Monster Hunter games are known for receiving an abundance of post-launch content and Monster Hunter Rise is no different. First including a variety of entertaining Event Quests at first, the game received its paid DLC expansion, Sunbreak, at the end of June. Featuring an all-new story, never-before-seen monsters, and the ultra-tough Master Rank, Sunbreak gives Monster Hunter fans more than enough challenge to test their skills.
After countless felled monsters, I can definitely say that the $40 price tag is worth it. If you're a Monster Hunter veteran and enjoyed the mechanics that Rise had to offer, Sunbreak is sure to make your hunting dreams come true.
The hunt is on!
Hunters travel to a completely new hub this time around called the Elgado Outpost. Located near a mysterious crater in the Kingdom, you're tasked with assisting the Royal Knights in culling erratic invasive species of monsters that have begun to terrorize both the Kingdom and your home village, Kamura. You know, standard Monster Hunter story stuff. While it won't win any awards for the story, the narrative in Monster Hunter Rise: Sunbreak is more fleshed out and engaging than most Monster Hunter stories (ha!) before it. The cutscenes are brilliantly animated and your hunter character looks more expressive than ever.
|Monster Hunter Rise: Sunbreak
|Monster Hunter Rise: Sunbreak
|Single or Multiplayer
The focus this time is on a trio of monsters that are causing particularly troublesome carnage, known as the Three Lords. These monsters, much like Elgado itself, are based on European monsters, myths, and literature. Garangolm is an ape-like monster resembling Frankenstein's Monster, with each of its arms dealing different elemental damage. Lunagaron is a fanged beast based on the werewolf, with devastating icy attacks stopping even the most experienced hunters in their tracks. Malzeno, the Elder Dragon that serves as Sunbreak's flagship monster, is based on vampires featured in European myths, bringing with it the new status of Bloodblight. Bloodblight saps the affected's health, healing the monster in turn.
As you move through Master Rank, you'll encounter more difficult versions of monsters you've hunted in the base game and past games, featuring all-new moves and higher difficulties. Monsters hit hard in Sunbreak, giving credence to the Master Rank title. Hunters will face brand new versions of old monsters as well, like the Blood Orange Bishaten, Aurora Somnacanth, and Magma Almudron, prompting you to change your strategy as you grind for unique elemental gear.
Taste my fury!
The new mechanics in Sunbreak are stellar. A large focus is placed on Switch Skill Swap Scrolls, which is pretty hard to say ten times fast but offers options to customize your movesets even more. Players can assign different Silkbind and Switch Skills to each Swap Scroll and change between them on the fly to diversify attacks during a hunt. I didn't pay much attention to Switch Skills in the base game but the versatility offered with the Swap Scrolls improved my hunting experience tenfold. There are also new Silkbind moves for each weapon, making each hunt feel fresh and new.
It seems like Capcom really listened to players' feedback for the base game because Rampages are nowhere to be seen. These Tower Defense fights were forced upon the player in the base game and weren't all too popular with fans. However, they were necessary to get items used to craft Rampage Skills, which granted specific buffs to each weapon. In Sunbreak, Rampage Skills are replaced by Rampage Decoration slots for your weapons, making your weapon arsenal even more customizable, as these Decorations are not locked to specific weapons. You can keep the Rampage Skills on High Rank weapons of course, but Master Rank weapons won't use them and will have higher attack stats that are better suited for Master Rank monsters.
Moving up through Master Rank is streamlined, with only two to three quests needed to be completed before moving on to the next part of the story. Like High Rank before it, every one of these quests can be tackled both solo and in online multiplayer, making things easier when dealing with the increased difficulty in quests.
There's stuff on offer for solo players as well, with Follower Quests and Support Surveys available for hunters eager to get more exposition about Elgado and its inhabitants. Various NPCs from Kamura and Elgado will ask to accompany you on specific quests, acting as your multiplayer party members. Each Follower has a different playstyle, dictating how aggressive they are, how often they heal, as well as what kinds of weapons they use.
These quests were fun, but I found the Follower AI to be lacking. You can't step away to heal, change your weapon, or gather materials without them following you. Even fainting in a quest and being sent to camp prompts them to rush to your side, leaving the monster alone. They do have some use in that they will sometimes leave to Wyvern Ride another monster to your battle to deal extra damage, and some Followers will heal you. You also get to know the Followers' personalities in depth and get to see them animated and happy to fight alongside you.
Is Monster Hunter Rise: Sunbreak worth the price?
In my opinion, Sunbreak is the definitive Rise experience. It builds on the mechanics introduced in Rise like Silkbind Attacks, Dango, and Rampage Skills but it improves on them, removing the more tedious aspects of features like Rampages to further enhance the hunt. Going through Master Rank without having to complete a laundry list of tasks is refreshing and respects my time, and I'm having much more fun with the increased challenges offered by both new and returning monsters.
The $40 price tag is admittedly quite hefty and even my eyes widened when the price was announced. But the amount of content offered feels like an entire game and I've only scratched the surface without collecting all the equipment for my weapon of choice, the Long Sword. If you're looking for some new quests to sink your teeth into and enjoy an increased challenge, I'd definitely recommend it. If you're new to Monster Hunter Rise and found the base game too grindy or difficult, the Sunbreak expansion is more of that, and you may find a different gameplay loop to be more your style.
For the biggest fans
The Monster Hunter Rise: Sunbreak Collector's Edition features the majestic Malzeno amiibo, glossy themed Steelbook, Elgado emblem enamel pin, and iconic monster stickers.
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Nadine is a freelance writer for iMore with a specialty in all things Nintendo, often working on news, guides, reviews, and editorials. She's been a huge Nintendo fan ever since she got to pet her very own Nintendog, and enjoys looking at Nintendo's place in the video game industry. Writing is her passion, but she mostly does it so that she can pay off her ever-growing debt to Tom Nook. Her favorite genres are simulation games, rhythm games, visual novels, and platformers. You can find her at @stopthenadness on Twitter, where she'll more than likely be reposting cute Animal Crossing content.