REVIEW | Monster Hunter Rise: Sunbreak

REVIEW | Monster Hunter Rise: Sunbreak

LifeisXbox’s Monster Hunter Rise: Sunbreak review |

After the Fifth Fleet hunters returned from the events at Castle Shrade, the next chapter of notable events in the history of the Monster Hunter world is rapidly unfolding on the southeastern continent in the village of Kamura. This peaceful village, known for its steel and fierce hunters, is again facing a rampage of monsters in the hopes of preventing the disaster that befell them 50 years earlier. As a newly licensed hunter for the guild, you’ll be the driving force that keeps the village from harm. Luckily for you, the quiet days did not last after quelling the rampage. Some time passes and a number of invasive species suddenly appear near Kamura. While you give Daimyo Hermitaur the crab factory treatment, a royal knight from the kingdoms swoops in as another predator attempts to pounce on you. In the end, you get moved sideways from Kamura to Elgado, an outpost of the Kingdom. From here, your adventure continues in Master Rank, as you aid the kingdom with their monster problems.

Monster Hunter Rise Sunbreak is a paid expansion developed and published by Capcom and is available for both Nintendo Switch and PC.

ℹ️ Reviewed on Nintendo Switch | Review code provided by Nintendo, this review is the personal opinion of the writer.

The Kingdom might’ve fallen, but no monster shall cross this bridge.

What we Liked!

