The Monster Hunter franchise has garnered a great deal of attention over the last 4-5 years, with much of its glory focused primarily on Capcom’s latest iteration, Monster Hunter World. The handheld market, for the longest period of time, was the home to a vast majority of Monster Hunter titles with Monster Hunter 4 being the last iteration on the 3DS before making the transition over to home consoles. That decision was hands down the best decision that Capcom has ever made, as now the Monster Hunter franchise is Capcom’s biggest selling title to date. Monster Hunter World: Iceborne is the latest expansion in the ever-growing franchise and devoted fans of the franchise are ecstatic at the return of some notable monsters, as well as fresh new ones that we’re yet to see. New fans to the franchise are likely to jump right into a vast open-world filled with mystery, wonder, and non-stop thrills as you battle against large powerful creatures to protect humanity.
What to Expect
With Monster Hunter World: Iceborne now becoming a global success, Capcom has made sure to provide players with a much more accessible experience than before, allowing new and veteran players alike enjoy their time equally. Monster Hunter overall has always been known for its steep learning curve and its high requirements in order to level up, which turned off a lot of players in the past. However, all of that has changed dramatically and now players can jump into the fray with confidence, slaying monsters with their friends. That isn’t to say that the game isn’t without its challenges, because in spite of the game feeling more fine-tuned to cater to a wider audience, the grind is still very much there at all times. Monster Hunter World: Iceborne is a game about dedication and teamwork, as it rewards you exponentially if you take advantage of its mechanics and spend a lot of time mastering your weapons. The learning curve isn’t as steep but the mountain you must climb in order to reach the top still requires a great deal of focus and effort, and so it’s your responsibility to ensure that all of your tools are sharpened before heading into battle!
From a visual standpoint Monster Hunter World: Iceborne is the best looking Monster Hunter title to date. This, of course, is quite obvious since the game is now running on a much more sophisticated piece of hardware, but that shouldn’t undermine the quality and attention to detail that previous titles showcased. It’s just become very clear that Capcom has put all of their heart and soul into making Iceborne a smash hit and rightfully so. The moment you jump into the brand new world of Hoarfrost Reach you’re immediately awestruck by the vast amount of detail that was put into the design, with the icy region blinding you with its impeccable beauty, and life just bustling all around you. It’s nothing short of amazing in our eyes and this is just the tip of the iceberg in many respects.
One defining factor about Monster Hunter World: Iceborne is its amazing soundtrack, and its willingness to step outside of a comfort zone that Capcom had placed on its previous titles. The music in the game is more tantalizing, riveting, and just heart pumping overall. With every monster you encounter, the orchestrated sounds just add more intensity to the battle, giving you this sublime type of immersion that you truly can’t find anywhere else. For each slash or gunshot that hits the monster the adrenaline meter rises and so too does the tempo of the soundtrack. It’s almost as if the music flows harmoniously with the beat of the battle as well as your heart because everything just feels thrilling every single time. There’s never a moment where you truly feel bored because even wandering around and exploring has its perks as well, which we’ll get into in the gameplay section! Overall, the ambiance is superb and Capcom really did a stellar job of capturing all of it.
So before we blow the lid off the jar with our impressions of the new monster Rajang that we had the opportunity to fight at Tokyo Game Show 2019, we’ll cover some of the more important aspects of gameplay. So as far as changes are concerned moving from Monster Hunter World into Iceborne is that there’s no longer a cap on Hunter rankings which means that players can pretty much go above and beyond with leveling up, so that they can take on the much harder monsters later on in the game. New weapons and mechanics were introduced as well, one notable one being the highly effective Clutch Claw, that allows players to grip onto any monster and rack on extra damage with the greatest of ease. No more do you have to always rely on ascending to higher platforms in order to jump onto the enemy since the Clutch Claw grants you access at just about any time.
