Fans have been waiting with bated breath for Monster Hunter Rise: Sunbreak, the massive new expansion for the series' first entry on the Nintendo Switch. And while Sunbreak offers 40+ hours of fresh content, if you're just jumping into the world of Rise for the first time, you're going to need to tackle quite a bit of content before you can actually hit the new stuff.
What is Monster Hunter Rise: Sunbreak, anyway?
Though Sunbreak is technically an expansion for Rise, it's more like a completely new game, with tons of new monsters to hunt, weapons to craft, and locales to explore. Like Monster Hunter World: Iceborne before it, Sunbreak introduces Master Rank quests which will push even seasoned hunters to their limit. It also makes all of your hard-won gear from the base game almost immediately irrelevant, but that's Monster Hunter for you.
What do I need to do to get to the Sunbreak content?
On-paper, all you need to do to dive into Sunbreak hunts is to complete the seven-star Hub Quest called "Serpent Goddess of Thunder." Simple, right?
Unfortunately, that's the closest thing that Rise has to a final boss, meaning that you'll need to grind out dozens of hunts (including several Rampage quests, Rise's tower defense-inspired mode) in order to get there. This is especially frustrating if, like me, you already beat Monster Hunter Rise on Switch, but you decided to change to the PC version for Sunbreak. Capcom, it's not 2013 anymore, so can we please have cross-saves? Sincerely, everyone.
HowLongToBeat says it takes the average gamer about 20 hours to get there, but it can easily take longer, especially if you aren't specifically mainlining content. That's a lot of monster hunting, but the base game of Rise is really quite good, so at least you'll have a good time doing it.
Should I do Village Quests, Hub Quests, or both?
Rise does a poor job of explaining this — as it does with many things, let's be honest — but the Village Quests are essentially just an extended tutorial aimed at newbies, while Hub Quests are the real avenue for progression.
Despite this, you definitely should do the Village Quests first, regardless of your experience level. They're quick and easy, with most of them taking five to ten minutes, so you can knock them out in three to five hours. If you're new to the series, you'll definitely need the help before you get to High Rank, anyway.
However, if you're a series veteran itching to get to High Rank and Master Rank, completing the higher-level Village Quests (specifically four-star and five-star) will unlock three hidden "Special License Tests." These tests allow you to skip huge portions of Rise's Hub progression, all the way to the 4-star Urgent Quest, which is the beginning of High Rank.
While it's probably faster to skip the Village Quests and go right to the Hub, there are quite a few unlocks (such as Dangos and exclusive armor) that you'll miss. It's ultimately up to you, but the difference in time is fairly minimal thanks to the License Tests.
Is there any other way to speed up the process?
If you're really in a hurry to get to Sunbreak content, there are a few ways to make the grind more bearable. The first thing you'll want to do when you install Sunbreak is check the courier (aka the mail) located near the steelworks in the main village area, and accept all the gifts. Near the bottom, you should find the Black Belt armor set and the Defender weapon bundle.
Both of these sets are intended specifically for experienced players who want to progress through the game quickly and smoothly. The Black Belt set has much better defense than any of the early armor you can find through the Village quests, and the Defender weapons are quite powerful in their own right. Best of all, you can upgrade the Defender weapons with a single bone item, which means it's very easy to equip yourself for the next level of competition without having to grind at all.
I was able to use my Defender Long Sword (and its upgraded forms) all the way through Rise's core progression without any issues. However, I would definitely recommend upgrading your armor once you hit High Rank, as you'll need all the defense you can get for those hard-hitting monsters. For example, when I hit High Rank, I grinded out Aknosom armor in order to get Quick Sheath 3, which is a vital skill for Long Sword users. This only took about twenty minutes, and it made a big difference in my overall experience.
Besides this, the easiest way to speed up the core progression of the game is to invite other hunters to the party. Depending on your timezone, you'll usually be able to find three well-equipped players who are willing to help out.
How else can I prepare for Sunbreak?
If you're an experienced hunter thinking about picking up Sunbreak, I would resist the urge to grind for perfect armor in the base game. It's an understandable impulse, but it's just not the right move. Like in Iceborne, Master Rank gear is a completely different tier above your old High Rank sets, so all of your gear is going to be automatically worse than anything you pick up after the first few hours of Sunbreak.
For this new expansion, you're going to need a lot of money to upgrade all these fancy new weapons and armor, so I suggest grinding out some easy quests and selling unneeded items to the merchant.
Gathering as many high-level Armor Spheres as you can will also be helpful, as you'll need those to raise the defense on your new gear. Additionally, you'll need your fair share of staple hunting items, such as Mega Potions, Demondrug, and Nullberries. Be sure to stock up through expeditions or Argosy Trade Requests.
Monster Hunter Rise: Sunbreak is available now for PC and Nintendo Switch.