Monster Hunter World & the Iceborne expansion is one of my favorite video games. Weapons, monsters, art design, replayability… Beautiful!
Hello friends and gamers,
I’m still on the Monster Hunter hype train, so today’s game gush will feature one of my all-time favorite video games of my lifetime: Monster Hunter World & the Iceborne expansion! Monster Hunter World is an action role-playing game developed and published by Capcom. It’s the fifth main installment in the Monster Hunter series and was released worldwide for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One in January 2018.
Monster Hunter World
Commonly referred to as MHW, Monster Hunter World is a unique gaming experience that I can’t help but get addicted to. I love Monster Hunter World and the Iceborne expansion so much. In the last three years, I have accumulated 19+ real-time days played. I have hunted more than 800 large monsters and 304 of those hunts were assisting online players. At this point, I have unlocked 99% of the endgame armor/weapon sets. And yet, I still go back and hunt some more! It’s an unexplainable addiction fate has forced upon me.
Monster Hunter World: Iceborne Weapons
I love the variety of weapons included in the Monster Hunter series. There are literally 14 different types of weapons: greatsword, longsword, dual blades, hammer, charge blade, hunting horn, switch ax, insect glaive, sword & shield, lance, gunlance, bow, light bowgun, and heavy bowgun. Every weapon is legitimately different in mechanics, combos, and effectiveness.
Bladed weapons are great for severing tails, blunt weapons are great for knocking off horns, and bows are great for ripping wings or other parts that allow the monster to fly. Learning and mastering each weapon separately can take months, if not years, but most hunters generally use only two-three weapons. Since there are 14 different ways to play, you’ll surely be able to find one that’s comfortable and tailored to your combat style.
My main squeeze is the charge blade, arguably one of the hardest blades to master among the Monster Hunter community. The charge blade just has so much stuff that I fell in love with the versatility of the weapon. It’s awesome because it’s a sword and shield at first glance, but can switch into a powerful long-reaching ax! In a later update, Capcom expanded on the charge blade by adding another mechanic—transforming the end of the weapon into a spinning sawblade.
In between the three different phases of the chargeblade, you can power up your shield to withstand more powerful impacts from a monster, and charge up your sword with your weapon’s element to gain a burst of extra damage for a short period of time. Oh yeah, I haven’t even mentioned the charge phials! Dealing damage with your sword and shield builds up energy which is stored in phials. You can charge these phials into your weapon to dish out extra damage from your axe stance or sawblade.
My secondary main weapon is the hunting horn. Hunting horns are the battle bards of Monster Hunter. Hunting horn players use their horns to play melodies of a song to enhance and buff their allies. There’s a huge range of melodies like attack up, defense up, sonic barrier aka resist one crowd control attack from the monster, earplugs, divine protection, health recovery, and more!
Hunting horns only have a fixed amount of songs though, so you have to choose your hunting horn wisely depending on the monster you face, or use a general one-size-fits-all setup. Either way, I’ve never met a group of monster hunters that weren’t excited to have a hunting horn party member. The hunting horn is definitely the weakest weapon when playing solo in Monster Hunter World. It really shines in group play so you want to have another weapon under your roster for solo hunts. And if you think you only play defense with the hunting horn, you’ll still be able to break horns and stun monsters with your blunt weapon, so being an offensive bard is a bonus to your team!
Monster Hunter Story Elements
I would assume it’s hard to craft a well-thought-out story plot about hunting monsters, but I believe Capcom delivered in this area. I enjoyed the story progression which involved investigating an 845.27-foot tall elder dragon named Zorah Magdaros. Think of a mountainous turtle with a volcano on its back and you would have a reasonable image for Zorah Magdaros. Basically, Zorah is dying and its death will release bio-energy that other monsters can feed on to become stronger. Zorah is successfully driven into the nearby ocean to dampen the effects of the bio-energy, and it dies shortly after.
