by Kimberley Wallace
Monster Hunter World reached a wider audience than any other game in the franchise, mesmerizing new hunters and pleasing longtime veterans. World had its extreme challenges, but they were tucked away in late- and post-game content. You didn’t have to be an expert to succeed, which made it more newcomer-friendly. If you were waiting to have your skills truly tested, Iceborne scratches that itch; you have to fight hard for your victories, but you savor them when you finally slay a punishing beast. Iceborne gave me a larger adrenaline rush than I ever experienced in World’s base game, but it’s mirrored with just as many frustrating moments. Even so, Iceborne exemplifies what Monster Hunter is all about: You pull all the stops to overcome the nastiest foes, and those moments of triumph offset the soul-crushing defeats.
Give Monster Hunter fans more of what they love in an icy new environment
Majestic creature designs still hold the most allure, and the new region capitalizes on its wintery backdrop, but you retread it (and areas from the base game) a lot
Ambient nature sounds and roaring monsters help with immersion, but the voice acting is still hit or miss
The basic controls are practically identical to Monster Hunter World’s. The new moves and slinger combos are easy to grasp and fun to use
Iceborne is a hefty expansion that provides a bigger, badder challenge. The fights can be both exhilarating and maddening, making it an experience of intense highs and lows
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