Before I get into the review itself, I can say that between the console version and the PC version there are very few differences. The High Resolution pack does add those few extra pixels and the game does run at a smooth 60fps (once I changed to DX12). Beyond performance you aren’t going to see much difference between the 2 versions of the game besides the offset patch releases.
I started off my Iceborne run with mostly a clean save directly out of the base game which meant I did not have all the sweet money and item drops, let alone the decorations or items required for full builds. They do however provide you with a few catch up mechanics to ensure your lack of time in the base game doesn’t prevent you from enjoying Iceborne to the fullest.
Anyone who is familiar with the Hunter Rank system will know about the milestone quests that are available once you complete the story. These are checkpoint hunts that you have to complete to raise your hunter rank further. These checkpoint quests are auto-completed so nothing prevents you from collecting anything from the base game once you begin Iceborne content.
The story of the New World is far from done, at the end of Monster Hunter World the Fifth fleet decides to stay on in Astera to keep investigating and learning (and hunting) in the New World. This basically opened up the grinding of Hunter Rank until now: the new Master Rank unlocks a continuation of the story and new areas, monsters and challenges to boot. As the name suggests we head over to Hoarfrost Reach, the new cold region of The New World. Prep your hot drinks everyone or plan on a dip in the hot springs around the map.
Besides the new areas, we saw the addition of some quality of life adjustments made to the alternate base in Astera, the Third fleet ship base. Quite clearly the more aesthetically appealing base. The additions provided allow you to use any of the three bases as your main base, all of them providing similar facilities for your day to day hunting needs. Expanded move sets add to every weapon gives everyone something new to learn about their favorite damaging implement.
The biggest change, in my opinion, is the addition of the Clutch claw, a tool that lets you grapple onto the monster from a safe(ish) distance and damage it. Depending on the location and your weapon type there will be a few different effects, from weakening the armour of the monster to dropping slinger ammo. My personal favourite comes in when you grapple onto the head of the monster, while it is not enraged you can control it to a degree. Pretty much a point and shoot mechanic, if you are close enough to anything – including other large monsters – your quarry will collide with it dealing a decent chunk of damage to it.
Fashion hunter is in full effect with layering available for all the armour sets allowing you to look as amazing as you wish. The addition of new weapon designs across the board appeases the small part of me that rushes back to the blacksmith after each new hunt to see what new things have been unlocked by the monster bits I just collected. Be prepared though to go back to the base game to create some weapons that now have interesting new upgrades.
The voice acting is the quality we have now come to expect, they didn’t cut corners just because it was “additional” content, although we saw their dedication here when it came to the Witcher 3 optional content.
Graphically speaking, you are in for a treat as you can expect from PC, with the high-resolution pack you can have as many frames at as many pixels as you want – or at least that your computer can take. One word of warning before jumping into Iceborne on the main menu: ensure your graphics settings are set to utilise DirectX12 as this isn’t the default for whatever reason. Before turning this on I had huge stutters, FPS drops and even full game freezes (this is not a joke on the game’s theme).
Despite the large amount of content added and the additional patches they continually pump out, a small part of me was still disappointed with what was added in the official expansion. Considering the price of the expansion I would have expected maybe another zone? Maybe that is my entitled gamer mentality leaking through. They are providing us with great new monsters but I haven’t seen a Leviathan class monster yet so my love of Mizutsune has to wait.
Overall the game adds a good deal to the game, from the new zone to the new monsters, Iceborne delivers what we are coming to expect of Capcom: lovely additional monsters added every few months and event quests that you can’t help but smile at, Giant Kulu quest I’m looking at you.