Monster Hunter: World is an action role-playing game developed and published by Capcom. It is the latest installment in a 16-year-old series which revolves around slaying or trapping wild monsters across various landscapes. World is also the first installment in the series that made its way to the PC platform. Besides introducing many new gameplay mechanics, Monster Hunter: World also represents series’ major visual improvement as it features various new graphical upgrades. In this article we will explore the performance of Monster Hunter: World on PC platform, and give suggestions for best graphics settings for your graphics card.
Monster Hunter: World is powered by an ageing MT Framework engine developed internally by Capcom. It is the same engine that powered older Capcom’s titles such as Lost Planet: Extreme Condition and Lost Planet 2, Devil May Cry 4, Resident Evil 5 and Dragon’s Dogma. Engine supports features such as tessellation, displacement mapping, soft body simulation, wave simulation, deferred lightning, SSAO and HDR.
Overall, Monster Hunter: World features rather big open-world areas which are richly designed and offer plenty of aspects to interact with. In an essence, World is graphically not too much demanding title. Running it on maximum image quality, however, will substantially lower your overall framerate, so don’t put your expectations too high. In order to test how does the game perform on Tier 4 graphics cards, we have used our standard benchmark PC rig with Radeon RX 580 graphics card and following components:
Testing Rig Specifications
In order to measure how many frames per second can our system achieve according to specific settings, we have used MSI Afterburner tool (ver. 4.6.1) and RivaTuner Statistics Server (ver. 7.2.2). Since Monster Hunter: World doesn’t have a built-in benchmark tool, our benchmark test consisted of running the same arbitrary sequence for 60 seconds and then logging the data with the programs that we mentioned above. We limited our graphics performance analysis to 1080p resolution since it is still the most popular display resolution out there, however, we included data showing resolution scaling up to 4K with all graphics settings set to maximum.
If you don’t like to fiddle around with various graphics settings, Monster Hunter: World offers four presets to choose: Low, Mid, High and Highest. Here are our frame rate test results for each of the mentioned presets:
Overall, Monster Hunter: World isn’t too demanding title for Tier 4 graphics cards, however, cranking up all graphics settings to maximum does put a lot of stress on such graphics cards, so you shouldn’t expect frame rates hitting 60 FPS mark. Playing the game on high settings offers an enjoyable and rather stable experience which isn’t too different than the one with the highest settings on. Low 1% is somewhat unsatisfactory on high preset, so if you are hoping to achieve rock-solid 60 FPS performance, then you should go for medium preset.
In December 2019, Capcom rolled out an update for Monster Hunter: World which introduced DirectX 12 API to the game. In our opinion, that was great news since DirectX 12 API offers better performance than DirectX 11 on newer graphics cards. This updated also introduced couple of new graphical options which we’ll discuss later. In short, DirectX 12 made its debut in December 2019 to the Monster Hunter: World, so we also tested out overall graphics presets performance running with this API. Here are the results:
As you can see, DirectX 12 offers significantly better performance than the DirectX 11 without any hardware cost. On average, we are talking about 6% – 10% FPS boost, or in absolute terms, about +4 to +10 FPS on average. Running the game on highest settings won’t make you closer to the 60 FPS mark, however, playing the game on high preset will be much stabler experience overall. Notice than our 1% low results with DirectX 12 were much better than the same results based on DirectX 11 API. In that sense, we highly recommend to play this game with the newer API, as it will offer much better graphical performance overall, and it won’t bring any new technical problems that you might fear of. You can see our direct comparison chart between DirectX 11 and DirectX 12 performance at the end (skip to 2:59) of our video here:
After examining overall image quality presets, we proceeded to the analysis of all graphics settings in Monster Hunter: World, and assessment of their impact on total system performance. This phase of analysis consisted of running the game at ultra preset, but with each separate image quality setting disabled or maximally lowered. After we acquired the results with each of the settings off, we had the ability to compare them with the results while they were on. Thus we had a chance to determine performance impact of each of the graphics settings on overall frame rate. As a baseline, we used ultra quality preset (running on DirectX 11 API). Here are the results:
Since we conducted our benchmark test before Monster Hunter: World received DirectX 12 update, in our test results we didn’t include results referring to new graphics options which were added to the game alongside new API. These settings are Snow Quality, Capsule AO and Contact Shadows. We did run couple of preliminary tests before writing this text, after which we concluded that these options didn’t impact overall performance at all. These are just a couple of post-processing effects added to the game because of the Monster Hunter: Iceborne expansion, which add a few image fidelity effects in environments covered in snow. In that aspect, we didn’t considered them to be relevant. Regarding “vanilla” settings, you can see in the chart above that most of the settings have very low impact on system performance. Picture is more clear when we take a look at this chart here:
Image quality setting clearly has the largest impact on system performance since it does what it says: it adjust overall image fidelity. Since this setting practically modifies whole game, we strongly recommend to run the game with this option set to maximum. Next option which has the largest impact on performance is Volume Rendering Quality. Now, this setting seems to have a huge performance impact without doing anything particularly useful. This setting adds fog to the game, which in our opinion looks bad and makes all texture colors look washed out. Besides that, it really kills the performance, so if you don’t consider it to be essential, just turn it off, you will have much higher FPS overall. Another setting that kills performance is LOD Bias, or Level of Distance Bias. Running this setting on maximum will increase image fidelity a lot, as you will be able to spot other objects from farther distances. This, however, will put a lot of stress to the GPU as it will force it to render objects that are far away. In our opinion, if you have a beefy card, keep this setting on maximum, but if you own a Tier 4 graphics card, set this to Variable. It won’t degrade image quality too much (it will offer similar experience as if the game was running of PlayStation 4), and it will stabilize your framerate significantly.
Other settings can be lowered down (if you own a weaker GPU), however, we don’t consider that to be necessary, especially if you own a Tier 4 graphics card. Turning down Volume Rendering Quality and setting LOD Bias to Variable, while keeping all other settings to Ultra, made our Radeon RX 580 quite happy. We easily achieved between 60 and 80 FPS on average, which in our opinion is great performance on 1080P resolution.
If you plan to play this game on resolutions higher than 1080P, expect big performance hits. Monster Hunter: World seems to be very demanding on higher resolutions, and even unoptimized. Here are our results for running this game on 1440P and 4K resolutions with maximum settings on:
Radeon RX 580 manages to pull out 30 FPS on average at 1440P, but is completely obliterated at 4K. This is, however, to be expected, as running this game with maximum settings at 4K and 60 FPS is probably reserved only for owners of RTX 2080 or RX 5700 XT cards. If you own a FreeSync or G-Sync monitor, you can probably achieve enjoyable results on 1440P with Tier 4 graphics cards if you lower most of the settings to medium or low. But, in any case, we wouldn’t recommend playing this game with such GPUs on resolutions higher than 1080P.
To conclude, Monster Hunter: World offers pleasant, yet somewhat unimpressive graphics. Vanilla textures lack detail, so we recommend downloading a High Resolution Texture Pack made by Capcom. Game offers fairly solid performance on Tier 4 graphics cards, and with a little bit of tweaking, you can achieve more than 60 FPS on average. For playing the game on resolutions higher than 1080P we strongly recommend using Tier 2 and Tier 1 graphics cards.