Monster Hunter World: IceborneSource: Windows Central

Iceborne hits PC on January 9, and with it are many more reasons to pick up the game again (or for the first time). This expansion stands among the best ever released, as noted in our previous Xbox review back in September for the console launch.

Despite being late to the party, PC players finally have a new adventure to embark on, this time to the Hoarfrost Reach. Get ready for new monsters, new gear to chase, and a whole lot more of Monster Hunter fun.

Killing monsters

Monster Hunter World: Iceborne (PC)

Bottom line: Iceborne already proved itself to be a spectacular expansion, but the PC release is even better with improved keyboard/mouse controls, up to 4K 60fps, and much more.

Pros:

  • Gorgeous graphics and excellent cinematics
  • Excellent PC controls and graphics options
  • New monsters and gear to craft
  • Fun, addicting gameplay loop
  • Stable even at higher resolutions and framerates

Cons:

  • Challenge may be offputting for some
  • Peer-to-peer multiplayer can be unreliable
  • Cutscenes still cannot be experienced in co-op play

A beautiful game just got better

Monster Hunter World IceborneSource: Windows Central

Let's just get the obvious out of the way: Capcom nailed the Monster Hunter World experience on PC. Glorious (and consistent) framerates, high-res texture packs, and a stellar keyboard/mouse experience all set the bar for its PC ports going forward.

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With that being said, I daresay that, from a technical standpoint, Iceborne is best experienced on PC; it's simply stunning. For reference, I played on the highest settings at 1440p (144 Hz) with a Ryzen 7 1700X CPU, an RTX 2080 Ti GPU, and 16GB of RAM and I was simply floored at how gorgeous everything was.

I found that the new Hoarfrost Reach area is the most visually interesting and exciting place to visit in World. Since it's the main area of Iceborne, it makes sense why Capcom would make it so diverse and enticing. Each zone feels unique, whether it's the frozen forest, icy caverns, or anywhere else.

PC requirements Minimum Recommended
CPU Intel i5 4460 or i3 9100F
AMD FX-6300 or Ryzen 3 3200G
Intel i7 3770 or i3 9350F
AMD Ryzen 1500X or Ryzen 5 3400G
GPU Nvidia GTX 1050
AMD RX 560
Nvidia GTX 1060 or 1650
AMD RX 480 or 570
RAM 8GB 8GB
Storage 48GB 48GB

Just like the main game, the performance across the board is excellent. Not once did I notice a framerate drop or screen hitch while battling big monsters. Iceborne itself is a rich and dangerous experience, but at least you won't have to contend with graphical or technical issues when you're taking on the Hoarfrost Reach's massive denizens.

Same old multiplayer

Monster Hunter World: IceborneSource: Windows Central

Iceborne uses the same multiplayer system as the base game, but I wasn't able to participate in summoning or joining other players during the review period due to underpopulation. However, we will update the review to let you know if we find any glaring issues with online play once more people join in. Otherwise, we expect it to be the same as the base game.

From a technical standpoint, Iceborne is best experienced on PC.

Despite the peer-to-peer system being occasionally glitchy — my only real gripe with Monster Hunter World — I encourage you to hunt together. I found that having other players along made things more enjoyable. You can, however, go it alone, though, and you'll be presented with quite a challenge. Even after the 40+ hours I put bum-rushing through the base campaign, I still felt underprepared for Iceborne.

Right out of the gate with Beotodus, you'll see that this expansion isn't messing around. Only by going back and making the starter Master Rank armor was I able to overcome this impressive, yet frustrating, beast. From there, it's about adapting, just like Monster Hunter has taught you all along. Tired of the Viper Tobi-Kadachi poisoning you? Hunt an MR Pukei-Pukei and craft its armor to negate the venom effect. You get the point.

Excellent keyboard and mouse support

Monster Hunter World IceborneSource: Windows Central

With Monster Hunter World, it seems like Capcom took the PC port seriously. Keyboard and mouse felt like the best way to play the game, and key rebinding lets you craft your own experience. Iceborne takes that one step further by overhauling everything, revamping the controls to handle the new and improved abilities, like the Clutch Claw.

When I first loaded up the expansion, I was greeted with a massive changelog that detailed everything that Capcom tweaked, an almost overwhelming amount of changes and bug fixes.

Some controls changed to make room for the new abilities, with the game refusing to let me continue until I corrected duplicate bindings that it itself had created. While annoying, once you get things to where you want them to be, you're all set.

Welcoming veteran and new players alike

Iceborne is difficult, without a doubt, but it feels fair. Usually, monsters will telegraph their major attacks, and each one has a few strategies that work well against it. You still know when to be aggressive and when to play more defensively.

With perseverance and practice, anyone can overcome the difficulty and wind up addicted.

Whenever I ran up against one that I just couldn't beat, I took a break and thought about how I could approach things differently. At one point, that meant changing my weapon class entirely. After some practice, I overcame the obstacle, even if I brushed up against the 50-minute time limit.

By the time a new player reaches Iceborne, they'll have plenty of practice under their belt. Initially, I was annoyed that I had to play through the entire World campaign to get to Iceborne, but I see why Capcom opted for that route. I think that the first monster would overwhelm new players, even with decent starting equipment.

Instead, the developers give everyone a means to conquer the base campaign relatively quickly while learning the game's mechanics and core loop. Because of this, I ended up more ready for Iceborne than I initially thought I would be.

Should you buy Monster Hunter World: Iceborne?

Monster Hunter World: IceborneSource: Windows Central

Capcom managed to make Monster Hunter World even better by upping the ante – new monsters and encounters, new gear to craft, and a new environment to explore all make Iceborne feel like a separate game. It's by no means a cheap expansion, but it packs in a ton of value for that money; it's right up there with The Witcher 3: Blood and Wine in terms of sheer scope and bang for your buck.

Looking back at my playtime, I can honestly say my only complaint about Monster Hunter World as a whole on PC are the well-documented and needless multiplayer complexities, which are by no means a deal-breaker. It remains one of the best games to come out in recent years with an even better expansion. The overall quality is top-notch, especially when it comes to PC ports. It's beautiful, excellently designed, and addictive.

Capcom managed to make Monster Hunter World even better.

So, should you buy it? That all depends. If you're a veteran, I think you already know the answer. If you liked the base game, you'll find a ton to love here. For new players, however, the answer might be a bit more convoluted. Iceborne doesn't vastly change the Monster Hunter flow, so if you didn't find World to your liking, the expansion doesn't change anything for the core experience.

But what if you're fresh to the Monster Hunter series? Now's the best time to jump in! Capcom is offering you the Defender armor and weapons to help you circumvent crafting and get through the base campaign faster. Still, they're not an easy mode, and you'll have to work hard to get to the end. Nonetheless, you have a lot going for you, including a rich multiplayer system akin to Dark Souls, full of people eager to help you.

4.5 out of 5

Monster Hunter World is a complex game, with Iceborne bumping up the challenge considerably, but with perseverance and practice, anyone can overcome this, and wind up addicted.

A wonderful experience

Monster Hunter World: Iceborne (PC)

Get slayin'

Iceborne already proved itself to be a spectacular expansion, but the PC release is even better. Explore the Hoarfrost Reach in gorgeous, stunning detail and take down massive beasts. Hunt alone or with other players as you undertake Monster Hunter World's newest challenges.

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