Monster Hunter World: Iceborne Review — Welcome Back Hunter
Monster Hunter World: Iceborne offers a massive amount of new additions and exciting endgame content that should ensure fans will be returning to the game for years to come.
Players who had any doubts about the content that would be included in Monster Hunter World: Iceborne can put those doubts aside. Capcom has released an expansion that definitively makes Monster Hunter World one of the best and most expansive games in the genre. Hardcore fans of Monster Hunter will undoubtedly have plenty of things to explore in Monster Hunter World: Iceborne for hundreds of hours.
Capcom has done a particularly good job of reintroducing the game to players who may be returning after some time away from Monster Hunter World. The most highly requested addition in Monster Hunter World: Iceborne is Master Rank hunts. These are essentially the equivalent of G-Rank hunts from previous entries in the series. Along with Master Rank, four new levels have been introduced for both armor and weapons, meaning players will have plenty of new goodies to craft throughout their journey with the main campaign and beyond.
And there’s a lot of beyond. Monster Hunter World: Iceborne introduces a hefty amount of new and returning monsters from the series as well as some new versions of monsters who were originally in the base game. Standouts include Glavenus, Brachydios, Barioth, and of course, the game’s newest elder dragon Velkhana. These fights, as well as the many others included, are all meticulously designed to feel vastly different from one another. From a design perspective, it’s actually quite incredible the level of effort that can be felt in each battle.
There’s also a neat little tool included in Monster Hunter World: Iceborne called the clutch claw and it allows players to get themselves on top of monsters. It’s similar to mounting albeit it goes much deeper than that. Depending on your preferred weapons and playstyle the clutch will have a couple of different uses. These uses are immense and it’s nearly impossible for me to talk about them all since even I haven’t explored each one. Thankfully, the game provides a handy tutorial earlier on that’ll help players become familiar with the clutch claw. The core uses of the tool revolve around weakening monster parts, changing a monster’s direction, and sending monsters flying into walls and other obstacles. You can also find your own ways to utilize the tool, for instance, I found myself constantly getting on top of monsters that were trying to flee so I could deal some extra damage. The device seems simple at first but Capcom has provided a whole layer of skill under the surface of the clutch claw’s basic functions.
This effort can be equally felt in some of the expansion’s new locations. Hoarfrost Reach is the new hunting ground and it acts as a snowy forest and mountainous region. It’s quite different when compared to the original four areas from the base game. Players will have to become used to the landscape and how they interact with it during hunts. This unique relationship between the hunter and the arena is something that only Monster Hunter can provide, and again Capcom has nailed it.
Seliana acts as the game’s new hub location. It’s far better than the original game’s hub location of Astera. Various vendors and useful locations are placed closely together, but not so much so the area feels small. The gathering hub where players will interact with one another is also a step up from the base game. Small unnecessary additions like a hot spring where players can rest their characters together add a lot of character to a game already filled to the brim with it. What it does is drive a sense of community and place in this world as everyone collectively acts towards a common goal. Additionally, there’s a more personalized room feature that has a pretty insane level of customization. The aforementioned inclusions are unnecessary, but drive home the fact that this is an expansion that was built with tender care by people who really have a passion for the series.
The story follows a familiar beat to the first game which is its most underwhelming quality. I never found myself caring for the characters or tribulations they faced, but the game seems to consistently encourage me too. There are also those familiar sections that break up the hunting where players are forced to go out on investigations in search of random clues spread throughout the map. These sections become sigh-inducing in the late game as you begin to triumph over some really tough monsters only to be met with a boring investigation before you can proceed further. Other than that though, there are some really well-animated in-game cutscenes sprinkled throughout the story so that definitely works to a benefit to some extent.
Core fans of the series will be jumping into Monster Hunter World: Iceborne for two things: hunting and crafting. It’s here where Capcom has put the most considerable effort in providing dozens of new weapons and armor types for players to uncover. Master Rank hunts can sometimes take anywhere between half an hour to an hour depending on gear. Monster Hunter isn’t afraid to ask a lot of the player, and the rabid fanbase as always should be ready to expect a lot of grinding with open arms. Maybe too much grinding for some. If you’re expecting a conventional DLC, Monster Hunter World: Iceborne feels like an entirely new game.
One of the biggest surprises comes in the form of Monster Hunter World: Iceborne’s endgame. Nothing even comes close to being over once the credits roll. While it’s tough to talk about it in greater detail without getting into spoilers, players shouldn’t get too comfortable with the fact that they took down Iceborne’s final boss. There is so much more to the game than that. While I haven’t explored this section too much, it’s an additional exciting venture that I cannot wait to jump back into.
At $40 Monster Hunter World: Iceborne is an absolute steal for those who had countless hours of fun with the original game. For $60, players who may want to give the game a try for the first time can do so with the base game included. The whole package acts as a great introduction to what awaits at the end of the entire story, which altogether probably amounts to around 80 or 100 hours at this point. With Monster Hunter World: Iceborne, this game has definitively become the best entry in the series by far.