Back when I was engrossed in Monster Hunter World, I was obsessed with it even when I wasn’t playing. It’s my personality in general that I consume one game at a time (or one anything). I put in so many hours into that game, and much of it was me happily grinding or doing side quests rather than finish the main storyline. I prefer to be over-prepared than under-prepared, and since I play most of the game solo, it’s all on me. And Shadow. My loyal Palico. Palico armor is one of my favorite parts of the game, by the way. I always made sure to outfit him first before making my own armor. Right now, Shadow is running around in the Bandaro armor no matter what monster I am tackling because it is by far the cutest armor in the game so far.
When the DLC/expansion was announced, I was hyped. But then time went on, and my hype faded. If I’m to be honest, I soured on MHW at the end of my time with it. I had reached the Tempered Elder Dragon part of the game, and it wasn’t fun at all. Doing it solo was really hard, but doing it with a random team was hellish. You have to work together with something that difficult, and, yeah, it was frustrating to play with randos. In addition, I was specced to deal with the Elder Dragons by having a High Elderseal on my weapon, which meant they didn’t do their ultimate much if at all. As Tempered Elder Dragons, they seemed to ignore my High Elderseal, which meant I was unprepared for the ulti. In addition, I am specced with an insane amount of defense and vitality (definitely the former and lesser so the latter). I was able to be one-hit by the ult, and that’s not fun for me. I felt as if I were being punished for playing the game my way, and I quit after a nightmare of a time with Tempered Vaal Hazak. I think part of the problem was that I didn’t have much trouble with the regular one–he was not the hardest Elder Dragon by far–so I was not prepared by the Tempered Elder Dragon version.
I did not want to relearn the Elder Dragons, so I quit. When the Geralt mission came to the PC, I had a curious reaction to it. I wanted to play it because Geralt is my video game bae and the OG monster hunter, but I…I did not want to play more Monster Hunter World. I was burned out, and what’s more, I did not want to relearn the game. I had been playing Sekiro when it came out (I think. It might have been Dark Souls III), and it was really difficult to go from a FromSoft game to MHW. There was a time when I was trying to play both MHW and DS III, and that was not a good time. I did not enjoy the Geralt mission, though I did complete it, and I only did it once. Originally, I was going to do it more so I could get the armor and the weapon, but I just couldn’t be bothered.
That’s actually how I knew I was over the game. When I was into it, I would check in for every fest and do all the daily challenges and get the special armors and whatnot. When the latest fests came around, I just couldn’t be stuffed to do them. It seemed more of a chore than a want, and I said, nah.
So, yes, I was hyped when the Iceborne expansion was announced, but I had a niggling worry in the back of my mind. Why? I’ll tell you. One, it was G rank. Actually, it’s called Master Rank. I had already hit my ceiling with Tempered Elder Dragons, so what the fuck was I going to do with Master Rank? Two, the end of MHW exhausted me. I wasn’t having any fun, and it was tedious. In addition, the expansion initially released only for consoles. That was back in August, I think. Late August? Nope. September 6th, so I was close. I didn’t watch too much of the coverage because I don’t like to be spoiled, and my excitement faded. More than faded. It completely disappeared.
Still. I pre-ordered the expansion with the deluxe digital because I wanted the Dark Souls armor. I installed, and what did I feel when i started? Apprehension. I had all the doubts in the back of my mind, and I almost didn’t want to start playing. Not only because I thought I’d suck at it, but because I knew it would be a huge time investment. But, I hopped in, and I was immediately reminded of how much I detest The Handler. She is chirpy and cheerful, and she is obsessed with food. In addition, she runs into everything headlong, and it’s up to me to save her once again.
The cutscenes were just as majestic as they had been in the base game, and damn, but the Third Fleet Master is faaaaahan. She is my second favorite NPC (the first is The Seeker, whom I have not yet seen), and I am glad to see her again. The first monster was Beotodus, a snow shark, and the species of monster that I hate so much–the Piscine Wyvern. I hate all the fish monsters, and he was no exception. Especially because I was not geared out correctly as I was just thrown into it without me being able to visit the canteen, my item box, etc. I kinda forgot I could go to the camp and get everything I needed, so I made it harder on myself than it needed to be. I did not have my shock trap and tranq bombs, so I had to fight him to the death.
One of my biggest gripes so far is that the monsters are made hard by jacking up their health and making them give massive damage. I don’t want fights to take nearly the whole time (50 minutes) or even half the amount of time. I got used to doing fights in twenty minutes or less, at least until I got to the Elder Dragons), and it’s grueling to have to fight for thirty-forty minutes each time. In addition, the three main storyline missions I’ve done so far have all come with cutscenes, which means I actually have less time for the mission than I would normally. With the third monster, Viper Tobi Kadachi–who is fucking cool, by the way–I went back without fighting her because I wanted to prep for it. It took me three days to feel up to it, and when I finally went searching for her, it took me fifteen minutes to find her. So I had maybe thirty-five minutes to actually fight her, and I needed all but four of those minutes.
In playing Iceborne, I’m feeling much of all the same positives and negatives. There’s an overwhelming amount of things to do, and as someone with OCD traits, it can be paralyzing. In the base game, I had an armor set for every monster I fought. I have dozens of item layouts, and I am very particular about how I approach all the different kinds of missions. The thought of doing all that again for the new monsters is daunting, and I’m not sure I want to put in that kind of effort again. I fought a Kulu-Ya-Ku in Master Rank, and I wore my basic Hoarfrost Ranch armor because Kulu is really the most basic of monsters. I hate fighting him because I end up feeling like a shit at the end when he’s limping and drooling. This Kulu was huge, but equally easy. He just had more health, and it was a long fight.
I understand that Capcom probably didn’t want to worry about making the old monsters new again. Yes, there are subspecies that have different abilities, but the same old same old? Just pump that up healthwise, make them hit harder, and be done with it. I get it; it’s just boring. I’ve already fought these monsters several times. Why would I want to do it again except for the rewards? And, yes, I still felt bad for Kulu at the end when he was limping and drooling. I wanted to capture him, but he did not give me the skull icon on the map–at least, I didn’t see it.
I fear I’m hitting my ceiling. I saw the Fulgur Anjanath as I was fighting Viper TK, and I was like, “I do NOT want any of this!” She did help fight Viper TK as did Banbaro, so I thank her for that. But I’m intimidated as hell by the looks of her, and it’s partly because the original Anjy was my first hard check. I think I carted to her once, and it was the first time I carted. It’s such a grind, and I know that my gear will upgrade as I go, but it’s kind of disheartening how big a leap it is. I mean, all my stuff was maxed out at the end of the base game, and now there are so many more levels. It’s good, yes, but it’s also like…why the hell did I even play the base game?
I will say I adore the Turf Wars. It’s one of my favorite parts of the game, and not just because it’s extra damage for me. It suggests that the world exists outside of me, and the monsters are not concerned about me if I’m not interacting with them. That also holds true when I walk by them and they ignore me. I’m like a gnat, and it’s pretty cool. Yes, it gets tiresome the twentieth or thirtieth time it happens, but for now, I’ll take it.
I’m not sure how long I’ll play the game, and I have a hunch I won’t finish it. In the meantime, I’m going to try to enjoy it for what it is–not what I want it to be.