Monster Hunter Rise: Sunbreak adds even more content to an already packed game. The best and worst thing about this series is that it has a tight gameplay loop, and my big fear going into the expansion was that more of a good thing could be too much. Fortunately, Sunbreak changes things up just enough to reinvigorate the base gameplay.
In the base game of Monster Hunter Rise, you’ve become the star hunter of Kamura. So, when there are reports of a weird monster in the Shrine Ruins, you’re dispatched to take care of business. It’s a bit of a pain, but you manage to take it out. However, when you’re returning to the village with the carcass, your convoy is attacked by an incredibly strong monster. Fortunately, a knight arrives and helps you fend the creature off before it can hurt anyone.
Afterward, she introduces herself as Florayne, a Royal Knight of Elgado. Elgado is an outpost at the edge of a crater where an incredibly dangerous monster called Malzeno appears every 50 years or so. The last time, Kamura and Elgado both fought against it but were too busy trying to survive to meet and join forces.
The odd migratory behavior of the monsters around Elgado heralds the coming of Malzeno. The knights want to make this cycle the last; Master Fugen agrees and sends you to Elgado to represent Kamura and assist in locating and destroying Malzeno.
Keep up the pace
Unfortunately, unlike Iceborne, Sunbreak drips the new content out in little dollops instead of immediately immersing you. The first hunt in the expansion is against a Daimyo Hermitaur, a giant hermit crab with a wyvern skull for a shell. While it was introduced all the way back in Monster Hunter 2, this creature is new to Rise and was a great way to kick things off.
Afterward, when you head to Elgado, you get to visit the first new locale, the Jungle. By this point, I was pumped to start hunting down a whole host of new creatures, but instead, I found the first Master Rank hunts to target monsters I’d already faced off against multiple times in the base game. Sorry, but hunting another slightly tougher Kulu-Ya-Ku and Royal Ludroth didn’t get my blood pumping.
As you make your way through Master Rank content, things do pick up, but new monsters and environments could have paced a bit better. Unfortunately, for me, this was compounded by the fact that I had played the base game on Switch and was given Sunbreak to review on PC.
Since there’s no cross-progression, I had to play around 30 hours of the base game before I got to the point where I could access Sunbreak. I’m not going to knock the expansion for the lack of safe transfers since the base game had the same issue. Still, it’s incredibly frustrating since the PC version is by far the better way to play.
Fresh new moves
Of course, there are some new mechanics and tweaks to existing ones that come with Sunbreak. A big one is the addition of the Switch Skill Swap. You can now equip two sets of Silkbind moves and switch between them at will. This is great because it completely changes the way you can approach battles. You also get a free and quick evade when Skill Swapping, which can be useful in and of itself.
Amazingly, wall running has also been improved. Now, you can just dash, jump, or midair evade toward a wall, and you can run up it without using a Wirebug. Furthermore, there’s no limit to the wallrun, so you can easily access many places on maps that were previously a pain to reach.
There’s a new kind of quest as well that works somewhat like the Trust System does in Final Fantasy 14. Follower Collab Quests are single-player hunts that have you partnering with certain NPCs. A whole host of characters from Kamura village and Elgado are unlocked as you play through Sunbreak, and they each have their own styles. This was a great way to add more feeling to the story. Hunting with these characters gave a lot better sense of a bond than random cutscenes where everyone acts like you’re best friends even though you’ve spoken to them a handful of times since the game began.
Unfortunately, some of the issues from the base game carry over into Sunbreak. As I played through the base game a second time, it seemed to me that the monster AI in Rise is more limited than it is in World. It’s an overall easier game just because you don’t have to switch tactics very well. Most monsters give huge tells when they’re about to attack, and you can beat the majority of them by just keeping near their back legs and attacking when you get an opening.
Of course, there are exceptions, but for the most part, the only difference between a Low, High, and Master Rank monster is that they get more health and do more damage in higher ranks. I was hoping the monsters added in Sunbreak would offer a challenge based on skill instead of attrition, but it was a mixed bag.
I’m not much of a min/maxer, though. If you’re more into raw stats and constructing builds, then you’ll love Sunbreak. Master Rank armor and weapons have been added, and there are new bobs and trinkets to raise this stat or that skill.
Monster Hunter Rise: Sunbreak Review: The final verdict
Monster Hunter Rise: Sunbreak is a whole new world (or at least a whole new settlement) of content that adds to the already meaty base game. If you loved your adventures in Kamura Village, then Elgado is just the place for you.
However, don’t expect anything revolutionary. Sunbreak builds on a firm foundation and caters to those who conquered the base game. However, I see those who played tens of hours of Monster Hunter Rise feeling a bit weary when they boot up Sunbreak. Especially given its slow start.