Monster Hunter World was my first time playing anything related to the Monster Hunter series. It never piqued my interest. When I began to hear all this buzz about the next gen version of the game and I saw the trailers and felt the excitement of my colleagues about this game, I said this game must be shit, everyone is excited. So when it was released last year, I bought it. I went into that game with no knowledge of it and no expectations.
I was hooked once I played MHW, it was incredible. There’s a reason why to date this is Capcom’s best selling game ever. It was expansive, had a great look, played great, had tons of monsters, open world to explore, customization for gear and weapons, side quests, online co-op, free DLC. It’s what you want to get from a game you spent $60 for. After awhile though a game like this needs a big update as the smaller updates won’t cut it anymore and players will get bored easily. Capcom knew it and they in turn gave us Monster Hunter World: Iceborne. Iceborne is incredible in that it’s not just a DLC with some added content, it’s a whole new game.
MHW: Iceborne picks up from where you left of in Astera and sets off into a another world when it’s discovered that the Legiana are acting strangely and flying off in droves and unison in one direction. To everyone’s surprise there’s a new species of Legiana leading the rest of them which in short leads to discovery a new area in the New World known as Seliana. Once you reach Seliana, right away you notice the change in weather. It’s frikkin cold, freezing. Seliana is what the equivalent of Antarctica would be. Frozen tundra, mountainous and flat, wide open space, caverns, all that. What does that mean for MHW? This means a new game element and dynamic as you now have to consider the temperature and how it effects you but also the creatures that are native to Seliana and how you now have to fight them.
In the New land, you and your team of explorers and hunters take up residence in Seliana. There’s a new base, new members like the Steamworks, new armor, new weapons, new quests. There’s a Master Rank system. You learn all of this right after your first encounters with the new monsters in Seliana. Everything you remember in the original MHW still exists but with enhancements, nuance and some new things altogether.
Getting out and just hunting monsters isn’t as simple as it was in the first game. You have to consider the cold because if you don’t it will rob you of precious stamina and make battles with monsters incredibly difficult and long IF you survive. I found this out the hard way. Once I got into the flow of the game and long cutscenes, right away you’re fighting. The Banbaro was the first monster that I encountered and initially I was nervous because I hadn’t played MHW in awhile but once I got into the fight it felt natural all over. The fighting in this game is top notch and so much fun. Thankfully, Capcom didn’t change really anything about the fighting and they kept it to where your armor, weapon, palico and accessory choices determine how successful you are in a fight.
As far as fighting goes, there isn’t much different. If you’ve played before and you’re getting back into the game like me then it’ll take you a few fights to get fully back into things. Newer players will have to figure out their builds according to the monsters they’ll be fighting and what abilities they want to have and so on. One completely new mechanic within the game for new and older players is the Clutch Claw. It’s so key to fighting. The clutch claw now allows you to use a grab attack with a claw attached to your gear that if you time it right you can mount monsters and inflict a ton of damage on them at ease granted you are within distance of the monster relative to the claw. It’s risky, yes, but if you are able to master use of the claw fights will be much shorter. Mounting monsters in the first game was kind of a bonus and take place by happenstance a lot of the time but now with the clutch claw you can get that damage and that KO more often.
BUILDING YOUR CHARACTER AND PALICO
Just like MHW, Iceborne still focuses on the RPG aspect of character building. As much as you may like the look of a certain type of gear in this game. You won’t be very successful overall if you play this way. With Iceborne being set in a frozen environment, even more so. When you arrive in Seliana right away you get the sense that your gear must be different as you’re now given layered gear to use upon arrival. That layered gear in that sense is for warmth but now with the Master Rank element being added to the game there is layered gear that offers added protection on top of your existing gear. Even with layered gear you must still choose your gear wisely, you have to decide if you want more ko’s and stuns or you want to be a partbreaker, etc and it’s best if you coordinate that with your Palico who acts as support in fights. It’s essential still to grind out the game for jewels, armor and weapons. You can really only do that by fighting the toughest monsters repeatedly as they tend to have the best gear. Joining up in SOS fights and doing gathering hub events are the best way to secure rare jewels for those good builds and upgrades. Keep up the grind throughout your time playing. This is the key to everything.
HUB, SHOPS, ETC
When you finally set up shop in the new hub on Seliana you’ll see that for the most part it’s not much different from the base on Aspera except that this time you’re on flat ground and things are a lot easier to get to without having to use stairs or a lift. There are some new things that add some depth to the game in terms of how you’ll end up exploring Seliana like the Steam.
As you know or will soon find out. MHW: Iceborne is packed with plenty of monsters to fight. Below is the full list of kick ass, bad ass monsters that you’ll encounter within Iceborne. No hints on how to fight them, figure that out for yourself but you should at least know what you’re getting yourself into. Each monster though has a significant importance especially if you’re crafting weapons and a specific build. This is the beauty of Iceborne, look at how many monsters you’ll encounter in this DLC.
- Shrieking Legiana
- Fulgur Anjanath
- Acidic Glavenus
- Ebony Odogaron
- Seething Bazelgeuse
- Blackveil Vaal Hazak
- Savage Deviljho
- Ruiner Nergigante
- Shara Ishvalda
- Yian Garuga
- Scarred Yian Garuga
- Brute Tigrex
- Gold Rathian
- Silver Rathalos
- Viper Tobi-Kadachi
- Coral Pukei-Pukei
- Nightshade Paolumu
AN OPEN WORLD GAME WORTHY OF ITS PRICE
The world is more open than before with Iceborne. You have two places to travel back to that are expansive and open. You’ll run into difficult monsters on Seliana and variations of monsters you’re used to on Aspera. The Coral Pukei Pukei is a pain in the ass, so is Brachydios and Bazelgeuse aka Beetlejuice is still a dick, you’ll see. Overall, the goal of the game is really to kill as many monsters as you can, get all of the equipment and weapons you can and perfect your build to be the best monster hunter there is.
This expansion didn’t feel like what you would expect from a DLC in that it adds a few things but not much and you would begin to question why you paid for it within a few hours. That isn’t the case here. THIS felt like a new game which can somewhat justify it’s cost. You’ll be pouring hours and hours into this new expansion because of the sheer number of monsters to fight and the much more engaging story as opposed to the one that I still don’t understand from the first installment. The icy cold environment of Seliana forces you build your character to adapt to not just monsters but the cold. Collecting hot peppers and drinking hot drinks while helpful kind of sucks at times.
Side quests and arena battles keep you fighting if that’s all that you really wanna do. The explorer type has plenty to do and collect and join up with other crews and just get some good run in. That’s me by the way. I play for builds. MHW:Iceborne is a fantastic DLC and thankfully my first dive into the Monster Hunter franchise has been a good one. This made it better.