‘Monster Hunter Rise: Sunbreak’ review: A tough, meaty expansion, if not quite as groundbreaking

The loops from a Monster Hunter is overpowered by a terrifying monster, then learns their quirks before overcoming them and using their parts for better gear, ready to take on the next challenge.

Monster Hunter is not a game about resting on laurels: there is always a bigger, heavier hunt on the horizon. capcom has taken it to heart, after the successful Monster Hunter Rise with first expansion solar time† With new locations, new monsters and tougher challenges, solar time is exactly what you’d expect, even if that means there aren’t many surprises in the game.

To some extent, that’s because To get up has already laid the innovative foundation after the global collapse of Monster Hunter Worldintroduces the exciting game-changing wirebug mechanics that have made traversal and monster hunting much more efficient, as well as the highly reliable wolf-like Palamutes.

Monster Hunter Rise Sunbreak. Credit: Capcom.

mechanical, solar time adds a few extra features to the above, but doesn’t bring much new to the fold – in fact, it completely jettisons the base game’s tower-defense-like Rampages, which while new with hordes of monsters to fight against were once generally quite divisive among the fans. The main difference then is a change of location, as your fighter is summoned away to the medieval kingdom of Elgado on a mission to hunt Malzeno, a terrifyingly powerful Elder Dragon whose ability to drain the lives of other monsters makes it a threat for the overall ecosystem.

Having everything conveniently in one place, the new Elgado Outpost makes another change from Kamura Village, which was oddly split into single-player and multiplayer areas. Personally, it lacks the distinct charm of Kamura’s overtly Japanese influences, although Dango is still on the menu to polish your fighters for a big hunt (it lacks its own cheap jingle, sadly).

But your main events are the new locations and the monsters that roam in them. In fact one map is actually the Jungle area coming from Monster Hunter 2, which will be a treat for old-school fighters who can now traverse this map in its entirety without loading screens. The new Citadel map is huge with the ruins of a Gothic castle and a drawbridge as its centerpiece, which fits very well with the universal horror vibes emanating from the three new monsters called the Three Lords. If the vampiric nature of the regal-looking Malzeno makes it solar time‘s Dracula, then the bipedal Lunagaron is the ice Wolf Man, while the wild ape-like Garangolm somewhat resembles Boris Karloff’s version of Frankenstein’s Monster.

Monster Hunter Rise: Sunbreak
Monster Hunter Rise: Sunbreak. Image Credit: Capcom

But as nice as these additions are, one problem is that they take a while to appear, with much of the first half of solar time‘s campaign spent hunting the same monsters from the base game. Honestly, this is the new Master Rank, so old monsters learned a few new tricks and put up a good fight – we certainly can’t remember an Aksonom taking that long to take down. These more powerful versions, including new subspecies like Blood Orange Bishaten, do enough to keep you on your toes, reminding you that you’ll also need to forge new, stronger gear to stand a chance of not spending most of the hunt getting sidetracked and humbly returned to the camp. Even then, if you want to compare with the previous one Iceborne extension for Worldwhere you get straight into a new map and a new monster it feels like solar time suffers from a bit of padding before you get to the good stuff, including returning favorites like Gore Magala and Seregios.

In addition to new gear to add to your wishlist, the new Switch Skill Swap mechanic also offers more ways to mix up your playstyle as you can set your gear with unique weapon skills on a red and blue scroll, then switch between them in the middle of a yacht. While it may sound daunting to have to balance more mechanics in your head, with an extra UI at the bottom of the screen to help you stay on track, it works well in practice, especially if you follow the game’s advice to keep you on track. tried to keep. tested Switch Skills on the red scroll, while your specials stay on blue, so it’s not as confusing as it first seems. But like the other new content, you’ll also get new Switch Skills for each weapon type later on, making this mechanic much more interesting to play with.

While it’s still not a game you play for story purposes, solar time also includes Follower Quests, an exclusive single-player option where you hunt alongside AI-controlled characters such as Kingdom Knight Fiorayne, sister of To get up trader Rondine, who builds your relationship with them and then allows you to invite them to Support Survey hunts where you can team up with up to two characters at a time. So that they are not left out, your old friends from Kamura can join in too. It’s a nice alternative for players less interested in matching with random online, and if one of these fighters gets knocked out, it won’t be added to the number of times the group has been transported like with multiplayer hunts, and you can try even bring them back to life on the spot.

Monster Hunter Rise: Sunbreak.
Monster Hunter Rise: Sunbreak. Credit: Capcom.

That said, this feature also feels underused as it’s very optional and not part of the campaign even if there are rewards in it for you. It also doesn’t make sense to have it exclusively for one player, especially since there are a few story-based hunts where Fiorayne will join you, which of course you can still open up for other players to join.

Despite some shortcomings, solar time is still an excellent addition for fans who are already addicted to Monster Hunterthe loop. It’s harder to sell for someone who jumps in for the first time because you have to get through the base game first, and there’s really no way to speed that up. But then this expansion is Master mode, as the new Master Rank name implies, so it’s one you have to earn or you’ll want to stomp early. Prepare yourself for the challenges to come, and there’s a long post-game to look forward to, especially once you’ve unlocked the new, harder ‘Afflicted’ monster variants, while further updates planned into 2023 mean the hunt is long overdue is not over .

Monster Hunter Rise: Sunbreak is out now on Nintendo Switch and PC. We played on the Switch.

The verdict

This generously generous expansion to an already excellent base game may take some time to deliver truly new content, but once it does, fighters will love taking on new challenges, getting addicted to better gear and taking advantage of the new mechanics. In general, it’s more of the same, but for avid monster hunters, that’s fine.


  • Some awesome new and returning monsters, and all the new gear that comes with them
  • An important step in the challenge, with plenty of quests to get stuck in
  • Switch Skills Swap is a great addition


  • It takes a while for the really good new content to appear
  • Tracking missions as optional solo hunts just don’t make much sense
  • Newcomers must complete the base game first

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