We review Monster Hunter Rise Sunbreak, the new expansion to MH Rise that brings Master Rank, a new tier of monsters, as well as new features for gameplay. We’ll take a good look at the content and what it adds to the base game, and suggest whether it’s worth your time and money, from the perspective of a long time player who is not necessarily hardcore. Sunbreak is an expansion focused on endgame and Master Rank difficulty, and gives some interesting new takes for experienced players to sink their teeth into.
Monster Hunter Rise Sunbreak Review
Developed by: Capcom
Published by: Capcom
Release date: June 30th 2022 (PC and Switch)
Platforms: PC (review platform, code provided by Capcom), Nintendo Switch
Price at the time of review: $39.99 for expansion upgrade, $69.99 for full game and expansion
- An additional 50+ hours of Questing Content, heavily dependent on your skill and whether you’re solo or grouping.
- Almost 20 new Large Monsters and Subspecies to fight. This is in addition to Master Rank and special versions of most old monsters and new movesets for them.
- New Zones, upgrade materials, Meowcenary objectives, endemic life, small monsters
- Quality of life features like Switch Skills, new Buddy skills and levels, and new decoration options.
- 3 new Rarity ranks for Weapons and Armor, adding hundreds of new equipment options, as well as new decoration tiers and rampage skills
- A completely new endgame.
Sunbreak Review: Story & Setting
The story of Monster Hunter Rise: Sunbreak continues after the base game, with the arrival of representatives of The Kingdom who want to prevent a calamity similar to the Rampage that stems from a mystery Crater. You join them by traveling to the new hub: Elgado Outpost.
The new Hub will give you access to two new Biomes and introduce many new characters, that each have a role to play in your investigation and in taking on the latest Monster threat. As always with Monster Hunter, the story is a weak point and its clearly not meant to be taken seriously, but at least an effort has been put into some interesting voice acting and the new interactions with NPCs via Follower Quests give you a chance to actually get to know them out in the field
The story is by far the weakest point of the game, continuing a predictable formula that has gotten quite tired, and introducing some characters that are maybe close to as annoying as The Handler from MHWorld.
MH Rise Sunbreak Review: Gameplay
Like all Monster Hunter games, Monster Hunter Rise: Sunbreak is ALL about the gameplay, and the expansion does a great job of keeping things fresh and entertaining. It is a testament to the talent of Capcom’s team that even if you have played many MH games before, each new iteration manages to add something new and exciting that you haven’t done before. The Clutch Claw from World evolved into the Spiritbugs and Silkbind attacks, and now a new dimension is added with the Switch Skills.
Switch Skill Feature
Most people will know these now from playing the demo, but it does take some time to get into the habit of using them. Switch skills are the application of an in-combat “hot swap” of skillbars, giving you the option of going from Red Scroll (bar A) to Blue Scroll (bar B) with a simple button press in the middle of a fight. This alone adds a great amount of depth to combat, as you’re now able to use more of your silkbind attacks, but the devs also added some interesting adjacent mechanics to the swap. For example, you will heal when you swap bars, or can have your attack or elemental damage increase based on which bar you’re on, etc. It took me a while to actually use the swap as my 100+ hours with the base game had baked some habits, but after 100+ hours with Sunrise I now cannot live without the switching and its boosts.
New Buddy Skills & Features
Palicoes and Palamutes get a considerable level up with two new and important features. One is the addition of the Euerekacorn item, that lets you unlock more memory slots on your buddies, and thus allows you to equip more skills. The other one, that is VERY useful, is the “Secret Support Moves” for your palico, unlocked by completing 3 MR Quests with each type of Palico. All types of Palico can use all Secret Support Moves, and they are very powerful. My favorite is the Healing Clover Bat, mainly because I use an armor set that drains my health constantly.
You can now also send your buddies on “recon” missions to specific spots in each locale. This allows you to quickly teleport to their location during a quest, for a modest sum of Kamura Points. It can be very convenient for quick travel, particularly in the larger Citadel territory.
Lastly your Argosy orders can now also include “backroom deals”, which are a great way to get some unique items in addition to whatever material you asked your buddy to gather. The backroom deals bring about important items like the Eurekacorn, but also become a really important supply of MP Accelerants, which let you get your ordered talismans immediately instead of after a quest. You will also obtain “Melding Pudding” which are worth 200 meld points and thus a whole talisman each – this is VITAL so start doing them asap. You can also get traps, barrels and account items this way, making the submarine expeditions a lot more convenient.
Small and Quality of Life Changes
Some quality of life changes have been implemented with the expansion, from making the Elgado Outpost have services closer to each other and act as a hub itself, to giving you the option to keep beating on a monster instead of riding it or running up a wall without the wirebug skills.
Other small changes include the addition of new Endemic life like the Gold and Ruby Wirebugs, that enhance monster riding combat, or the Marionette Spider that allows you to knock down a monster.
