Analysis of Monster Hunter World: Iceborne, an expansion that won’t leave you cold

Written by Kamran Haider

A new location to explore, a lot of new monsters to hunt, a whole master rank to overcome, weapons and armor more powerful to collect, new movements to master … Capcom breathes new life into Monster Hunter: World with an expansion of what More complete.

Do not be fooled by their name and promotional images. Iceborne may have the theme of flag ice, but it could have been called Ultimate without any problem. If you are a veteran of the Monster Hunter saga, you already know what I mean, and if this is not the case, you should simply know that Monster Hunter World: Iceborne is going to give us many hours of play beyond Frost Stream, its new location. This is not a small DLC to expand the game by adding something punctual, it is an expansion with all the letters. Do not expect especially transformative news, but those that are present outline the playability of a program that already updated the traditional formula completely.

I explain. Although Monster Hunter: World has garnered extraordinary results in both criticism and sales (it is the best-selling game in Capcom’s history, after all) in its day many fans expressed diverse concerns: “It has few monsters”, “it is easier than the previous “,” seems very casual, this is not done for those of a lifetime “and a long etcetera. Iceborne is a direct response to all these complaints and more, so we assume that more skeptical fans will be more or less satisfied with what’s on the table. The real question is whether there is enough material to please the true foodies … and convince those who lagged behind with the original.

A new continent of possibilities

One of the first things that catch our attention in Monster Hunter World: Iceborne is that the pace of the campaign and even the narrative seem to have received a small push in the right direction. The structure is more or less the same as we have seen during the base game and the different collaborations this has had: an old dragon appears, endangering the ecosystem (in this case we talk about Velkhana, a monster dressed in a cloak of ice) and it’s our turn to stop his feet before it’s too late. Meanwhile, we are assigned missions to hunt down the monsters that stand in our way.

What has changed in this regard? Well, a couple of important aspects. The first is that the characters and kinematics have some more personality, so we will learn a little more about the motivations of our Manager, the past of the first fleets that explored the icy regions or even how our success as a hunter impacts the Commander. Do not expect anything revolutionary, of course, but it is appreciated that the process of completing the campaign is a bit more bearable. Nor will we have the typical boring escort missions where we walk slowly next to a wagon: we have come to hunt, and hunting is what we will do. That is the other highlight, that everything is orchestrated so that we can progress organically and without wasting a lot of time on boring tasks.possibilities

The campaign and even the narrative seem to have received a small push in the right direction.

For example, the first missions we play in the tundra are reconnaissance expeditions, and this will come from pearls to gather bones and minerals with which to create our first ( and affordable) master rank armor. We will need it ready for the following missions because as its name implies, they are much harder than those of high rank. Shortly after this, we will be facing Barbaro, an unprecedented monster whose pieces of armor will give us extra health and allow us to heal faster. Do you see where we are going? The master rank is not exactly easy, you will die relatively often, but the game reaches out to help you overcome these challenges. Another thing we liked is that the investigations of old dragons (you know, those targets where we gather blueprints throughout the world) are assigned in parallel to other mandatory missions, so we don’t have the feeling of wasting time with a silly goal or “poking around” by mere Followed the story.

Most of the missions we face during the campaign are carried out by subspecies of monsters known as the Pukei-Pukei Coraline, the Odogaron Ebano or the Howling Legiana, which change location to accommodate their new powers, interactions, and territorial conflicts. However, the main events of the plot take place in Arroyo de Frost, a location that enjoys a large number of particularities and new monsters. If the Primordial Forest had vines to jump, here we find large blocks of ice that come off in a vacuum when the monsters fall on them, hot springs in which to get warm and geysers that occasionally damage our opponents. Like all Monster Hunter: World environments, enjoy exquisite pampering and many possibilities for interaction, only this time we have an extra versatility that comes in the form of the new claw.

