Select technical issues and controls aside, Monster Hunter World on PC lives up to most of the hype.
To say that Monster Hunter World has been eagerly awaited on the PC would be an understatement. Not only would this be the first time a major title in the franchise released on PC in the West but this isn’t just any Monster Hunter. This is Capcom’s latest juggernaut that’s sold millions since launching for consoles. It’s received ample praise and rightly so.
Taking place in the New World, Monster Hunter World is a bold new step for the franchise. It represents both a gameplay and tonal shift for the series. No longer are players meant to load into map segments in pursuit of a monster. Maps are large-sprawling environments full of materials, secrets, different elevations, indigenous wildlife, weather conditions and traps. Once loaded into a hunt, the gameplay experience is entirely seamless. Of course, Monster Hunter World also boasts numerous quality of life and weapon changes that make it hard to go back to previous titles.
"Weapon design is similarly fascinating as each tree offers a completely separate play-style to adopt and master."
There is a story here, that too one which is fairly decent, but it’s pretty superfluous. Once you’re out and about, hunting monsters, the real narrative lies in the battles, the weapons you bring along and the moments in finally taking down a hulking beast. The over-arching framework to World ensures hunts play out much differently from past titles. While battling a monster, another can invade and either start a Turf War or constantly harass you. Monsters will similarly use their environment to gain an edge in battle.
For instance, Tobi-Kadachi and Odogaron will climb up adjacent trees or walls and attack you at a brisk pace. Elder Dragon Vaal Hazak will fight around acidic pools that can eat away at your health, even as its Effluvium reduces your overall vitality. The environments react dynamically in many cases as well, whether it’s a wall breaking and unleashing a landslide onto a Rathian or Rathalos or the ground crackling underneath Teostra’s attack, revealing hot lava that chips away your health. Taking the time to learn enemy attacks and patterns while also factoring in other things like weaknesses, status build up, vulnerable spots and more is essential to victory. More importantly, it’s essential to efficient farming.
Weapon design is similarly fascinating as each tree offers a completely separate play-style to adopt and master. Once again, I won’t go into too much depth but factored in with numerous elements, statuses, sharpness levels, affinity and related monster weakness, there is so much variety to each and every type. The build possibilities are simply endless in many cases.
Monster Hunter World has its fair share of problems as well. A wonky hitbox here and there will probably sour you more often than not. The asinine “Watch this story cutscene before a friend can join” requirement is still present. Oh, and do you hate getting spammed by roars? There’s an invader-style monster called Bazelgeuse who will do just that, constantly interrupting High-Rank hunts and annoying the ever-loving hell out you with his explosions. For all that is holy, remember to craft Dung Pods when not farming Elder Dragons.
"The amount of content here provides an easy 50 to 60 hours of fun if you stick to just the Assigned quests and complete a few Optional quests or an Investigation here and there."
Due to being built entirely for stronger hardware while emphasizing more dynamic and personal battles, Capcom also had to take a judgement call in the number of large monsters available to hunt. As a result, Monster Hunter World has a lower set of monsters to hunt in the end-game compared to, say, Monster Hunter Generations Ultimate (which is any way collecting assets and enemies from the series’ history). But that’s not all. The structure of the game itself, which emphasizes farming the best Decorations and Streamstones from Tempered Elder Dragon Investigations can get pretty stifling, especially since there are only six Elder Dragons to fight on PC at launch.
Transmog isn’t a thing and while Layered Armour is neat, it’s not exactly the best substitute. There’s also the fact that much of the post-launch content for consoles won’t be available for PC players at the start (though it will arrive much sooner than it did for consoles). How that extends to event quests as well remains to be seen. That being said, while these may or may not be valid complaints depending on what you expect from a Monster Hunter title, Monster Hunter World is still excellently crafted. The amount of content here provides an easy 50 to 60 hours of fun if you stick to just the Assigned quests and complete a few Optional quests or an Investigation here and there. That’s just the campaign, mind you. Experimenting with all the different weapons, partaking in hunts with friends, engaging in Tempered Investigations and so on could easily consume hundreds of hours.
Of course, while I could go on and on about the game and everything it does right, you’d be better served to check out GamingBolt’s launch review for a proper breakdown. The game has seen a number of changes since launch but it’s still good for getting an idea of what to expect. The main purpose of this review is the PC port though. How extensive are its features? How is performance as a whole? Is the 60 FPS/1080p dream achievable? If so, what are the sacrifices that have to be made?
Let’s start off with the settings. The obvious ones are resolution and frame rate. Yes, it’s possible to unlock the frame rate and even 4K support is available, though I ran the game at 1080p resolution and 60 FPS with High settings (some options like Shadow Quality were set to Low and Volumetric Rendering Quality turned off entirely). The Advanced options offer tons of variety from Resolution Scaling (which can be set to Variable prioritizing either frame rate or resolution), Texture Quality, Shadow Quality, a choice of TAA or FXAA, Ambient Occlusion, Max LOD level, Foliage Sway and whatnot. The amount of customization is very much welcome especially when disabling Volumetric Rendering Quality makes the game look less hazy as a result.
"Pre-patch, with all requirements met or surpassed, Monster Hunter World just felt right on PC. Cutscenes and exploration were nice and fluid. The combat felt so much more responsive and vibrant."