MH Rise Sunbreak Master Rank Gameplay
The meat of the game is of course on the new Monsters, that you can expect to see almost 20 of. The new monsters are interesting and have engaging combat and diverse mechanics, and I was never bored or overly-familiar with them so they did not feel like re-skins. Returning monsters bring some new flair with some new moves, and there’s a whole new special mode that makes any monster incredibly challenging in ways I cannot describe without spoiling, just look forward to the endgame as you’ll get more than you bargained for.
Difficulty wise, the game has the natural G Rank curve, meaning anything you get at master rank is really a lot better than your endgame High Rank so you’ll be able to quickly swap into new gear. A defender tree and the Black Belt Armor have been added to ease newcomers into the expansion without much suffering through low and high rank quests, but there’s a HUGE catch.
At this point I need to explain that I played the OG game for over 100 hours for the review then another 50 for fun and farming, but all on Switch and the review codes for Sunbreak were for PC only. That means my painstainkingly farmed gear, decorations and talismans all went out the window and I had to cram village and high rank in solo mode to get to the expansion content, so I got to experience what a “rushing” new player will find. True enough, the defender tree made things a lot easier. But the big problem you’ll face is the decoration and talisman crafting: these are essential to endgame and the game assumes you have a wealth of materials that if you don’t play the base game you do not. Thus, the end of High Rank and start of Master Rank can be really frustrating for a new player who is trying to solo the game.
Once you get some master gear and can craft some decorations, you’ll also get the master rank “melding pudding” and get some better talismans, making the midsection of MR very enjoyable. Then you’ll get to the endgame and probably need to do some more farming or group play to take on the harder monsters until you accumulate enough materials to truly deck out your build with the correct skills.
Weapons are quite predictable in their tree upgrades and I found it easy to identify the right upgrades for me, and Armor looks awesome and adds some new and exciting skills so it was pretty simple to aim for them. Ramp-up skills are now Rampage Decorations that you apply as a special gem to your weapon, and can really give some interesting boosts to your gameplay if you combine the special “soul” types.
MHR Sunbreak: Multiplayer, Replayability & Endgame
I was unfortunate in that I could never find people to play with, so I had to complete the whole game and expansion solo. This is normal when you are in a review branch, and I fully expect that the lobby and multiplayer features of the expansion will work just as well as the original game did. I am really very much looking forward to getting to play with friends and randoms and seeing everyone’s take on the new enemies and mechanics
You are not all alone, however, as even when questing solo you get the option to take on Follower Quests. Follower faints don’t count towards a faint limit, and they bring their own palicoes and palamutes, making the fun chaotic feel of the MP mode available for solo users as well. Your followers will also make fun comments and reveal more information about themselves and the world as you explore, giving them some much-needed depth.
Once you have befriended them enough, they will show up on the Follower Survey option, and you can customize their gear from a list of weapons they are proficient with. This means you can get some hunting horn support and a tank to accompany you on these surveys, and the NPCs will set traps, heal and even RIDE other monsters to deal more damage to your targets.
This part of the game was actually very fun and I wish we had it all along, as it really feels like playing with others and it’s always nice to be saved by a friend in your hour of need. It also speeds up hunts for materials or repeat monsters.
Monster Hunter Rise has an endgame in the form of some special quests, but we were asked not to reveal them until launch day. If you want to find out more about them, head over to the wiki and refresh the page on launch day to see what endgame has to offer. Suffice it to say you’re looking at 50-100 hours of content (I have 200 hours played on the review copy as of right now) which is great value for 39.99.
Sunbreak: Design, Audio & Visual
MHRise is not a visually stunning game, mainly since it was designed as a Switch title and then upscaled to PC. That said, the design itself is very pleasing, and I found the monster creativity and implementation to be very good. Performance is excellent and I experienced no crashing or any bugs or glitches the entire time I played, with a consistent FPS without any noticeable drops.
The new Armor and Weapon concepts are really good and I very much enjoyed discovering the new armors. If you want to see what the new armors have in stock, there’s a full list on the Sunbreak Armor page showcasing Master Rank armors (there’s more to be added to the page with official launch)
The music is actually an improvement from Rise, mainly in that the village theme isn’t annoying and the new monster fights and locales have a good kick to them. It’s on the upper scale of Monster Hunter titles.
Monster Hunter Rise Sunbreak Review: Final Thoughts
Monster Hunter World: Sunbreak is a great expansion and continuation of MHR. Rise was our GOTY 2021 due to its excellent and addictive gameplay, and the Sunbreak DLC keeps pace and is fully worth the price tag for anyone who enjoys this kind of title and had fun with the base game.
If you played Rise and liked it, you will love Sunbreak. If you are new to the game in general, you’ll find your progression to Master Rank not impeded by a High Rank farm wall, and will soon be able to join in the endgame action as well.
So everyone asks: is the expansion worth $39.99? It’s very simple! Did you like the base game? Then yes. Did you keep playing after finishing, doing all the DLC? Then hell yes.
Monster Hunter World: Sunbreak releases June 30th 2022 for PC and Nintendo Switch.