The arrival of a new expansion of Monster Hunter is always a time of great emotion. Even with a substantial amount of experience accumulated over the months, Hunters from all over the world can return to experience that sense of wonder deriving from the discovery of new monsters, from the exploration of new portions of the map or from the manufacture of flaming sets of weapons. and armor.
Those who rejoice at the mere thought of experiencing these sensations are surely shuddering in anticipation of being able to get their hands on Monster Hunter Rise: Sunbreak, the consistent DLC that in a few hours will allow players who have reached at least the GC8 to leave for new horizons and hunt for creatures never seen before. Just a few days ago we returned to wield the sword to try the final version of the expansion on PC and, waiting to offer you the full review, we explain why Capcom may have hit the mark again with Sunbreak.
A new world
Despite having eliminated a lot of monsters in the course of the adventure in Monster Hunter Rise, something is about to break the balance of Kamura created following the defeat of Narwa. The new hunting season opens with a seemingly trivial mission, during which the first contact with a Sunbreak monster takes place: the Daimyo Hermitaurcreature already known to fans of the Capcom series.
For those who do not know what we are talking about, it is a sort of menacing hermit crab whose moveset is unpredictable and varied, since it includes dives, lateral movements and a powerful jet of water that not only inflicts massive damage but also affects the stamina. Knocking out the huge crustacean is not a very difficult task but it is immediately after its defeat that the unpredictable happens: in fact, the Lunagaron makes its appearance, a kind of large werewolf whose back closely resembles that of the Tobi-Kadachi.
This is just one of three ferocious monsters that are terrorizing the inhabitants of Elgado and that they must be stopped before they can go wild on Kamura Village. This is how our hunter is welcomed with open arms by the inhabitants of the small port town at the foot of an old fort used as a base of operations and whose style is very reminiscent of Monster Hunter: World. Inside this outpost we are finally introduced to the Master degree, and then start with some hunting mission that involves creatures already known but in a whole new environment. The first activities of Sunbreak take place in fact in Jungle, one of the two brand new areas that further expand the range of maps that form the backdrop to the quests. After creating weapons and armor with the remains of the Hermitaur, we therefore left for the unprecedented portion of the game world which, we warn you, could deceive you initially.
Although it seems very small, in fact, the Jungle is a layered map that proposes an outermost section consisting of large beaches and an internal area divided over several floors.
The underground part is reached through narrow tunnels and leads to ancient caves and temples, while the higher one seems to have been created specifically to exploit the new climbing systemwith which the hunter can make climbs even without the aid of a wire insect.
Proceeding in the journey in that of Elgado we then came across another unpublished monster, the Sanguine Bishaten. The clash with this variant of the creature was not easy, as its ability to breathe fire and throw explosive cones made it a difficult enemy to manage and often unapproachable due to the powerful detonations. The real show, however, was the entry onto the scene of the Garangolmthe first beast of the trio that can be faced in Monster Hunter Rise: Sunbreak.
This huge gorilla protected by a thick armor has several similarities to the Frankenstein monster, since its body can absorb elements of the surrounding environment and modify itself in various ways. For example we have seen the Garangolm assimilate the fire element and then channel it into his right armwith which he began to throw explosive punches that served him as much to counter us as to carry out what we could define in all respects of rocket jumps.
To make the hunt for this majestic thug even more interesting was the arena, as the Garangolm is the first monster to be eliminated in the Citadel, second and final Sunbreak extra map. This is an area that offers a fair amount of variety thanks to the presence of a lush forest, a small ruined town and even a section further north entirely covered in ice.
To close the circle of creatures faced in the early hours of Sunbreak we find the Malzeno. Already seen in the demo, this Elder Dragon is exactly how you might imagine a vampire in the Monster Hunter universe: elegant and haughty, he is endowed with incredible strength and can inflict blood malus, not to mention his mangy. ability to drain the forces of the beings around him. Between sudden tail and large detonations, without forgetting the ability to disappear to reappear in the most unthinkable point of the map and take its attackers by surprise, the Malzeno is a truly unstoppable beast and has movesets full of wide attacks, almost like those of the unreachable Alatreon.
