Shrieking was a disappointment. Something that I should be used to by now, but it's still pretty disheartening to see some the most enjoyable hunts in base World becoming the worst in Iceborne.
As a disclaimer, Legiana was my favorite monster in World. Probably still is with Iceborne, or at the very least top 2. Not only for the design, I genuinely find her to be one of the funner fights in the game still.
So naturally, Lucy's very own variant peeked my interest from the get-go. Visually Shrieking is very cool. Changing the top-tier base design of Legiana would have been a mistake, so instead it merely improves upon it as far as visuals go. The darker undertones and frost-tipped wings and tail complement the design well, and the spikier ice conveys the increased aggresion and dangerosity of variants. The fact that Legiana of all monsters got one is a bit puzzling and I still can't decide if this was the right move or not. I appreciate how it makes Lucy special, showing how relevant she is to Iceborne's plot, and like I just said Shrieking is a great design. On the other hand, one of the many reasons I like Legiana so much is because she's an Ice monster in a non-icy environment, something that's very rarely seen. Seeing Legiana appearing in the token ice area was a bit disappointing. In that regard, I wish Legiana could have just gotten a fully separate subspecies in some other random locale and remain in the Coral Highlands herself.
Unfortunately the design is basically the only improvement it has over the common species. Despite being the original with a single new move, Shrieking's gimmicks and AI changes turn it into a much worse fight. In a nutshell, Shrieking is a Legiana that never lands with AoEs added on almost every attack as long as it has ice on its body. The gimmick is that you have to continually hit the ice to break it and make Shrieking fall down. The ice regenerates passively, and its attacks will become stronger the more it has on it. This forces you to keep track of 5 body parts if you want to weaken it, and since it spends most of its time flying reaching said body parts can be difficult at best and impossible at worst depending on the weapon you use. To make things worse, Shrieking's added elemental resistance compared to the standard species makes it more resilient to damage. And to top everything off, it gains the ability to call for the aid of another Legiana. This additional Legiana adds absolutely nothing to the fight; they get no bond, special mechanics, or anything else to make it worthwhile, it's just there to annoy and waste dung bombs. Being someone who enjoyed the base Legiana fight to begin with, I faced Shrieking with a slight optimism, it couldn't be that bad after all. And while it's largely the same, I just can't appreciate how much effort went into making Shrieking as unfun as possible. The lack of no new moves save the backflip, the overreliance in AoEs, the constant flying, the ice gimmick, the worse hitzones, the second Legiana. Basically every single "addition" Shrieking has over the base fight is aimed to make the gameplay worse. It's simply not enjoyable.
Its equipment is mediocre at best. The armor keeps the trend of Legiana equipment being bow-focused. It ditches the Ice related offensive skills for overall better skills that synergize well with Bow, so if it's your weapon of choice, you might want to make it at least to complete the campaign. In an expansion called Iceborne, you'd expect plenty of Ice monsters and thus Ice equipment, and you'd be right. Unluckily for Shrieking weapons, this means it loses the presence it used to have in the base game, and now suffers harsh competition from Barioth and Velkhana, both of which offer better options. I guess you can custom upgrade the weapons without an original design, which could mean you might get an edge over those in some situations. I don't know. None of this matters past Safi anyways.
Being a Legiana, Shrieking's sound design is top notch, however, it did introduce one of the most infamous cases of Iceborne's, let's say, "peculiar" sound design choices. I'm talking, of course, of that otherworldy call it makes when summoning another Legiana. This super loud, jarring, buzzing sound that there's no way a Legiana could have naturally made. It's so bad, that when it was first found out, people believed to be a glitch or a teaser for an unknown monster. "It's the Everwyrm, guys". Lol. No one sound of mind would connect that to Legiana. The Raths have a pretty similar instance, in that the "mating call" sounds nothing whatsoever like the monsters are supposed to. At least it's marginally better than Legiana's case since it actually looks like a monster roar rather than your headset being suddenly hacked. The point is there's absolutely no way they intended those roars to be Rath/Legiana roars. Absolutely no way. If they said they were I won't believe them. For the Rath's case, they scrapped a new monster and repurposed its roar as a mating call. For Legiana it's the same, except said sound file got horribly corrupted and no one bothered to fix it. If those were somehow, incomprehensibly intended to come from familiar monsters from the get-go, then they're positively deaf and/or they need to lay off whatever drugs they're taking. What the fuck, Capcom?
Shrieking is basically a 101 on how NOT to make a variant. What little new it brings to the table only serves to make the fight inherently more unfun than it used to be. Sure it might look nice but the positives stop there. I guess I should be thankful the the original Legiana remains in the game, something that cannot be said for another personal favorite of mine that also got done dirty with his variant. Still, Lucy deserved much better than this.