I've always thought Barioth is one of the better designed monsters in the series, both visually and mechanically, despite not being anywhere near my personal favorite monsters. I don't think I've ever commented in a Barioth MAW before, so I guess I may as well give my thoughts on the monster now.
The design is probably one of the least controversial in the series. I've never met someone who dislikes Barioth's design. It's one of those classic MH designs that mixes aspects of a well known real life creature, in this case a sabertooth cat, with a dragon. The color scheme is very simple, being pure white all around save for its signature amber tusks, but in this case it's actually a good thing since you really couldn't picture anywhere else but its icy domain. The upper part of its body is covered in sturdy plating, while its underside has smaller scales and fur. This serves well to differentiate itself from other pseudowyverns. It's a very intimidating design, but at the same time it has a dignified look to it. It's none other than the White Knight of the Tundra, after all. With Iceborne's superior graphics, Barioth now looks much more detailed, with its fur being more realistic and its claws showing its unique adaptations to the frozen terrain. Perhaps the biggest change is in its eyes, which are now visible at all times. This is my favorite part, being one of the few things I disliked of the original aspect of the monster. It no longer looks like it's always squinting at you. Other than that, Barioth looks the same as always, its proportions are unchanged, as are the other quirks of its design. All in all, this "redesign" changes very little about Barioth, but why would you? Don't fix what's broken. It's one of the better updated looks by virtue of how little it changes.
Now the fight, this is the one thing that was improved upon the most. Which is even better because it was already good to begin with. Barioth is the MR filter. And for good reason. It's fast, and hits hard. This is what Barioth has always been, but the Iceborne version comes with a whole array of new attacks to add to its original moveset. It gets a super fast pounce to get to your position almost instantly, tail spins to take flight, from-the-wall ice tornados, and its most damaging attack, jumping high into the air, then slamming down with full force to crush anything below with its powerful forelegs. I really like this "Icebreaker" attack for a bunch of reasons; one, it gives Barioth a very strong attack to finish foes with, much like the rest of its Pseudowyvern brethren, previously it felt like all of its attacks had more or less the same force to it; two, it remains a fair attack with both a very distinct wind up before it does it, and high ending lag to punish accordingly; and three, it feels like a natural attack. I can picture Barioth doing this maneuver outside fighting hunters, to capture or kill prey. It's pretty much a monster-sized version of a polar bear using its weight to break the ice below and hunt seals. And when Barioth gets enraged, oh boy. The fun begins. It. Just. Doesn't. Stop. It'll launch an all-out assault without giving you a second to catch your breath. And if you try to keep your distance, it'll just do the aforementioned pounce attack, or take flight, showcasing its skills as the best flier of the Pseudowyverns, and shift the offensive to the air. If you could describe the fight with one word, it is "overwhelming". But us veteran hunters already know how to deal with it: Breakable parts. In Iceborne, this becomes even more imperative thanks to its increased speed and combo prowess. Just like before, wounding its wings will make it lose its grip on the ice and slip when doing claw and jump based attacks, and severing its tail cuts the range of the attack in half and makes it no longer cause Iceblight. But don't expect its attacks to cause less damage, it's just going to give you a much easier time punishing them. This is the main reason Barioth is a such perfectly designed monster: You have a wyvern that first appears to be almost unbeatable, but if you know what you're doing the hunt gradually becomes easier and manageable. Mechanically, it's rewarding, but not too much so, and dynamically, is just so much fun. Iceborne merely takes upon this formula and simply adds to it by giving Barioth a bigger moveset. As mentioned before, you don't have to change something if it's already good, simply trying to improve upon it will do. And that's exactly, just like with the design, what makes Iceborne Bari's fight one of the better revamps.
Iceborne did improve Barioth overall, however, it didn't add only good things to it. This is one of the monsters, alongside Shrieking Lucy and Ebony Odo, where I felt Clutch Claw usage was forced the most. Basically, if you want to deal any sort of meaningful damage, you have to soften that part. This is not only for the wings, which have always been resistant to damage, but for its actual weakspots like its tail and even the head. I like that Barioth isn't just a piñata of weak hitzones like other Worldborne monsters, but it really shouldn't be as tanky as it is. This is a monster thrown at you as the last quest of early G Rank, which means it's likely that at this point you still have HR equipment, so it only makes things worse. Although the truth is Crutch Claw is just an awful horrible mechanic that should be forgotten and never brought back.
And of course, I can't end this little review without commenting just how terrible Barioth's sound design is in Iceborne. Holy shit what happened. I left the worst for last. This is also something that is going to become a recurring point for the next MAWs. Just to get this out of the way, Worldborne's sound design is decent at best, MHOL-tier at worst. This is not an exaggeration when you hear what they did to the vast majority of returning monsters. Usually it goes like this: You have a monster with an unique set of sounds and roars. At first they try to replicate how the monster sounded like in previous games, fail terribly at so, leave those botched up roars in the game anyways, give up, and complete the rest of the set with stock animal sounds, not bothering to even edit them in the slightest. I usually see Zinogre and Brachydios being cited as the worst offenders to this, but Barioth is just as bad. Compare its old main roar with the new one. It seems impossible a game now 10 years old would have cleaner, better sounding roars than one that came out this year. But that's the reality of things. You listen to Barioth's new roar, and the old roar is still there, but as nothing more than a background thing. It feels like someone used a shitty phone to record the original roar off a radio with static, then put that clip into the game. The sound it does when it taunts? It's a deep, guttural animalistic sound. Nothing like the wind-like hiss it did in previous games. When Barioth is knocked down, it just repeats the same stock bear sounds on a loop. This as you can imagine becomes grating sooner than the monster takes to get up. With returning monsters, it's easy to tell which sounds are new, because they're either the aforementioned stock unedited animal sounds, or are out of place and sound nothing like the roars and growls it does normally. It's inconsistent, it's lazy, unsuitable, and just plain terrible in some cases. Sure, some new monsters actually have pretty cool roars, but for returning monsters, this is never the case. It's always something between "Eh it's not that bad" or "Holy shit, I am seriously considering muting the game right now".
Barioth is better than ever, a refreshing and deserved revamp that came just when it was needed. It was already starting to feel dated in MHGU. It feels like a new monster, and at times you wish it were, at least it would make the "new" set out sounds a little more bearable. Here's hoping they get that right next time.