Monster Hunter Rise: Sunbreak – PC Review

Monster Hunter Rise: Sunbreak – PC Review
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Genre: Multiplayer action JRPG
Developer: Capcom Co., Ltd.
Publisher: Capcom Co., Ltd.
Release Date: June 30th, 2022
Edited by AlexKnight2005

Monster Hunter Rise continues its story in the newest expansion of the game Monster Hunter Rise: Sunbreak. The Monster Hunter series in the past few years has been seen by myself and others here as the gold standard in how to do a Live Service game. The newest expansion further proves how to correctly add an expansion to a game while improving upon the gameplay. By no means a fluke as Monster Hunter World and the Icebourne expansion did just as well, adding enough to warrant the price. In Sunbreak, more than just the new areas and monsters but changes to the entire game to bring new life into the older content that makes a return.

 

Monster Hunter Rise: Sunbreak can only be accessed after completing the main story of Monster Hunter Rise. The story directly continues after the events of Rise. Helping newer players catch up is a similar set of armor and weapons from Monster Hunter World: Icebourne. The set is an excellent basic middle ground to help anyone catch up to the current content as it has good stats for the tier and is very easy to craft without much effort. After completing the low rank and the high-rank story, one can easily jump into Monster Hunter Rise: Sunbreak’s story and gear in Master Rank. Like when you moved from Low rank to High rank in the base game, that is what it feels like doing Master Rank. Another tier filled more powerful options and gear from the last, building onto the traits of the weapons and armor of the last.

 

Changes in Sunbreak touch upon every mechanic within the game. New moves for weapons are part of the expansion, including making two different skill sets with the silk bind moves. The advantage of the new move sets is that one can create two different play styles with a weapon at will. Notability with the Great Sword I use, I can do the default fighting style involving heavy charge attacks and instantly switch to the skill set that revolves around the more mobility style of “Rage Slash.” Many of the moves can be used in lethal combos if the players swap at the right times for the purpose. If I can not get the full heavy-hitting charge combo off, I can use the more agile style until an opening happens to swap back.

 

Besides the new maps, new hazards, and endemic life. For those unaware, endemic life are minor creatures, bugs, and toads that are exploitable as the environment for the hunter to use. New additions gave more of a feel of what was missing from playing Monster Hunter World to Rise. The Marionette Spider allows you to attach a wire to the monster and yank in the direction you choose in a short range. It gave the same vibe as when you could latch onto a monster’s head and do the same in World. Some wall-based creatures apply effects and damage as you knock them into the walls. A new wirebug in Gold or Ruby forms gives bonuses during mounting. The gold allows for more drops during the mounted combat, and the ruby gives a large bonus for the ultimate move at the end of mounting. These are not just added to the new maps but for the older locals as well. Nothing was taken away in the old locations for the new additions.

 

The new monsters and returning ones from older games are a great mix of new and old. The monsters themselves received an overhaul, not just the addition of new monsters. All the monsters seem to have at least one more attack I have not seen. All the new attacks make the fights harder, so I wasn’t surprised the new attacks only show up in Master Rank. The new attacks seem to be tailored to counter the player’s ability to dodge and counter more.

 

Armor and decorations added into Sunbreak will make you feel more powerful and have more options than in the base game. The new armor sets do not hold back being overly generous with skills and abilities, and new abilities are introduced on armors. Players will find themselves spoiled even if they do not have the decorations to slot the armor. Veteran players of Rise like me have been having a field day at launch with all the combinations, even on lower-tiered armor in Master Rank. Bow and bowguns will feel very spoiled as many armors have melee-centered traits and key ones for bowgun. The new four slot decorations add an extra level to think about when slotting. Many four-slot decorations provide a full leveled skill or two out of the three needed. Most of it is quality of life but will make the player question how to effectively use this or take an armor just because it can provide that four slot. The weapons have points to make some right at Master Rank level while some continue from their Low and High Ranked versions. Veteran players will feel more options open, but new players will not feel in the dust at the start. Weapon upgrades from their last still have the same feel in playstyle and, if anything, feel more powerful than before. The rampage slots still exist but have been changed as a special Decoration slot. These new decorations are made the same way normal decorations are made. These special slots contain many cookie cutter options depending on the slot level the weapon offers.

Missing in the new update are the Rampage quests. Due to story reasons, these are no longer happening but are replaced with a different type of hunt that has nothing to do with the rampages. The new type involves more single-player-oriented hunts with the main characters you run into. The NPCs have their own palico and palimute and act like a real player as they follow around. The NPCs feel useful as they just don’t attack but do supportive measures like statues, traps, healing, and mounting monsters. Special rewards and weapon sets for completing the missions. They are a neat spin on a solo hunt. I’m unsure how I feel about the lack of the tower defense, like rampage missions not returning, but at the same time, I don’t feel much is missed, and they were a neat story element like the special missions from Monster Hunter World.

Palicos and Palimutes changes rewards for having lots of them while giving a reason to level up more. New abilities and skills added another “ultimate” you can apply to any type while more skills to the slot are added to make your pet a better sidekick, from defense, damage, or support. Most new skills help synergize more with offense or defense builds people aim for. It may not seem as “much” at first, but every player has one they can bring. It adds up greatly.

Last is the style of the vibe of Sunbreak. Stepping away from the Asian style of the village to the more European port was a smart move to give more variety to Sunbreak. Same how Iceborne’s winter setting was a good change from the tropical one. The mix of old and new doesn’t stop with the new hub but into the new areas as the “Jungle” brings that tropical feel back. You can feel the merging of adventuring to another place away from your “home.” The new areas feel they knew how to really abuse the new wirebugs, climbing, and verticality of monster hunter rise in the design. The addition to seeing your move list at the button is a nice touch for newer or more casual players. Overall the feel of gameplay and difficulty is the same as Rise’s base game.

The bad side of monster hunter mostly comes from some of the issues I and others had from launch. The crashing on launch was fixed by running it in windows eight compatibility mode. The controller still reigns compared to the keyboard and mouse. The skills and swapping the switch skill sets still feel more fluid on the keyboard. I feel the minor “helper” rewards you get for helping your friends catch up are lackluster and should contain more Master Ranked items if it’s their first time completing it. Like Monster Hunter World: Iceborune, there is no “catch up” for many of the side quests that provide some useful food and more.

Overall, I love the new expansion, and all the changes have been worth the change. I hope the switch skills continue to be improved in the next game and the designs and maps are just the surface of what is to come from the series. Sunbreak builds on what made Rise great without giving up on its past loved monsters and games. If you didn’t like the base game, you might not enjoy this expansion. If you are new to Monster Hunter, Monster Hunter Rise is a great one to get into the game with. With the new expansion out, it is a great time to see if you like the series as you enjoy it with friends currently playing. They continue to have a roadmap leading into the next year with free updates and releases. They constantly do events and special crossovers all the time. I’m excited to be part of it in real-time at a Live Service game series that does it right.

Pros:

  • Amazing Expansion to A Great Live Service Game
  • Builds on The Good Stuff and Expands Everything
  • Great Progression and Additions to Dynamic Gameplay

Cons:

  • Some Technical Issues and Some “Catch-up” Issues.

FoxieEXE gives Monster Hunter Rise: Sunbreak for PC a Drastik Measure of 8.9 out of 10.0 (89)