Monster Hunter Rise: Sunbreak Review

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What is that? You hunted the monsters in Rise, now they’re back to hunt you.
Expect to pay £33/$40
Developer Capcom
Editor Capcom
Reviewed on GeForce GTX 1070, 16GB RAM, i7-7700HQ
Multiplayer 4 player co-op
Link Official site (opens in a new tab)

There are two sides to Monster Hunter Rise Sunbreak. The first will see you quest through a lush jungle, gathering bugs and squashing little monsters in search of a snail: which you’ll then snap a photo of and be rewarded with a very attractive snail hat. The other side of Sunbreak is your hunter, helpless on the ground as an angry red-eyed monkey smashes your keyster into the ground. Or maybe it’s a giant dragon with a rhinoceros horn, shooting charges at you (which inflict poison on top of that).

Time and again and again you will see hunters falling to the ground.

It’s one of the cute aspects of Monster Hunter that, in a game built around brutal movement and a red nature in teeth and claws, hunters still faint when an enraged giant monster knocks them out. . Don’t worry, everything will be fine. The real twist of the knife is the limited continuation of each mission, so “carting” three times (you’re hauled back to base on a cat-propelled stretcher) means a restart. It’s a weird thing in 2022 to have an old feeling – that feeling that you just spent 40 minutes on the wall of a fight and, because you went for an extra hit or messed up a dodge, you have to to start all over .

Monster Hunter Rise first released on Switch in early 2021 and came to PC in January of this year (here’s our review). More in line with old handheld titles than the sing-and-dancing Monster Hunter World, Rise is full of weapons to try out, monsters to hunt, and loot to stash in boxes (and occasionally carry). It also greatly improved player movement, made area transitions smooth, and was a smoother single-player experience than what had come before.

Monster Hunter Rise's Sunbreak expansion.

(Image credit: Capcom)

I wouldn’t say Rise is an easy game, far from it. But it’s the one that’s meant for most players to be able to complete, with the real baddies saved until post-campaign hunts (one of the things about Monster Hunter games is that they tend to have multiple points you might call the end). It also stopped at “High Rank” hunts, where the series traditionally transitioned to “G-Rank” and later “Master Rank” hunts and the training wheels really stood out.

Monster Hunter Rise Sunbreak is the heavenly addendum and ruthless patch to Rise’s smoother player integration. This one is for the hardcore and more or less suits you right off the bat.

Monster Hunter Rise's Sunbreak expansion.

(Image credit: Capcom)

Bite me

A full-priced expansion with fights against pallet-swapped versions of old monsters isn’t as exciting as I expected.

Sunbreak’s openness, however, leaves a lot to be desired. Your intro to the expansion is a variant of the Hermitaur, a crab-like enemy. Although it has some new moves and, hey, it’s a new Rise fight, it’s an extremely familiar monster and encounter.

It’s a theme that probably lasts longer than it should. Sunbreak quickly promotes your hunter to Master Rank, but you won’t see a real new monster until you’re ready to upgrade to Master Rank 3, which is a good dozen hours of hunting. To some degree, this has always been Monster Hunter’s endgame, and most long-time fans of the series won’t blink, but a full-price expansion with battles against paddle versions of Monster Hunter. old monsters with some new moves… not as exciting as I expected.

One change introduced almost immediately is the “Switch Skill Change,” which essentially lets you take two different loadouts of Switch Skills (think: special moves) in combat. At first, it’s just a nice thing to have, and comes with a neat bespoke animation that can turn into a dodge. Later, it becomes even more woven into the fabric of your hunting style, as you gain buffs that activate on skill change, allowing you to overdo things like weapon sharpening and minimize downtime. stop.

The skill change genre represents Sunbreak as a whole. It’s a small change, but as you play it becomes clear how much it improves hunts. I mainly throw guns and the switch skills are so different that I’m a bit set in my ways, but it adds a dynamism where you can now identify what might be really useful against a given monster and deploy it. That’s sort of what this expansion is all about: perfecting an already great hunting experience.

Monster Hunter Rise's Sunbreak expansion.

