Monster Hunter Rise Sunbreak Better than Rise in almost every way. But you would expect to do that from an extension, right? The thing is, Sunbreak doesn’t just give you more Rise – not that more Rise is a bad thing. Sunbreak builds on pretty much everything that makes Rise great, while weaving in some important new ideas that prove Monster Hunter has an ever-growing scope, scale, and vision.
First, let’s talk about a new headline feature: followers. Followers and Follower Quests offer single-player-only quests that put you into battle accompanied by NPCs from Rising Worlds. Whether it’s the new royal apologist from Sunbreak’s Elgado Outpost, or the cozy little family from the base game Kamura Village, assistants to help you hunt add a whole new dimension to the game.
They’re presented in a simple enough way; you complete Master Rank quests in Sunbreak just like in any other Monster Hunter setting, fighting bigger, more dangerous prey as you level up. Then, with an urgent mission, the definitely not sadistic royal vanguard, Fiorian, decides to accompany you – there’s a very dangerous monster out there that some incompetent newcomer certainly won’t be able to deal with alone.
Here you start to understand what Sunbreak is doing. Instead of sticking to one spot in the Hub, NPCs now start to become more dynamic – they become more personal, they chat with other NPCs (if you pair them up while hunting). They almost all worship the land you walk – after all, by the end of Sunbreak, you’ve saved the world twice. Of course, they think you’re some kind of acrobatic rebirth.
MonHun veterans know there’s a lot of replayable quests in these games – you’re not going to get that Gore Magala Plate from just one hunt, right? Gives you the option to mix and match followers, listen to them show off their ego, demean each other, encourage you… it allows you to have other fun when you go back and meet Astalos. The same rich hunt – loot – crafting – repeat game loop still exists – that’s always been the charm of Monster Hunter – but now, replaying hunts has a narrative advantage. About 40+ hours into the expansion and I haven’t completed all the follower missions and haven’t seen all the pairings you can have. I’ll save that for the final game rig.
Speaking of the final game, Sunbreak is just.. not over! It’s like the director’s cut of Return of the King: it just goes on and on. End after end. There are fights with cover monsters, then other things, and then other things that seem to go on indefinitely. Damn master monsters, they know nothing about what Sunbreak still has to protect you. Here I am, the main story is complete, the side quests are tied, and I grit my teeth and dive in for whatever comes next.
Luckily for me, I have some stupid armor that can do stupid things, allowing me to dig deeper into the combat system in order to get the upper hand on the stupid monsters waiting for me. Skills and passives have a lot of focus, forcing you to use the Switch Skill Swap (new to Sunbreak), and for doing so bring fascinating buffs and benefits. There are armors that basically let you play like a Berserker (great for master sword/shield folks like me) and make you rethink your encounters from Rise. Honestly, the way Capcom is constantly looking for opportunities to dig holes in its tried-and-true formula and expand it for experimental players is nothing short of genius.
I won’t spoil the encounters here, but the new monsters are fun, fierce, and tick all the boxes you’d expect in between. It’s like the devs want to make a graph of all the different monster types in the game, and then insert a new one at the very end of each point; there’s a fast, punishing, there’s a clunky, powerful, and there’s an ancient giant Dragons, and… more. But I won’t spoil the surprise. These newcomers, on top of Rogue’s Return of the Beast Gallery, make my 3DS-loving heart rejoice, making Sunbreak and Rise probably my favorite choice of monsters in any MonHun game. Yes, even more than World/Iceborne.
Criticisms are few and far between; some encounters tilt your camera awkwardly due to the new map’s setup, and now there are so many compositions and UI elements that the screen can be overwhelmed with information. But Monster Hunter has always been, and honestly, navigating the UI and learning complex controls feels like part of the fun. If it’s good enough for FromSoft, it’s good enough for Capcom.
The localization is also excellent – from perfectly encapsulating the tension between the highly charged kingdoms to giving the new arena master Arlow the most London pitch, Capcom’s translation team continues to nail it for some reason. The actual gameplay of Monster Hunter may be very serious, but its goofy humor is still there, and it never feels part of the world like it does in Sunbreak. Maybe it’s because the development team is more confident than ever, or because we can spend more game time learning about the characters. Either way, in Sunbreak, Monster Hunter is at its best ever.
Yes, this is an expensive extension. $39.99 or £32.99 is an unpalatable number for expansion. But there’s definitely a whole set of honest-to-God stuff here – the fact that it’s so closely tied to the base game also means you can get some new tricks and perks in Kamura as well (new local sex in the map, updates to dragon riding , and that delicious new toggle skill swap ability).
If you bite the bullet and pay for the DLC, you won’t be disappointed: Sunbreak is an essential expansion for any Monster Hunter fan, and – paired with Rise – for those eager to learn more about this fascinating series, Too.
Monster Hunter Rise: Sunbreak releases on Steam and Switch on June 30.
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