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Monster Hunter Rise: Sunbreak (PC) preview — New monsters, new weapons, a new dawn

Monster Hunter Rise: Sunbreak Seregios in action
(Image credit: Capcom)

When I played Monster Hunter World back in 2018, I found myself forever hooked on the series. The over-the-top weapon and armor designs, the cool moves I was able to pull off, and the sheer number of extravagant creatures to hunt alongside my friends was an incredible experience I will never forget. Since then, I have played various other Monster Hunter titles including Monster Hunter Generations Ultimate, Monster Hunter World: Iceborne, Monster Hunter Stories 2: Wings of Ruin, and, of course, Monster Hunter Rise among others.

And soon, I will be continuing my monster hunting journey in the next big entry of the series, Monster Hunter Rise: Sunbreak. Sunbreak is a gigantic upcoming DLC expansion that will build upon the foundations of the original game with new gear to collect, new moves to learn, new locales to explore, and new monsters to slay.

Capcom has graciously given us a hands-off demo of the game that showcases the new features and three of the new monsters. I enjoyed my time with the original Monster Hunter Rise, and after experiencing this demo, I am confident in saying that Sunbreak is looking to be even better and crazier to play than its predecessor. 

What is Monster Hunter Rise: Sunbreak?

(Image credit: Capcom)

For those not in the know, Monster Hunter Rise: Sunbreak is an action game where you hunt down giant monsters. After defeating a monster, you then use their body parts to craft powerful weapons and armor that will help you hunt bigger monsters. Despite this simple premise, in this game, hunting monsters is more complicated than whacking them with giant swords until they die.

There are many types of monsters in the world of Monster Hunter. They can range from enormous primates that can crush rocks, dinosaurs that can spit fireballs, to towering dragons that defy the laws of nature. To defeat such powerful foes, half the battle involves preparation, strategy, and finesse. And it's here where our preview demo begins.

The hunt for Lunagaron

(Image credit: Capcom)

The preview opens with a team of four hunters in the new Elgado Outpost Gathering Hub readying themselves for battle. Before going on a hunt, players will need to equip themselves with one of fourteen weapon types and an armor set that will grant passive abilities to enhance their weapon and playstyle.

For instance, Hunter 1 is equipped with a Light Bowgun which can shoot foes at range with high-caliber bullets. Hunter 2 is equipped with Dual Blades which allow the user to run across the battlefield to slice and dice their opponents. Hunter 3 is equipped with a Bow that shoots armor-piercing arrows that can be coated with special substances for extra damage or inflicting status effects. And Hunter 4 is equipped with an Insect Glaive, a double-bladed staff that allows its user to fly in the air and command a small insect called a “Kinsect” to extract fluids from a monster to power up the user.

After choosing their weapons and armor, the hunters decide which Switch Skills to equip. One of the unique selling points of Monster Hunter Rise, was being able to customize your move-set with Switch Skills that change three techniques or properties of your chosen weapon.

(Image credit: Capcom)

In Sunbreak, every weapon type will get new Switch Skills to use and five Switch Skill slots to customize. In addition, you can now create two load-outs of Switch Skills and swap between them on the fly in the middle of combat using the new Switch Skill Swap Evade mechanics. After executing a Switch Skill Swap, you can perform a Swap Evade to dodge incoming attacks or close the gap on a monster that’s out of range.

This is one of many gameplay changes that will be included in Monster Hunter Rise: Sunbreak and it is the one I am most looking forward to testing out. Being able to swap between two load-outs of Switch Skills will give players more creative freedom during combat and potentially pull off some amazing combo attacks.

New monster Garangolm will provide seasoned hunters with new challenges. (Image credit: Capcom)

Once the hunters have readied their gear and Switch Skills, they make one last preparation by having a pre-hunt meal at The Kamura Tea House. This is a shop where players can eat food that will grant them passive buffs that will last until they faint in battle. They can also use monster parts and other materials in the Tea House to prepare items like Well-Done Steaks for in-field use. 

Now fully ready, the team makes their way to the Chichae, the Quest Damsel, to accept a quest to hunt one of the new monsters of Sunbreak, Lunagaron. The hunt for this beast takes place in one of the new hunting locales of Sunbreak, the Citadel. Once upon a time, this area was home to a thriving civilization, with towns and castles as far as the eye can see. Tragically, however, the Citadel has since fallen into ruin and reclaimed by nature.

