One of the golden rules of video game boss design is that smaller, humanoid enemies are infinitely more intimidating than lumbering giants. It's not just that we see ourselves in them; you instinctively know that small bosses are sure to have power and speed to make up for their unassuming form. For example, this is a big part of why Elden Ring's Malenia is infamous while the Fire Giant is treated as a mere bump in the road. Malenia isn't a particularly massive person, but she's imposing. She's fast, strong, and has lethal reach.
But what if the lumbering giant was also fast, strong, and had lethal reach? That, folks, is the burden that Capcom has unleashed upon Monster Hunter Rise: Sunbreak players in its latest patch. The headliner for title update five is Amatsu, a storm dragon that's basically one step shy of a deity, but the real killer is Risen Shagaru Magala, which is hands-down the scariest boss I've faced since Malenia.
I've been playing Monster Hunter games for about seven years, and in that time I've killed Shagaru Magala on hundreds of hunts across multiple games. But its Risen form is something else, man. To bring you up to speed, there are four Magalas. We've got little-baby-man Gore Magala, all-grown-up Shagaru Magala, stuck-in-the-middle Chaotic Gore Magala, and now absolutely-wrecking-your-shit Risen Shagaru Magala. It's basically the evolved form of an Elder Dragon that's overcome and harnessed blood parasites to propel its evolution further, and it has exactly zero chill.
Risen Shagaru Magala has about 50 different attacks, and most of them will kill you in one to three hits. If you do dodge the initial blow – or, in my case, block it as a devout lance main – you'll still have lingering darkness explosions to worry about. It feels like these bombs were explicitly designed to punish Sunbreak's parry-heavy meta, and it's working. This thing can use its winged arms to leap across the entire battlefield in an instant to claw and grab at you. It has multiple powered-up forms and three ultimate attacks that all hit so hard it's a wonder they don't uninstall the game on impact.
This boss is a nightmare mechanically, especially when you need to fight it multiple times to farm materials, but it's the presentation that really sells the danger. This thing has eyes like the embers of the underworld with wings of flame to match. Throughout the fight, the entire battlefield is engulfed in rippling, swirling, consuming hellfire. Most importantly, Risen Shagaru Magala is enormous, and it uses its heft to constantly bowl you over. It almost never stops attacking, so you feel like a toy being pawed at by its four arms. It is achingly cool, and a worthy capstone for Master Rank 180 hunters.
I've killed this behemoth several times now, and my hunts are only getting faster. But like Malenia, I don't think I'll ever feel truly comfortable fighting Risen Shagaru Magala. I can hunt any other Magala and pick it apart like abstract art, but every Risen hunt feels like walking into the gym for leg day. "Oh yeah, this is gonna hurt."
Meanwhile, Genshin Impact players are getting pulverized by their own neon dinosaurs.