Monster Hunter Rise: Sunbreak is brutal but balanced

Even having piled around 80 hours a piece into every Monster Hunter since the exquisite fourth outing on 3DS I’d still consider myself as something of a casual fan; happy to blunder through the main quests and just as happy to be carried through High Rank quests, by the time the Master Rank-focussed expansions come around I’ve usually got to admit I’m well out of my depth.

I loved Monster Hunter World but am not ashamed to admit that hard-edged expansion Iceborne kicked my arse, so I was heading into Monster Hunter Rise’s own hard-edged expansion Sunbreak with some trepidation. Here’s an expansion that is loosely in line with G-Rank or Ultimate editions of previous games, introducing new monsters, new locales and most importantly that all-important Master Rank that brings with it an all-new level of challenge. Thankfully Sunbreak has a little besides that makes it more palatable for those like myself who like a smoother ride.

First, though, let’s talk about the new stuff – or at least the small slice of new stuff I was able to sample in two quick hunts offered up as part of the preview round for Sunbreak. There’s a new hub, with Elgado swapped out for Kamura while the Citadel provides the big new area – the only one revealed to date – with a scale on par with the larger maps of Monster Hunter World. For all that, though, the biggest change is the aesthetic.

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