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Monster Hunter World: Iceborne Review

Edited by: Jade Swann

Trade your fancy Rathalos-hide boots for a pair of snowshoes, because we’re going on a skiing trip! Well, not quite the tranquil winter wonderland for Christmas vacation, but Monster Hunter World: Iceborne will take you on an unforgettable new adventure into the Hoarfrost Reach. This brand new expansion is really everything a game expansion should be. Rather than just tacking on bite-sized pieces of content and spreading it out for maximized profit, Iceborne brings out the whole package, essentially doubling the roster size of monsters you can hunt, bringing a whole new region and a new hub to boot. More than that, Iceborne has delivered more content to the existing game through added combat mechanics and the Master Rank gear, giving you a whole new reason to hunt the original monsters as you stack up to that vaunted Rarity 12 weapon you want so badly.

Just Add Snow

In Monster Hunter World: Iceborne, you’ll find much of the same process as you did in the core game. Explore breathtaking regions, find the majestic beast that you think would make for a lovely new coat, and then murder it for that sweet, succulent loot. I mean, you could capture it, but no one does that. It’s a rinse and repeat cycle that hasn’t changed one iota, but that’s not a bad thing. The Monster Hunter genre has always stood by this tried and true system, and it’s not going anywhere any time soon. 

While stacking onto its core game, Monster Hunter World: Iceborne will lead your brave hunters into the Hoarfrost Reach, filled with new sites and dangers as you search for the source of what has been plaguing the beasts of the new world. Spoilers: It’s an Elder Dragon. Honestly, the story of the game is as inconsequential as ever and serves as its usual linear fashion of stringing on one hunt of a new beast after another. If I were going to throw a hit at Iceborne for anything, it’s that they still haven’t added in the ability to skip the cutscenes. I’d recommend you just keep the game audio dialogue at monster hunter language and stick to reading the subtitles. If you care about the story, then it helps provide a deeper sense of immersion to the world. If you don’t, then at least it keeps the lines shorter and you don’t have to listen to the cheesy voice acting.

Back on the Hunt

Now that we’ve made the obligatory mention of the story, let’s get to the meat and potatoes: the Grammeowster Chef!

No? The combat? Oh, yeah. Right. Narrative aside, the real attraction to Monster Hunter has always been the world itself and your role in it, that role being a walking big game hunter with more teeth on your arsenal than a Deviljho has in its mouth. The act of the hunt has always been a key point of the series, and Iceborne does a great deal to keep it fresh. While it unfortunately adds no new weapon types to the game, the expansion adds new combat mechanics to all fourteen existing weapon types alongside the addition of a new equipment piece, the clutch claw. With the clutch claw, you now have the ability to grapple onto a monster with greater consistency. It’s not quite the same as mounting a beast if you were to jump on its back, but it does allow for you to get some heavy hits in on key locations or get the monster to run into a wall for a free knockdown. It’s a new mechanic that does take some getting used to, but it works seamlessly in your arsenal once you’ve gotten a good grip of it.

Master Rank is one of the areas where the Iceborne expansion really shines. Much in the way an MMO expansion will often up the level-cap, Monster Hunter World: Iceborne presents an entirely new tier of gear that expands the entire line of equipment you can make from core game monsters and the new ones from the expansion. Iceborne is unfortunately built around the Master Class system, so you won’t really be able to access any of the major DLC content until after you’ve already beaten all of the core stuff, but it offers a new horizon of opportunities and customization to make your heart sing. While High Rank gear often only differed slightly from their original versions, Master Rank gear usually offers a completely unique look that helps to freshen up the game as well. Armor seems to be a bit easier to upgrade into the Master Class, but weapons tend to be a bit slower in pace, as you’ll probably find it much easier to get the full set you want before you reach your Rarity 12 Charge Blade.

Something New and Mostly New

Monster Hunter World: Iceborne really only offers one new region, the Hoarfrost Reach. That being said, it is quite a wonder to behold. Despite much of it being covered in immaculate snowy fields and trees, there’s at least a nice additional variety to it in the underground caverns. Iceborne keeps to the tradition the core game set where the regions never quite seem to lose their charm, no matter how many times you travel through them. Even with only one new region, the expansion offers about twenty new monsters to hunt, which is a pretty insane amount. That being said, it is important to note that Iceborne still suffers from one of the same recurring, though small, issues that was present in the core game. A lot of the monsters tend to feel somewhat samey. Most of the monsters can visually be lumped into a small selection of categories where they use the same basic model and rigging as the rest of the monsters in that category. While it certainly makes sense for the Anjanath and the Fulgur Anja to look incredibly similar, the Anjanath, Barroth, Banbaro, Glavenus, and Deviljho all have different visuals and abilities, but have similar outlines and common movements. This doesn’t necessarily diminish from the game, nor do these creatures offer all the same hunt experience, but it can add a little bit to the monotony.

Port Disclaimer

It is important to note that, at the time of this publishing, Monster Hunter World: Iceborne is providing many users with certain difficulties when they try to play the game. Most users experiencing issues are often directing their concerns towards the Denuvo Anti-tampering program integrated into the game. I have personally experienced no issues what-so-ever while playing, and so this does not reflect in the score of my review. That being said, please do your research and keep in mind that other people are still experiencing major issues.

9

The Verdict: Evolutionary

Everything it should be, Monster Hunter World: Iceborne is an absolutely must-have addition to anyone who enjoyed the core game, though do be aware of the potential issues other players have reported.

See About Us to learn how we score

Alexander Leleux
Written by
Thursday, 06 February 2020 05:28
Published in Adventure

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Alexander grew up with a controller in his hand and remains the annoyance of his gaming friends for being ‘that guy’ who continues to use one even when he’s playing on his PC. By day, he is a graduate student in medieval literature and a freelance writer. By night, he is an avid gamer, hobbyist, and victim of an unhealthy Warhammer addiction. With a passion for stories of all kinds, he firmly believes that video games are an excellent means of communicating a narrative and hopes to one day make his own mark on the Gaming Industry.

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