Wednesday, May 22, 2024
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Rising to the Master Rank challenge

Daniel Lim

Monster Hunter Rise was released in March 2021 to critical acclaim.

It brought a new chapter to how players, both seasoned and newcomers, were able to hunt a variety of monster on a wide expansive map unlike its predecessors.

Fast forward a year later, Rise has since continued to enjoy many minor additions in the form of title updates that not only added new monsters with varying difficulty but also crossover cosmetic items from well-known gaming series such as Megaman to Sonic the Hedgehog.

These title updates also complete the main story that had unfolded in the base game.

Without providing spoilers, the base game concludes with the player crowned as the saviour of his village and all seems well.

This all changed when the latest expansion update, Monster Hunter Rise: Sunbreak, dropped on June 30. Unlike previous title updates, Sunbreak serves as a new story arc for the players.

For those new to the series, expansion updates such as Sunbreak is a tradition for the Monster Hunter series, as it not only includes more monsters to fight in new maps and more story content but also gives players a new target to strive for in the form of Master Rank.

‘Monster Hunter Rise: Sunbreak’ will introduce players to new and returning monsters and locales. PHOTO: NINTENDO/CAPCOM

Previous Monster Hunter titles have made it a tradition to feature Low and High Ranks for players to start off, with the coveted Master Rank or G Rank the summit and ultimate goal to reach.

Sunbreak adheres to this while also featuring a more extensive roster of returning and new monsters to fight alongside more quality of life changes and additions that make the already existing base experience more satisfying.

Similar to expansion updates from previous title series, Sunbreak also introduces several new areas with a new cast of characters and a new hub base in the form of the Elgado Outpost.

All the creature comforts that players expect from a hub centre can be found in the newly introduced outpost: From Minayle the Smithy, who serves as a blacksmith that crafts new armours using the materials gathered, to Chichae the Quest Damsel who provides the quest.

Despite the introduction of Elgado Outpost, Sunbreak makes it so that the previous hub base of Kamura Village is still relevant as players are encouraged to travel between the two as part of the new story quest.

Players are also introduced to new locales alongside the new hub base such as the lush forest of the aptly named Jungle area, to the more dilapidated and eerie atmosphere of the Citadel.

Each area brings more diversity to the already atmospheric feel as players traverse across different terrain and environment.

In addition to new and returning monsters, which can be tackled solo or in a group of four other players, a new list of missions titled ‘Follower’s Quest’ also serve to inject more character growth, especially among the game’s non-playable characters or NPCs.

While these missions are limited to single player only, players can bring selected NPCs together in quests that tailor to help flesh out their character which is a nice change of pace in the otherwise frantic and fast-paced nature of hunts.

Other big changes made to the game includes the ability to change Switch Skills during battle, which seasoned players are delighted to have as Switch Skills provides more options to indecisive players on which skills to bring into battle.

However, as mentioned previously, the biggest addition to the expansion update has to be the introduction of Master Rank, which many veteran players of Monster Hunter are eagerly anticipating since the launch of the game.

This is accompanied by an overarching story that gives players the motivation and a clear objective, which helps to pace and drive players through the new content.

Combined, it results in the urge for players to have just one more game, where players can find themselves farming for the materials to craft the necessary gear, which in turn leads them to be able to hunt even stronger monster and their associated materials to craft into stronger armour and weapons.

All of this can be experienced both alone as well as in a group as the multiplayer portion is still going strong, with a robust system where players can drop into the middle of the hunt through the easy-to-use matchmaking system.

With a teased roadmap of things to come, such as even more areas to hunt monsters in as well as new stronger variants of monsters, Sunbreak might finally give veteran players the peak Monster Hunter experience they are looking for, while also catering to introducing new players to the thrill of the hunt in a cohesive experience.