As the great Cheryl from Girls Aloud once sang, "Too much of anything can make you sick" and "Even the good can be a curse (curse)". If it’s not broken, don’t fix it. Change too much and an expansion like Monster Hunter Rise: Sunbreak may end up alienating fans. On the other hand, there may be a bit too much familiarity with this add-on pack.
After the end of the Monster Hunter Rise story arc, the hunter returns to the Japanese-themed village of Kamura as a hero. Unfortunately, the peace doesn’t last long, as the Daimyo Hermitaur suddenly makes an appearance in the shrine ruins. This causes the hunter and Utsushi to travel to the shrine.
Once they arrive, they're suddenly ambushed by a strange, werewolf-like monster. Sadly, it proves too strong for the heroes until a knight from Elgado named Fiorayne comes to their rescue and vanquishes it. She reveals the monster is called a Lunagaron and it hails from the kingdom of Elgado. This is where the Sunbreak expansion begins.
As alluded, Sunbreak is more of the same and is similar to the main adventure. Your hard-earned stats and customisations from the main game are carried over to the Sunbreak DLC, but this time you're looting the hides of larger-than-life creatures in Elgado, a vaguely European-themed environment. It's a smaller hub in comparison to Kamura, but the locations still feel vibrant and lived in.
Aside from Elgado, Sunbreak also revealed the other three areas such as Citadel, Jungle and Forlorn Arena, according to the official website. The names of these locales are forgettable and generic. The small number of locations may be disappointing but they make up for it in scope. Not only that, but there are also new monsters, new characters, improved hunting action, follower collab quests, new weapons and anomaly research quests.
Speaking of the new monsters, they are Chaotic Gore Magala, Risen Teostra, Risen Kushala Daora, Flaming Espinas, Violet Mizutsune, Risen Chameleos, Lucent Nargacuga, Seething Bazelgeuse, Silver Rathalos, Gold Rathian, Scorned Magnamalo, Furious Rajang, Shagaru Magala, Gore Magala, Espinas, Seregios, Astalos, Pyre Rakna-Kadaki, Aurora Somnacanth, Magma Almudron, Blood Orange Bishaten, Daimyo Hermitaur and Shogun Ceanataur. Out of all the monsters, the Pyre Rakna-Kadaki is the most enjoyable to do battle with. Unlike the Rakna-Kadaki from the main campaign, the Pyre Rakna-Kadaki is a sight to behold as it attacks with its fiery abilities in order to keep the hunters on their toes. The Pyre Rakna-Kadaki coordinates with the Pyrantula to extend its attack range. The Pyre Rakna-Kadaki can use its flame-tipped legs to cause explosions. Similar to the Pyre Rakna-Kadaki, the Water Leviathan Almudron also has a fiery version known as the Magma Almudron, which is a new subspecies. This monster is seen withstanding the intensity of lava and it can grab a molten boulder with its tail and it can use it as a weapon. The Magma Almudron in its special heated state is more vulnerable to attacks due to its soft body. When it’s glowing red, that’s its weakness. It’s notable when some monsters from the main campaign have fiery variations in Sunbreak. The Blood Orange Bishaten is another subspecies and it’s another example of the numerous fiery monsters.
In regards to the new weapons, they are Great Sword, Long Sword, Sword & Shield, Dual Blades, Lance, Gunlance, Hammer, Hunting Horn, Switch Axe, Charge Blade, Insect Glaive, Light Bowgun, Heavy Bowgun and Bow. Each weapon comes with their own strengths, weaknesses, designs and attacks. For example, the Great Sword in the base game differs to the one in Sunbreak in terms of designs and abilities. The Great Sword in the base game have the Power Sheathe, Hunting Edge and Adamant Charged Slash. For instance, the Hunting Horn still continues to perform as the perfect hybrid. In both the base game and Sunbreak, they're both a damage dealer and a support weapon. Not only that, but it comes with brand-new melodies like Sharpness Regeneration which gives the capability to maintain high sharpness (hence the name) and the sharpness damage multiplier. In regards to how the meta changes to elemental damage, this is one of the weapons that don't maximise that shift. The Hunting Horn comes in a pinch which will be useful for epic, larger-than-life battles against the countless giant monsters rampaging through each location.
It’s all well and good to have subtitles (which will be useful to disabled players with hearing impairment and neurodivergent gamers, especially autistic players) right from the get-go but in terms of accessibility settings, the game is lacking them which is troubling. The lack of accessibility is appalling. Without the ability to turn off the accursed motion blur (which is an unnecessary feature in modern video games these days) and without the capability to switch off the camera shaking, it will render this game practically unplayable for migraine-sufferers. Case in point: the pre-updated version of Spyro Reignited Trilogy. This needs to be said out loud: accessibility needs to be an industry standard. On the upside, Toys For Bob and Activision seriously need to get their priorities straight and take notes from Capcom in terms of implementing subtitles right from the get-go which can't be stressed enough.
If you don’t mind retreading familiar territory, you’ll feel right at home. However, if you’re craving for a new adventure and a brand-new story, you’re better off giving Sunbreak a miss. But in regards to accessibility or rather almost lack thereof, tread cautiously. Price wise, the prices are very steep depending on which game bundle or add-on/add-on pack you pick. The Monster Hunter Rise + Sunbreak game bundle costs £49.99, the Monster Hunter Rise: Sunbreak add-on costs £32.99, the Monster Hunter Rise + Sunbreak Deluxe game bundle is £57.99 and the Monster Hunter Rise: Sunbreak Deluxe Edition add-on pack is £39.99. Until Capcom sorts out their priorities when it comes to accessibility, you’re not missing out much and you’re better off waiting for a sale or play a different RPG/JRPG (which hopefully caters to disabled players).