Weapons in Monster Hunter 4 are split into two different categories: Blademaster and Gunner. As you might imagine, the former involve close-quarters combat, where you whack monsters in the face with a collection of often sharp, always deadly devices. The smaller Gunner category favours those weapons that do their best work from a distance.
Newcomers will probably find the Blademaster selection of weapons easier to get started with, particularly if you lack a Circle Pad Pro or the latest 3DS hardware - that extra stick takes a lot of the pain out of long-range aiming. Here's a quick look at all of the melee weapons you might want to think about wielding.
How to use the Great Sword
This extremely hefty weapon requires some seriously careful timing but, as you might imagine, it's as powerful as it is slow to swing. Your movement is very restricted when wielding this weapon, so don't be afraid to sheath it when you need to catch up with your prey, then pull it out again. If you're stuck and need some emergency defensive measures, hold down the R button to use your blade as a temporary shield.
You can also hold down the X button to use the Great Sword's Charge ability. You'll see three circles of light appear over your hunter, each one of which indicates a successively powerful attack - release to unleash your preferred tier of assault. Just keep in mind that if you leave the third phase powered up for too long, you'll lose the charge power and deliver a weaker blow.
|X||Overhead Slashes / Charge|
Mastering the Long Sword
The Long Sword isn't just a lighter, nimbler version of the Great Sword, it also possesses the unique Spirit Blade function. As you land regular blows against a creature, your Spirit meter will fill up. You can then unleash the power of this special mode by tapping the R button and laying into your opponent once again. As your whirling slices land on the creature, your damage is increased through a total of two enhanced phases.
Don't forget to use your Fade Slash move if you mess up your timing a little bit. By making use of this, you can get a little bit of damage in against the opponent before leaping back from a counter-attack. Sneaky but effective, and it might just save your skin.
|X + A||Fade Slash|
Getting started with the Sword & Shield
For the newcomer, the Sword & Shield is perhaps the most intuitively useful weapon set in the game. Not only does it dish out decent damage, you can also defend yourself by using the R button to bring the shield into play. It's worth also keeping in mind that while you can't move while defending with the shield, you can quaff an emergency potion, or take a Whetstone to your blunted blade.
A good start in combat is to use a Forward Slash move, followed by a few good old jabs with the X button - primitive but effective stuff. To get the most out of your Special Attack, use it in conjunction with the directional pad.
How to wield the Dual Blades
These rapid-fire twin blades are capable of chopping even the toughest creature up into tiny little pieces, and will perhaps suit those who find Monster Hunter's more considered combat just a little too slow-paced for their liking.
Combine your A + X swipes to pull off an array of combos, then hit R to enter Demon Mode. Your attacking prowess will increase after you do so, but at the expense of your stamina. If you can fill up the Demon meter, you'll then enter Archdemon mode, an even more powerful form of the Demon. Pressing X + A together in both of these states will help you dish out some devastating damage.
As a Dual Blades wielder, you should also head into battle packing plenty of Whetstones, as the razor-sharp edges of your weapons get blunted quickly. As always, there's a trade-off for everything in Monster Hunter.
|X+A||Demon / Archdemon combo|
Making the most of the mighty Hammer
If you need to lop a specific body part off your target monster, the Hammer will help you crack apart even the toughest of creature components. It's not a very nimble weapon to wield, however, and like the Great Sword you'll need to put measured thought into every one of your mighty swings. It also packs in a Charge function - hold and release the R button to make use of this ability.
Hammers can't block incoming damage, but they can inflict extreme blunt trauma. Like the Great Sword, there are three degrees of Charge, and you'll be left temporarily vulnerable when your Charge attack concludes.
Note that your Stamina will start dropping as you charge up your power too, although you can keep moving while doing so and get yourself into a great attacking position.
|R||Charge (Release for Charge attack)|
How to use the Hunting Horn
Now we're talking about a weapon that's truly unique to the Monster Hunter series. Think of a musical version of the Hammer and you're halfway there. By playing different notes on the Hunting Horn, you're able to not only dish out damage to your opponent, but build up certain musical notes as you take your swings.
Once you've composed your tune, you can then hit the R button to perform it, and receive a certain status boost - better defense or attack values, for example.
There are very few weapons we'd encourage a beginner to stay away from, but the Hunting Horn is probably one of them if we're honest. When you're ready to wield this complex creation, take a look at the Monster Hunter Wikia page for a breakdown of all the different tunes you can string together.
|X||Note 1 Attack|
|A||Note 2 Attack|
|X+A||Note 3 Attack|
|R||Perform (twice for encore)|
How to fight using the Lance
The Lance is most easily compared to the Sword & Shield, although as you might expect this much larger weapon leaves you a good deal less agile. Hit the R button to get the shield up in front of you, or use X to jab at the enemy. The A button allows you to deliver a vertical, upwards slice.
You can perform Sidesteps after attacking - or after using a Backstep or another Sidestep - by pressing B and moving the directional controls left or right.
Using the Gunlance in combat
What could be better than the Lance? How about a Lance with a ranged weapon stuck on the end of it? Use X to deliver your basic attacks, or A to fire the gun component of the weapons. You can reload with A while blocking, or just after you've performed a quick Backstep.
There are two special moves to keep in mind with the Gunlance. If you keep thrusting with X, you'll eventually perform an Overhead Smash. If you then hit A straight away, you'll deliver a huge amount of damage but empty the ammo chamber in the process. Alternatively, you can hold down X+A while blocking to dish out even more damage.
How the Switch Axe works
The Switch Axe actually allows you to play with two different weapons in one. By default you wield a hefty, cumbersome Axe which is great for dealing big chunks of damage, but if you tap the R button the device turns into a sword.
In this mode you can make use of the weapon's phial system which provides a boost to a different area of combat such as your attacking power or elemental damage. Different Switch Axes have different phials, so it's important to use the right one for the job at hand.
Having switched over to Sword Mode, your Switch Gauge will start depleting each time you swing the thing around. When the meter runs out completely, the weapon will automatically revert back to Axe Mode. You'll have to wait for the Switch Gauge to automatically refill before changing weapons again.
Axe Mode controls
Sword Mode controls
|X+A||Elemental Discharge (keep tapping X after triggering)|
Getting started with the Insect Glaive
The Insect Glaive can be a fiddly thing to get to grips with thanks to the creature component which you need to aim at the target. Hit the R button to bring an aiming reticule onto the screen, then point it at the monster. Release your bug buddy by pressing R and X, then recall it by holding down X + A.
When the bug returns you'll be granted a certain combat boost depending on the extract the creature managed to pluck from your foe. Green Extract grants you Health, White improves your agility, Red enhances your attacking strength, and Orange Extract boosts your defences. You can also combine the extracts for even more bonuses.
Like the Hunting Horn, we wouldn't recommend this weapon to a complete newcomer.
|A||Strong Attack / Advancing Attack|
|R + B||Rush attack|
- Read on for our guide to all of the Gunner weapons in the game.
- You can find the rest of our Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate guide from the index page of this article.