Monster Hunter
Opinion > RPG > Monster Hunter

Monster Hunter Rise Sunbreak Review - A Familiar Formula As Fresh As Ever

Here's our review of Capcom's Monster Hunter Rise: Sunbreak expansion. Is the game another success or a forgettable addition?
Monster Hunter Rise Sunbreak Review - A Familiar Formula As Fresh As Ever

Monster Hunter has been a franchise that maintains the same formula repeatedly, just like Call of Duty. Year after year, new titles and content are released that developers know their fans will love. But the Monster Hunter series does something to separate itself from the rest of the pack.

Despite the game having the same core themes and gameplay loop, Capcom continues to implement new ideas that change the flow and energy in the game. For Monster Hunter World, that was the ecosystem and insanely detailed environments.

However, in Monster Hunter Rise, Wirebugs were introduced along with Palamutes to completely change movement and combat. Notably, the newest Sunbreak DLC expansion update doesn't bring the same degree of changes. Still, it adds just enough to know precisely what the player base is looking for: a new exciting array of Monster Monsters and difficulty level that keeps us coming back for more.

The quality of new Monsters in Monster Hunter Rise: Sunbreak

Malzeno
Malzeno exemplifies the quality of the new roster. (Picture: Capcom)

Let's be honest about Monster Hunter. There are a ton of different qualities that Capcom brings to the game, but we're all here to take down the craziest-looking Monsters we can imagine. We want to be in awe of every fight we have and get a boost of serotonin with every carve after a good hunt.

I can happily say that Sunbreak has an amazing roster of monsters to hunt that can rival a base roster for a game like World. The Three Lords alone have a fantastic premise that hasn't been extensively explored in the Monster Hunter World, and all represent major aspects of Western myths. In the base game, many of the Monsters were representations of Eastern tales, and it's a great dynamic between the two.

Malzeno is the most powerful of the Three Lords in the Citadel, a brand new Western-themed area, and it quickly became one of my favorite Monsters of all time. The beast is essentially a vampire dragon in all the best ways possible. Blood blight was even introduced with the new vampiric beast, and it forces hunters to play fast to regain health.

So many other fan favorites have joined the fray, like Gore Magala, who also looks incredible. Lunagaron is a brand-new fanged wyvern that fights on its hind legs with spiked ice armor and many claw attacks. Even the new variations of existing Monsters, like Aurora Somnacanth, were welcome additions.

Mixed with the fantastic array of Monsters in the base game, which are also brought to the new Master Rank difficulty, the Sunbreak expansion has so much to offer. Hunts are as fun as ever; the variety is through the roof. Finally, having new weapon abilities brings that all together.

New Combat and Silkbind Attacks in Monster Hunter Rise: Sunbreak

Seregios Attack
Silkbinds bring more flavor to all the weapon classes. (Picture: Capcom)

Capcom introduced new Silkbind Attacks in Sunbreak for all 14 weapon classes. Silkbind Attacks are the moves based around Wirebugs that are unique depending on the weapon class used. They offer a ton of diversity to the game and attack opportunities.

Sunbreak's new Silkbinds have effectively changed the way every weapon is played. In nearly every case, Capcom gave at least two new attacks to every class, and they are all-powerful. In addition, because the developers introduced a meta shift with the expansion patch, many attacks have become the best in the slot.

Like the Monster roster in the new expansion, the Silkbinds are a great mix with the base versions. All of them are similar, but the new ones have a ton of versatility and power, making them a refreshing complement to what already exists in loadouts.

New Locales and Armor sets in Monster Hunter Rise: Sunbreak

Jungle Locale
Jungle is one of two new Locales in the game. (Picture: Capcom)

Aside from Monsters and new attack types, the other aspect of the franchise that everyone loves is armor and settings. The new Locales in the expansion can be summed up pretty fast. They aren't necessarily anything special like World. The Jungle and the Citadel Locale look fantastic and certainly get the job done.

Citadel especially offers a different feel compared to the rest of the series. It has a Western-styled castle at the very center of the map with tons of red Afflicted areas, pine trees, and even frozen caves. The area is meant to reflect each of the Three Lords, and it looks like a Dark Souls map. Jungle, on the other hand, is just pretty.

Armor is the real star of the show here. I don't mean for gear setups either. Yes, the gear is always a big deal, and it's what drives the gameplay. But we all know that grinding for new armor skills is the name of the game. That's how the gameplay worked in the base game, and it's the same in Sunbreak. 

What really matters here is how awesome the armor looks in Sunbreak. Not only does every base game Monster have a revamped style that looks incredible, but the new Monster armors are even better. I want to keep playing the game for hours after Afflicted ranks just to get Outfit Vouchers and new Layered Armor sets. It's the best part of the game aside from hunting spectacular monsters, and all fans will love the looks.

This applies to weapons as well, so no worries there. Weapons are as varied as ever for elements, and each looks perfectly crafted from the Monster. Never has there been a better case for hunting over and over.

Narrative and new Master Rank difficulty in MHR: Sunbreak

Followers
Followers have their own set of quests. (Picture: Capcom)

Why are narrative and difficulty in the same section? For two reasons. They are intertwined based on progress; in reality, the narrative doesn't need an entire section of this review. That's the case for almost every Monster Hunter game.

Sunbreak is certainly a step up from the Rise base game narrative. The story of Affliction, royal houses, and Three Lords fighting is one of the best in the series. Having Follower quests also gives you a better feel for the characters, at least a little.

The narrative has never been the strong suit, and it's still true here. While the premise is enticing, the characters aren't. Dialogue does the job, and cutscenes are awesome because, well, the monsters are just awesome. We all know the story is a vehicle to do what we love: to take on epic beasts. And that's not a bad thing.

At the very least, we got an Afflicted difficulty out of it. This difficulty is tied to the story and unlocks after the final boss. Unfortunately, there are no Elder Dragons at this rank, but every other Monster available is afflicted by the red butterflies you find out in the story.

Afflicted Rank follows the Master Rank that everyone starts at in Sunbreak. Taking these monsters down gets increasingly difficult, and they are the path to Rank 10 weapons. It's another difficulty for fans of the series to tackle, and the story steers players to its doors. Capcom knows what makes their games good, and Sunbreak shows it.

Verdict for Monster Hunter Rise: Sunbreak

Astalos
Sunbreak is full of what fans of the series crave. (Picture: Capcom)

Monsters based on western myth, tons of new Silkbind Attacks that shake up the combat, and some of the best Fashion Hunter options I've ever seen. Sunbreak is an expansion that managed to add new content to keep fans interested while maintaining all of the DNA from the rest of the series and Rise.

This expansion is by no means groundbreaking. If you aren't a Monster Hunter fan and don't like grinding long hunts for parts, this still isn't the game for you. But if you enjoyed Rise, you have no reason to wait another minute. Take down some vampire dragons and set your pets up with the best-looking armor in Elgado.

Score: 8/10

Disclaimer: This review reflected the author's opinions and was not manipulated financially or otherwise. Monster Hunter Rise: Sunbreak was reviewed on PC, and Capcom provided the code for the game.

And that's all. For more on the game and the franchise, check out our section dedicated to Monster Hunter guides, news, features, and more.

 

Featured image courtesy of Capcom.