The sun will soon rise on the expansion for Monster Hunter Rise, Sunbreak. Having lived through far too many expansions and ultimate versions of games in this series, we’re all too aware of what these entail; greater challenges, new tiers of equipment and most importantly, more monsters. It’s this latter point in particular that interests us today, because whilst trailers and announcements are capable of riling up the masses, it’s the potential opponents that truly get us going. Here’s hoping that the following manage to make an appearance.
There is a key point that we expect most semi-serious Monster Hunter players will understand, which is that there’s always a target that you become tremendously familiar with. Be it immediate or through weeks of failure, your mastery of an encounter will reach a point where you complete it on autopilot. In many ways, this is the very first monster that will truly ‘click’ for the player, and in our case this was the Tetsucabra. For us, nothing feels quite as comfortable as taking down a super toad, deviant form or otherwise. Comfort of some players alone shouldn’t warrant involvement in the expansion however, so why should they bother bringing it back?
Ignoring the fact that a similar model skeleton already exists in Rise, surely the influence that a rampant Tetsucabra has on the environment is worth seeing with current generation graphics? Imagine the massive boulders, zero to one hundred leaps and the towering pillars created by the Drilltusk version! We would expect the difficulty to increase with the advent of Sunbreak too, and plenty of players will testify to an enraged Tetsu being a significant threat, especially when it’s barrel rolls start tearing up huge chunks of the ground. We even love the equipment forged by its loot, like the giant cooking knife Great Sword or the high raw, low sharpness Long Sword.
Well, who doesn’t love playing Nier Automata? In fact, we’d liken battling a Lagiacrus to any number of bullet dodge based games, because this is invariably what every hunt versus one devolves into. Sure, it tends to have a tail swipe, bite attacks and the inevitable charge, but it’s most iconic attack is that of the swirling thunderous orbs, often closely followed by random thunder strikes into the ground. Taking one of these on is great fun, and whilst we’re not about to call it the hardest of targets, it’s an experience like no other. Taking us back to MH3U and throwing us underwater isn’t quite what we’d call fun however, and we’re really not sure if doing such a thing would enrich Rise in any way at all, but fighting the beast on land is plenty good enough for us.
Sadly, the chance of seeing a Lagiacrus in Sunbreak feels like it’s a little low. They’ve already touted the return of another powerful Thunder based monster in Astalos, and with Zinogre and such already present, it feels unlikely. It’s unlikely that this comes down to monster preference, after all we suspect it’s numerous appearances mean that it’s highly regarded by the developer, but there would likely be obsolescence within the equipment. There are, after all, only so many ways that you can create plus or minus sharpness, affinity and raw damage combinations before things become a little superfluous. The above furious drilling toad is likely to have more of a chance of appearing than Lagiacrus, if we’re honest.
Marquee hunts in a Monster Hunter title are a lot like experiencing epic scenes in movies. Fighting a dragon in the form of a literal dragon or a massive snake wrapped around a quarry are just a few of these, and one that we would consider in the same breath is that of Shagaru Magala. Now, this doesn’t mean that the regular Gore Magala hunt in Monster Hunter 4 wasn’t epic enough by itself, but there’s something a great deal more imposing about heading to an individual arena and watching Shagaru take to the skies, screaming at your hunter with wings spread and then imposingly flying down to take you on. It conjures up a sense of awe that’s rarely found in video games, and it’s something that Rise could do with implementing a little more often.
Is it a possibility? Well, we’re really not sure here. It’s certain that some elements of its model skeleton have made the transition, and some of the lessons learnt have been transferred into the likes of Valstrax, but that doesn’t mean that we’ll see either of the Magala make the transition. For us, it would make sense to see them both be released in a future patch, perhaps having hunters take them both down alongside some kind of dark, chaotic or frenzied vibe. Also, who doesn’t want the frankly incredible equipment models of these two monsters to be included in the game? The punchline of Monster Hunter has always been that you can take the pelt of your target and fashion a piece of equipment with it, and crafting pieces from both of these achingly cool looking monsters will undoubtedly see your hunter look better than ever.