Iceborne, the ambitious expansion to the acclaimed Monster Hunter World is out now but is it worth your while? Let's find out.
You and the Fifth Fleet travel to a new island to investigate the migration of the Legiana but you soon discover the emergence of new elder dragons and subspecies. Plus, a series of earthquakes in the New World threatens to wipe out the entire ecosystem.
First of all, there are 22 new missions in Iceborne which is nearly as many as the base game. In each mission, you have to take out a new monster in true Monster Hunter fashion. Some are original while others are subspecies which are basically new twists on monsters that you previously fought. There are also tons of side-quests for you to take on if you wish and by doing so, you'll get stuff like new cooking ingredients. Personally, I had little time for side-quests because I was too busy killing monsters for gear. Speaking of which, beyond low and high rank, there is a new rank and every weapon and armor set can now be upgraded into their master rank counterparts. Keep that in mind while fighting the new monsters because each enemy's materials can be crafted into new weapons and armor sets.
There's also a new hub (Seliana) which has all of the things that you can find in Astera (the workshop, canteen, botanist, and so on). You also get a new house and you'll unlock furniture and pets as you play through the campaign. Next, the Steamworks is a new mini-game where you can earn useful rewards like mega-potions and mega-nutrients. The Steamworks has rare rewards like the Celestial Wyverian Tickets. As with the Gold Wyverian Tickets, these can be turned in for rare mantles that you need to craft powerful gear.
Hoarfrost Reach is a new zone where you'll find ice-type monsters like Beotodus, Banbaro, and Barioth. There are only 5 zones in the base game so the change in scenery is definitely nice and the area is visually impressive. There are also new mining resources that you'll need to craft gear and finally, keep your eyes peeled because there are a few hidden goodies that you'll find if you look hard enough.
The monsters are stunning and I was especially impressed with Velkhana who I had to fight multiple times throughout the story. Overall, Iceborne is more difficult than the base game and you have to beat the base game before you can even begin Iceborne so you should be well-experienced before taking on the challenges of Iceborne (except for me because I used someone else's save file).
There are a few monsters that inflict devastating status effects so you need to plan for that or you might die very quickly. Additionally, a few monsters are extremely agile such as the swift and deadly Barioth so you'll need to be armed with quick reflexes and learn their attack patterns. As long as you have at least one fully-upgraded weapon and a set of master-rank armor, you should be able to beat every mission if you get used to all of the different monsters. During the last 5 or so missions, you have to beat one elder dragon after another and it's not easy. Using my trusty fire insect glaive, facing those bad boys consistently took me 30 or more minutes.
However, it's still forgiving because you get 3 attempts before you have to try again. If you ever run out of potions, you can always fast-travel back to base and get more. You can also call other players with the SOS flare but relying on random players isn't very consistent.
Monster Hunter World has everything that I like in an RPG: a fun action-based combat system, tons of weapons to accommodate many different play styles, plenty of ways to make different builds with various weapons, and even silly mini-games like the Steamworks and fishing. I also really enjoy the music in the new areas of Seliana and Hoarfrost Reach. There's a ton of things to see in Seliana and it's obvious that a lot of care was taken to get the little details just right. There's even a new cooking cutscene and you'll get to see Poogie, the little piggy that was formerly only found in Astera. However, besides the Steamworks, it is a bit lacking in variety as you'll mostly just slay monsters. Not to take anything away from Iceborne, though, as it took an awesome action RPG and made it even better.
Monster Hunter World: Iceborne takes what was great about the base game and provides more of it. There are so many weapons and gear choices that it feels like you are your character. Plus, the battles are epic and the new areas look amazing.
- + Same awesome Monster Hunter gameplay
- + Challenging and stunning boss battles
- + More new weapons and armor than you can wrap your head around
- - A bit lacking in variety
- - Getting gear requires too much luck