Monster Hunter Rise: Sunbreak screenshot of the Citadel

(Image credit: Capcom)

As the hunting party sets off, Hunter 1 decides to split off from the group to gather some Endemic Life. When hunting monsters, the player can utilize the fauna and flora scattered throughout the map to craft healing potions or directly assist them in battle. Endemic Life is one such fauna — they are small collectible animals that offer passive or active benefits during a hunt. 

(Image credit: Capcom)

Hunter 1 manages to find two new Endemic Life added for Sunbreak, the Marionette Spider and the Gold Wirebug. The Marionette Spider Life can pull monsters into walls or airborne monsters crashing to the ground using its webbing like a rope. And the Gold Wirebug is a passive buff that increases the number of materials dropped from enemies when they get attacked by a mounted monster. They also increase the Wirebug gauge recover rate, and make it easier to perform mounted attacks. 

Once Hunter 1 finds what he needs, he returns to the party and discovers that they have found and engaged the Lunagaron in combat. The Lunagaron is a massive wolf-like Fanged Wyvern that attacks its prey with swift bites, claw swipes, and chilling breath attacks. It uses its immense speed to dance circles around the party, so Hunter 1 decides to use the Marionette Spider he picked up to pull Lunagaron into a wall and knock it down.

Lunagaron is one of several new enemies heading to Sunbreak. (Image credit: Capcom)

The hunters then use this opportunity to unleash their Silkbind attacks while Lunagaron is vulnerable. Silkbind attacks are Switch Skills that use the Wirebug gauge to perform mighty super moves that inflict massive damage. However, most Silkbind attacks consume more charges or induce slower or faster recharge timers on the Wirebug gauge so it's important to use them wisely. Sunbreak will feature a range of new Silkbind attacks, on top of all the other new content. 

After getting pummelled by the hunters, Lunagaron goes into an enraged state. When monsters get enraged, they gain attacks, hit twice as hard, and sometimes even transform. Lunagaron’s enraged state has it standing on its hind legs and covering itself in armor made of ice, giving it the appearance of a werewolf. In this form, Lunagaron trades speed for power as it begins to make mincemeat of the hunters using its ice-covered claws.

Sensing things are going south real fast, the hunters use traps they crafted from the environment to immobilize Lunagaron and unleash more Silkbind attacks. The trap doesn’t last though, as Lunagaron manages to break free and resume its assault. Thankfully, one of the hunters manages to get the Fanged Wyvern into a mountable state.

(Image credit: Capcom)

In Monster Hunter Rise, dealing enough damage using Silkbind Attacks or attacks after a Wirebug jump will cause a monster to become mounted using Wyvern Riding. Wyvern Riding is a gameplay mechanic that lets players briefly take control of using the Wirebug’s Ironsilk. You can command the mounted monster to hurl itself into walls or attack other monsters.

Another quality-of-life improvement Monster Hunter Rise: Sunbreak will implement is the option to forgo mounting a monster while it is in a mountable state. You can set a separate button for mounting, so you can instead attack the weakened monster if you feel like it.

After mounting Lunagaron, the hunters decide to guide it to another location, to force an encounter with another enemy, the Garangolm. This is a ginormous Fanged Beast that resembles a gorilla covered in hardened rock plating. They ram the Lunagaron into the Garangolm, pick up a nearby Red Wirebug, and then mount the Garangolm to beat down the Lunagaron, wielding the beast as a weapon.

Thanks to the new gameplay additions, Monster Hunter Rise: Sunbreak is looking to be the most action-packed entry yet.

The Red Wirebug has similar passive benefits to the Gold Wirebug, except it doesn’t grant extra dropped materials. Instead, it powers up a monster’s Mounting Punisher while being ridden. As you can imagine, the mounted Garagolm’s powered-up finishing move devastates the Lunagaron and destroys its ice armor. The hunters then capitalize on Lunagaron’s vulnerable state and finish it off with their strongest attacks. They then carve Lunagaron’s body for materials they can take back to the smithy to forge new equipment to help them battle more monsters. 

This is the core gameplay loop of Monster Hunter and thanks to the new additions Sunbreak is bringing to the formula, it is looking to be among the most action-packed entries yet.

Follower Collab Quests and hunting Seregios

(Image credit: Capcom)

Our preview doesn’t end there though. Upon returning to the Elgado Outpost and forging new Lunagaron gear, Hunter 1 converses with Arena Master Arlow to receive a new quest. Arlow has requested if he can join Hunter 1 on a Follower Collab Quest to go hunt down a Seregios in the Sandy Plains.

