Wild Hearts has just been released for PC, PS5, and Series X|S, and it could mark the start of a worthy competitor to the Monster Hunter series. However, looking at the game’s store page on Steam, you’ll notice that something has gone wrong. Steam reviews are “mostly negative” as of writing, with only 36 percent of reviews being positive. What’s happening here? Is the game being review-bombed for no good reason? Taking a closer look, you’ll find many that claim Wild Hearts suffers from severe performance issues.
Are these claims unfounded? If it were just a few complaints, then possibly. However, even popular game reviewers such as SkillUp have a hard time recommending the game due to its rough current state. In addition, the performance issues of Wild Hearts have been officially recognized and will be supposedly addressed in an upcoming update. It’s clear that something is going on here and making the game less enjoyable than it could be.
How Bad Are the Performance Issues of Wild Hearts?
From my research, it appears that the worst instances of poor performance are on PC. Unfortunately, not much documentation of the game’s performance seems to exist in a video format as of writing. This makes it a bit more difficult to accurately gauge how poor the game’s performance is. However, what is certain is that rigs with high-end GPUs struggle to achieve 60 frames per second even at reasonable settings. It appears that most of the performance issues are CPU-related.
The game also makes use of an upscaling solution that greatly hurts image quality. As this apparently delivers lackluster gains in performance, there is practically no reason to use it. Fortunately, this can be disabled on the PC version. More advanced upscaling options such as DLSS and FSR are planned to be implemented, but it is not yet known when they will. With all this in mind, it’s safe to say that Steam Deck users should probably stay away from this title for the time being.
What about consoles? From what I understand, while the situation is not as bad as the PC version, there are still issues. Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be as much information available on technical issues related to the console versions of Wild Hearts. However, it seems to be agreed that the Series S version of the game is the worst offender for technical issues. PS5 and Series X are likely the best ways to experience the game as of now, although I’ve heard of issues on those platforms as well.
Why Do These Issues Matter?
So, what’s the big deal about all this? If the game is great, surely some issues like these can be overlooked. The problem is that severe performance issues do matter when it comes to action-heavy games such as this title. Bad drops or stutter can make a game feel very clunky and unresponsive to play. While Wild Hearts may not be as fast, imagine playing Devil May Cry with drops below 30 FPS and poor frame pacing. It would probably be an unpleasant experience, right?
People are not complaining about the performance issues of Wild Hearts because they want to see the game fail. I keep hearing that the game would be a great experience if not for these severe technical faults. Take Deadly Premonition 2 for example. While I very much expect “jank” as a fan of that series, the sequel was more disappointing than it should’ve been thanks to its performance issues. It greatly hurt an experience I very much wanted to enjoy.
While an update is planned to address the performance issues of Wild Hearts, there is still some worthy concern. If these issues can be easily fixed, then why weren’t they addressed before the game’s launch? I do hope that the majority of these issues will get removed, but that can’t be guaranteed. As such, I can’t blame people for not recommending the game as of now.
A Worrying Trend
Unfortunately, the performance issues of Wild Hearts are part of a growing trend among some more recent titles. Especially on PC, I have seen an increase in issues such as weird CPU bottlenecks and shader compilation stutter. While PC releases often have a reputation for their quirks, I don’t think that games should release as an absolute technical mess, regardless of platform. Even the wonderful Dead Space remake suffers from stuttering issues on PC.
Wild Hearts is a sign that people’s tolerance of technical issues can only go so far. While some may be able to overlook these issues and enjoy the game, it’s clear that many can’t. If you’re having a fun time, that’s great, but these issues could severely hamper what would otherwise be a great start to a new franchise. It doesn’t help that many agree that the graphics do not look good enough to warrant the lackluster performance. Keep in mind that Wild Hearts is a current-gen exclusive on consoles.
Hopefully, Wild Hearts is able to address its performance issues and provide a smoother experience soon. While I have yet to play it, it appears that the game could offer a lot of interesting things and prove to be a great competitor to Monster Hunter. It’s disappointing to see great games launch in states such as this. If Wild Hearts manages to pull through, I hope that this series never has a launch like this again.