Monster Hunter World: Iceborne Master Edition (PC) Review

By Athanasios 30.01.2020

Review for Monster Hunter World: Iceborne Master Edition on PC

Monster Hunter has always been a very niche series of action-RPGs. A ridiculous amount of depth, a complex combat system where every swing can make you feel the weight of your weapon, and a steep learning curve, coupled with a complete lack of handholding while you try to hunt freaking dinosaurs, has made it a very tough choice for newcomers - case in point: the one who's review you are reading right now, decided to give Monster Hunter: World a chance, only because it's supposed to be the most beginner-friendly. True? Yes. Does it mean that this is a downgrade compared to previous entries? Probably not. This remains a bundle of challenges that demands lots of work on your part. After a good look at the core game and its expansion, check out what the complete package is all about, with Iceborne Master Edition, for the PC.

You'll lose a full hour during the character (and feline buddy) creation sequence, simply due to the sheer amount of options handed over. Then you'll get to the main hub, where you'll drown in tutorial screens and tons of text, before you even have breakfast. A taste of things to come? Oh, yes. Monster Hunter: World might be the most beginner-friendly in the franchise, but that doesn't strip it away of its complexity. In other words, it can be off-putting to some. It's also important to note that this niche Capcom gem feels a lot like an MMO in structure, and as such, is a bit more grindy (and crafty) than your everyday action-RPG, and doesn't really provide solid storytelling and world-building. This is all about hunting big ass monsters, just for the sake of doing so.

After calming down from the information overload, you can go out in the wilderness to start searching for some Mesozoic/fictional game. The process usually revolves around being guided by a swarm of 'Scoutflies,' which point you towards traces left by a beast, eventually creating a marker to follow and find your prey. Found it? Good! Now kill it (if you can), harvest its parts, and use them to improve your 14 - yes, 14 - weapon types, with each one essentially being a different class on its own. Done? Alright-y then! Rinse and repeat. Boring and, again, very MMO-ish? Well, this is probably not for you, because that's all there is to do here. It's an endless loop of killing, grinding, and crafting. It's rewarding and fun, but it's certainly not for everyone.

Screenshot for Monster Hunter World: Iceborne Master Edition on PC

This is really, really important. Forget the countless little things on offer that one can spend time on. This is mainly about fighting and crafting, crafting and fighting. Therefore, combat is the main dish. Is it tasty? That's a little harder to answer. Monster Hunter is basically the progenitor of Souls-like action, and as such is slower, more tactical, and far more weighty than usual. Any comparisons with Dark Souls are destined to fail, however, as these two have a different combat philosophy, and, to be perfectly honest, FromSoftware near-perfected its craft, while Capcom still hasn't, with the combat of Monster Hunter: World occasionally feeling more clunky than it should, although that clunkyness is kind of deliberate.

What saves the day for those who won't enjoy how this things controls (with series newbies like yours truly constantly trying to remember which button does what), is definitely how the monsters act. Easily the highlight of Monster Hunter: World, these enormous creatures are quite varied, both in terms of looks and behaviour, with the player having to try all sorts of different things to kill them, whether that's finding potential weak points, or elemental weaknesses. These beasts also make it clear how important using different weapons is, despite the fact that everything can be killed by everything. Generally, this is a title where trying out different strategies is a must.

Screenshot for Monster Hunter World: Iceborne Master Edition on PC

Presentation-wise, while beautiful and all, Monster Hunter: World is, again, very... MMO, in the sense that the brushes and colours used are top-notch, but the picture painted can frequently look a tad... forgettable. It's a high quality wildland, but it sort of lacks atmosphere. Oh, and note that the PC port can be quite the system hog at times, as this is currently very badly optimised. Monsters are, once more, the saving grace of it all. They all behave differently, react to their diminishing health, limp away when exhausted, and can even go berserk. Sadly, their sheer size makes hitboxes somewhat inconsistent, probably due to the size of the "boxes" that each body part is made of, as a single arm or wing can occasionally form an invincible barrier that blocks the head, for example.

Note to wannabe hunters. This can be pretty tough at times. Battles can get quite chaotic, both because of the erratic movement of the beasts, but also due to how bigger prey can suddenly appear, and join in on the fun - which is awesome. If you don't mind some help, you can simply send an SOS, and others can connect with your game and combat the monster along with you. It's also possible to team up from the very beginning of a hunt, but it's advised to create a password-protected, private session to keep your buddies linked, as players disappear once the hunt is concluded. Generally, the deeper one gets into it all, the clearer it becomes that this is basically a thinly veiled multiplayer title, without that meaning that it can't be exciting when played solo.

Screenshot for Monster Hunter World: Iceborne Master Edition on PC

As for this Master Edition, it is "just" the main game and the expansion combined into one package, with an excellent price tagged on it. Oh, and note that the Iceborne expansion is no laughing matter. This thing is ginormous. It is basically a complete title on its own, that makes an already long experience even more so. As mentioned in the beginning, though, despite its enormous success, it remains an acquired taste. Yes, it's a pretty good game. Some have even called it a masterpiece - but how can you tell if it's not for you? In the end, it's not the challenge that will make you a fan or a hater, nor the basic gameplay loop, which always revolves around hunting, fighting, and crafting. The defining factor here is probably the structure of it all.

Monster Hunter: World biggest strength, is also its biggest weakness. It's not a quantity over quality kind of deal, but it does have lots of artificial length that not everyone will appreciate. To put it otherwise, those who want something with a more minimal approach to its design and a more straightforward mindset; something which doesn't require spending an enormous amount of time just to freaking learn it, should probably wait for a hefty price drop before risk giving this a try. This reviewer is one of those unfortunate gamers out there, as he soon realised that this series is not for him, and is thus envy of its fanbase, as he won't really stay for more than 50 hours.

Okay, okay! Make it 100 hours...

Screenshot for Monster Hunter World: Iceborne Master Edition on PC

Cubed3 Rating

8/10
Rated 8 out of 10

Great - Silver Award

Rated 8 out of 10

Forget about the little issues that Monster Hunter: World has here and there. There's only one big flaw, and it's the fact that it can be overwhelming towards newcomers, or those who just like their gaming to be a simple, pick-up-and-play deal. Those who'll persevere will discover something that, although simple in structure (fight monsters, craft weapons, and then fight some more monsters), is extremely enjoyable. Iceborne Master Edition is also the best way to enjoy Capcom's action-RPG gem, as it offers the original bundled with its gargantuan expansion - although some fine-tuning engine wise would be more than welcome when it comes to the PC port.

Developer

Capcom

Publisher

Capcom

Genre

Action Adventure

Players

4

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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