Monster Hunter World: Iceborne Hands-On Preview – Still the Leader of the Pack
What was once one of my favorite games of 2018 is returning with more than enough new content to feel a full-priced sequel. Monster Hunter World Iceborne, the follow-up to last year’s revitalization of the co-op hunting adventure. Iceborne features more than just a frigid climate, as new monsters and hunter ranks will bring about new challenges to overcome. Iceborne is analogous to the G expansions of previous Monster Hunter games and will have more than enough content to stand on its own when it arrives later this year.
Monster Hunter World Iceborne currently doesn’t feature any new weapon types beyond what was already included in the base game, but that shouldn’t mean there won’t be plenty of new upgrades to look forward to earning. All of the weapons in the preview version were Anja based (for that extra fire damage boost) while the armor gear was a mixture of familiar upgraded sets and new sets based upon the new monsters featured in Iceborne. Best of all, this means new gear for your Palico including a stylish snowboard getup to help offer some extra protection against the cold.
The Hunters each have a couple of new tools at their disposal in Monster Hunter World Iceborne that will make navigation a breeze in the more treacherous climates. The first is a new Clutch Claw attachment that can help with grappling onto a monster and setting up to ride and stagger the great wyverns. I could certainly see this tool getting a lot of use with the heavier blunt weapons that need a second opportunity at getting up close and personal to Tigrex’s face and smash them with a hammer.
The other novel tool is finally being able to put those tailraider skills to use and tame select smaller beasts as mounts that can otherwise brave the frigid landscape better than any human. Getting carted and knocked back to the base camp is an unfortunate reality for most monster hunts and being able to get back into the faction faster is nothing less than a positive improvement for the already accessible entry. Beyond these two upgrades, Monster Hunter World Iceborne’s combat is largely untouched and should be immediately successful for anyone that’s wanting to see the new continent whether they’re longtime veterans or only just briefly adventured out with the Fifth Fleet.
Given how Monster Hunter World Iceborne is an expansion of the original game and not a brand new standalone product, there's no reason to wait until September to try out your hunting prowess. Iceborne's content will more than likely be set up for after the main game, so you'll need to face off against the Zorah Magdaros before you can brave the frigid tundras (and what better time than now while Amazon currently lists the PlayStation 4 version of Monster Hunter World for less than $20?).
If you want to tackle the Tigrex, Banbaro or Great Jagras for yourself, the wait won’t be much longer. The PlayStation Plus-exclusive open beta for Monster Hunter World Iceborne will begin on June 21st at 6 AM EST and run through June 24th. A second MHW: Iceborne beta test will run the following weekend, from June 28th through July 1st, available to all PS4 players. This will be one of the few opportunities to experience Monster Hunter World Iceborne for yourself ahead of the September 6th launch.