After the success of Monster Hunter World on both console and PC, the thought of condensing such a huge, varied and vibrant game world onto the Nintendo Switch seemed like the stuff of fantasy. And in fairness, Capcom were forced to make concessions in terms of graphical clout when they brought Monster Hunter Rise to the Switch in 2021.
While the graphical boost from Switch to PC isn’t as stark as a downgrade the other way would be, Rise on PC is still a better looking, stronger version of an already stellar experience. It also launches with all additional monsters, events to earn cosmetics and in-game rewards, and a few extra touches we maybe weren’t expecting.
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At ground level, this is the same game as the Switch version. If you played through on Nintendo’s handheld, you won’t be able to carry progress over – but the improvements to loading times and the overall flow mean a repeat playthrough isn’t a bad thing. If you’re coming into this version fresh, either from World or as a newcomer, you’re in for a treat.
Monster Hunter Rise on PC: Happy hunting
The village of Kamura is under siege from the local megafauna thanks to a bi-centennial event known as the Rampage. As a veteran Hunter, you’ve been sent to aid the villagers and help them understand the cause of the Rampage and how to stop it. The story is largely irrelevant, but provides a framework for all the hunting, trapping and killing.
One thing Capcom excels at is adding new mechanics to this series while refining old ones. The focus remains on the hunt, of course, but the grind for materials, resources and currency has been somewhat streamlined. While there are succinct tutorials for every aspect of the gameplay, Rise assumes some prior knowledge of the series and has sped things up accordingly.
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For example, gathering materials in the world is faster and more convenient than before, while armour sets and weapons require fewer rare reagents. Don’t get me wrong, you’ll still be grinding. It can take upwards of three or four hunts to drop some of the really rare stuff – more if you’re just unlucky. But I never felt it as tough as World to find those low-percentage drops.
Rise and grind
Thankfully, the gameplay loop remains untouched here, though: you hunt, you trap or carve, you use the materials to build and improve weapons and gear. There’s a simple flow to it that doesn’t get tired, mainly because there are so many monsters (over 30 at launch), gear sets, decorations and skills to discover – with more challenging versions of each beast and stronger rewards when you reach High Rank.
The two biggest additions to the formula are the Wirebug and the Rampage itself. The Wirebug is a traversal and combat tool that not only opens up each map vertically, but also allows you to temporarily ride stunned monsters. Special skills tied to each of the fourteen weapon types allow you to use the Silkbind technique to lasso one beastie and ride it into battle against another. Additionally, you can use them to launch yourself upwards and reach overlooks and vistas to survey the landscape.
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Capcom rewards exploration with hidden collectibles and rare endemic life, such as Trapbugs that can be deployed in front of a charging monster like caltrops, a Brewhare that increases the potency of your consumable items, and the Tricktoad that will hold a monster’s attention for a few precious moments. As in previous titles, gathering nodes are scattered everywhere, always spawning in the same place so you can find them when you need them.
These elements combine to make Rise feel larger than it is. While each area is smaller than most of their World counterparts, the vertical and subterranean spaces make them feel more varied and sprawling than they are. Certain monsters tend to spawn in certain maps, too, leading to some spectacular Turf Wars, special animations that see two monsters going to-to-toe with one another right in front of you.
While the hunts are the bread and butter of Monster Hunter Rise PC, the Rampage events make significant and divisive changes to the core gameplay. These missions are more like tower defence, as you’re required to set traps, deploy defenders and gun placements, and use your skills and items to repel large groups of monsters. Often they are led by an Apex, a powerful, more aggressive version of various subspecies.
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Rampage events are fun with a group, and reward you with special tickets to craft powerful weapons and talismans. The latter are trinkets that come equipped with skills that you’ll need to craft at the store in Kamura, and can be very useful for filling the gaps in a particular build. Gear, weapon, and skill composition are vital to success in High Rank quests and endgame grinding, so expect to be praying to the gods of RNG often.
Monster Hunter Rise on PC: The definitive version
Your buddies also play a big part here in Monster Hunter Rise PC. Each Hunter can have two buddies with them at any time, either cat-like Palicoes or canine Palamutes. The former can gather resources alongside you, while the latter can be ridden to speed up traversal. Both fight with you, though you’ll have to pick one to take if you’re playing multiplayer. Outfitting them with the right gear and skills can make a major difference to your effectiveness.
While I haven’t played more than a few hunts with friends, I have played the Switch version online extensively. While it’s still a little overcomplicated to join a friend’s hunt or even drop into a random, the most important addition on PC is voice chat. The difference it makes to be able to just talk to your squad without third-party apps or software is surprising. While the solo challenge is welcome and balanced, Monster Hunter Rise is better with other people.
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Hidden away in the Advanced Graphics options, you’ll find a new filter system that adds classic photo mode filters to your hunts. While you do have an in-game camera, using it during hunts is very dangerous, and so you’ll often resort to using your PC’s screenshot key instead. With these filters already active, it goes some way to making up for a proper dedicated photo mode. It’s just a shame they’re not more easily accessible on the fly.
Coming from Rise on the Switch, which was already a fantastic game, it’s difficult to find fault with the PC port. Massively improved load times make jumping in and out of quests far smoother, improved textures enhance the visuals – though perhaps not to the degree you’d expect. A higher, sustained framerate also makes each hunt feel more dynamic and fluid. Graphical settings can of course be toned down if you’re playing on a less powerful machine.
In every conceivable way, this is the best version. Obviously you can’t play in handheld mode, although the release of the SteamDeck this year may remedy that one for some gamers, too. There’s several hundred hours of content here at launch, with more coming later this year when the Sunbreak expansion launches. If you’ve already invested a year’s worth of time in the Switch version, it’s a slightly harder sell. If you haven’t, this is a superb port of an already fantastic release.
Looks great and runs beautifully
Launches with all additional content
Improved load times
Multiplayer has voice chat
Multiplayer is still a little overcomplicated
An excellent port that presents a solid, complete experience. Super fast load times, improved performance and a ton of content make Monster Hunter Rise on PC the definitive version.