pretty wide windows for beating up on monsters, so I don't feel like I'm making mistakes in the same way I would in an FPS or more punishing action game.
Morgan: Wes is right, you really had to pay a hardware tax to get World running nicely (but it's so worth it). James, I'm amazed to hear that you can't feel a significant difference between 100+ and 30 fps. Monster Hunter is a slow enough game that I see where you're coming from, but the frames! They're always good.
Rich Stanton: Listen up Capcom and listen good: save transfer me! That's the key thing when it comes to Rise and PC. I caned Monster Hunter: World on PS4 and, because of that, didn't play it on PC until Iceborne (which makes it fairly easy to skip ahead). I'm a nutter for these games and there's no way I'm waiting a year to play it on PC, so if there's no way to transfer my save across I'll be pissed. Come on, we should be past this by now: why does a game have to take the same 40 hours twice just because it's on a different platform?
More pertinently for those who don't have the option of playing on Switch will be how seriously Capcom takes the port. It has done both good and bad on PC, but even from this vantage point we know Rise has sold amazingly well on Switch: so it would figure Capcom would want a good version of it for PC. And this game might have been built for Switch, but it's on Capcom's extremely scalable RE: Engine: if it wanted to, the developer could make this look great, particularly as the art style is more stylised than that of World. Is this ever going to be the 4K dream? Nah. But, y'know, I still play games like WoW Classic.
Morgan: That's right, I forgot Rise is on the RE engine. We know from the recent Resident Evil remakes that it can pump out some lookers. It's pretty impressive that Capcom was able to rebuild a game with such a specific feel as Monster Hunter in a different framework.
Rich: Two things will really matter for Rise's PC fortunes. The first is whether Capcom goes all-in on the PC version, and makes it an expanded edition of the current Rise, as it has done in the past with many Monster Hunter entries (3U, for example). The second is simply how Rise itself evolves over the next year: with every modern entry Capcom pulls this balancing act of building the endgame out post-launch, and so far it hasn't faltered once.
Don't think about Rise PC as the Rise that exists on Switch now. Think of it with a visual remaster, tonnes more content, and possibly even serious new additions. That's not only what we should hope for; it's what we should expect after the kind of delay we're facing. If Capcom screws this one up, I'll be more disappointed than anyone.
Robin Valentine: I've been playing a bunch and I actually feel a little conflicted. It’s a great follow-up to previous handheld Monster Hunters, but it doesn’t feel like a successful sequel to World to me—and it probably isn't trying to be. As someone who's enjoyed past Monster Hunters but was particularly wowed by World, that is a little disappointing.
I think on Switch it's not really an issue—the smaller scale and faster pacing totally make sense for a lower spec, handheld device. But I think when it comes to PC it is going to feel like an underwhelming experience compared to World. It just doesn't have that grand ambition to it, that visual splendor, that sense of real ecosystems. Even small things like the story and the cutscenes, or character customisation, feel substantially scaled back. I found myself oddly disappointed by seemingly minor elements like the meal prep sequences being less elaborate, or having less choices for making my Palico as cute as possible.
Morgan: Fewer Palico choices? The heck were they thinking?!
Robin: I think it's going to be a bit of a strange beast on PC, and I do wonder how people are going to react to it. This very much isn't World 2, by design, and that's fine, but I think World 2 is what a lot of people (myself included) have been waiting for. And at the same time it’s not quite different enough to feel like a spin-off or a reinterpretation, especially when removed from the context of being on Switch.
That said, there's loads of stuff about the game that I really love. The extra mobility you get from the Palamute and the Wirebug is fantastic and makes traversing the environments even more fun. Getting in and out of missions is super snappy, even in multiplayer (which proved so awkward in World). And in some ways that scaled back feel keeps the game light and clean.
So… yeah. If you're up for a fast and lean Monster Hunter experience, you'll most likely have a blast with Rise when it comes to PC. But if you’re chasing that awe you felt when you first saw a Rathalos swoop down on an Anjanath in World, that ain't here for me.
James: Yeah, I think Rise is made for the wireframe players, the folks in it for how the combat feels and progression works rather than the spectacle. If World was Jurassic Park, then Rise is Jurassic World, a deliberate distillation of Monster Hunter for the people that just want to play it faster and more efficiently, even if it's lost a little character along the way.
Morgan: I can't say that Jurassic World comparison is doing Rise any favors for me, but that sounds pretty spot-on, James. I'm a little more hopeful about how the PC port of Rise could take advantage of the platform. World had a lot of great PC-centric options, so hopefully they can keep that up. But maybe the larger takeaway is that Rise is a "purer" Monster Hunter without the frills of World. I'm starting to feel the call of my Switch in the other room… maybe I should give it a shot after all?