Monster Hunter: World Iceborne Will Take Over Your Life In September
Winter is coming to Monster Hunter: World.
I had some doubts that I wouldn’t feel so inclined to jump back into Monster Hunter: World with its first major expansion, Iceborne. However, as soon as I witnessed the gargantuan beasts and dynamic new snow-based location, I found myself immediately hooked all over again. Iceborne improves the already satisfying gameplay by offering players more variety when it comes to taking down monsters; paired with new locations to discover, new monsters, and an intimidating new difficulty option, prepare to have hours of your life fade away. Monster Hunter World: Iceborne is a ridiculously good expansion from what I’ve seen so far.
My demo at E3 2019 had me taking on two of the newly added monsters. The Tigrex, a returning monster that originated in Monster Hunter Freedom 2, and Banbaro, who sports two gigantic horns on top of its head, making it feel appropriate for the game’s mountainous setting of Hoarfrost Reach. This area is wild and unexplored, containing new smaller beasts, as well as various caves, snow-capped peaks, and dense forests, making it a wildly dynamic location for battles.
Of course, there are new items that’ll need to be utilized as you explore Hoarfrost Reach. Since the area is the coldest location in Monster Hunter: World, you’ll need to use potions that’ll stop your stamina from draining in the cold. Additionally, there are hot springs spread throughout the landscape where you can take a breather and keep yourself cooled down if you run out of these potions.
Banbaro acted as the sort of introductory monster in my demo, it obviously wasn’t a walk in the park though, as any careless in the Monster Hunter series can typically result in your untimely demise. But the battle was a great re-entry point for me, someone who hasn’t played World since 2018. There are some unique mechanics at play during the fight with Banbaro, like a giant ball of rock and snow that can get attached to his horns. Getting hit by this definitely hurts, I learned that the hard way. If you were worried that any of the newer beasts in Iceborne would come off as too familiar to the base game, you can put those worries aside.
Tigrex, on the other hand, was a much tougher enemy, requiring more focus on my defense than attack. The beast should be well known amongst longtime fans of the series since it’s one of the returning monsters. Like some of the other monsters in World, its roar will cause you to come to a standstill for a couple of seconds, making your positioning all the more important when it dives in for an attack soon after. It was the type of fight that has you going to the last minutes, making every potion and tool at your disposal vital to your victory. While it certainly wasn’t an easy fight, we narrowly managed to take it down. And as everyone shouted in excitement once we won, I realized that the sense of reward Monster Hunter world offers is as strong as it was in 2018.
While it wasn’t available in the demo, Valkhana, the newest Elder Dragon in Monster Hunter: World Iceborne staged an intimidating presence on the show floor. Capcom put out a huge statue of the beast that I had to walk past more than once. I’m so excited to go head to head with it once the expansion finally does release. Valkhana’s design is undeniably cool, and with the promise of its infamous icy breath, it’ll certainly be a tough foe to overcome.
Monster Hunter: World Iceborne offers new gameplay mechanics with the Clutch Claw as well as additional weapon combos. The Clutch Claw gives players the opportunity to latch onto monsters and get up close and personal with their weapon of choice. Whichever part you decide to latch onto; attacking it will become susceptible to increased damage, making it a particularly useful tool for breaking specific parts. Additionally, you can use the Clutch Claw to change the direction a monster is facing, and one special attack called the Flinch Shot will unload all of your slinger ammo into a monster which can cause it to dash into walls and other obstacles, staggering it for a couple of seconds.
As previously mentioned, every weapon has been given new attacks you’ll have access to in battle. While there aren’t any brand new weapon types, these additional skills should make exploring new and current playstyles a lot of fun. I personally opted for the Long Sword and Heavy Bowgun. Both of which felt familiar right off the bat, but the new variety of attacks allowed for new ways to strategize and explore my options in the heat of battle.
Monster Hunter: World Iceborne will come packed with new difficulty that’s equivalent to G-Rank, but to access this content you’ll have to beat the base game first. Returning players will get the most out of Iceborne when it launches for PS4 and Xbox One on September 6. A PC version will follow sometime during the winter. The standalone expansion will launch for $39.99, but there will also be a $59.99 Master Edition released around the expansions launch that includes everything.