Alright! I played Monster Hunter World: Iceborne! World was the first Monster Hunter game I fully fell down the rabbit hole with, so with Iceborne right around the corner I’m hungry for any opportunity to get an early look.
Below are five of my favourite things (aside from the rad new monsters and gear, of course) that I noticed during my time with Iceborne. Treat yourself to a hearty meal, then read on.
1. The “Take All” button
QOL, baby! No longer having to hold down X to take each end-of-hunt item individually may not be a back-of-box bullet point, but it’s a nice touch that proves the dev team is looking for ways to make things more pleasant overall.
Another welcome QOL change: There’s now a confirmation dialogue when equipping an item loadout that asks whether you want to use that loadout’s customised radial menu as well. Saving and loading custom radial menus was a tough one for me to figure out initially, so I’m grateful for the added clarity here.
2. The Clutch Claw
Hoooooo boy, this is a big one. Iceborne introduces a new tool to Monster Hunter, and it adds a suite of new strategic options for Hunters on the move. To use the Clutch Claw, hold L2 to aim and press Circle to fire (even if your weapon is drawn!) and pull yourself onto specific parts of a monster. Then you’ve got options:
When latched onto your target’s head, you can press Circle to make the monster rotate, changing the direction it’s facing.
Press R2 to spend all of your remaining Slinger ammo to unleash the “Flinch Shot” (again, as long as you’re mounted on the beast’s head), which sends the monster careening forward. If the monster runs into a wall or off a cliff, it stuns your quarry and gives your squad a prime opportunity to dish out some huge damage.
Press Triangle to execute a standard attack — this isn’t the same as what happens when you mount a beast; it’s more of a quick whack on the way back down to the ground. Depending on which weapon you’ve equipped, this will either soften up that part of the monster, increasing damage and making it less likely for your attacks to be deflected, or it will make the beast drop slinger ammo for you and your fellow hunters.
There are also some interesting new things you can do without first grappling onto the monster, depending on the weapon you’re carrying. Pressing L2 after applying my hammer to a monster’s face, for example, allowed me to fire off a quick “Slinger Burst” for some extra damage.
My time with Iceborne was not quite enough to fully wrap my head around the Clutch Claw and its myriad strategic advantages, but even the few I was able to master made things a lot more interesting. I’m looking forward to playing with this more.
3. Seliana, the new hub area, is more condensed than Astera
Seliana is a smaller hub area than Astera, what with its multiple levels and chain elevators and hidden pathways. I haven’t dug into every nook and cranny of the new hub, but your starting location, the hunt board, the Canteen, and the Workshop are all in mercifully close proximity to one another — so it’ll be that much faster to get into your next hunt.
Side note: Did you see that new cooking animation up top? Isn’t it adorable? Fun fact: the Grammeowster Chef — Seliana’s leader of all things culinary — is the former mentor of Astera’s Meowscular Chef!
4. The “Wide Range” perk works with Hot Drinks
Supporting your teammates by speccing into the “Wide Range” perk has always been handy in MHW, but I’m comfy saying it’s less “handy” and more “important” now.
Master Rank hunts are no joke, and various ice-related status ailments constantly threaten to end your quest prematurely. Hot Drinks keep you toasty in the expansion’s new icy climate, and chugging one while you have Wide Range gear or decorations equipped will warm up your buddies, too.
Reminder: Plenty of other items work with Wide Range, too. Nulberries, for example, are handy for keeping your fellow hunters safe from the ever-present threat of Iceblight, an irritating ailment that hampers your stamina in a major way.
5. New hunts don’t always happen in Hoarfrost Reach
While Iceborne’s story will take you to its huge new location early on, it doesn’t send you there for each and every hunt throughout the new campaign. You’ll head back to the base game’s locales from time to time to hunt powerful new subspecies of existing monsters (as well as returning series favourites and all-new beasties). I love the new map, but I’m glad we’ll have excuses to return to the world of… well, World.
Monster Hunter World: Iceborne launches 6th September, but in the meantime you can hop into World during its currently ongoing festival, which sees the return of various limited-time event quests each week. Did you miss the Aloy armour and Watcher Palico set when they came around before? Now’s your chance to grab ’em.
Got questions about Iceborne? I’ll be checking in on the comments throughout the day and will answer the ones I’m able to!