The Monster Hunter series has been going for over a decade with its entries making appearances on the PlayStation 2, Nintendo Wii, the PlayStation Vita, and 3DS. Yet, despite making appearances on the biggest platforms Capcom’s open-world monster hunting series never enjoyed the same mainstream success as Resident Evil or Street Fighter.
That has changed now, however, with the release of Monster Hunter World on the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One in 2018. Capcom developed a more accessible experience for newcomers and it received a level of critical and commercial success not seen in its predecessors.
Capcom has finally followed up with the major expansion Iceborne to finish the story of Monster Hunter World. Naturally, expectations are high for this release so The Gamer has listed 5 of the best and 5 of the worst things about Iceborne.
10 Good: The Expansion Is Huge
Many developers claim that their expansion passes add significant content to their games when in reality they are nothing more than expensive add on content. Recently, developers like CD Projekt Red and Guerrilla Games created expansions worthy of the main game with The Witcher 3 and Horizon Zero Dawn.
Monster Hunter World continues that tradition with its Iceborne expansion. The main campaign is huge and could last players up to 30 hours and much more if they tackle the optional side quests too.
9 Bad: The Story Is Shallow
Even before Capcom made it more accessible to mainstream gamers the Monster Hunter series has never had particularly engaging storylines or characters. Taking place after the events of the main game Iceborne tasks the player with figuring out what has caused a disturbance in the New World’s ecosystem.
Of course, this an excuse for the player to get straight into hunting and battling monsters for the duration of the expansion. Yes, the story is unremarkable and shallow but Monster Hunter fans aren’t playing for its narrative but the game’s incredible setting, fantastically designed creatures, and epic battles.
8 Good: New Monsters
The monster designs in the Monster Hunter series have always been a cut above anything else in the gaming industry. Only the likes of Dark Souls and Bloodborne come close in terms of sheer brilliance in its artistic direction.
Monster Hunter World: Iceborne is no different and has some of the most memorable designs ever seen in the series. Some of these which are particularly memorable are the Banbaro, the Beotodus, the Namielle Elder Dragon, and the main monster the ice-powered Elder Dragon Velkhana.
7 Bad: Not All Monsters Are Entirely New
The brand-new monsters in the expansion are a great addition but not all the creatures that players will encounter on the frosty new region are new. Many are returning from the original main game or are simply re-skinned representing a slightly more dangerous subspecies.
However, there are some returning favorites from previous entries like the fanged ape-like beast the Rajang (arriving as free DLC in October 2019), the Brachydios, and the Barioth which will be new for many players who haven’t experienced the game prior to MHW.
6 Good: The World Design
Fans of the main the Monster Hunter World will remember just how intricately designed and beautiful the world was. Thankfully, the same level of expertise shown in the main game has carried over to the Iceborne expansion.
More than just an aesthetic choice, the snow will have an adverse effect on the player's movement directly impacting fights. Furthermore, the cold is a lingering threat that needs to be addressed by wearing the appropriate armor sets and mixing up hot drinks.
5 Bad: No New Weapon Types
What may come as a slight disappointment for returning players is that there are no new weapon types, the same dual blades, the great sword, lance, hammer, etc from the main game make a return. In addition, players will be spending a lot of time grinding just for a simple re-skin or new paint job.
However, there are some weapons when crafted that go beyond a simple re-skin with unique designs and brand-new combo potential. Unfortunately, there is a lot of repetitive battles that one will need to complete in order to obtain the new weapon designs.
4 Good: The Clutch Claw
Making up for the lack of brand-new weapon classes is the addition of the Clutch Claw. This new tool adds an entirely new dimension to the already epic battles and function similarly to the Bat Claw in the Batman: Arkham Knight or the Grapple Hook in Just Cause.
The Clutch Claw allows players to attach themselves to the side of a monster to target weaknesses and is particularly useful when fighting flight-based monsters. Players can even position themselves to steer monsters into the environment to gain an advantage.
3 Bad: It’s Not Welcoming For Newcomers
There is a lot of quality of life improvements that help make Iceborne a better experience than the base game. The new town of Seliana is built for convenience giving players access to everything they need. Additionally, the game’s user interface, menu system and more have been streamlined to make the game more welcoming.
Unfortunately, the welcome isn’t extended to newer players because Iceborne is designed to be endgame content meaning the player's character needs to be at the Hunter Rank 16 to play. Thankfully, players will get new armor sets and tools to help speed things along so it's still very worthwhile picking up the complete set.
2 Good: Exciting And Challenging Combat
With 14 million units sold Monster Hunter World is by far the series most successful entry to date. However, it was accused of being far too easy by fans of the previous entries in the series like Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate in particular.
Monster Hunter World: Iceborne more than addresses the difficulty concerns by being far more challenging than the base game. Of course, this is exactly what series veterans will want and the dynamic and exciting battles are far more satisfying after a long hard-fought victory.
1 Bad: It's Not A Great Single-Player Experience
Many players can and probably will tackle a lot of what Monster Hunter World: Iceborne has to offer as a single-player experience. However, the game at its heart is a true multiplayer game and sometimes tackling difficult creatures alone is a long and tedious task.
Fighting alone players will often find themselves in battles exceeding the 50-minute time limit or worse suffering a defeat and losing precious resources. MHW’s true strength comes from working together with players that know how to use the environment and are able to fight as one complete unit.