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Disclaimer – The review copy was provided by Capcom
Monster Hunter World has been given regular doses of content throughout the months after the game's release. From the humble beginnings of only including 31 large monsters to fight and a few event monsters, players were content with the events, missions, and weapons that were already here. However, there was a wide variety of monsters in past games, and quite a few of them didn't seem to return. Capcom is going to fulfill the expectation of more creatures, and more, in Monster Hunter World: Iceborne.
In Monster Hunter World, fans played as a hunter of the Fifth Fleet who came to the New World to support the research team who is trying to figure out the migration patterns of the monsters traveling between the Old World and New. After an encounter with the Zorah Magdaros, the Hunter was tasked to figure out the mystery behind the Mountainous Creature and why it's migrating to the New World. After stopping it, an even bigger problem emerged that could've potentially destroyed the entire continent, or the world entirely. After a few trips to the Elder's Recess and defeating all of the Elder Dragons, gamers took care of that problem and were left to wait for something new to happen.
Since then, a flock of Legiana has been seen migrating somewhere over the ocean and the Fifth Fleet on Astera is intrigued by this. Part of the fleet has relocated to a new base of operations called Seliana to explore this new landmass known as Hoarfrost Reach.
The game has evolved story-wise. Instead of simply focusing on destroying a mountain-sized creature, the adventure takes fans a bit closer to the current members of the Fifth Fleet, where the Handler seems to know something about this new land. Whatever the case, this means the Hunter will have to fight through several obstacles, such as Hoarfrost Reach's cold weather, new master-class monsters, and trying to get the Steamworks moving.
For the most part, the new story is a fresh change of pace as it involves the characters plans have grown to know since the beginning of Monster Hunter World.
The first thing players will notice is the Hunter gets a new ability called the Clutch Claw. With the Clutch Claw, players can grapple onto many of the large monsters to do a quick hit that weakens the spot they attacked, or shoot their slinger ammo altogether to launch the monster into a wall to knock them down. It's a welcome addition to the game, as it adds an extra layer of combat to the already-large move set. Players also get some new moves with every weapon, which includes slinger-related attacks, such as attaching a landmine onto the monster to have it explode when hit using the gunlance. In addition to these new attacks, players can now use the sling with any weapon without having to sheathe. The sword and shield isn't the only weapon that can do this. If using something small like the dual blades or something large like the Gunlance, gamers can shoot their sling whenever they want.
The new land known as Hoarfrost Reach is full of dangerous creatures in a harsh but beautiful environment. However, before getting to Hoarfrost Reach, players will be greeted with a new hub area called Seliana. It contains everything needed from the previous hub, albeit players will have to do a few missions to fully get it functioning, but it works all the same with both new and familiar faces, so things will stay fresh. Not only can players get their food made from their previous chef's tutor, they can also play around in the steam workshop to earn themselves some extra goodies to help them progress through the game. Also, gamers will be playing in the Steam Workshop for a while, as guessing the right order can always be a pain.
Speaking of steam, the main gathering hub has been improved to house a whole bathhouse alongside being a mission check-in area. Now players can really chill out between missions.
Hoarfrost Reach is the new hunting area Hunters will be exploring throughout Iceborne. While players may be going back and forth from area to area, Hoarfrost Reach is where just about everything will take place. The new snowy scenery is probably a new change of pace from the blazing heat that gamers have faced in the past. Instead of using Cold Drinks, fans will be making Hot Drinks. Drinks aside, the reach has several different environments to see. Whether it's from the snowy forest or in the deep, dark icy caves, players will get to see how varied and how almost amazing a hunting area can get. Also, players can rest in Hot Springs in the middle of a hunt and hang out with some cute creatures.
As expected from an endgame area, everything Hunters will face will be master-ranked, meaning almost every large monster they face will be no pushover. The monsters players will see will be a mix of old and new, adding new subspecies of creatures like the Coral Pukei-Pukei along with some unique monsters, such as the Banbaro, who uses the environment around him to ram Hunters into submission. Of course, gamers will have to fight one of the hardest battles in Iceborne, as they will mostly be stumbling around when meeting it, the Beotodus.
Most importantly are the real rewards fans can get from hunting these Master-Ranked Monsters: Master-Ranked Armor. The armor is stronger than the high-rank variants of the armor and will, for the most part, look the same. All the new monsters provide even better unique armor that looks incredible. Additionally, there are even some master-class weapons players can upgrade, though, they have to fight the troublesome beasts to get them.
Monster Hunter World was an already-fulfilling game on its own when it first released. With the Iceborne expansion, it almost feels complete. With new monsters to fight and discover, Capcom added a lot for veterans and new players alike. It's an outstanding expansion that challenges everything players previously knew about hunting.