However, elder dragons still emerge in different regions of the New World, upsetting each individual environment. After a lot of hunting and investigating, the Hunters encounter Xeno’jiiva, a newborn baby elder dragon. It has been feeding on the bio-energy of deceased elder dragons since incubation, which made it extremely powerful and dangerous. The main character is able to kill Xeno’jiiva before it becomes a larger threat to the New World. I love how they showed an elder dragon’s presence shift the environment. Classic top of the food chain mentality!
Monster Hunter World Iceborne DLC
The Research Commission tracks a flock of Legiana to a polar subcontinent and discovers a new pattern of seismic activity. Once again, ecological disturbances cause more elder dragons to appear in regions throughout the New World. After defeating an ice elder dragon known as Velkhana, the seismic activity continues and results in another investigation to find what’s responsible. The culprit is the Old Everwyrm (Shara Ishvalda), a master manipulator of the earth and sonic vibrations. Shara Ishvalda is thus defeated, and the Research Commission is able to continue its research into the New World.
After the completion of Monster Hunter World and the Iceborne DLC content, new updates added a more powerful threat: Safi’jiiva—the fully-grown elder dragon form of Xeno’jiiva. It absorbs energy from the environment to heal itself and change the ecosystem. This monster was so intense that there was a siege event. Siege events allowed four groups of four players (16 total players) to anchor a siege and defeat the monster together. Defeating Safi’jiiva unlocked some of the best augmentable equipment in the game for every weapon type.
The last and final major update of Monster Hunter World included a reigning champion of a beast—the legendary black dragon known only as Fatalis. Rumored to have destroyed a kingdom in a single night, and has taken its castle for a roost. Many consider Fatalis as the lord of all monsters for its power and intelligence. This monster is by far the cream of the crop, and only the most well-equipped and elite monster hunters will topple this foe. I fainted probably 100+ times until I finally bested the beast. Surprisingly, I managed to defeat him three times using a charge blade while my partner used a hammer. I could never rely on a random 4-man group because someone would always die the max amount of times and fail the quest for everyone. But in the end, I conquered all!
Monster Hunter World Iceborne Art Design
Monster Hunter World is one of the most beautiful video games I have ever played. The scenery for every locale is beautiful and the art team worked their butts off to define different biomes. In the Ancient Forest, you are immersed in a region encompassed by vines, trees, and flowers. The Wildspire Waste is full of sand and rocks. The Elder Recess is full of lava and crystals embedded deep into the earth. That’s just the environment, but they went far beyond that with endemic life for every region too! You can find and capture ants, birds, beetles, lizards, bats, squirrels, jellyfish, and other original animals. It’s very subtle, and some long-time players have missed this entirely, but there are also weather effects in the game. Seriously, go on an expedition and you’ll notice once you start looking.
The Capcom team who worked on MHW had consistent and constant updates for several years. After the initial release, there was loads of new content all the time. Only a portion of those were collaboration events. These let you roam the world skinned up as Geralt, Bayek, Leon or Claire, Ciri, Dante, and Ryu! Base Monster Hunter World started out with 31 large monsters. Iceborne added more than 24 large monsters to the roster, along with more story content, and the added regions of Hoarfrost Reach and the Guiding Lands. For DLC content, that’s close to a whole new game!
Game Gush Gamer
With so many video games out there now, it has become increasingly difficult to select my favorite video game or game series. I would still have to consider Monster Hunter World in my top 5 list. It’s hit all the right checkmarks for me: beautiful scenery, fun gameplay elements, a variety of weapons to master, the large list of monsters that all require knowledge of attack patterns and elements to persevere, awesome armor sets, high replay value, and… POOGIE!!
I gush about a large list of games because I just love video games. You won’t see me say that I love a specific video game too often. I absolutely LOVE Monster Hunter World. I’m enjoying Monster Hunter Rise right now, but I don’t think it will live up to my love for World.