SCDKey Blogs
  • Monster Hunter World: Iceborne Review - A Very Ice Time
    Time: Jan. 14, 2020



    Monster Hunter World was an exercise in refinement upon its release in early 2018.

    Not only did it manage to simplify a franchise-wide burgeoning quest system,but it

    also had a very successful stab at creating an open-world ecosystem absolutely

    teeming with things to do and colossal monsters who want to hunt you.


    Best of all, these changes never overwhelmed--the new mission and upgrade systems

    that were introduced were relatively straightforward to grasp, all whilst leaving room

    for experienced hunters to master them.





    The design philosophy behind Monster Hunter World: Iceborne takes a similar approach

    in implementing that sort of content, though on a larger scale; it uses touchstones in the

    form of storied foes and familiar locations to build upon the robust ecosystem of the base

    game to deliver an experience that will test your mettle without breaking you.


    Iceborne is all about building on existing foundations. This is most evident in the narrative

    that has been spun out in the wake of the base game’s single-player campaign.


    Monster HunterWorld was notable for introducing a clear-cut, story-based incentive to throw

    yourself against the biggest and baddest beasts out there. Iceborne takes a slightly crooked 

    step forward by spinning a story that revolves not around you, but around your Handler.





    As soon as you’re introduced to the latest curveball about Iceborne’s new signature

    location, Hoarfrost Reach, and how that intersects rather conveniently with your

    Handler’s past, you’re immediately whisked back to lands and territories from the

    base game to cull a couple of monsters that have gotten too big for their boots. 


    The changes that Iceborne makes in the form of these variant breeds has a twofold

    effect: First, they provide you with a motivation to form new strategies to slice and

    dice their way to the next story beat. Secondly, they’re just distinct enough in terms

    of attack patterns and additional elemental considerations that you never really feel

    like you’re just fighting a reskin of something that you made mincemeat out of 80

    hours ago. It's as if there's been a concerted effort to balance the difficulty of what 

    many fans might rightfully view as the second coming of the coveted “G-Rank” in

    this latest iteration of Monster Hunter.




    Despite some focus on iterating established systems, there are innovations introduced

    in Iceborne that truly set it apart from its predecessor. Brand-new monsters and the

    implementation of legacy series favourites like Nargacuga look and feel impressive

    thanks to all the new ways monsters can interact with other beasts and the various

    locations. But more importantly, there is a library’s worth of new weapon moves

    for you to take advantage of.






    That new, frosty landscape is beautiful and treacherous in equal measure. With new foes,

    more verticality than the Coral Highlands, and frozen terrain that can crack and send you

    plunging to your death, it really is a sight to behold. More than ever, it feels like the

    environment can be turned against you; some monsters will uproot trees and throw them

    at you, while the wrong move on cracked ice can mean certain death.


    By that measure, however, there are also more opportunities to get the jump on your enemies,

    especially with the Clutch Claw giving you the ability to walk them into vine traps, blinding

    light, and more. Having a grasp of every bit of the map is integral to truly mastering what

    Iceborne has to throw at you, and it’s incredibly satisfying when everything suddenly clicks

    and you go from the hunted to the hunter leading their prey to a painful trap that attempts to

    even the scales.




    Being dropped into this intricately-designed location as a relatively new player may be

    overwhelming, but no matter your experience level, joining up with other hunters and

    picking your way through this icy dens of beasts together is incredibly rewarding in its

    own way. Iceborne benefits from the matchmaking improvements introduced since the

    release of the base game, which have made it relatively seamless on console to find

    fellow hunters--no more messing about with PlayStation parties and friends lists--and

    dropping into a party to help friends tackle these fearsome monsters is easy.


    Monster Hunter World: Iceborne is at its best when you’re fighting tooth and nail against

    something that you know could crush you within its teeth in a second, even though this

    might feel like it came at the expense of a more interesting narrative. Nothing is quite as

    good as the biting chill cutting through the furs of your armor, the shrill cry of your Palico

    as it comes to your aid, and the wind roaring in your ears as you latch onto a beast’s flank

    and climb up its side while it bucks and roars.


    This expansion is rife with moments like that; all of the tweaking and the improvements

    feel like they were done with the excellent building blocks of Monster Hunter World in mind,

    which means that getting to the meat of the matter is quicker and more satisfying than ever.

    There’s no more fussing about with new systems or worrying about ruffling the feathers of

    hardcore fans with a direction change in the series; those teething problems have already

    come and gone.



    Monster Hunter World:Iceborne Steam Key Global