Monster Hunter Rise Sunbreak's Title Update 5 cements it as one of the series' best entries

While Monster Hunter Rise’s post-launch updates felt shaky, due to the game launching in what felt like an incomplete state in 2021; the slew of additional content for Sunbreak post-launch has been a breath of fresh air through its entire run. While there’s still one more monster to be added to the game in a few months’ time, the game’s last major content drop in Title Update 5 feels like it’s sending off Monster Hunter Rise on a high note - and I couldn’t be happier the state the game is being left in.

After months of build-up and teases, players finally have access to hunt Amatsu yet again; and while the spectacle doesn’t quite match Monster Hunter World: Iceborne’s fight against Fatalis, Amatsu has been retooled to make full use of the wirebug mechanics and even wyvern riding that Monster Hunter Rise introduced with its launch. Multiple attacks task the player with utilizing these features to the best of their abilities, alongside timing use of hunting instruments like the ballistae and the cannons dotted across the arena.

More than just a celebration of Rise as a whole, however, the fight feels like a celebration of the game that Amatsu first debuted in; the Japan-only Monster Hunter Portable 3rd. For the fight itself, all of the applicable sound effects in the game have been replaced with their equivalents from the PSP, even down to the iconic jingle for using a BBQ spit to cook Well Done Steaks! There’s even another callback to Portable 3rd that I wouldn’t want to spoil for anyone who has yet to attempt the fight for themselves.

Outside of Amatsu, Title Update 5 brought yet another Risen Elder Dragon to the mix with Risen Shagaru Magala. Risen Crimson Glow Valstrax was already an incredible challenge for even seasoned players. Shagaru sets the tone by being fought in the Forlorn Arena, and players being gifted a Rainbow Spiribird from the get-go. It’s a no holds barred fight, in many ways being even tougher than Valstrax was; while part of me had hoped that Amatsu might put up a similar fight to Fatalis from Iceborne, Shagaru delivers on some of that difficulty for those of us that were hoping for it.

On that note; I’ve yet to check out the new Special Investigations feature, but I’m eagerly awaiting the chance to do so. The max Anomaly Research that you can reach has been increased to a final maximum of level 300, and now as a reward for clearing Anomaly Investigations with a level of 300, whoever posted the initial investigation will be gifted an especially difficult Special Investigation, where the only reward for completion is a new Badge of Honor for completing enough of these new challenges.

If Monster Hunter Rise: Sunbreak’s endgame loop was a bit of a disappointment at launch, looking back after all of the updates the expansion has received - it’s hard to deny that the game now has one of the most in-depth endgames of the entire series. While Monster Hunter Rise still isn’t my favorite entry in the franchise, Sunbreak’s post-launch support has absolutely cemented the game as one of the series’ very best. With Rise’s support finally winding down, I can’t wait to see what Capcom has in store for the series’ next entries.