  • The prep | In all mainline Monster Hunter games you’re always in one of two states: on a hunt or preparing to be. It is the duality between calmly getting yourself ready to get out there and the high-stakes, fast-paced action of the hunt. In Kamura and later Elgado you will craft your armour and weapons, customize your item loadouts, train your buddies and perform other miscellaneous tasks that will benefit you on your hunt. Don’t forget to eat your bunny dango before a hunt, as these treats are essential buffs to both your HP and stamina, but can also offer 3 more specific buffs for the hunt. The animation and song that plays as your meal is made is adorable too. 
  • The hunt | So you’ve eaten and locked in a quest, alone or with up to 3 friends, time to get going. Base Monster Hunter Rise offers 5 locales to rumble in, with Sunbreak offering an additional 2: the Jungle and the Citadel. While the citadel is brand new, the jungle is a reimagining of the Jungle introduced in Monster Hunter 2. The citadel is quite the location, with a forest; mountainous region and castle town all in close proximity it boasts a lot of secrets and hidden details. Up to three monsters can be around at once, a number I’m glad isn’t higher. Once you’ve gathered your permabuffers (more about them below) it’s time for some mortal combat with the unlucky target of your choosing. You generally have 3, shared, faints before you fail the hunt and get sent home with minimal rewards to show for your efforts. Succeed in killing or capturing the monster before that happens and you’ll be rewarded with a generous helping of materials based on your performance, broken body parts, luck and the whether or not the “Desire Sensor™” detects that you need a gosh damned Golden Almudron Orb which won’t bloody drop! IT HAS BEEN 15 HUNTS!!!
    (The “Desire Sensor™” is not an actual mechanic, more a running joke amongst hunters)
  • The monsters |  Monster Hunter Rise already boasts a good roster of Monsters to hunt, and they brought in a lot of the star players. You’ve got your returning favourites like the two Raths, Diablos, Zinogre, Mizutsune, Nargacuga and so on. There are also a number of new additions, and they really fit the Japan-inspired theme of Rise. Based on youkai-based monsters like Tetranodon; Kappa gone sumo wrestler, Goss Harag; Akita Ogre and Almudron being based on a mud spirit with a set of attacks built around shaping the stuff.  These are but some of what is present in the base game and are expanded upon nicely with the Sunbreak expansion. Capcom shipped Sunbreak with an additional 17 monsters on launch, and more are set to be added in further free regular title updates. So who did they add I hear you ask? Picking out some of my favourites, you’ll be facing off against new variants of existing monsters, returning ones and entirely new entries. In the new variant corner, we start off with Blood Orange Bishaten; the same trickster with an explosive temper, Magma Almudron; This time the mud is hot, and Aurora Somnacanth who is all chill, no sleep this time around. Returning we’ve got the likes of Gore- and Shagaru Magala, Seregios, Espinas, Astalos and more. Completely new however is the flagship monster Malzeno; who might as well be count Dracula in dragon form. Lunagaron, a Fanged wyvern that can grow an icy armour across its body. And Garangolm, generally peaceful giant until pissed off. There are a couple more out there, but I’m keeping those under wrap for the surprise of fighting them.
  • Graphics | Graphically, nothing has changed from base Rise. And while that may not sound impressive, Monster Hunter Rise has a very solid style reminiscent of Monster Hunter World. Since Rise has to run on the Nintendo Switch we’re trading in some of the realism and high-resolution textures for the ability to hunt on the go with our Nintendo Switch. That is however not to say we’re going back to Nintendo 3DS graphics of Generations Ultimate. We’re still on what you’d expect from a contemporary AAA title, and the PC version even has high-resolution texture and supports up to 4K resolution and ultrawide support.
  • Audio |  Not only does Monster Hunter Rise Sunbreak look really well and play great, it also boasts an impressive repertoire of themes to get you in the mood of each and every hunt. Feel the terror and madness while confronting Lunagaron, the grandiose and regal composition while you engage Malzeno in a duel or the pacy jungle beat panic when you wake up an Espinas from its sleep. I could try and describe more, but I’m horribly underqualified and would rather suggest you listen to them while playing the game. Now, this doesn’t mean all monsters have their own theme. Most of the weaker monsters use the music linked to the location you fight them in. Music aside, Rise and Sunbreak also gives your hunter a generous helping of useful voice lines to use situationally. To my knowledge a first in the series, and a welcome addition that makes them feel just that much more alive. But don’t worry, if you don’t like them you can still reduce or turn them off altogether.
  • Master Rank | Harder, better, faster, stronger! Both the lyrics to a Daft Punk song and the concept of Master Rank. Being more or less the headline feature of Sunbreak, Master Rank cranks all the dials up to 11. The monsters become smarter, with more attacks that come out faster and hit a lot harder. Luckily for us hunters that also means they’ll yield better materials, allowing us to further upgrade our weapons and make tougher, visually different armour with better skills and slots. You’re in the endgame now, and it’s where I want to be. This increase in difficulty is what got me to put another 600 hours into Iceborne and 110 into Sunbreak so far. Because if the fight with the monster can be seen as a dance, then High Rank is disco whereas Master Rank is breakdance.
  • Wirebug acrobatics | Since all the maps are in one big open space now, Monster Hunter Rise introduced wirebug. With these little fellas, you can zip through the air and run onto walls, effectively allowing you to entirely free movement within reason. This freedom of movement feels incredibly satisfying when traversing the various locales and even when positioning mid-combat. A plethora of cool new moves called silkbind skills also become available to hunters due to the wirebugs, and Sunbreak expands the existing move-pool significantly.  A lot like the hunter arts from Generations Ultimate, these special skills can range from a countering uppercut with your shield, to blasting off like a rocket with your gunlance or jumping up high with your hammer to apply blunt head trauma to whatever might be below. Sunbreak expands on this by giving you two skill scrolls to swap between mid-fight, each containing a customizable set of silkbind skills. The combos this unlocks are wild as it doubles your available skills in battle.
  • Performance | I’d like to give special mention to how well Monster Hunter Rise and the Sunbreak expansion run on Nintendo Switch. In my over 160 hours of play on both my May 2017 Switch and Switch Lite I fail to report any dips in performance quality. It has run buttery smooth and at a consistent framerate for the entirety of my time with it.
Ratholos defending its turf from wanton photographers. Picture by Genethical.

Mixed Feelings

  • Permabuffers | A part of the new hunting experience are the permabuffers. These tiny birds carry various kinds of pollen that increase stats like HP, stamina, attack and defence permanently during that hunt. I feel that this is one step in the right direction, but two steps back. On the positive side, once you gathered all your buffs, they stick with you for the entire hunt. Gone are the days of the HP and stamina increase being gone when you faint. On the other hand, you now have to start the hunt gathering them up, or start the hunt with sub-optimal stats. For a lot of people, myself included, this means we can no longer just get straight to hunting the monster. It really is a mixed bag though, as I think the pro still evens out the cons.
Sometimes I get the munchies while out and about.

What we Disliked

I have no strong dislikes about Monster Hunter Rise or its Sunbreak expansion.

How long to beat the story | 20 hours
How long to complete the game 100% | months at best.


Monster Hunter Rise Sunbreak, its Master Rank, new monsters, weapons and armour finally bring with them the endgame content many of us were looking for. The quality of life improvements and Silkbind scroll system breathes new life into a combat system previously mastered, allowing it to reach new heights with more spectacular fights. With a number of free title updates still to come, I expect to be playing Monster Hunter Rise Sunbreak regularly for months to come and welcome you to do the same.

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