Monster Hunter Rise has been out for just over a year now on the Nintendo Switch. Following the game’s launch, Capcom has been keeping it alive with regular updates that added new monsters to hunt, tweaks to the gameplay, and a number of event quests and item packs to enjoy. A short while back, a new major expansion entitled Sunbreak was announced and revealed a host of changes to the gameplay, a new location and of course, new monsters to hunt. Should you sharpen your blade for Monster Hunter Rise: Sunbreak? Yes, you definitely should.
It’s story time
The story picks up pretty much right where the events of the base game ended. It starts off with your hunter meeting Fiorayne, a royal knight from Elgado. Puzzling anomalies are plaguing this distant kingdom and will see you travelling to Elgado to investigate exactly what is going on and possibly how to put an end to it.
The story can be quite immersive at times and also a little exciting as you encounter new monsters, however, it’s rather forgettable. Fiorayne is a great addition to the existing cast of characters though and being able to have her accompany you on hunts is a nice touch.
If this is your first time playing Monster Hunter Rise, then you will have to complete each of the game’s main quests before being able to take on content in Sunbreak. The latter is essentially late-game content, so you’re going to need experience with hunting the original roster of monsters, in addition to being equipped with decent gear to avoid getting taken out in one shot.
Hunt, Slay, Craft
If you’re a returning Monster Hunter Rise player, then you should have all that you need to get started with Sunbreak. However, it should be noted that the pacing in Sunbreak can be a bit slow and main quests will require you to regularly upgrade your equipment if you want to succeed in completing them. This might feel like a grind and might be off-putting for some players, but it’s definitely worth the investment.
The gameplay loop remains largely the same: you hunt and slay or capture monsters and then use their parts to create new gear, which then allows you to hunt even stronger monsters. It doesn’t sound incredibly entertaining on paper, but it’s such an addictive loop and it’s quite exciting to pull off flashy moves with one of the fourteen different types of weapons. The monsters themselves are also really cool, presenting a decent challenge and can knock you out when you least expect it.
Switching things up
While the core gameplay will feel familiar, Monster Hunter Rise: Sunbreak improves upon it by tweaking some of the gameplay mechanics. One of the biggest changes is that you are now able to equip two different sets of Switch Skills. This means having access to two different Switch Skill loadouts for your equipped weapon and changing them on the fly. Switching between the two works quite well and is really responsive; there was never a time when I tried to make the change and failed. The addition of having two skill loadouts at your disposal actually makes such a big difference to the gameplay since your arsenal is essentially expanded, leaving you with more options during combat.
New monsters to hunt means new gear to craft and there are so many new weapons and armour sets that are now available. Aside from the actual armour, there’s also some new layered armour, allowing you to customise the look of your hunter while maintaining the stats of your chosen armour.
The new monsters are introduced fairly slowly though; the game first has you taking on variants of existing monsters from the base Monster Hunter Rise. When you eventually encounter one of the new monsters, however, it’s actually pretty exciting and they present quite the challenge. Speaking of which, Monster Hunter Rise: Sunbreak tends to ramp up the difficulty quite a bit, mainly because the content is essentially Master Rank hunts. Don’t be surprised if monsters hit a little harder or toss you around like a ragdoll more often than not.
Visually, Monster Hunter Rise: Sunbreak looks pretty great and runs really well on the Nintendo Switch. The monsters, weapons, armour and even environments look fantastic. Elgado also looks great and really feels like a busy port. The game still performs well too, running at a consistent 30FPS throughout with no real signs of slowing down. The music and voice acting are also pretty great; the characters deliver convincing performances and the music serves as an epic backdrop to your hunts.
Is it worth the cost of admission?
Monster Hunter Rise: Sunbreak is a fantastic expansion to the existing game. There’s a new story to get into and more importantly, more monsters to hunt. The story does feel a little forgettable, but Fiorayne is a great new character who can actually accompany you on hunts. The tweaks to the gameplay, especially the ability to equip two Switch Skill loadouts make a massive difference to the gameplay, allowing for more customisation to suit your play style. The increase in difficulty in Sunbreak and the grind to have the right gear might be a little off-putting for some players, however, fans of the series should feel right at home. Monster Hunter Rise was already an excellent game, Sunbreak makes it even better and should be a treat for any Monster Hunter fan, especially with more content on the way!
- New weapon moves and overhauled Switch Skills
- Can be pretty addictive
- New monsters to hunt
- New gear to craft
- Story is fairly forgettable
- Difficulty increase and grind to get the right gear might be off-putting