The Monster Hunter series has a reputation for its wide array of impressive weaponry, and Monster Hunter World will be no exception. With your character’s abilities tied exclusively to equipment rather than a traditional RPG leveling system, picking the right weapon for your foray into monster hunting is particularly important.
Monster Hunter: World divides its many weapons into 3 different categories, with a total of 14 different types of weapon for players to choose from. Those three categories are Light, Heavy, and Technical, while the 14 types themselves are covered in more detail below. Each weapon has plenty of different traits and attributes to separate it from the others, but one of the most important distinctions is the difference between Cutting and Impact weapons. Put simply, Cutting weapons do increase damage against a monster’s softer, vulnerable spots, and also sever body parts, while Impact weapons are more likely to knock a monster down.
- Dual Blades: A weapon for delivering many rapid strikes in quick succession, while these weapons have traditionally been useful for inflicting status effects in previous games, the main attraction of dual blades for most players will likely be the weapon’s “Demon Mode.” Entering this mode during combat grants players a notable boost to their attack speed and damage, at the expense of draining stamina. As in some previous Monster Hunter titles, dual blade wielders are able to leap off ledges into a spinning aerial attack, although Monster Hunter: World seems to have expanded this attack to include a second in-air leap.
- Light Bowgun: The only ranged weapon in the Light Weapons category, the light bowgun allows the player to move with impressive agility and fire at long range, utilizing a variety of different ammunition types. A new move for Monster Hunter: World also seems to allow a wielder to plant explosives by stabbing their light bowgun into the ground at their feet, a move which could prove to be very effective when paired with the game’s existing traps.
- Longsword: Of all of Monster Hunter: World’s light weapons, the longsword has the largest reach and specializes in combo attacks. Allowing players to attack with slashes and quick thrusts, landing successive attacks with a longsword also builds up the weapon’s “Spirit Meter.” Once this meter reaches certain levels, it applies a glow to the blade and allows the player to unleash spirit attacks, boosting its damage.
- Sword and Shield: Described as a good choice for players new to the Monster Hunter series, the sword and shield is a balanced but nimble option, allowing players to shift quickly between light strikes and defense. In addition to utilizing both Cutting and Impact damage, the sword and shield is the only weapon type in the game that allows players to make use of items without sheathing their weapon first. To use items such as potions in Monster Hunter: World, a player typically has to sheathe their weapon first, but sword and shield wielders will be able to use their items much faster. For new players who may be learning the movement patterns of the game’s monsters, this flexibility could prove invaluable.
- Greatsword: Perhaps Monster Hunter’s most ubiquitous weapon, the greatsword has appeared in much of Monster Hunter: World’s promotional material and gameplay videos. While the huge weapon’s attack speed is unsurprisingly slow, and players move slowly while wielding it, it makes up for that lack of speed with its damage output. Greatsword wielders can charge up their attacks for even greater damage, and incorporate moves like shoulder charges into their combos in order to break up their heavy, cumbersome swings.
- Gunlance: A very bulky weapon which comes paired with a strong shield, the gunlance draws most of its basic maneuvers from the lance, described below. However, unlike the lance, the gunlance incorporates a firearm into the weapon which allows players to switch between thrusts, blocks with the shield, and firing powerful close-range shells with the gun component. A new feature for the weapon in Monster Hunter: World even enables players to impale an explosive shell in a monster, which detonates a few moments later.
- Hammer: A powerful and weighty Impact weapon, the hammer lacks the range of some other types but makes up for that with high damage and the ability to charge attacks in a similar fashion to the greatsword. More so than any other weapon, the hammer has a high chance of knocking down or stunning monsters, and a new move for Monster Hunter: World allows hammer wielders to repeatedly strike a downed monster’s head in order to keep the creature down for longer.
- Heavy Bowgun: The heavy equivalent of the light bowgun, the heavy bowgun functions in much the same way, albeit with less mobility and greater damage. Unlike previous Monster Hunter titles, heavy bowgun wielders are no longer rendered immobile while firing. Like the light bowgun, the weapon has a variety of ammunition types, including rapid-fire shots and arcing artillery-style shells. Finally, heavy bowgun wielders seem to now have the ability to go prone while using the weapon, although the exact benefit of this move is as yet unclear.
- Lance: Paired with one of the strongest shields in Monster Hunter: World, the lance allows players to make long thrusts while alternating between offense and defense. Like the gunlance, the lance is a relatively static weapon, allowing players to hunker down and deflect a monster’s attacks with their shield before jabbing in for strikes of their own. The weapon’s reach is one of its strongest attributes, together with the ability to make long forward charges. While other weapon options require their wielders to dodge and leap to avoid a monster’s attacks, the lance, more than any other weapon, enables a player to merely stand their ground.
- Bow: A ranged weapon with greater maneuverability than the two bowguns, the bow is a flexible weapon that can be charged for greater damage and used to apply an array of status effects using arrow coatings. A new move revealed for Monster Hunter: World shows off the ability to fire an overcharged explosive arrow which throws the player back when they fire. While the bowguns have limited ammunition, the bow has an unlimited supply of arrows, though it has no defensive capabilities.
- Charge Blade: An unusual weapon, the charge blade takes the form of a sword and shield that is also capable of transforming into a large, two-handed ax. With a reputation as one of Monster Hunter’s most complicated weapons, wielding a charge blade involves a complex process of building up energy through the sword and shield before transferring that energy to unleash “Ultra Attacks” with the ax. Though difficult to master, the charge blade can be very powerful if wielded by a skilled player.
- Hunting Horn: Often described as a support weapon, the hunting horn is a two-handed Impact weapon that functions quite similarly to the hammer. Where it differs, however, is that it also allows its wielder to play songs which grant status buffs to their nearby allies. This latter quality makes it especially useful in cooperative play, where a hunting horn wielder can buff the rest of their team periodically during battle. While frequently seen as a cooperative game, Monster Hunter: World can be played solo, though players may need to adapt their playing style when hunting alone.
- Insect Glaive: A double-ended glaive which allows the wielder to vault into the air, the insect glaive can be used to burst and redirect in mid-air while making attacks, providing excellent mobility when compared to other heavier weapons. A player armed with an insect glaive can also release a companion insect called a “Kinsect” from the weapon, which flies up to monsters to harvest one of a variety of status buffs which it then brings back for the player.
- Switch Axe: Similar to the charge blade in some ways, the switch ax is a two-handed ax which can transform into a greatsword. With greater reach and attack speed in its ax form and higher damage in its sword form, a switch ax wielder will often shift from form to form in the middle of a combo, although the weapon offers little when it comes to defense. A new move in Monster Hunter: World seems to allow players to discharge built-up energy in a single explosive attack, dealing massive damage while simultaneously blasting themselves back.
With so many different weapons and other content available for players to experience, Monster Hunter: World looks as though it could be one of the first must-play titles of the year. Certainly, the first handful of reviews have been very positive, and the new title, which is the first Monster Hunter release for the current generation of consoles, seems likely to have a positive reception from series fans and newcomers alike.