Capcom's Monster Hunter series of games are best in class when it comes to giving players freedom in gameplay and combat. Monster Hunter games at their core are JRPGs, but with a few notable changes.
Unlike the traditional starting class system in most role-playing games, players' class in Monster Hunter is defined by their weapons.
In traditional role-playing games, once players pick their starting class, they are essentially committed to that playstyle. But in Monster Hunter games, players can quickly swap between any number of playstyles just by changing their weapon's loadout.
Monster Hunter games, by virtue of giving players full flexibility on how they want their hunting experience to feel, always had an abundance of weapons segregated into different categories like axes, long swords, glaives, and many more. Some of these weapons are truly iconic in the series due to their unique gameplay benefits and outstanding designs.
Here are 5 such iconic weapons from the Monster Hunter franchise that players hold very dear to their hearts, and also 5 more weapons that are unfortunately very forgettable despite their uniqueness.
Note: This article reflects the author's own opinions.
5 highly effective weapons from Monster Hunter games
1) Dual Blades
Dual Blades are fast and capable of dealing massive amounts of damage in quick succession. These dual-wield weapons can be charged into a 'Demon Mode' that raises their attack power and also increases the combo string, with each successive hit dealing more and more damage.
Continuously attacking in Demon Mode also has the chance to rise up to the Archdemon Mode, which deals even more damage per hit. Although Demon Mode is the primary focus for playing using Dual Blades, the weapons are also capable of doing a staggering amount of damage even without Demon Mode.
The increased mobility and control that comes with the Dual Blades in Monster Hunter games is unmatched by any other weapon category in the series. Some notable Dual Blades in the franchise are: Fatalis Dual Skies and Diablos Mashers.
2) Light Bowgun
'Bow' and 'Gun' are two words that exemplify the evolution of ranged combat and are made into a singular entity with this weapon type. Bowguns, as these weapons are called, are the perfect long-range weapons in the Monster Hunter games.
Light Bowguns give players a wide variety of elemental ammunition to choose from which, depending on the type of monsters players are hunting, can be swapped.
The low carrying weight and high rate of fire of these weapons allows players to be mobile on the battlefield while dealing a staggering amount of damage from a distance. Some notable Bowguns in the franchise are: Adept Stormslinger and Demonlord Cannon.
3) Charge Blade
The Charge Blade is basically two different weapon types that are infused into one. In its normal mode, the Charge Blade is a sword and a shield that deals a moderate amount of damage while giving players a solid defensive option.
In its alternate mode, however, the Charge Blade transforms into an axe capable of dishing out high amounts of damage at the cost of significantly lowered defense and mobility.
While in normal mode, attacking using the sword builds up a charge meter that is stored in the weapon. When switching to the axe mode, players can then unleash the charge for an explosive effect that deals massive amounts of damage to the monsters.
Notable Charge Blades in the Monster Hunter games are: Kjarr Strongarm and Teostra's Nova.
4) Long Sword
What is a fantasy role-playing game without the inclusion of the classic Japanese blade, Katana? Although the Long Sword is not like the traditional Katana blade of Japanese history, it is the closest to one in the Monster Hunter series.
The Long Swords are, as the name suggests, swords that are massive in size and need to be wielded using both hands. Although these may look cumbersome and heavy, Long Swords have good mobility and speed.
Not only that, these weapons are also capable of dealing staggeringly high amounts of damage and have a really good reach, making them the best choice for an early game weapon.
Long Swords also feature a 'Spirit Level' that gets charged with every successive hit dealt without taking damage. If players manage to max out their Spirit Level, they will unlock the full potential of the weapon with increased attack power. Notable Long Swords in the series are: Fatalis Zaggespanon and Reaver.
5) Switch Axe
Switch Axes are weapons that can transform between a heavy hitting axe and a fast hitting sword at any instant. The Axe mode has greater reach and high damage dealing potential, whereas the Sword mode is faster and gives players more mobility and control of the weapon.
The sword transformation also has better finishers with elemental discharge that players can use to either deal damage or stagger a monster. The Switch Axe is also one of the few heavy-hitting weapons in the series that boast the perfect balance between mobility and raw attack power.
Some notable Switch Axes in the Monster Hunter franchise are: Rath Blaze Splitter and True Fatalis End.
5 weapons in the Monster Hunter franchise that should be skipped
1) Heavy Bowgun
Heavy Bowguns are akin to their lightweight counterparts as they are versatile long range weapons with the capability of dealing a good amount of damage. Heavy Bowguns too sport a wide variety of elemental ammunition types that players can swap depending on the monster they are hunting.
The problem with these weapons is their heavy carrying weight, which severely limits the player's mobility. These weapons are capable of staggering and knocking monsters, but leave players acutely vulnerable when the monster attacks or closes the distance. Some notable Heavy Bowguns in the series are: Rajang Destroyer and Griffon Blazooka.
2) Insect Glaive
Insect Glaives are really unique and interesting weapons in the Monster Hunter franchise. These are fast weapons that give players a lot of mobility during a hunt. When used correctly, they can also propel players into the air where they can dash around in mid-air to create distance from the monsters they are hunting.
The unique feature of these weapons is their ability to deploy Kinsects to boost the attack power, defense, and speed of players. The problem with these weapons is the skill required to properly use them to their maximum potential.
Insect Glaives boasts one of the highest skill caps out of any weapon in the Monster Hunter franchise, making them completely obsolete for new players. Some notable Insect Glaives in the series are: Tigerclaw Glaive and True Fatalis Dyaus.
As the name suggests, the Gunlance is a unique combination of a Gun and a Lance. These weapons are capable of causing some serious chaos with huge damage numbers and defensive capabilities. Gunlance can deal high amounts of damage at close range and has a blocking ability that helps keep monsters at a distance.
The problem with these weapons is that they heavily compromise players' mobility during a hunt. Gunlance requires them to be in close proximity to the monster to deal maximum damage using its shotgun blasts. Using a Gunlance demands the use of heavy armor to tank attacks, while jeopardising mobility.
Some notable Gunlance in the Monster Hunter franchise are: Ravenous Gunlance and Hazak Spysa.
Bows are undoubtedly a good weapon of choice for players looking for long-range options. These are capable of good damage numbers at mid and close range, while also sporting infinite ammunition. Players can also charge their shots before firing to deal extra damage or coat them with special elemental status effects.
However, bows are not the best choice as there are weapons like the Bowgun that are capable of dealing even more damage and are really unique to the Monster Hunter games. Bows are also very limited when it comes to close-quarter combat and are only effective at mid-range, thus requiring players to constantly switch positions during the hunt.
Some notable Bows in the Monster Hunter franchise are: Hazak Velos II and Tyrant Bow.
5) Great Sword
The Great Sword is the most damage-inducing weapon out of all the weapon types in the entire Monster Hunter franchise. The hulking blade is truly staggering and its raw damage output is huge.
However, the high damage output comes at a massive cost of mobility and speed, both of which are extremely compromised while using a Great Sword. The swings of this blade, although earth-shattering, are very slow and leave players very vulnerable between attacks.
The Great Swords are in no way a bad weapon per se as they can end up defeating huge monsters in just a few properly timed swings when used correctly. It's just the compromised speed and mobility that makes this weapon redundant against similarly damaged weapons like the Charge Blade or the Switch Axe.
Some notable Great Swords in the Monster Hunter franchise are: Black Fatalis Blade and King Teostra Blade.