Admittedly, I don’t have the highest configuration for running the PC version. My system consists of an Intel Core i5-4440, 3.10 GHz, 8 GB DDR3 RAM and Zotac GeForce GTX 1060 with 6 GB DDR5 RAM. Pre-patch, there would be the occasional frame stuttering and a slight drop in frame rate, likely due to the CPU serving as a bottleneck. Capcom has already stated that the game is very CPU-heavy due to loading the entire level into memory, avoiding any interstitial loading while on a hunt. However, it’s managing a number of other things including changes to the environment, LOD and object culling, physics simulation and much, much more. When things get a little crazy, the frame rate would slow down but there wasn’t anything too disruptive. Of course, before Capcom released its most recent patch, I experienced two crashes that were seemingly random. Post-patch, no crashes were experienced in the slightest.
There were a few bugs in my playtime including the “Failed to post quest” notification that didn’t let me undertake any Assigned, Optional or Investigation missions (Expeditions were unaffected). This seemed to be related to connection quality as a disconnected session notification popped up. Another bug that occurred during the second Zorah Magdaros fight while using a double voucher caused the regular reward money to be paid out instead of double. That bug still remains and affects other hunts.
On another set-up consisting of an AMD Ryzen 7 1700x, 16 GB DDR4 RAM and a GeForce GTX 1080 Ti, there would be negative money awarded at a few points (that too without dying during a hunt). Thankfully, this has been fixed as of the most recent patch and any crashing problems here were also eliminated. Keep in mind that this is a very high-end configuration and one’s performance will vary depending on their hardware.
Pre-patch, with all requirements met or surpassed, Monster Hunter World just felt right on PC. Cutscenes and exploration were nice and fluid. The combat felt so much more responsive and vibrant. Loading times, even without an SSD, were and still are quicker than consoles. In fact, even queuing up for quests takes less time, ensuring less waiting when getting into hunts. It’s pretty darn blissful, to be honest. I didn’t experience the game with other players so keep in mind that server issues could crop up on launch day. Given how Capcom handled the console releases though, things should be (mostly) fine.
"Our second set-up reported great performance except in the Rotten Vale. Sure enough, I ventured there on my own set-up, fought Odogaron and was bewildered by the terrible frame rate."
Here’s where things get a little tricky though. On my Intel Core-i5 set-up post-patch, I noticed that I wasn’t hitting 60 FPS as often as before. Our second set-up reported great performance except in the Rotten Vale. Sure enough, I ventured there on my own set-up, fought Odogaron and was bewildered by the terrible frame rate. At times, it seemed to be dipping under 30 FPS, which made the fight all the more agonizing. This problem isn’t present in other areas especially with multiple monsters roaring bloody murder.
Those worried about playing on a keyboard will have to do some remapping but I found no problems with the same (aside from re-learning how to properly Foresight Slash or finding the right bindings for long-ranged weapons). One annoyance is how targeting an enemy and moving one’s mouse slightly can cause focus to rapidly shift to other foes/animals. You can adjust settings to ensure this doesn’t happen like having the camera simply focus on a large monster rather than following it. However, it will still cycle through available targets rather than re-focusing on the primary target when clicking it again. Honestly, you’re better off relying on manual targeting with the mouse. If you still want to play with an Xbox One or DualShock 4 controller, then that’s also an option.
As a game, Monster Hunter World isn’t for everyone simply due to the long nature of hunts, the need to properly gear up and prepare or the sheer grind required with Decoration and Gem RNG hitting you. It makes up for it with an incredible scale, some of the best hack-and-slash combat out there, a wonderful feedback loop that keeps pushing you to complete one more hunt and amazingly designed bosses in dynamic environments. As a PC port, Capcom still needs to put more work into optimization. When Monster Hunter World is firing on all cylinders, like it seemed to be doing pre-patch, it was simply phenomenal to experience on this platform. Post-patch, there are plenty of things that still need to be ironed out but the performance here isn’t a deal-breaker (aside from the Rotten Vale nonsense). If you’re a console player wondering whether to make the jump or not and have the required hardware, then Monster Hunter World is recommended. To say it’s difficult to go back to consoles after playing on PC is a massive understatement.
This game was reviewed on PC.
Strong suite of graphical options. If the hardware requirements are met, performance is buttery smooth and oh so incredible to behold (except for one area). Shorter loading times are simply excellent. Key remapping is easy and highly flexible. Gorgeous, multi-layered environments to explore. Combat is full of tactical possibilities with weapon types offering a myriad of choices and potential build options. Excellent soundtrack and production; well-designed bosses all throughout. A brave new step for the series as a whole.
Lock-on targeting with the mouse is clumsy as even slightly nudging it will switch targets. Post-patch, certain set-ups with bottlenecked CPUs may not hit 60 FPS. Rotten Vale performance is subpar even on excellent rigs. Double voucher bug prevents increased reward money from being doled out. Not the most in-depth end-game. The usual Monster Hunter nonsense (hitboxes, roar spam, etc).
If this were a review of just Monster Hunter World, the negatives would have little effect on the overall package. Given all the work and graphical brilliance that the PC version displays, it's a shame to have certain performance issues. Nevertheless, whether your system can handle it or Capcom offers more optimization, Monster Hunter World on PC comes recommended.