Monster Hunter Rise Sunbreak Review: A monstrous expansion

A little over a year after the launch of the most advanced and fun hunting game currently in circulation, Capcom has finally inaugurated the reopening of the hunting season, endowing Monster Hunter Rise with the much sought after Master Rank (or G Rank, if like us you prefer the historical original nomenclature of the brand). Defined by the Japanese developer himself as a “Massive Expansion”, the DLC already available on PC and Nintendo Switch puts on the plate new mechanics, various tricks and above all beasts absent in the already extraordinary basic package (in this regard, you are one click away from ours Monster Hunter Rise review), raising the challenge level and, consequently, the value of the rewards obtained at the end of each mission. Having spent dozens and dozens of hours in the company of Monster Hunter Rise: Sunbreakwe’re ready to deliver our verdict on a high-caliber set.

The Elgado Outpost and the Three Lords

Where the main Monster Hunter emulators have tried to distinguish themselves from the undisputed ruler of the genre by focusing mostly on the single-player component and on a full-bodied narrative system (for all the details see the review of GOD EATER 3), history has always played a very marginal role in the economy of the Capcom franchise.

If originally this was only a passable side dish, everything changed with the advent of Monster Hunter Rise, which among other things featured an intriguing intertwining and a solid and long-lived single player campaign. Given the enormous success of MH Rise, the Japanese studio has evidently decided to persevere in that direction, so much so that even Sunbreak offers a respectable narrative dimension. Set immediately after the fall of the Elder Dragon known as Narwa (the basic mission of “7: Goddess of Thunder”, which in fact closed the main campaign of Rise), the story told by the expansion begins with the arrival near the Kamura Village of some creatures from the Elgado region. As explained by Fiorayne, a knight of the Royal Order who came to investigate the incident and request the help of the best local hunter, an ancient calamity that several decades earlier had already struck the area seems to have awakened. Escaped from the huge crater that opened fifty years earlier in a coastal region not far from Kamura, the Elder Dragon Malzeno, who in the past had already brought the kingdom to the brink of ruin, has returned to complete his work of destruction.

In order to monitor the aforementioned crater and prevent the beast from causing yet another disaster, the Royal Order has built an outpost on an old fort and it is doing everything it can to prevent Elgado’s monsters – which have recently become much more aggressive than usual – from continuing to invade and disrupt ecosystems in neighboring areas.

After stumbling upon the ravenous Lunagaron (we told you about it in ours trial of Monster Hunter Rise: Sunbreak), that is, one of the feared Three Lords who dominate the region, our alter-ego is commissioned by the elder Fugen to help Fiorayne and the kingdom to resolve the troubling situation. Leaving behind the welcoming village now freed from the threat of the Fury, the “Flame of Kamura” traveling to the Ampoos of Elgadoin the hope of being able to use his experience to track down the powerful Malzeno and put an end once and for all to his reign of terror.

Thanks to a greater amount of dialogues and cutscenes placed between one assignment and another, the Sunbreak campaign immediately convinced us and above all it made sure to constantly feed our curiosity about its developments. This result was also achieved thanks to the numerous secondary characters, who in addition to having received a fair characterization even have an active role in the evolution of the crop.

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Instead of insisting on the Fury Missions, which, however hilarious (at least in groups) they have never been received so well by the community, this time Capcom has tried to enrich the single player component of Sunbreak by transforming the NPCs of the Elgado Outpost and Kamura Village into hunters to take on missions. While normally the non-player characters that populate MH HUBs are basically useless and pester the player with somewhat boring requests, the allies – renamed “Followers” – can now accompany us in a series of offline hunts, similar to what happens. always in the chapters of Toukiden and GOD EATER. Strictly entrusted to artificial intelligence, each of them has a favorite weapon and a unique style, as well as a personal behavioral routine that pushes the user to memorize the skills of individuals.

For example, if some followers tend to support or heal the Flame of Kamura for the duration of the battle, still others focus on the art of hunting, damaging and distracting the fairs of the moment. Clearly the allies controlled by the system cannot completely replace the comrades who can be enlisted in online mode, but overall their introduction offers a delightful variant that can be particularly useful during the farming of raw materials. And since the bulk of the work is always up to the player, it should be emphasized not only that the fainting of the warriors are not counted, but even they recover on their own and return to fight in a very short period of time.