The new Master rank brings new content along with it such as new armor types that players can unlock through explorations and of course, through slaying monsters and collecting from their carcass. Some new armor types include the Master Rank Legania armor, Master Rank Pukei-Pukei armor, the beautiful Beotodus armor, among a plethora of others. For weapons, we, of course, see the return of the classic Sword and Shield but are now graced with new weapon upgrades in Master Rank such as the Hammer, Master Rank Great Swords, and more. The Slinger can now be used in tandem with your main weapon as its drawn, and this is regardless of the weapon type. The Flinch Shot also allows players to unload their Slinger Ammo to stun monsters with more accuracy. Special pendants can also be added to your weapons for added buffs and more variety overall. The new Master Rank literally opens up a brand new door of opportunities for players to discover since all of the weapons now have more utility and new monsters such as Velkhana pose a much greater threat, which will require players to step their game up entirely.
TGS 2019 - Exclusive Rajang Hands-On Impressions
MHW: Iceborne - Rajang Trailer
So with all the above information being detailed, players can now start to familiarize themselves with all of the brand new quests that await them in the world of Iceborne. One of the new and upcoming quests is the entry of the returning monster named Rajang. This raging beast was introduced back in Monster Hunter 2 and was quite the beast to tame, due to its unpredictable movements and swift attacks that left players bewildered. We had the chance to face off against the wild beast during our press time at Tokyo Game Show 2019, and we’ll be honest, the new Rajang is no joke. Players really hated this beast simply because of its incredible power and the ability to shoot electricity from its mouth at a remarkably mind-blowing speed. Tie that in with its very high aggression and rage mode, that turns his entire front body into shimmering gold, and you have a recipe for a headache.
Our first encounter with Rajang really didn’t take off so well because none of the members on our team really didn’t know what to expect, and sadly neither did we. Within the first three minutes, we all perished to the electric beam of death and had to come up with a better gameplan to take it out. It was decided that we try to focus more on playing a stronger defensive game, using the strength of the Light Bowgun to plant traps on the floor to stun the enemy, and using the Clutch Claw to build up extra damage when needed. Large Barrel Bombs were also used but in the end, Rajang proved to be too strong for all of us. After 3 gut-wrenching attempts to bring the beast to its demise, we ultimately succumbed to our crushing defeat but that isn’t to say we didn’t have a blast, because we sure did. Even with all of the buffs we had placed on our Crossblitz Bowgun Rajang just had an answer for a lot of things, and his electricity beam is really annoying to deal with. It’s a one-shot kill if you step into its range and its area of effect is quite wide, so you really have to be careful where you position yourself. WIth Rajang’s official release not slated until October, we’ll be preparing ourselves heavily to ensure that we tame the beast before it tames us.
Honey's Gameplay Consensus:
If there’s one thing to take away from all of this it’s that Monster Hunter World: Iceborne is truly every Action RPG fan's biggest dreams come into fruition. The game incorporates so much depth that it will take you literally months to really wrap your head around everything, and even after the fact, with so much more content coming down the pipeline there will be even more to discover. We can’t stress enough how amazing Iceborne is right now because there’s just so much to do and see, that oftentimes you overlook the beauty of the game itself. Just exploring the world and gathering items is a blissful experience on its own and now with even more quests to complete, Iceborne is honestly the biggest expansion for the series to date.
Iceborne introduces a plethora of new features that pretty much make the game feel entirely brand new.
Every beast that you’ve encountered before is much more terrifying in Master Rank, and so more dedication and teamwork are needed to win.
Incredibly beautiful visuals and overall design really bring Iceborne to life in a remarkable way. It truly feels lifelike and that you’re a part of it all.
With the learning curve still being quite high and new content being added, new players may find themselves feeling really overwhelmed by it all.
Honey's Final Verdict:
With October just around the corner, it’s time that we shift into high gear in order to prepare for the worst. Rajang is just as annoying as it ever has been and the new weapon upgrades really have us salivating to unlock them and try out. We hope you found our review and TGS impressions to be insightful, and that you check us out live on twitch.tv/honeysgaming to join us on the hunt. Be sure to follow us as well on Twitter and Instagram to stay up to date with our daily activities and of course, all the latest news pertaining to anime, gaming, and more!
Until next time!
Author: Rob "NualphaJPN" B.
A passionate fan of gaming, writing, journalism, anime, and philosophy. I've lived in Japan for many years and consider this place to be my permanent home. I love to travel around Japan and learn about the history and culture! Leave a comment if you enjoy my articles and watch me play on twitch.tv/honeysgaming ! Take care!