Follower Collab Quests are new, single-player-only quests where you get to hunt alongside characters you meet over the course of the story. Completing these quests deepen your bonds with these characters and earn you exclusive rewards.

When they arrive at The Sandy Plains, Hunter 1 notices something feels different about the locale. This is because all the new quests in Sunbreak are Master Rank Quests. The Master Rank Quests modify the hunting locales from the base game, with new Endemic Life and gathering materials to collect, and new monsters lying in wait to pounce at them. During this sequence, we catch a glimpse of a new small crab-like monster called the Hermitaur ... which could hint at a Sunbreak return of the giant crustacean boss, Daimyo Hermitaur. 

Master Rank heaps on an additional challenge for returning players, given that all the monsters from the base game are now more deadly than their Low and High-Rank counterparts. Not only do they do more damage and possess more health, but they also gain new attacks to catch veteran players off guard.

(Image credit: Capcom)

Speaking of veteran players, long-time Monster Hunter fans will recognize the target monster in this quest, Seregios. Seregios is a Flying Wyvern that was originally the flagship monster of Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate on the Nintendo 3DS. It is a vicious and territorial monster that swoops down its prey using lightning-fast dive kicks and peppering them with razor-sharp scales from its body.

In fact, Seregios' scales are so sharp, that they can cause a deadly status effect on players called "Bleed." This status effect drains players’ health anytime they perform actions with their weapons out. If players get attacked while bleeding, they will take additional damage based on how much health is lost from the bleeding. To get rid of it, they must crouch down to staunch the bleeding or consume a Well-done Steak or an Immunizer. Once cured, a player’s natural health recovery rate will increase.

As someone who hunted Seregios back in Monster Hunter Generations Ultimate, I remember this monster being one of the more difficult monsters to track. After watching this preview, I can say with full confidence that Sunbreak’s iteration of Seregios is more deadly than ever and is the perfect example of how difficult Master Quests will be in Sunbreak. If players don't take advantage of their new Switch Skills and the environment, they will be in for a world of neverending hurt.

Monster Hunter Rise Sunbreak Lunagaron Armor

(Image credit: Capcom)

Fortunately for Hunter 1, he came prepared with his newly forged Lunagaron gear from the previous hunt and is armed with a Switch Axe. This is a special weapon type that can transform from a giant battle axe to an explosive great sword at will. 

The hunt is a long and grueling affair, with more than a few close calls that would've ended badly if Arlow hadn't used healing items to restore Hunter 1’s health. In the end, Just as it looks like Seregios is about to claim another victim, Hunter 1 uses one of the new Switch Skills for his axe: the Elemental Burst Counter.

He manages to parry Seregio’s divebomb attack at the last second and rip it to shreds with an explosive counterattack, slaying Seregios in the process. Hunter 1 carves the Seregio for materials and then Arlow congratulates him on a job well done, ending our time with the preview.

I am ready to hunt come Sunbreak!

Monster Hunter Rise: Sunbreak Gathering Hub

(Image credit: Capcom)

Overall, I was impressed by what I have seen of Monster Hunter Rise: Sunbreak so far. The new Citadel map is an expansive locale filled with interesting biomes and seems teeming with exciting secrets to uncover. And the combat system and general gameplay pacing feel vastly improved from the base game, thanks to the quality-of-life improvements and the new Silkbind attacks shown off thus far.

I admit I was initially concerned when Capcom showed off all the new moves for the weapons online, thinking that they might make the game too easy. Thankfully my fears were dashed after seeing how brutal Lunagaron and Seregios can be if players underestimate them. If this is what we will be hunting at the start of Sunbreak, I can't wait to hunt what else this game has in store when it launches later this month. 

If you were a fan of the base version of Monster Hunter Rise, I recommend checking out this expansion because it will double down on what made it great. And if you have never played Monster Hunter Rise before, Sunbreak will be the perfect time to jump in. In addition to all of the expansion's new content, all the quality of life improvements will apply to the base game providing old and new players with the most content-rich and polished edition of one of the best multiplayer games on PC.

Monster Hunter Rise: Sunbreak will release on June 30, 2022, for Nintendo Switch and Windows PC via Steam. 

Alexander Cope is a writer for Windows Central and iMore that has been gaming since the 16-bit era.