Monster Hunter World’s Iceborne expansion won’t be out until week’s end, but that hasn’t stopped publications from taking it for a spin and sharing their verdicts. And if they’re to be believed, it looks like players will want to follow their lead as soon as possible.
The DLC add-on promises more of what fans love about Monster Hunter World, this time in the new and snowy land of Hoarfrost Reach. Here, players can set out and hunt monsters old and new, culminating in a hunt for Iceborne’s flagship beast, the elder dragon Velkhana. Judging from the signs, it’s an expansion as meaty as the largest of its monsters.
Here’s what the critics have to say.
God is a Geek (Mick Frasier)
"As a piece of additional content for an already solid game, Iceborne is an incredible achievement. What was becoming fatigued has been given a shot in the arm, and anyone coming into Monster Hunter World fresh right now is in for a genuine treat with a huge, lovingly-crafted base game and one of the best expansions I’ve ever played. For all the veterans of the game or the franchise, though, it’s business as usual – only bolder, better and beastlier than it was before."
USGamer (Kat Bailey)
"Monster Hunter World: Iceborne skimps a bit on introducing totally new monsters, but it's still a large expansion filled with very smart refinements. The campaign alone comes close to matching the scale of the base game, and it wisely ditches some of its more tedious elements. If you played through the original and wanted more, then Iceborne is almost everything you could ask for. It's not a full sequel, but it's pretty darn close."
IGN (Tom Marks)
“A true beast of an expansion, Monster Hunter World: Iceborne adds a boatload of impressive new and returning monsters and improvements to an already incredible game. It’s almost big enough to be a sequel in terms of the sheer amount of content it adds – even if it leans a little bit too heavily on Subspecies and Variants of familiar monsters at times (though that’s an issue veteran fans may not be bothered by as much). Iceborne is exciting and creative throughout, reiterating Monster Hunter: World’s place as one of the very best games of this generation.”
GameSpot (Ginny Woo)
- "This expansion is rife with moments like that; all of the tweaking and the improvements feel like they were done with the excellent building blocks of Monster Hunter World in mind, which means that getting to the meat of the matter is quicker and more satisfying than ever. There’s no more fussing about with new systems or worrying about ruffling the feathers of hardcore fans with a direction change in the series; those teething problems have already come and gone. Iceborne is a confident step into the future of the franchise, and it's hard not to think about what might come next."
ScreenRant (Brittany Vincent)
For players who have rocketed through everything Monster Hunter World has to offer and are looking for something to sink their teeth into next, Monster Hunter World: Iceborne is a worthy expansion that's got a dizzying amount of content. Whether hunters can't wait to seek out the new and remixed creatures or immerse themselves in a whole new grind to the top for the best equipment available, there's truly something for everyone here in the frozen landscapes of Iceborne.
Destructoid (Jordan Devore)
"That's what it comes down to, really. These days, there aren't many games I'm willing to surrender hundreds of hours of free time to, but somehow, some way, Monster Hunter found an opening. World laid the groundwork, and now Iceborne is here to carry me through the rest of 2019 and beyond. Mentally, I'm not even ready to start thinking about Capcom's post-launch plans for the expansion."
GamesRadar (Austin Wood)
“Iceborne kicks so much ass that I'm more than willing to ignore the occasional hiccup. Between new monsters, added challenge, exciting build variety, and flashy new combos, Iceborne delivers a strictly better version of an already great game. Every Monster Hunter World fan should play Iceborne, and now more than ever, everyone and their dog should play Monster Hunter World.”
Game Informer (Kimberly Wallace)
"Stepping back into Monster Hunter World for Iceborne reminded me how much I adore this game, but it also exposes its flaws. Capcom didn’t improve much for the expansion, like once again having a boring tower defense story mission and making you separately watch scenes solo before you can join up in co-op. Even so, surviving together to get that jackpot of materials for better gear hasn’t lost its allure, and Iceborne challenges you to be a better player and teammate with its arduous fights. The return trip is worth it, just don’t expect many upgrades to the experience."
Outside of the publications that assign scores to their reviews, praise for Iceborne is similarly high. In her review, Kotaku’s Heather Alexandra calls it “breathtaking” and “one of the most ambitious expansions I’ve played for any game.” Meanwhile, Polygon’s Ryan Gilliam stresses that it’s “more punishing” than vanilla Monster Hunter World, almost to the point of being “too frustrating,” but also stresses that sticking with it resulted in “one of the most rewarding video game experiences I’ve had this year.”
That should hardly come as a surprise, being as the base game garnered praise from pretty much everyone too when it launched last year. Take Game Rant’s review for Monster Hunter World, which capped off by calling it “a top-tier game, and arguably the best entry in the series to date.” And now it’s looking like that top-tier gameplay is still going strong in 2019.
Monster Hunter World: Iceborne will launch on September 6 for PS4 and Xbox One, with a PC release to come sometime in 2020.