The Monster Hunter series is more popular than it has ever been, with multiple titles releasing over the last few years that have brought with them refreshing takes on Capcom’s satisfying monster-slaying action. The most recent release, Monster Hunter Rise, proved especially popular with both critics and fans, with sales of more than eight million joined by a Metascore of 88 (on the Nintendo Switch). To say it was a success would be an understatement.

It’s only natural then that Capcom would follow up the adventure with a brand-new expansion, with Monster Hunter Rise: Sunbreak continuing the journey for players by giving them new areas to explore, new items to obtain, and, of course, new monsters to hunt.

Check out some screenshots down below:

Monster Hunter Rise: Sunbreak takes place after the events of the base game, with the player leaving the now-safe haven of Kamura Village and venturing out to the kingdom of Elgado to help vanquish a new threat consisting of the Three Lords (each of which is inspired by some classic monsters which is REALLY cool). This means exploring a variety of new locales, meeting new characters, and facing off against both new and familiar faces in epic showdowns… basically everything players could want from an expansion.

As is the case across every Monster Hunter release, the new monsters truly are the star of the show in Monster Hunter Rise: Sunbreak, with seventeen additions brought to the adventure that are made up of both old favourites as well as all-new creatures. Seeing the return of the likes of Astalos, Gore Magala, and Seregios will be a real treat for players and they’re still just as devastating to battle as before, but facing off against new beasts such as the giant fanged-primate Garangolm or the game’s flagship monster Malzeno bring the most thrills. Players certainly won’t be disappointed with the expansion’s offering of monsters, with some stand-out encounters to be found that trump a lot of those found in the base game.

The only problem is that the game can drag out the process of reaching them. I know, I know, it has got to have proper pacing in order to ensure that Monster Hunter Rise: Sunbreak doesn’t run out of steam fast, but it got a little tiring fighting some of the monsters I’ve fought dozens of times before in the base game in-between the fresher encounters with new creatures. I’ve put close to one-hundred hours into Monster Hunter Rise so can appreciate that it’s a game where players have to be patient and take their time, but I was excited to face off against everything Monster Hunter Rise: Sunbreak had to throw at me. But hey, at least I was never bored in that time thanks to just how fun the game is to play, so it’s hard to complain too much.

“As is the case across every Monster Hunter release, the new monsters truly are the star of the show in Monster Hunter Rise: Sunbreak, with seventeen additions brought to the adventure that are made up of both old favourites as well as all-new creatures.”

Players will explore three new locales in Monster Hunter Rise: Sunbreak – Elgado Outpost (which acts as the new main hub), the Jungle, and the Citadel.

Elgado Outpost is a bustling port area surrounded by luscious water on one side and beautiful mountains on the other. It brings with it the hallmarks you’d expect of a Monster Hunter hub, whether that’s merchants to deal with, quests to complete, or just colourful folk that bring their own unique personalities to your journey. It’s a little bit smaller in scale when compared to the base game’s Kimura Village, but it just makes it feel easier to explore.

The Jungle and the Citadel are the new hunting areas, with the expansive locales packed with minor areas that bring with them plenty of variety across each landscape. The Jungle will see players scurrying through darkened caves, sandy beaches, and through the trees (duh), whilst the Citadel sees players scale a snowy mountain or creep through the ruins of a castle. Each are atmospheric locales that bring with them a real sense of beauty, whilst the new endemic life within them gives players more creative and resourceful ways to hinder any monsters in their path.

One thing I HAVE to shout out about the Citadel is the way that it feels like somewhere that Dracula would live. You know how I mentioned that the Three Lords were inspired by classic monsters? Well, Malzeno is based around vampires, so battling it within the darkened and eerie Citadel locale feels incredibly fitting. Monster Hunter Rise: Sunbreak has some cracking areas to explore and they’re consistent with the high standard set with the world-building of the base game.

Check out some screenshots down below:

A really cool feature that is sure to please a lot of players is the new Switch Skill Swap, which allows players to take multiple skill loadouts into battle and swap them with a button press. Whilst it’s easy to stick to a weapon or skillset that suits you, this allows players to be flexible and take multiple approaches when on a hunt – it allows you to switch roles and utilise the strengths of multiple playstyles in order to dispatch some of the game’s more deadly foes. It encourages experimentation without having to break the pace of a hunt, with players always able to switch pack to their preferred build if something isn’t working out for them. It might not seem like a big addition to newbies to Monster Hunter Rise, but believe me, it’s could be a real game-changer for experienced players.

There are plentiful quests that can be handled both solo and with others in multiplayer, so there’s a lot on offer to suit different types of Monster Hunter players as far as progression is concerned. One particularly cool addition is the Follower Quests, which give players an AI companion to join them on hunts. Whilst I play a lot of Monster Hunter with friends, I do enjoy tackling it without the stress of having to work as an effective team member at times too; Follow Quests let me do that, but with a helping hand for battles that can feel a little tough to get through. Players looking for a greater challenge in the post-game can also tackle the new Anomaly Quests which task them with taking on an afflicted version of various monsters. These are tough and bring with them plenty of new hazards and ailments for players to deal with (as well as a whopping enemy health count) so aren’t for the fainthearted. Admittedly, I did a couple and the drawn-out affairs weren’t for me, but those who like epic and dangerous battles with high stakes will love them.

Monster Hunter Rise: Sunbreak brings an array of other additions such as new gear, abilities, skills for the Palicos, refines to the gameplay, merchant features, and so forth, so there’s PLENTY for returning gamers to dive into to keep themselves busy. Monster Hunter expansions have proven to be meaty in the past, and believe me, this is no exception. There’s so much on offer that it’s hard not to find yourself completely engrossed in the adventure, with Sunbreak reinvigorating the Monster Hunter Rise experience and giving players plenty of content to keep them completely hooked into the game. I’ve spent over thirty hours with it already and I don’t feel like I’m even close to being done yet.

Monster Hunter Rise: Sunbreak Review

Monster Hunter Rise: Sunbreak is an excellent expansion that brings with it a wealth of exciting monsters to defeat and meaningful gameplay refinements. I loved exploring the new locales and taking down the many nasties that inhabit them, whilst using new gear, switching out skillsets with the new Switch Skill Swap, or completing the rewarding Follower Quests always proved a lot of fun.

It’s just more high-quality content from the team at Capcom that offers the perfect incentive to dive back into the world of Monster Hunter Rise. Whilst I’ll admit that the pacing of the content could be a little drawn out when it comes to facing off against the new monsters, everything else about Monster Hunter Rise: Sunbreak is top notch.

Developer: Capcom
Publisher: Capcom
Platform(s): Nintendo Switch (Reviewed), PC