If the new creatures and additional maps have given us great feelings, know that they are not the only new features of Monster Hunter Rise: Sunbreak. In fact, the expansion intervenes on numerous aspects of Capcom production and adds a lot of meat to the fire. One of these is theexpansion of endemic faunaa factor that contributes to creating emerging gameplay situations that make each fighter different from all the others.
Not satisfied with the already wide variety of animal species that are part of the world of Rise, Capcom has decided to expand the number of small creatures that can be used as gadgets or as weapons against monsters. Among these it is impossible not to mention the Calamalanciaan aquatic animal that stirs furiously in bodies of water and damages with its pointed body anything that comes in front of it, including beasts to be hunted.
If instead we were to compare theStar burst insect to a weapon, we could only choose the plastic explosive: this little ally is a concentrate of gunpowder that adheres to the surface of the monster and, at the first solicitation, shines like a firework.
Then there is the Toady, a very bad creature covered with sturdy spikes that clings to the beasts that roam the map and then explode, releasing a toxic cloud into the air that can interrupt any attack. Our favorite among the new entries, however, remains the Ragnonetta, a kind of spider that very easily allows you to hook onto a monster and then hurl it with force against any element of the scenario. This gadget is not only fun to use but is also very useful due to the hard blow inflicted on the enemy, which – as it leaves him stunned – allows the hunter to rage on his weak points for a few seconds. Last but not least are the Crab, which have given us a great help in a couple of missions thanks to their bullets that inflict little damage but hit the target repeatedly, so as to wear it out. Another small revolution concerns the combat system and, more specifically, the management of skills. Old Master Utsushi called us to report to teach us the called technique Exchange Skillswhich provides the opportunity to make a switch between two sets of five skills.
This is an addition that considerably expands the range of techniques that can be used in the field, without considering the two new moves added to each single weapon. Using the Trading Skill (here is the guide to using the Trading Skill in Monster Hunter Rise Sunbreak) is not only interesting for attacking but also for defense purposes, since the execution of the switch is accompanied by an agile pirouette that helps the hunter to reposition himself in the blink of an eye and more effectively than simply dodging.
We hunt in company
During our test we had the impression that Monster Hunter Rise: Sunbreak represents for Capcom the perfect testing ground to test features that we could see in the next chapters of the series (think of a hypothetical World 2). One of these is the mechanics of followerswhich we have been able to appreciate both in some assignments of the story and in missions created specifically to consolidate the relationship with the NPCs, a bit like it happens with the companions Felyne and Canyne.
They are in effect hunters controlled by artificial intelligence and with unique characteristics that, depending on the situation, tend to intervene in the fight in a more or less decisive way. An example that will make you understand the actual usefulness of this mechanic was the help received during the hunt for Garangolm: suddenly, the lady Fiorayne left and returned riding a large Barioth, the saber-toothed beast whose attacks they hit our target hard.
Other small changes concern the possibility for companion Canyne of automatically pick up items in his small backpack, an addition that will delight all hunters who from time to time delight in a run dedicated solely and exclusively to resource farming. Four-legged helpers can also be trained and learn unique skills, so as to make the construction of the builds of these little companions more complex and interesting. With regard to the equipment, however, we must report a change to the Fury skill system, which for all weapons of rarity 8 or higher (i.e. those of the Master Rank) has been replaced by Furia jewelrycraftable objects to be embedded in hunting tools to alter their parameters and effects.
An above average optimization
Notwithstanding that it is in effect the porting of a game designed for Nintendo Switch, we reiterate what was said in our review of the PC version of Monster Hunter Rise: at the level of optimization and scalability, even Sunbreak is incredible and Capcom’s RE Engine allows it to run smoothly on the most disparate configurations. To make the game even more fluid is the DLSS, a feature compatible with all Nvidia’s RTX series GPUs that is now also supported by Rise (you don’t need to purchase the expansion to use it). By carrying out some tests, we tried to start the game at 1080p with DLSS active and all settings at a minimum, noting an almost non-existent impact on PC performance and the increase of only one degree on the CPU and video card. In short, with the latest improvements within the version 10.0.2.0Capcom’s hunting game would seem to fit any platform.