It’s finally happening. Monster Hunter Rise on PC. Woooooo!
I don’t get excited very often because excitement invariably leads to disappointment, but Rise’s PC release is something I’ve had my eye on for a while. It’s a few months out from release now, but in the interim Capcom have made the same demo that was available on Switch available to the PC crowd. I had already played the demo on Switch back in January, but my buddy Charlie asked if I wanted to play it with him so we took a dive into it yesterday. I had a few thoughts afterward, so now I’m going to subject you lot to them.
It shouldn’t be, but it’s mind boggling how much better Rise looks on PC compared to the Switch. I get that is like comparing a Porsche to a Honda Civic, but the difference in quality of the visuals is night and day. The level design still feels paired down compared to World with less complex geological structures, but the textures in the environments really pop in a way that they just don’t on the Switch. Additionally the PC release allows you to see things at a much greater distance and, while I know it’s a meme, the water also looks fantastic.
However, how pretty a game is doesn’t make it empirically more fun. What does make a game more fun is having it run better.
If the demo is anything to go by then I expect Rise to perform quite well on my machine. Unlike World, Rise features the ability to choose your desired framerate and defaults to sixty frames per second. As such, the PC version of Rise feels a lot more fluid and responsive than its Switch counterpart. This was the main reason I was holding out for the PC release instead of playing the game on Switch after Mir finished up with it and I’m glad that the Monster Hunter team seems to have learned from World and included some nice PC centric options and improvements in Rise.
I’d already written about the gameplay changes briefly in a post bashing the Clutch Claw, but after having time with the changes on my home platform I have some extended thoughts.
The Wirebug is definitely the most exciting new addition in Rise. Each weapon has been given two different moves that utilize these little guys and, unlike the Clutch Claw, these moves all feel well integrated into the weapon’s moveset. From what I can tell each weapon seems to have some kind of lunging strike, which can make closing in on a target a lot more efficient. Instead of rolling repeatedly, you can simply shoot out a Wirebug and zip to the monster, which feels awesome thanks to the weight and momentum behind the lunge and follow-up strike.
You can also make use of Wirebugs outside of combat. I suspect the initial novelty of doing this to ware off fairly quickly, but it was really neat to mess around with in the demo. Cleverly, Capcom has littered small buffs around the map, most of which are out of reach unless you use Wirebugs, so even when the novelty is gone players will still have a reason to engage with this mechanic. It’ll also force me to learn the maps more intimately so I can optimize my route to the monster collecting as many of these buffs as possible along the way.
This I like. A lot.
In previous games you could mount monsters, which resulted in your hunter riding around on the monster’s back for about a minute as you played through what was ostensibly a quick time event. This wasn’t very exciting, but it resulted in the monster being knocked down, so it was hugely beneficial despite being extremely boring. Rise has revamped this by having the player control the monster using Wirebugs after they jump on its back. This then allows the player to run the monster into the wall, or they can have the monster they’re riding attack another nearby monster.
The thing I like most about this is how it turns monster invasions from a negative into a positive. In World there were far too many times where a random monster would appear while I was in the middle of fighting my target and all it would do is get in the way of things. This more often than not led to players throwing poo at the monster’s face (yes, really) so that it would leave, but having to do that two or three times a hunt become really tiring. However, this change turns these interruptions into high spectacle moments where you can deal a massive amount of damage to your target and that makes each intrusion feel like a reward instead of a punishment.
Weapon Specific Gripes
I’m sure this won’t come as a surprise to many, but I consider myself a Hunting Horn main after my time with Iceborne. That said, I’m not super keen on some of the changes that have been made to the weapon.
Unfortunately, Hunting Horns were the single least played weapon in World with less than one percent of the player population using it. Any good developer would look at this and ask how they need to change the weapon to become more appealing so its usage stats aren’t so abysmal. I got to see the answer to that question while playing the Rise demo.
Generally speaking the weapon has been made faster and more combo oriented. You no longer have to queue up songs as they’re played automatically and the button inputs for songs have been made incredibly simple. The Horn also lost most of its directional attacks meaning it can no longer attack and sidestep simultaneously. A gauge has also been added to the weapon and upon filling it the player can opt to use a powerful finishing move following a subset of the weapon’s attacks.
It should go without saying, but I’m not a huge fan of the changes. I actually liked having to queue up and play songs throughout a fight. There was a simple joy that came from maintaining your buffs by dancing through a monster’s attacks while playing the song of your people. The changes in Rise make the Horn a lot faster and less thoughtful, which I don’t personally like. However, based on weapon usage stats from four months ago it appears that this simplification had the intended effect as more people gave the Horn a shot so it is no longer completely ignored.
While this aspect of the demo left a bit of a sour taste in my mouth there is still hope. I know each weapon has some degree of move customization in Rise, so I’m hopeful that some of the alternative attacks on the Horn will give me something closer to what I’m looking for. While the new combo tools feel nice I’d rather have the chunkier Hunting Horn I’m more familiar with.
I think that’s everything for now. I’m sure I’ll have more in-depth thoughts following the full release, but for now there are some things I’m optimistic about and other I’m…less optimistic about. Worst case I can always swap to a different weapon. Across my time with World I played five different weapons for considering lengths of time, so changing things up wouldn’t really be the end of the world.
What about you? Did you play the Rise demo on PC? How did you find it? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below. I’m curious what other folks thought.