A few months after his arrival on consoles, Capcom brings the expected Iceborne expansion of Monster Hunter: World to PC. There is no doubt that we are facing the final version of the game, but how interesting are its novelties? Enough to justify the wait?
Probably we all agree that Monster Hunter: World has marked a before and after in a saga that had been relegated almost exclusively to laptops and the Japanese market. Betting on desktop machines and a global audience soon paid off and became nothing less than the best-selling game in the history of Capcom, which is not small. However, this beautiful equation left behind PC players, who have had to wait months to receive the base game, its updates and the new Monster Hunter World: Iceborne expansion, which is finally among us. It promises to delight us with its contents and improvements, but how is this version?
We recognize that we enter the lands of Arroyo de Escarcha with some fear or post-traumatic syndrome. As much as we liked the computer adaptation of the base game, it was released with numerous technical errors – some not very intrusive, and others as serious as disconnections or corruption of saved games – in addition to highly demanding situations with our hardware and the controversial system of Denuvo protection, which is still present at the time of writing these lines.
If you share our concerns, we have good news to give you: those responsible have left the most serious setbacks in the past, and the transition from the base game to Iceborne is much smoother than we expected. Unfortunately, there are still things to polish, unfulfilled desires, relatively few novelties and a whole calendar of post-launch contents pending to arrive, but once we are inside, we can enjoy the new monsters, redesigned weapons and more without worries.
We return to the hunt, this time on PC
Over the past two years, in 3D Games, we have talked a lot about Monster Hunter. We dedicated analysis to Monster Hunter: World on consoles, and later, another analysis for the PC version. Months ago, we also analyzed Iceborne as it passes through the console. We encourage you to consult the articles you find relevant before continuing reading, because frankly, the volume of news for this version of the game is somewhat poor and strictly technical, although each improvement is of good receipt!
It’s great to see the monsters and our characters in great detail.
In retrospect, we would say that Monster Hunter’s greatest advances on desktop platforms reside, as the name of the game says, in his world. It’s great to see the monsters and our characters in great detail, of course; but in the end, it is the navigation and interaction with the stage that gives life to the missions. You probably already know that Iceborne takes place in an unexplored glacier region with native fauna and vegetation, destructible elements that take advantage of the new claw, and even unique elements and weather conditions; Not counting the monsters and their new abilities.
In order to accommodate this scenario to our PC, Capcom makes a series of very specific promises. Some are quite simple or previously taken for granted, such as compatibility with the DLC of high-resolution textures that can be downloaded for free from Steam; the support for ultra-panoramic screens (21: 9) that had been introduced in a previous update, or the new addition of DX 12. In case you wonder, yes: we have tested this last library in our test equipment (GTX 1080 Ti, i7 8700k and 16 GB of RAM) just to see if MHW is one of those few games that really improve in terms of quality and stability with that graphic library. And no, it does not. But that is something that was already expected, so we move on to something else.
The trailer of the game also mentions other additions such as the maximum resolution of 4K and the unlimited ‘framerate’ that we are not going to value here because they do not make any difference from what was seen in the base game. In fact, we would have liked some small news about it, such as a resolution scaling bar or more variety of FPS stops to adjust manually. As a reminder, we only have the limits of 30, 60 and “without limit” leaving again orphans to those who close the games at 90, 120 or 144 FPS, or any custom margin that we can find in other games.
Be that as it may, there are other weight characteristics. On the official website we see a fragment of news that reads as follows: “The mouse and keyboard controls have been completely redesigned to better adapt to the new movements and skills available in Monster Hunter World: Iceborne.” It does not seem that it has really been a redesign as powerful as those lines predict, but it is true that there are some improvements in MKB control, which affect both menu navigation and character handling during missions.
For example, if we enter the mapping menu, we find that we can create new optional shortcuts for the melee profile for what on an Xbox One controller would be Y + B, RS + B, RT + A or Y + B + RT. And there are other similar shortcuts for range weapons, of course. If you already play Monster Hunter, surely you already have an idea of what that means for each type of weapon. It is now much easier to counterattack while using a spear or throwing a lunge while carrying a sword and shield, or activating the demonic mode of double swords. And personally I don’t use hunting horns, but I imagine this sounds great (never better) to its users. Of course, that means that those who wish to make use of the shortcuts will play more comfortably, but not better.
This kind of improvement are always welcome and it is appreciated that they are also seen by some menus, but ultimately we always talk about a type of interface designed natively to be controlled with a command, and we cannot avoid frowning with certain menus occasionally. For example, if we put imagination, we would have liked to see the option of dragging objects with the cursor to manage our trunk or more facilities to open the quick access wheel during missions with mouse and keyboard. Anyway, it is ‘pecata minuta’ because although some screens are still cumbersome, in the end, we have lots of facilities to quickly equip and start hunting.
The last great technical novelty lies in (drum roll) the graphic configuration options. Sounds promising and we are certainly glad to have a button to choose if we want to see the snow in low, medium, high or very high settings; but the rest of the additions are almost aliens again. If in your day you wondered what the nose was that of Z-Prepass by configuring the base game, maybe today you want to Google what is the new element of “spherical harmonic diffusion”.
And since we are, we save you the effort with a handy link to Wikipedia . It is hard to believe that we have such improvements, but not something as simple as a field of vision bar. We are still tied to the poor option of the near, medium or distant camera, something difficult to understand in a third-person action game.
Luckily, almost everything is good news within the mission itself. It’s hard not to remember the brutal FPS tears that Kushala Daora tornadoes or Teostra explosions usually cause in the base game, and this time we have a lot of snow on the ground and the air apart from the possibility of encountering Several monsters at once. We worried too much: the game moves with the same ease as in any other location, and of course, if Capcom is encouraged to withdraw Denuvo one day ( as he has done with Resident Evil 2 ) it will be even easier to keep the type during the battles.
The truth is that the game already looks really good combining the majority of parameters in between and the HD textures DLC, and in some cases, you may not even be interested in betting on the highest settings. For example, the highest quality snow barely offers a somewhat softer geometry than the previous option in very but very specific scenes, and as we explore with the additions, such as the DX 12 library, we find that the snow can shine up to annoy at some points. We think that it is better to settle for the more than acceptable level of detail that it has for itself and the careful effects it has as it covers us up to the waist or chest.
We would have liked, on the other hand, that some graphic configuration features that were totally broken in the base game would have been profiled with the arrival of Iceborne. For example, “rendering volume quality” (volumetric fog, to understand us) still has an absurdly high SPF consumption, and it does not seem that the reflection in the water has any impact on the game world yet.
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He has been begging, but he has complied. Monster Hunter World: Iceborne for PC offers us just what we expected, a well-made adaptation full of new quality content and a small volume of technical news. Could Capcom have been more ambitious with the latter? Definitely yes, but each improvement is a good receipt and complements a product that is already quite round.
- Managing complex weapons has never been so comfortable on the mouse and keyboard.
- Post-launch content will arrive at an accelerated rate.
- All the genius of Iceborne and his monsters!
- Good optimization, although Denuvo continues to spare us.
- We are still waiting for very basic and important configuration options.
- Menu navigation is still something artificial on PC.