It's now only three months until PC players can get their hands on one of the finest Nintendo Switch releases of the year. Soon to be stampeding onto the platform is Monster Hunter Rise and it's coming with all the expected bells and whistles from an enhanced PC port. Along with 4K capabilities, this version has an uncapped frame rate, high-resolution textures, and support for ultrawide (21:9) monitors. Ahead of its release on Steam, I was able to sample a short demo to see whether it represented a beast of an upgrade.
When it comes to the demo's content, I won't spend too long sharing my thoughts, as it's identical to what I previously previewed on the Nintendo Switch. Here there are three main hunts that you can embark on that range in difficulty and there are also tutorials on wyvern riding and the game's basic controls. Of the three hunts, it's the battle against the game's poster boy Magnamalo that feels the most intense and offers the greatest amount of challenge. This fight, of course, takes place late into the game and within the demo build your weapons and armour haven't been upgraded to what would be a recommended level.
Obviously, the main draw for many here (besides it being available on a new platform) is that the visual fidelity can be cranked up an extra few notches. The difference might not instantly leap out, but when comparing both versions side-by-side, I found some pretty noticeable improvements to lighting, textures, and shadows. Two details, in particular, exemplified these changes and they were the individual hairs on monsters and the pools of water on the ground. The fur coats of these imposing beasts looked more defined than ever here with each strand of hair moving individually, and bodies of water glistened more clearly in the light and showcased tiny ripples when hit by falling rain.
The uncapped frame rate is also another big plus, and I was able to run Rise at 120fps and didn't encounter any noticeable dips. This is something that was appreciated, as you often need to act fast on your feet when reacting to the unpredictable attacks of monsters. Originally, on the Nintendo Switch, the frame rate was said to target 30fps, but it could even fall below this during more heated moments. This improved sense of fluidity is personally what I found to be the biggest change overall when moving between both versions.
Things do run smoother and look a little prettier, but the PC port sadly doesn't shrug off a few graphical issues seen within the original. Its hunting grounds feel like large barren open spaces and some of its animations are sloppily executed. My hunter, for example, would just laughably hack away at the air when carving materials from a fallen monster, and during wyvern riding sequences, creatures would just awkwardly phase into each other. Sure, it's only a demo version and things might not be representative of the final product, but these issues have long persisted since even before the Switch version's launch.
Instead of plugging in a controller, I decided to use a mouse and keyboard to see how the new mechanics handled with this control scheme. Using the Wirebug I actually found it to be really fluid on PC, as it's all performed using mouse controls and can be pulled off in a rapid fashion just like swinging your blade. To use the Wirebug, you push in the scroll button and then click left to move vertically and click right to move horizontally. Besides this though, the core setup should feel right at home for fans of World and action RPGs in general and there's always the ability for you to customise controls if they feel unnatural.
Monster Hunter Rise on PC just appears to be the same great game but even better with the only trade-off seeming to be the Switch's handheld capabilities. The action feels much more fluid due to the uncapped framerate and the visuals have seen a nice bump in quality with them no longer being held back by the Switch's technical limitations.
Monster Hunter Rise is set to release on PC on January 12, 2022. The demo that I sampled within the preview is now available on Steam.