Monster Hunter: World Plays Well On PC, If Your Rig Can Swing It

I've been replaying Capcom's fabulous beast-em-up Monster Hunter: World on PC over the last few days and am pleased to report that it's running (and looking) noticeably better on PC than it did on PS4 Pro. However, getting it running smoothly required some tweaking, even on my powerful machine.

Per the game's Steam page, for 1080p/30fps performance at "low" graphics settings, Capcom lists the following minimum specs:

Processor: Intel Core i5-4460, 3.20GHz or AMD FX-6300

Memory: 8GB RAM

Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 760 or AMD Radeon R7 260x (VRAM 2GB)

The "recommended" specs for 1080p/30fps are:

Processor: Intel Core i7-3770 3.4GHz or Intel Core i3-8350 4GHz or AMD Ryzen 5 1500X

Memory: 8GB RAM

Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 (VRAM 3GB) or AMD Radeon RX 570X (VRAM 4GB)

I'm using an Intel i7-4770 CPU and a GTX 1080 graphics card, which puts me well above the recommended specs. I'm also playing in 1440p on a 144Hz monitor, which puts me well above the recommended resolution and frame rate.

Monster Hunter: World includes an option for playing with an uncapped frame-rate, though I was initially unable to get things running above my preferred threshold of 60fps. Fortunately, the game gives you several options for tweaking its visuals and adjusting a few of those got me safely in the 65-80fps zone for most of the game.

Here are the settings I've been using. Resolution at 1440p, vsync off.

In particular, the "volume rendering quality" setting, which controls the gauzy atmospheric sheen that the game ladles on top of everything, has a significant effect on performance. Here's what the game looks like with that setting on "highest", which is one step above "high":

Click to zoom in. It's running at around 60-70fps here, though with it and the other settings turned up, the game was frequently well below 60fps out in the world.

And here's what it looks like with it turned off:

A little less saturated, but.. fine. (Again, click to see it at full resolution.) It's running above 100fps here.

With that setting on its highest level, I'm getting around 60-70fps when looking out over the water in town. With it turned off, I go over 100fps. Big difference. I've found that setting it to "mid" makes the game look nice and gives me enough of a performance bump to stay at a good frame rate. Here's what the same scene looks like with volume rendering quality on mid, where it runs around 80fps:

A happy middle ground. This area runs at around 80fps.

With my current settings (seen in the earlier screenshot), I've been staying comfortably north of 60fps. However, I haven't had a chance to extensively test the game's performance past the first few hours and the first two regions, nor have I been able to try it on any other PCs. I also can't report on how multiplayer is, since so few people have been on the game's servers.

Katharine Castle at Rock, Paper Shotgun reports that when she set the game's resolution scaling to "prioritise resolution", her GTX 1070 Ti dropped into the 40fps zone and that her colleague John Walker was having similar performance issues on his 1080.

I'm not entirely clear on the process behind the game's resolution scaling, which dynamically lowers the in-game resolution to keep things running smoothly, since the menus are vague about what's really going on.

I've got mine set to "high", which looks to me to be the way to make the game sharpest. There's no clear way to turn resolution scaling off in the menus, but while I can't be certain it isn't occasionally adjusting things in the background, it looks more or less like it's running in a consistent 1440p.

Now that I've got the game running smoothly at a good frame rate, I've been having a great time. I played a ton of MH:W on PS4 Pro and while I loved it on that system, it's definitely easier to play on PC at a higher resolution and frame rate. I can see things more clearly and I feel like I can react more easily to what's happening around me.

When I flee from a huge monster, I have an easier time scanning the environment for helpful paratoads and ammo pickups. When it's time to stand and fight, I'm more able to read the creature's body language and dodge its attacks. Some of that is that after 80 hours on PS4, I'm just a better player than I used to be.

But there's no question that the smoothness of its performance on PC plays a part.

MHW is a fast-moving game that throws a ton of visual information at you at any given moment and the additional frames on PC make it noticeably easier to "read".

I've been playing the game with a controller, since I rarely play third-person melee games with a mouse and keyboard on PC. My cursory (get it?) tests of the mouse and keyboard controls show that they're plenty functional and more usable than I would've thought.

Unfortunately, the interface remains about the same; accessing sub-menus is often a manner of scanning the screen for an obscure button prompt and there's no PC-style hotbar for items and gear. Definitely still feels like a game most people will want to play with a controller.

I've gotten a handful of hard crashes to desktop while in the middle of a pitched battle against a large monster and every time it's happened, I've lost an annoying amount of quest progress. I'm not sure if the crashes are the game's fault or are the result of something with my PC, though I play a lot of graphically demanding PC games and the rest of them don't regularly crash.

MHW makes my CPU run unusually hot and after lowering my CPU overclock by a few MHz, my core temperatures during gameplay dropped and I haven't had a crash. Could be that was the cause. Given that MH:W made my PS4 Pro crank up its fans until the console sounded like a jet taking off, it stands to reason that something in its inner workings puts CPUs through the wringer. However, no game should be causing such consistent crashes, given that other games work on my PC just fine.

Of course, all the findings in this post are limited and preliminary — the usual tech-focused sites will doubtless soon do full performance analyses, which will give a better sense of how MHW performs across a variety of setups and graphics cards. It's also worth noting that I'm playing a pre-release version of the game, without the updated GPU drivers that typically accompany the launch of a big PC game.

Given that I've seen some early performance reports already out there, I figured I'd share how it's been for me. Monster Hunter: World is a good game to begin with and it plays pretty well on PC, even if it's more demanding than it seems like it should be.


Comments

    IIRC Capcom don't have the best track record of PC optimisations which might explain why MHW is unusually taxing.

      The consensus from user reports I've read seems to be that it's yet another unoptimised console port.

    Already have this on the PS4, but I might get it on PC.

    I just hope my PC is beefy enough for it even for just QHD, not 4K.

    still find it interesting a gen 3 i7 beats a gen 4 i5. I'm waiting for benchmarks to see how much strain the CPU takes so it's interesting that the author seem to have issue with their overclocked system

    I would totally jump on this if I could transfer my save across. Could not be fucked dropping 150+ hours to get back to where I was.

      Fair point. Cross save should be a given these days ffs.

    Its doesnt run well. Please edit your title. Game with a lot better graphics, like BF1/SWBF2, Destiny 2 look and perform a lot better than this game. Denovo eats CPU for breakfast.

      The article title is absurd anyway... It's like saying, "Car runs well... IF you put gasoline in it."

    As a player new to this franchise, how would you compare this game to, say, Breath of the Wild?

      Apples and oranges.

      I'm still new to Monster Hunter: World myself but I feel it would be more appropriate to compare it to a Elder Scrolls RPG (like Morrowind).

        The reason I asked for BotW is because that's, as far as I know, the closest reference I have. I haven't played ES games for more than a couple hours. While BotW may differ quite a bit, I understand some mechanics are similar.

      I might get slammed for this, but the best way I could think to explain it is possibly a split between the original guild wars (hub home worlds with open exploration based maps) and Dark Souls (action based high need to dodge combat with big enemies and bosses). It's not open world game like BOTW.

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