Before we go into the Iceborne review proper, do note that it is a DLC that requires Monster Hunter World (which is well worth the purchase btw). But if you already DO have Monster Hunter World, is Iceborne worth the $55 SGD ($40 USD) drop?
Well, Iceborne only kicks off AFTER you complete the full story in Monster Hunter World, which means the base game is a great way for you to gauge if Iceborne is the DLC for you. If you enjoyed the full game of Monster Hunter World (which I did), it probably means that you enjoyed it enough that the DLC is an easy pick up for you. If you found MHW too grindy or difficult, bear in mind that Iceborne catered to the people who wanted MHW to be even more hardcore, so make sure you know what you’re getting yourself into.
Thankfully, if you came here looking for more (and more difficult) hunts, Iceborne is exactly what you wanted.
Iceborne is technically DLC, but it’s essentially a full expansion. It picks up where the main game ends off, with ‘changes’ to the monsters behaviour leading to a secondary island, opening up a whole new region to explore. In terms of fights, they’re throwing in 9 or more new monsters, with 7 old ones getting variants; redesigns that totally change how they fight. Considering the main game had 30-odd monsters, 16+ new combats really shows the amount of work that went into the DLC.
And the fights are no joke. Every single combat is harder and more complex. I played a decent amount of Monster Hunter World’s endgame, battle tempered variants (but not arch-tempered I think), and I felt that every single combat in Iceborne so far has been difficult. Not impossible (though I’m sure that will happen soon, I’m only a few fights into Iceborne), but definitely no walk in the park. I had to shake of my Monster Hunter World rust, try to tailor to each monster’s strengths and weaknesses, and definitely to take each fight seriously. After that happened though, Iceborne was just as enjoyable as I remember Monster Hunter World being.
The new moves in Iceborne also helps to keep things fresh. Your slinger now also has a clutch claw, which allows you to grapple onto the monster, as well as perform a few different moves. In addition, each weapon has a few more combo moves that synergizes with the clutch claw.
Between the new monsters, new region, and new moves, Iceborne seems to be more than worth the $55 cost. It feels way more than a normal DLC, and feels almost like an MMORPG expansion. And just like an MMORPG, you’d need people to get the most out of it. As a working adult, trying to figure out with friends on when to come online, work together for the next hour or so (which should be 2-3 hunts) can be daunting. The alternative is to LFG with random strangers, and the grab bag of hunters that you play with can vary wildly in ability and enjoyment factor. Of course, you COULD just grind everything out solo, which is possible, but doesn’t particularly play to Monster Hunter World and Iceborne’s strengths.
Still it requires much less of you than an equivalent MMORPG, and provides much of the same enjoyment. The re-grinding of gear (just about everything you own is now obsolete!), the re-discovering fun moves and scary mobs, and meeting up with old teammates to fight new monsters… It’s all stuff I may have forgotten about and am enjoying yet again.
If you want a shared group experience, with (slightly) less work put in than an MMORPG, and especially if you already have Monster Hunter World, then Iceborne should definitely be on your to-buy list.
PS: I truly appreciate that expansion or not, the creators of Monster Hunter World allows you to get access to the free monster DLCs and events like Deviljho and the like. That along gets a lot of approval for me, and should be the way many publishers approach keeping a fan and a customer, as opposed to nickel-and-diming their fanbase for every little variant.