Monster Hunter Rise: Sunbreak is an expansion to Capcom’s latest entry of the action RPG series that adds new maps, new monsters, and new mechanics to the base game, along with Master Rank quests and a whole new story.
After the rampage threat in your home of Kamura is dealt with, monsters foriegn to the region start to invade. While investigating you cross paths with Fiorayne, a new hunter from the Kingdom of Elgado who has given chase. She enlists your help with permission from Kamura to head to Elgado and find out what’s behind this new monster migration.
The story doesn’t break any new ground for a Monster Hunter game, but I found it much more engaging than the quick-paced and bare-bones plot of Rise. There are a plethora of likable characters who have memorable quirks and entertaining dialog between one another. It even hints at the mysterious histories of some of the old cast in ways that piqued my interest and made me happy to hunt monsters for and beside them.
A new quest type now lets NPCs invite you to go on hunts. It’s cool to see them wyvern-ride into the fray and drop a monster right in front of your face, but there’s no way outside of those quests to select an NPC follower to accompany you on a hunt like you would a Palico, which I found disappointing.
Several existing mechanics and features got quality-of-life improvements however. Small annoyances like not being able to wall-run without using a Wirebug or automatically riding a weakened monster when attacking are things of the past. Bigger changes, like not including the tower defense-like Rampage quests and allowing the ability to switch between two loadouts of skills, both eliminated weaker aspects of the base game and doubled down on one of the most fun. Every weapon’s Switch Skills have been expanded from three to five, allowing you to tweak some of your passive combo moves the way you would your special Silkbind moves, along with brand new options to experiment with.
The streamlined hunt that Rise introduced feels like less of an issue now that Sunbreak has taken its already deep combat mechanics and made them feel bottomless. Even with so much focus being directed at weapon mastery, it’s impressive how every single weapon I used felt twice as fun as it had before, as I tested strategies against the game’s new and remixed monsters.
Sunbreak outdoes itself with its monster encounters. Almost every creature you take on will leave an impression on you that you’ll keep in mind for your next hunt. The subspecies variants of base game monsters don’t feel like trivial reskins, while the new additions shake up combat quite a bit with new mechanics tied to ailments like blood blight, which forces you to attack to regain draining health.
Accompanying all of the epic action is new music for the Elgado outpost area and the new monsters. Beautiful orchestral themes inspired by Europe’s middle ages replace the East Asian-inspired ones from the base game, swapping shamisens for concertinas. It’s a little jarring at first, but I grew to love them. Luckily you can head back to Kamura at any time to hear the original themes again too.
Monster Hunter Rise: Sunbreak seemingly responds to all the feedback from the base game, big and small. The quality-of-life fixes, the addition of more Switch Skills, and the ability to swap between them in the field opens up so many incredibly fun options. Thanks to its stellar monster designs, addicting gameplay loop, and truly deeply enjoyable combat, this is the best Monster Hunter has ever felt to play. The expansion is out June 30 for Nintendo Switch and PC for $39.99.
Watch the Review in 3 Minutes for Monster Hunter Rise: Sunbreak.