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Monster Hunter World: Iceborne, the review of the PC version

Monster Hunter: Worldwhich you read about PC reviewis part of a series that has always been a productive mainstay of Capcom, capable of dragging the software house even during its most difficult years, and of placing millions of copies without difficulty with practically every release. However, the diffusion of the brand achieved thanks to World is still greater than any expectations: this revision calculated around home consoles was able to make the experience more accessible without distorting it, convincing millions of new players to dedicate themselves to the hunt. A stroke of genius, partly aided by the market situation, but no less worthy of praise for this reason; with World the Monster Hunters are reborn, and the arrival of the excellent Iceborne it only consolidated their position in the imagination of gamers, ensuring Capcom an amazing starting point for the next generation. The success of the game, however, is not over yet, because after a long wait the players too PC they can finally get their hands on this “glacial” and juicy expansion.

We obviously didn’t miss the opportunity to analyze it, trying to understand the technical validity of the port and to what extent the PC ecosystem is actually able to improve everything in a detailed review. Don’t worry, we have almost only good news for you.

We have already reviewed Iceborne in the past, and therefore there is no need for huge explanations related to the contents; a brush-up, however, is always welcome, also because on PC you will find the exact same missions waiting for you as the game when launched on console, with some non-negligible differences linked to theendgame – which we had already had to dissect later with a special at the time, due to the usual NDAs. At its core, however, Iceborne is nothing more than a modern “Monster Hunter Ultimate/G”, or rather a modernized revival of the hunts G Rank – significantly more difficult than those of the original title – renamed Master Rank for the occasion. Waiting for you during its long campaign you will therefore find all the monsters of World with slightly modified patterns (they usually have additional moves, or atypical behaviors that make them less vulnerable), and a long list of new entries, many of which come from the past chapters. In short, a nice mass of content, whose only lack (at least for series veterans) is the fairly negligible number of completely new monsters. Of course, most of the returns are extremely iconic, and the “variants” of certain beasts are so well calculated that they seem like completely new hunts, but we would have liked some extra new monsters at the end.

On computers, obviously, there is nothing new on this front, but at least Capcom has decided to immediately apply some of the update most recent to the game linked to the aforementioned endgame. Curiously, we cannot describe in detail what happens once the campaign is over (the Japanese company has asked us to avoid spoilers, even though the information has been circulating for months now), but at least we have the opportunity to tell you that the most important patches have been applied to what comes after the elimination of the “final boss”, and that therefore some of the problems related to this part of the game are already resolved. For those who don’t know what we’re talking about – but, as mentioned, you can go and read our special about it – the last phase initially had some design solutions that made certain processes excessively slow, and emphasized the grinding (the repetitive execution of certain actions to obtain something, typical of many video games and also of the Monster Hunter series); a real shame considering its scale, and its considerable potential. This formula remained similar even after the necessary corrections, of course, but at least some features capable of making it less cumbersome have been applied, and players with computers will immediately have them at their disposal.

Let’s be clear: ours are only superficial complaints, because Iceborne remains a monstrous expansion in terms of content and more than satisfactory for anyone. Almost every monster in the game has been reworked in some way, and the new mechanics added make the experience fresh and more exciting than ever, especially due to the increased flexibility of the various weapons and the incredible effectiveness of the grappling hook (however cleverly inserted among the pre-existing manoeuvres). Simply nitpicking is our job, and therefore it seems right to point out that some of the critical issues found in the original have not magically been resolved in this port. For example – despite being an expansion clearly designed to be an all-encompassing experience for old and new Monster Hunter fans – Iceborne is not particularly suitable for speedrunnerand there have been no changes to the arena missions or to the random elements at the start of the hunt that would make life easier for those who enjoy eliminating monsters in a few minutes (these are also features that are partly negligible if you decide to tackle the hunts with certain limitations, yet the situation in World was paradoxically less difficult to manage).

Another thing we miss: i rebalancing to the weapons arrived with the patch 12.01, linked to the functionality of certain moves and the ease with which light weapons can injure monsters after using the grappling hook (a very important element of the gameplay, it should be underlined), are not present in the game even though the endgame is already updated. In fact, our review code was stopped even atupdate 10.12 as for the rest of the content, and we don’t really understand the point of it. However, these changes should all arrive on PC very soon. Less soon, however, the monsters inserted thanks to these patches will appear, which are scheduled for February and March respectively. If nothing else, the reason is more than clear here: the added beasts heavily modify the balance of the game, and represent a final content that deserves to be completed with a little more calm; putting them in the port immediately would have been counterproductive, in some ways.

In short, once the changes to the final part have been removed, Monster Hunter World: Iceborne on PC it is in every way the same as the console version at launch. On the other hand, we more or less expected this, and the certainty that all the improvements made will arrive within a couple of months erases any desire to protest. If you play on a computer, therefore, the differences are not to be found so much in the package offered by Capcom, but in the advantages linked to the platform and the gaming community. modders. And the advantages are certainly there, despite the work of the Japanese team not being among the most optimized around (World was already heavy on the CPU, and Iceborne doesn’t seem to have changed things much). The scalability of the game is more than worthy, and maintaining a rock-solid 60 fps is very feasible even on less powerful configurations with some sacrifices; on computers of a certain level, then, everything works wonderfully, and the enormous shortening of the loading times makes the experience infinitely more pleasant.

If the issues related to the technical sector are easily describable, however, the same cannot be said of the situation at the moment modding. Partly because Capcom expressly prohibited us from testing old World mods on the expansion (which we would have avoided anyway, to avoid getting into some incompatibility-related mess), and partly because it is not yet clear whether the community will support Iceborne with the same vehemence as the base game. Even with a possible minor support from the fanbase, however, we expect a plethora of mods within a few weeks, given that the developers have not fully met the community’s wishes regarding the look of weapons and armor (transmogrification , i.e. the ability to build only aesthetic armor that does not influence statistics, is for example still only partial in the game, while thanks to the mods on PC it will probably become total without waiting any time soon). This kind of support cannot be underestimated and could offer considerable surprises in the future, perhaps even capable of eliminating some of the marginal defects described previously.

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