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Monster Hunter: World Iceborne review

There’s no Santa in this Winter Wonderland version of Hoarfrost Reach, the new location you’ll travel to for Iceborne. There may have been one at some point, but he’s probably relocated or been eaten by the icy Elder Dragon Velkhana. Monster Hunter World Iceborne is massive in scope and size, and calling it an expansion is an understatement considering the world is almost as big as the base game. Add to that an unforgiving environment where none of your “tropical” armor will keep your safe from the weather and wildlife, and you have the makings of a new adventure that will test every fiber of your monster hunter being.

A migration of monsters prompts the Research Commission of the Third Fleet to do what they do best. Follow them into a new land to kill everything in sight, and harvest whatever they can to make new armor. In the name of science, you make a mad dash to this new world as you jump recklessly off an airship toward your bloodthirsty goal. For those who have never stepped foot in a Monster Hunter game, Monster Hunter World is Capcom’s flagship franchise that’s very popular in the East. However, with World, Capcom succeeded in bringing this series to a wider global audience and it worked. With an excellent campaign and some incredible mechanics as well as a steady stream of content from Capcom, the game is as popular as ever.

To be eligible to play Iceborne, your Hunter Rank needs to be at least 16, which is what you get to after playing the base game’s story. The difficulty also feels amped up on account of the weather. Of course, you need to have good equipment and you need to be proficient with your weapon of choice before venturing into the battles. You can solo Iceborne if you want; in fact there’s a whole legion of solo players out there who prefer the game alone. But the game is best played in a group of hunters, and if you have a clan, you have to make sure you’re practiced and ready to go. The monsters in Iceborne are tough; you have been warned.

To be eligible to play Iceborne, your Hunter Rank needs to be at least 16, which is what you get to after playing the base game’s story.

That being said, the elation of completing a successful hunt is exhilirating. MHW Iceborne has that same endemic ecosystem that may seem simple on its surface, but can be complex to the trained observer. Just running up to a towering Banbaro or Tigrex and stabbing it is a great way to get yourself killed. Iceborne is all about stalking your prey, noticing its feeding patterns, and where it goes to nest. You also should scope out the area to see if you can lead it into other monster’s territory, or if it has any companions to surprise you. Most monster battles are multi area affairs as they keep moving around, and either you or your team have to corner it before you can slay it.

The game equips you for the new challenge with a new weapon known as the Clutch Claw. This allows you to grapple yourself onto the monster to hack and slash. With a bit of practice you can change the monsters direction of movement or smack them with a well places claw shot. This adds a new dimension to the already kick-ass fighting system. In addition to the Clutch Claw, every weapon has got new combos and attacks, and for those of you familiar with the crazy over the top weapons, you can enjoy exploring the new attacks of your favorite selected weapon types or experiment.

Iceborne’s new world of Hoarfrost Reach is cold and unforgiving, but also full of beautiful landscapes that will definitely evoke memories of Skyrim, full of giant mammoths, as well as other creatures and the predators roaming this frozen ecosystem. From luminous ice caves to mossy areas to beautiful hot springs, Iceborne is beautiful to explore.

Iceborne is a massive game filled with new monsters to kill, but it’s a space meant for veteran monsters hunters. If you’re a long time MHW player, chances are you’re probably hacking and slashing in the expansion right now, but newcomers should try the base game first, and see if the mechanics strike your fancy. While it may look like a straightforward action game in videos you may have seen online, it is actually a deep game that requires you to fully understand it’s multitudes of stats that can easily overwhelm you.

IVG's Verdict

9/10
  • Clutch Claw
  • New combos
  • Braver new world
  • Lots of new monsters
  • Stat heavy
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