(Image credit: Capcom)

Raaah!

Sunbreak only adds five genuine “new” monsters to Rise, and some of them, like Espinas, have been in older games. Espinas is a good example of the kind of thing Sunbreak is really looking for. You won’t encounter this thing until Master Rank 4, in which case you should say goodbye to your mother and make sure all your mundane affairs are in order.

Espinas is like Diablos’ bigger and badder older brother. It’s a giant dragon that loves to charge at you, repeatedly, with huge wings that can catch lazy dodges and a horrible big horn that’s sure to shoot you. He doesn’t have a fancy move, he runs at you over and over until he catches you, which he will, and the secret sauce is that he poisons you as well. This means that even if you get hit and somehow survive, you now have to heal the poison and heal while that thing keeps rushing in like Usain Bolt. He stuns frequently. Espinas hates me, and I hate this.

Sunbreak retains a lot of what it has. You don’t unlock the new switch skills until Master Rank 4, which is a while into the experience, and that’s when you’ll also start to see the new monsters in action. Capcom may not have delivered quantity in this regard, but it delivered quality.

Five new monsters feel stingy, but the later fights and Malzeno in particular deliver absolute fireworks. This elder dragon hosts a swarm of vampire moths that can infest your hunter as they fly around exploding fireballs, shattering the ground, and fanning the elements around you. Oh and it can warp. Prepare this stretcher.

The Elder Dragons are my favorite fights in the series because Capcom’s designers make it seem like the whole world around you reacts to their presence, and Malzeno really feels like a terrible force of nature. His armor set is also incredibly sweet, adding the “Blood Rite” skill that allows you to heal when hitting broken monster parts: yes, they have Bloodborne in there.

New monsters in Rise's Sunbreak expansion.

(Image credit: Capcom)

Follow me!

Monster Hunter Rise is as good as this series has ever been, and Sunbreak is much more similar.

In the face of such formidable odds, Sunbreak offers a helping hand to the player, and it works so much better than I expected: followers. You can usually go hunting with your animal companions, but Sunbreak introduces other hunters who will participate in side missions and one, the knight Fiorayne, who joins you on major story quests.

Fiorayne is heaven sent and one of the best companions Capcom has introduced to the series, as she fights like any other player. use the powder of life at the right time, attract the monster’s attention for long periods of time, disappear to find another monster to bring back. Come to think of it, she’s better than some human players I know. Fiorayne adds a whole new element to the series and could point to where Capcom will go in the future when it comes to the single player side of the game.

New monsters in Rise's Sunbreak expansion.

(Image credit: Capcom)

Performance and Parameters

Performance was excellent on a GTX 1070 – consistent screen tearing, which I also found to be an issue with Rise when reviewing it. Otherwise, it maintained a smooth frame rate, without any performance issues. There is a considerable range of graphics options and even support for ultra-wide displays.

It’s not a visual spectacle, however, if you ask me, it looks awesome. Mid-level machines should be able to run it without breaking a sweat.

The new environments feel denser than vanilla Rise’s, though that could be a function of adding more small creatures and endemic elements like two new wirebugs. Both are mount-focused, with one making “punisher” attacks more deadly and the other increasing monster-fighting drop rates. In line with that, I felt like mobs are much more aggressive towards each other in Master Rank than they ever were in the base game, although that’s just my feeling. .

Another aspect of Sunbreak that’s locked down until you start taking on monsters like Malzenos is the amount of stuff added in the form of secret armor sets, companions, master rank stacked armor…stuff which seem to be fluffy but which are so important for some players. Suffice to say, if you’re a fan of the traditional Monster Hunter endgame, this offers that customization and min-maxing as well as the series.

Monster Hunter Rise is as good as this series has ever been, and Sunbreak is much more similar. It’s also a lot harder, but it seems like the right choice. For some fans of the show, you could probably add a 10 to the score. It lacks the thrill of the new, though some of its additions are bigger than they first appear, and essentially functions as a fitting endgame to an already expansive experience. Less a Sunbreak, then, than a sunset.

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