Monster Hunter Rise Sunbreak Review – A Worthwhile Expansion
Since the release of Monster Hunter Rise last year, series veterans have been hoping for the arrival of fresh content. Following several months of sparse updates, Capcom has finally given fans what they wanted in the form of Sunbreak, a sizeable expansion for Monster Hunter Rise that not only delivers new content but also comes with a number of new features.
Sunbreak features a brand new story that directly follows the events of the base game in Kamura Village. The new campaign is set in the Elgado region at the Royal Guard outpost, where you’ll be joined by Lady Fiorayne.
Similar to how things worked in the base game, Sunbreak will have you follow a series of quests, after which you’ll get promoted to the rank of a hunter. The campaign’s narrative focuses on a new Elder Dragon named the Malzeno, who appears to derive his strength from a living being known as the Quiros. They have the power to sap the life force from nearby creatures, altering their behavior and even driving them insane. Your mission will be to attempt to unravel the mysteries surrounding the Malzeno and the Quiros while helping the people of Elgado.
Outside of the main quest, players will have access to all of Rise’s quests, including expeditions, re-quests, and small missions to complete for villagers. You’ll also come across a brand new type of quest known as Paragon quests. During these quests, you’ll be accompanied by one of ten different AI companions. Alternatively, an online friend can also join you instead, extending the replay value of these hunts and making them all the more enjoyable. That’s not to say, however, that Paragon quests aren’t fun when playing solo. AI companions do an adequate job in helping you slay high-level monsters, giving you may the opportunity to gather resources for upgrading your equipment, including weaponry that is vital to progression.
Monster Hunter games generally feature engaging campaigns, even though it’s not their main selling point. The longevity that these games offer lies in their endgame. After achieving the Hunter rank in Monster Hunter Rise, series veterans can now aim to achieve the renowned G rank or Master rank added in Sunbreak. The rank of Hunter will determine the quests that you will be able to unlock as well as your character level. The aforementioned Master rank comes with the addition of new Master level jewels as well as master rank armor and weapons. These additions make up for the lacking endgame found in the base Monster Hunter Rise game. However, despite Sunbreak’s additions, the endgame is still not quite as great as that of Monster Hunter World and its Iceborne expansion. The latter is still very popular today, despite the release of Rise, all thanks to its well-rounded endgame.
Prior to Sunbreak, Monster Hunter Rise’s bestiary had a total of 46 large monsters, including the Apex monster variants. Sunbreak adds another 15 new monsters to the mix, including the Garanglom, the Lunagaron, or the Malzeno, as well as a few subspecies. Content-wise, there’s a decent number of new monsters here, but nothing spectacular in the way of what Iceborn brought to Monster Hunter World.
In terms of locations, there are two new zones added to Sunbreak i.e. the Citadel, which has been created from the ground up for Sunbreak, and the Jungle, a returning map from Monster Hunter 2. While the Jungle offers a nice bit of nostalgia for long-time fans of the series, one can’t help but feel that another brand new location beside the Citadel would’ve been more worthwhile.
In terms of core gameplay, Rise introduced some great gameplay mechanics courtesy of the wirebug and the palamute. The former added some much-needed verticality to the gameplay, while the latter significantly increases comfort throughout every hunt. Sunbreak doesn’t reinvent the wheel, but it does bring some worthwhile additions, including 14 new weapons and a switch skill swap system.
The most prominent new gameplay element added to the Sunbreak expansion is the ability to swap to a different weapon switch skill, in turn giving you additional flexibility and broadening your arsenal of attacks. You’ll now be in possession of two different scrolls i.e. a red and a blue scroll, with each granting you access to weapon skill. This newly incorporated system makes it possible for you to swap them out seamlessly during combat.
In addition to the ability to switch skills on the fly, Sunbreak gives your Hunter a new move called swap evade. It is triggered by dodging right after performing a switch skill swap, giving you greater mobility and an increased invulnerability range.
A key new QoL feature worth mentioning here is that the game now lets you manage your saved tradable skill from any item chest, including the ones located inside shops during missions. This eliminates the prior hassle involved in skill management.
Monster Hunter Rise Sunbreak has simplified the Solo and Group quests. A single board that displays them makes it easy to start a solo quest or join a group quest. These quests are well balanced to give a fair challenge even if you play the game solo. I find the group quests to be more engaging in general, although the solo missions are also enjoyable. The Monster Hunter series, on the other hand, takes pride in its enjoyable multiplayer, which is why it took off on the PlayStation Portable.
It was my first time playing Monster Hunter Rise on a portable, so it was pleasant to see that the game looks great even on low-end hardware like the Nintendo Switch. The opening scene indicates that the RE Engine is being used, and while there is no 60 FPS support for the Nintendo Switch, the game looks rather beautiful in 1080p resolution. The fact that this runs at 30 fps is rather disappointing, but I can forgive that because it looks fantastic.
The new locations and creatures are the finest additions to the game. Capcom has given them extra care, providing them with gorgeous animation and deadly encounter design. Fighting these monsters is a challenge, but the game gives many tools for players to use. This is why Sunbreak is not available at the start, and the player must grind through the majority of the main game until the end to gain access to the additional content.
Sunbreak is a fantastic expansion that does not revolutionize the genre and does not need to, but it does deliver new content that is enjoyable to play and some twists to keep the gameplay interesting. It is highly recommended for both series veterans and newbies to the Monster Hunter franchise.
Monster Hunter Rise Sunbreak Game Information
- Price: $39.99
- Publisher: Capcom
- Developer: Capcom
- Platform: Switch/PC (Reviewed)
- Disclaimer: A review code was given by the publisher