A few quick thoughts on the new high resolution texture pack DLC after playing with it for about 60 minutes. Can't be bothered to post screenshots right now, I'm sure someone else will shortly and there are official screenshots too. I was mainly thinking about performance for anyone considering if it is worth it for their system.
System: 980ti x 2 SLI, 16GB RAM, i5 4690k OC 4.5GHz, 144hz G-Sync monitor (so not an old system but not too shabby either imo). Running on max settings with new texture pack all launched from SSD, 1080p for this test.
- Textures look improved, obviously, but particularly noticeable on weapons and armour which do look quite a lot better, faces are also more detailed which is particularly noticeable in cut-scenes (see below);
- Pets look cuter, food looks yummier, monsters look scalier, vistas look cleaner and the world appears slightly sharper overall;
- I appreciate the attention high end users are getting with this update, normally updates of this kind are optimizing for weaker systems, but this DLC is a real rig-killer if you're careless.
- I personally don't think that the improvement is staggering, it certainly won't blow you away which is a testament to how good the game looks to begin with. It DOES look better though, and eagle-eyed players will notice a host of differences over time;
- It's 29.2GB which might be a lot for some people;
- For me it has added a certain "shininess" to the game that wasn't there before: temporal mantle went from dazzling to blinding, breath attacks are retina scorching, and certain armour sets seem to be quite "glowy" even when in darker areas. Your mileage may vary.
- Framerates do drop but to be honest it was not too noticeable. No tearing or judders, still looked smooth and ran above 60fps most of the time. If you are regularly running at 1440p, prepare to be plumbing the depths below 60fps. If you're happy with that then have at it.
- Some people are reporting the game simply crashes after this DLC is installed. I did not have this issue at all, but be aware of these reports.
- Load times are significantly longer. Before, I could load into town in less than 2 seconds maybe even quicker, now it takes 5-10 seconds. Initial load time when opening into town for the first time is also very significantly increased. Obviously your system may vary but for me this was very noticeable as there are a lot of loading points in MHW. Over my short session this was quite annoying.
- Texture pop-in was increased. For me some textures looked blocky and smooth initially, until I walked closer and they quickly popped and faded to the updated textures. It didn't happen all the time but it was very obvious on chests, in-town decorations, and foliage. This could be a system issue for me but it looked a bit ugly and is an issue not present in the base game.
- Unless you have a simply beastly rig (regularly running 1440p+ easily) your system will be topping itself out trying to play with this texture pack so be wary of the impact this will have on your overall system health. Imagine running a max graphics test (e.g. Passmark, etc) but more dynamic and for multiple hour sessions. Your system may not like that.
TLDR / Verdict: New texture pack is fantastic for lovely screenshots but only big-dick systems should run it as standard (on max). Overall you're not missing out by sticking to the base textures. You could always reduce other settings to compensate in places but if you're doing that then why bother with the high-res pack int the first place as the base game looks great.
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