Another Tier List, another Monster Hunter – World to be exact. Yes we’re taking a break from Generations Ultimate, a title you may be aware we like, to focus on it’s newer, prettier and altogether more streamlined brother. The latest in the behemoth slaying series feels significantly different to it’s forebears: The titular monsters are different, gathering was revamped, graphics were overhauled and the zones seamlessly linked in a way never seen before. One thing wasn’t changed however, and that’s the selection of weapons. Slinger and Hookshot aside, 14 familiar pillars of Monster Hunter history remain as part of your armoury.
Those very weapons are the subject of our Tier List today. They might be the same ol’ 14 that Capcom settled on with the fourth game in the series, but things have changed. Some of them feel better, smoother or more powerful – others not so much – but things have certainly moved on since MHGU. Anyway, you’re not here to read a long intro, so let’s get into ranking these weapons in some kind of order, and write a little bit about why!
- Great Sword
- