Monster Hunter Rise: Sunbreak's Title Update 3 feels like a shift in direction

By this point, Capcom has eased itself into a steady cadence of updates for Monster Hunter Rise: Sunbreak. While Title Updates 1 and 2 introduced some significant improvements to the endgame loop, with brand new monsters to hunt and the addition of new features in Anomaly Investigations, Title Update 3 feels like more of a refinement of what has already existed in the game - and targeted towards players who are already knee-deep in the endgame. 

I mentioned last time that I thought the addition of Risen Chameleos - the first of a new class of monsters in Risen Elder Dragons - was a neat concept. From the standpoint of adding content for players who have already passed Master Rank 100, it was cool to see the developers tipping their hats to hardcore players, giving them something to whet their appetite. However, Title Update 3 feels like this idea has been taken to an extreme.

Much like with Title Update 2, the most recent update has added 3 new monsters for players to hunt; instead of the balance being 2-to-1 for regular monsters versus Risen Elder Dragons, the script has been flipped and Title Update 3 brings Chaos Gore Magala as the sole monster for anyone looking to try out the new content without grinding their Master Rank past 100. Additionally, while Risen Chameleos requires Master Rank 110, both new Risen Elder Dragons require an even higher Master Rank to hunt without resorting to another player posting the quest in the same lobby for you to join.

In practice, this means that unless you’ve been playing Monster Hunter Rise: Sunbreak semi-consistently since launch, the only bit of content that Title Update 3 brings to the table is Chaos Gore Magala and the expanded Follower Quests, as Risen Kushala Daora requires Master Rank 120, Risen Teostra requires Master Rank 140, and the additional Anomaly Investigation levels are essentially meaningless unless you were already at the previous cap; which would’ve required you to have put hundreds of hours into grinding Anomaly Investigations alone.

While previous Title Updates felt like they struck a good balance of adding new endgame content for more casual players and offering something for the hardcore audience to engage with, outside of the excellent ability to bring Followers with you on almost any quest, Title Update 3 squarely feels like it was developed for the most hardcore of the playerbase. This doesn’t actually impact how I feel about the patch, but I’ve also already put nearly 300 hours into the game in the last year alone; and it makes it harder to judge the patch as a whole.

Similarly, it makes me worried about future patch releases. Surely any future Risen Elder Dragons will continue to require higher and higher Master Rank to challenge; and while you can most likely still join someone else’s hunt if they post it in the same lobby, hunting Risen Teostra, especially since it’s plainly clear that these new Risen Elder Dragons are very much being balanced around the sort of gear that a typical Master Rank 140+ hunter is likely to have; I certainly wouldn’t want to risk hunting, say, a Risen Shagaru Magala or a Risen Crimson Valstrax with someone who just barely finished Sunbreak’s campaign.

This leaves the future of Sunbreak’s Title Updates in an awkward position. For anyone like me who has already well embraced the endgame, Title Update 4 will likely be just as good as the rest - but even Monster Hunter World: Iceborne kept its toughest monsters in the Arch-Tempered Elder Dragons only requiring Master Rank 100, and they were never the main event when it came to major content patches; at least, unlike Monster Hunter World. In fact, we didn’t even see Arch-Tempered Namielle and Arch-Tempered Velkhana until the final updates of that game, and they were definitively in addition to other monsters such as Safi’jiiva, Alatreon, and Fatalis - monsters that you could already argue were stretching the limits of what casual players would enjoy.

In other words, I’ve been enjoying Title Update 3 quite a bit - but it can’t be assured that you’ll feel the same way. If you’re a hardcore Monster Hunter player then the trajectory Sunbreak has been taking might feel like a breath of fresh air, but for anyone else, it’s absolutely worth stressing how much you’ll be able to get out of Title Update 3 and beyond will strictly depend on how much of a priority you’re going to make Sunbreak in your gaming rotation, unlike with previous updates. I’m excited to see how far Capcom can take things in regard to difficulty, but I can’t blame anyone who chooses now to tap out.