The new continent of Monster Hunter looks great. Capcom proves to have taken care of every detail to make the environment and the monsters seem alive and respond correctly to the stimuli of our footsteps or the emergence of other threats. We are glad to see that most monsters win in spectacular, not only because of the power of the current consoles but also because of the new fighting techniques used by the subspecies flood the area with sparks, flames or sand. Adding the meteorological conditions, this can cost our hardware dearly, though, so you can expect slowdowns in abundance when vertical synchronization does your thing. At the sound level, the program is also up to par,

Do you remember the dam that is next to Rathalos and Rathian’s nest in the Primal Forest? In the base game you needed to carry bombs to break it if you wanted to maximize the damage or open access to a few ores, but in Iceborne you can use the claw that you have equipped at all times to grab a monster, force it to turn and that it will be directly stamped against a wall like this or another that you will find in the tundra to unleash an avalanche, or simply to fall to the ground. Actually, it’s just one of the ways in which the sling mechanics that debuted in the base game have evolved. We can also stick to the body of a monster and hit the part we want with our claw, creating a more sensitive point to our future attacks for a while; and we are even allowed to fire the sling with the gun drawn.

Enjoy exquisite pampering and many interaction possibilities

It may seem like a small thing, but this kind of innovation is the key to surviving the master rank. As the veterans of the series already know, in this equivalent to the G rank the monsters will do us enough damage regardless of how well equipped we are, and they also have more health. The contests are long and if you do not go properly prepared you to have to look at the clock asking if it will give you time to finish the mission in 50 minutes. So any territorial fight, demolition or environmental damage that you can cause will come in handy in the long run. From our point of view, Monster Hunter World: Iceborne is not necessarily difficult, but more demanding. For every problem it poses, there are also new tools to solve it, and all those that existed before also have new possible solutions.hunting

Big season hunting

Claw and sling? Cool New location? Very well. An entertaining campaign? Count on it. But now it is time to pass the question that is better for the test, and that of monsters and equipment. What real material is in Iceborne, for the most demanding consumers? How is the final template? We don’t want to ruin anyone’s surprises, but Iceborne introduces about 20 new creatures, most of which are subspecies of pre-existing monsters or, to a lesser extent, totally new monsters. This means that it is about twice as generous as MH3U and MH4U and on par with MHGU.

Many fans will be disappointed (and rightfully so) not to see large carapace, or leviathans, or neopterin; and it is also understandable that many iconic enemies have lagged behind, even if some scenarios shouted for them. But as they say, it never rains to everyone’s taste, so we leave personal preferences behind and draw conclusions from the real program material: there are a relatively generous number of monsters, all of them have many peculiarities, spectacular new animations, and unique relationships with the environment and with other monsters, and it’s fun to play against them. In addition, Capcom intends to give Iceborne post-launch support with new content, such as the raging Rajang. We do not know how many monsters will arrive in the future, but the plan is similar to the base game.

Along with all these monsters come new weapons of all kinds and thematic armor, of course. Some pieces of rarity 9 and higher, typical of the master rank, admit the insertion of level 4 jewels, allowing us to develop more advanced skills than ever, and some of them are totally new. It is also more fun to experiment with existing sets. For example, you can alternate several pieces of Barioth and Nargacuga alfa plus armor to get both evasion distance and evasion interval, and it is also easier to get new roles if you are an expert. Did you find it complicated to do ‘sleep bombing’ with your favorite weapon in World? Now, you should be able to achieve something like that more easily. Our main complaint with all this is simply that there are very few forgeable weapons of master rank,

The process of organizing our inventory and getting ready for each mission should be much more organic, too, thanks to the distribution of the social area of Seliana . It may seem a minor novelty of first (as almost everything about the gameplay), but you can be sure that you will end up taking love quickly: we say goodbye to the long stairs and walks to go from the botanical laboratory to the canteen, from the canteen to the forge, or having to go through the loading screen of our house to examine our scavengers. Some merchants run two different businesses, and the must-see visits after each mission are just a few seconds from each other.

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Monster Hunter World: Iceborne is neither more nor less than what you would expect from an Ultimate version like the ones we’ve seen repeatedly in the series. It offers nothing groundbreaking beyond its new location and its monsters, but fans willing to make the most of the small (and numerous) improvements that it poses here and there will be delighted with all the possibilities offered by the challenging and very complete master rank.

  • The master rank has an exquisite progression
  • Some surprises for after completing the story
  • Seliana is a success, it is a super comfortable hub
  • The improvements to the sling and the claw are simple but full of possibilities
  • A repertoire of relatively new monsters …
  • … but that still admits some more variety
  • Some stability problems in specific situations
  • A “bigger and better” product with nothing particularly groundbreaking

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Kamran Haider

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