Monster Hunter World: Iceborne Beta Impressions

I recently wrote an article about Monster Hunter where I displayed some aggressive opinions on the game’s lack of challenge compared to past titles. Monster Hunter World Iceborne is releasing on Xbox One and PlayStation 4 on September 6th and a free beta just went live. Here are my impressions.

With the massive expansion quickly approaching. I jumped back into Monster Hunter World with my partner despite my issues with the game. This time, we leave our cute little Palicos back at camp, we don’t upgrade our armor and we don’t make the best armor available. This isn’t the ideal way to play. But we have managed to get some challenge out of World in this way.

Iceborne’s scaling concerns me. As it stands, the monster fights are scaled for a full four-person party when my partner and I play. We are fine with this, the game isn’t that challenging, thus why we have to restrict ourselves in the first place. In Iceborne, they will scale to two people accordingly. This could be problematic for those who already have an easy time with the game. The Monster Hunter World Iceborne Beta has eased some concerns and raised others.

The Monster Hunter Beta grants you access to at least one of each weapon and, a handy training area and four quests to take on. They rank from beginner to master respectively. In addition to battling two brand new creatures and one returning favorite, you can explore a new locale and play with the clutch claw.

The clutch claw is an addition to every weapon in the game. Almost all of the weapon styles have some brand new moves and many take advantage of the new clutch claw. You may now fire slinger ammo while you have your weapon is drawn. It was a feature previously unique to the sword and shield.

You can also use the claw to grapple on to the monster, this is distinctive from mounting it. When grappled, you can use a special attack to soften up a specific part of the monster or force it to drop slinger ammo.

If you grapple the head you can direct the monsters movement and send it careening into a wall for extra damage and to knock it to the ground. Slinger ammo is much more important and useful. You have plenty of utility to flinch the monster at the right time and you have more control over the flow and direction of the battle than ever before.

The new move sets are fun. No matter what your favorite weapon is, you have something new to play with. I really dig these additions to the game. They add a great deal more depth to the combat system without overcomplicating it.

The new frozen locale is gorgeous and full of new environmental traps to utilize. The hot drinks make a comeback and without them, you can say goodbye to your stamina. The new training area features a cart you can use to practice your new clutch claw move sets.

When it comes to the actual quests, you are given several sets of high ranking armor and weapons to choose from. The first quest is the Great Jagras. I feel like its inclusion is to give you a moving target to practice your new moves and clutch claw on. However, it dies too quickly that the idea is nearly worthless.

Next is the Banbaro. This Reindeer lizard hybrid has some really great move sets. It too, however, goes down pretty easily. Its attacks simply are unable to deal much damage to you. With my firm feelings on Worlds difficulty, this was disappointing.

However a returning monster, the Tigrex is next. In the Monster Hunter Beta, Tigrex is truly a beast and posed a challenge to my partner and I. We flat out lost several times, though some of it was due to the 20-minute time limit imposed in the beta.

Finally a new elder dragon, the Velkhana. This fight is incredibly tough and while I’m happy about that. It is an elder dragon that is presumably found in Iceborne’s new rank. Tough, should be assumed.

The fight with Tigrex and Velkhana left me cautiously optimistic about Iceborne’s challenge, even in the face of the new scaling system. The new move set’s and clutch claw are a ton of fun to use. I feel they are also a kind of power creep problem in the hands of the players.

The hunters have a fantastic new tool to use in battle, but this gives players a sharper edge in a game that already went out of its way to be accessible. The new monsters may be designed with the clutch claw in mind. It certainly felt like Tigrex was. But what of the old monsters? Will they become even bigger pushovers?

The Great Jagras is the weakest monster in the game and a poor example. But with the clutch claws in our hands, it was never even able to escape to another area in our beta hunt. We constantly grappled onto and butchered the poor thing as it desperately tried to waddle away.

I have my concerns, but the beta did make me more excited for the full expansion. I still think a difficulty toggle would be a clean sweep option. However, I will reserve my judgment until I experience the whole thing on September 6th.

Monster Hunter World Iceborne releases September 6th on the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.

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