Monster Hunter: World Iceborne’s rocky PC launch still haunts its Steam reviews

Further graphical issues haven’t helped, either

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I love Monster Hunter: World. I’ve spent hundreds of hours in it between both the Xbox One and PC versions. Ever since the PC version launched, I never looked back to the Xbox version, despite it being constantly ahead on content until recently. The base game ran well enough on my aging PC, but now that I’ve upgraded I was excited to jump into Iceborne and see what it could do. In fact, as soon as I finished building my PC, Monster Hunter was the first game I booted up.

Needless to say, I found it interesting that Iceborne has a “Mixed” review status on Steam. After playing myself and digging around the reviews and forums, it’s clear to see why.

Tested on: Ryzen 3600X 3.8 GHz, 16GB of RAM, Geforce RTX 2070 Super, Windows 10. Framerate measured with NVIDIA GeForce Experience

I first started Iceborne on my old rig, and while it ran okay, I did have to play a lot more with the options than I figured I would have to. The snow in the Seliana region seemed to be tanking my framerate, but luckily there is an option to turn down the snow effects in the options. It still rarely met a solid 60 frames per second, however. 

Once I upgraded to the rig listed above, I installed the high resolution texture pack with excitement and glee. Well, I wasn’t excited at the 40 gigabytes of space needed (seriously holy crap), but I wanted to see what this new computer could do. Using a 2560×1440 resolution, the high resolution textures looked great! However the trade off is that I can’t push 144 FPS while using them. Locking it at 60 FPS still looks very nice, but I did want to test things to see if I could reach 144.

Turns out, I can’t. I cannot find a selection of options that allows me to reach 144 FPS at a 2560×1440 resolution. The best I can do is around 90, and that’s without high resolution textures or DirectX 12. I could drop the resolution, but personally I’d rather rock the 60 frames per second at a higher resolution, and with high resolution textures. 

I’ve also had some terrible graphical flickering in the environment, but am unable to consistently replicate it. It just seems that, sometimes, the light from scoutflies starts freaking out and I need to restart the game in order to fix it. It seems that NVIDIA’s latest update has something to do with it, and that they’re aware of the issue. According to this Steam thread, reverting to a previous driver fixes the issue.

So, why the Mixed reviews on Steam?

Well, it’s pretty clear that the game’s launch woes are the main culprit here. One of the biggest issues was a save bug that deleted your save game. Some sort of version disparity caused save files to be deleted which, rightfully so, upset a lot of people. Not all of those negative reviews are from people with deleted saves, however.

Lots of complaints of poor optimization are present, including very high CPU usage. Having my readouts up while playing showed relatively normal CPU use. My CPU usage would range from 70% to 80% while running Monster Hunter World: Iceborne, whether in town or on a hunt. 

Of course, since Iceborne has Denuvo attached to it, plenty of reviews complain about that — either simply the fact that it exists, or claiming that its poor implementation is the cause of their performance issues (likely anecdotal at best). 

One of the more recent complaints deals with online connection issues. People claim they have a hard time staying connected for any significant amount of time, being forced out of online play sessions with errors. While this does seem to affect a decent percentage of (vocal) users, I can only speak from personal experience and say that I have never had any issues getting into or staying connected to online sessions. As a Hunting Horn main, I enjoy jumping into random SOS missions and helping out, so that’s where I spend the majority of my playtime and can only report smooth sailing.

The rest of the negative reviews are legitimate criticisms of the game itself. Some aren’t a fan of the new monsters, for example. Others dislike the price-to-content ratio. Others cite the newly added clutch claw as an overall poor addition to the franchise, overly complicating combat by adding what they consider to be a must-use mechanic given its power and ability. I think those are all valid criticisms, though I agree with Jordan’s review in that I think this is an awesome addition to the base game.

So if you’re asking yourself if Monster Hunter World‘s Iceborne expansion is worth the price tag on PC, it’s tough to answer outright. Many of the original issues with the PC Port have been addressed by now, but every new update seems to introduce some other issue for some users. We can be thankful for two things: that Steam allows refunds if the game has issues with your PC, and that the team working on this port keeps putting in work to fix the problems that crop up.

[These impressions are based on a code provided by the publisher.]

About The Author
Patrick Hancock
During the day, he teaches high school kids about history. At night he kicks their butts in competitive games like Rocket League, Dota 2, Overwatch, and Counter-Strike. Disclosure: I've personally backed Double Fine Adventure, Wasteland 2, Dead State, SPORTSFRIENDS, Torment: Tides of Numera, STRAFE, and The Binding of Isaac: Four Souls. I have previously written for and continue to support them whenever possible (like HumbleBundle).
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