There are a lot of people out there who Metroid Dread as Nintendo Switch would call the game of the year 2021. In fact, many people would probably call it the game of the year, period. But I don’t even think it was the best Switch game of 2021: Capcom exceeded right at the beginning of the year Monster Hunter Rise all expectations – a slightly simpler, easy-to-play game than its undeniably tighter console sibling Monster Hunter World.
On Switch, I’ve put over 100 hours into Monster Hunter Rise in 2021 (thanks to some lockdowns and an easy start to the year), so you’d think I’d have had enough of chasing down packs of Rathalos on the back of a barking dog sticking my sword into theirs Pushing heads and ripping their skin off so I can wear it like a coat. But as the PC release date of January 12, 2022 approaches, I can’t help but be excited to return to Kamura Village again.
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Why? Why would I want to make such a commitment when the likes of Elden Ring and Horizon Forbidden West are quickly approaching? First of all, I never experienced all of the DLC that was added to the game after launch. It’s common for Monster Hunter titles to continue updating games long after release, and in the months since the Switch came out, Rise has been updated with armor sets and weapons tied to Monster Hunter Stories 2: Wings of Ruin, Okami, Street are Fighter, Mega Man 11, Ghosts ‘n Goblins Resurrection and the non-Capcom Sonic the Hedgehog.
I don’t think I can truly say I’ve actually played the game until I charge headfirst into the flagship monster Magnamalo, dressed as a speedy blue hedgehog, while my dog - cosplaying as everyone’s favorite furry entry point, Tails – he is stabbed by the sword it holds in its mouth. Brilliant.
If you picked up the game on the Switch but put it down after the first time, you’re probably missing out on some cool new stuff too: all the new monsters and quests added to the game will be present in Monster Hunter Rise at release, essentially Clone version 3.6.1 of the Switch game. This also means that there is a new ending for the game that wasn’t present when the title was first released in 2021 – if you want to play the Sunbreak expansion, which is due out this summer, you can do that too Do it on a platform that has all the bells and whistles and doesn’t slow you down when you’re in the middle of defeating a Barioth.
And that brings me to the real reason I want to come back to Monster Hunter Rise on PC. Sweating out a Rampage on the Switch is all well and good, but when there are more than five or six monsters and four players on screen at once, the hardware starts to struggle a bit. On PC with 4K graphics, higher resolutions and frame rates, and the ability to play around with advanced graphics settings… the whole thing is just more fun.
It was a treat to invest some time in the Monster Hunter Rise PC demo at the end of 2021: Unlimited frame rates show how buttery and smooth this game can be when it’s not locked to 30 FPS (like on Switch). Some of the best moments in Monster Hunter have always been the near-death shots and the just-in-time knockouts. Sliding under an Elder Dragon’s fireball with no health, parrying a tail strike and then breaking a monster’s tail clean off, throwing yourself off a cliff onto the back of an angry bear before riding it up the side of a mountain… these maniacs, timing-sensitive and twitchy reflex baiting moments make so much more sense when everything is running at 60FPS plus.
Choosing the option to apply enhanced textures makes the world feel much more alive and inviting – sure, it’ll never look like Monster Hunter World, but it doesn’t have to. Not with this beautiful, well-executed art direction. The clarity improvement provided by the 756p docked/540p undocked resolutions is night and day on PC too; The demo alone allowed me to see some additional details and nuances in the monster design that I had missed while squinting at my Switch in the dark at 4 a.m.
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Last but not least, the PC version has integrated voice chat. My monster hunting senpai and I were usually hosting Xbox Live parties and chatting over another platform when we started our hunt last year… not an ideal setup for many reasons. Monster Hunter is a social game for many, and the ability to effortlessly scream and bark when we’re being beaten by an angry Magnamalo is another surprisingly enticing charm that the PC version has over the original.
If you have any doubts about trying Monster Hunter Rise on PC, all I can say is this: there’s a reason it shipped over 5 million copies on Switch alone. If you’re biting into the game and want an expert guide to crafting, hunting and fighting, our detailed Monster Hunter Rise guide is available at the link.
We’re a week away from the launch of Rise on PC and it will mark the start of a killer year for gaming. I guess I just need to get my 100+ hours in before the stacked Q1 of 2022 begins in earnest.