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Hands-on: I got wrecked by the latest Monster Hunter World expansion – PAX West 2019

The grappling hook has grappled my heart.

Monster hunter world iceborne
Image: Capcom

When I got to my Capcom press appointment at PAX West to play Iceborne, the upcoming Monster Hunter World expansion, they asked me, “So how much Monster Hunter World have you played?” I’m at about 300 hours, so I thought I’d be fine. Velkhana, the latest ice-based elder dragon, is apparently no joke.

The first thing you do in the Monster Hunter World: Iceborne demo is select your weapon and load out, just like in the game as it already exists. I’m a long sword main, so I grabbed that, and the exhibitor said something along the lines of, “Ah, you’re really going to like the new grapple claw.” At this point, I think it’s worth taking a step back for a second.

See, in Monster Hunter World, you…hunt monsters. Shocking, I know

There’s something like 16 weapon types, all of which handle very differently. There are bows, light bow guns, heavy bow guns, an insect glaive, a great sword, a long sword, and tons more. Most of these keep you planted fairly firmly on the ground, so when monsters take to the air you have limited resources to deal with that. Once those are expended, airborne combat becomes a waiting game as you hope the big bad beast lands and you can engage on the ground.

That’s no longer true with Monster Hunter World: Iceborne, which introduces a brand new gadget usable by all weapon users: a grappling hook. From medium range or closer, you can target a monster’s head, body, wings, and more, launch your grappling hook, and just blast yourself through the air with a fiery vengeance. It completely changes the feel of combat, turning our 15-minute session into something less meticulous and more frantic.

Velkhana and the grappling hook are just the tip of the iceberg, however, as Monster Hunter World: Iceborne brings with it tons of new armor, tons of new weapons, new food to cook, several new and returning monsters to fight, a brand new locale, a new community hub, and more.

Monster Hunter World: Iceborne launches September 6th on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, with a Windows release on Steam coming in January, all for $39.99. Iceborne does require the base Monster Hunter World game to play, however, so definitely pick that up the next time it goes on sale.

What do you think? Interested in diving back into Monster Hunter World? Let us know down below in the comments or carry the discussion over to our Twitter or Facebook.

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Jake is a writer and game designer in the suburbs of Philadelphia. He loves action, exploration, building, filling bars, and turning numbers into bigger numbers. Someday he'll release a video game.

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