Alternatively, it is also possible to use tools to speed up their defense. Therefore, if normally the missions of Master Degree would appear almost prohibitive in solitary, the possibility of taking with you the Canyne, the Felyne and some followers, has greatly benefited the offline mode of Monster Hunter Rise: Sunbreak, especially in portability and in the absence of access to the network. On the flip side, we are rather dissatisfied with the new HUB introduced by the DLC.

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While the basic package of MH Rise included a suggestive and colorful Kamura Village, which with its multiple references to feudal Japan, the themed music and not least the cherry trees, had conquered us from the first moment, the Outpost of Elgado is a rather miserable and not very imaginative place, whose style winks at the equally dispersed main HUB of MH World. Being linked to the phantom kingdom and its alleged Royal Order, we would have preferred, for example, that the operational base of Sunbreak adopted a vaguely medieval style and dragged us into a real fortress.

Breaking traditions

Anyone who is at all familiar with the numbered episodes of Monster Hunter will know that these have always been followed by a revised re-edition full of extra content, such as the G-rank and a vastly expanded bestiary. And although over time the so-called “G versions” (or Ultimate in the West) have been replaced by expansions, at least with Monster Hunter World: Iceborne the play formula had remained the same. With Sunbreak, however, something has changed.

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Instead of focusing your efforts on creating an immense parterre of beasts capable of breaking the record held by MHGU since 2017 (run to reread the Monster Hunter Generations Ultimate review), the guys from Capcom have intervened massively on the gameplay, making a series of tricks that, following the usual practice, we would have expected to see only starting from a possible sixth generation Monster Hunter. Introduced in MH Rise, the Insects-Thread and the Canyne were in all probability the most successful innovations of the basic package, as they revolutionized the combat and movement systems respectively, streamlining both processes and offering the player many new options.

With the advent of Sunbreak, not only has the developer implemented a large selection of Silkweave moves and Trading Skills, expanding the moveset of the fourteen weapons (you have already consulted our Monster Hunter Rise: Sunbreak New Skills Guide?), but the unprecedented mechanic of the reversal of the exchange skills now allows you to start a mission with two sets of preset techniques and to switch at any moment of the battle from the first to the second and vice versa.

Using the item crate, users are in fact free to create two configurations of five Exchange Skills each, for a total of ten extra moves that can be accessed during the fight. It is a gimmick that, in addition to allowing greater customization of the attack patterns of your character, gives greater flexibility to an already deep and layered combat system.

If, for example, in Rise the users of the Double Blades were forced to choose between Flight and Demonic Fury, the inversion offers the possibility to adapt the range of equipped moves according to the needs and the enemy faced. Speaking of the Wire-Insects, we point out that it is no longer necessary to perform a clicker to be able to climb the walls: starting from Sunbreak, to reach heights and raised floors it will be sufficient to run on the walls within the exhaustion of the stamina, which once finished will bring our alter-ego back to the starting point. A very useful solution in the two unpublished maps, whose verticality does not represent any obstacle and above all does not require annoying deviations. As for the Canyne, it has been equipped with a special bag in which the animal can store the objects collected during the hunt, and then deliver them to its master at the end of the mission. Going forward, not only does Sunbreak allow to further expand the memory of the Felyne and Canyne, allowing them to use more skills, but the developers have come up with a series of secret moves for both assistants, making them even more useful than they already have. they weren’t in Rise.

With good reason, during a hunting trip your Felyne will be able to set up a real cannon with which to target the monster in the area, or maybe it will support you with a special remedy that for a long period of time progressively recovers the health points. lost.

If the aforementioned innovations undoubtedly represent Sunbreak’s strong point, on the contrary its weaknesses are to be found in not particularly high difficulty and in a bestiary a little more limited than expected. Compared to the High Rank monsters, those of the Master Rank are much stronger, as dictated by tradition, but at the time of starting the DLC we came across a much more reasonable level of challenge than anticipatedalso because from ours we could count on the best High Rank armor, moreover enhanced to the maximum.

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As a result, we only rarely fainted during the expansion, most of the time due to the new and terrible attack patterns with which Capcom has strengthened its creatures. Between old acquaintances and a handful of completely new beasts, the new “big” monsters are only seventeen – we will talk about them in a forthcoming special – while Iceborne had instead introduced thirty of the same rank. Since Monster Hunter Rise: Sunbreak will enjoy massive post-launch support, it is plausible that much of the content planned by Capcom will be published over the months; at the same time, however, it was reasonable to expect an even more substantial basic package.

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Monster Hunter Rise Sunbreak Review: A monstrous expansion

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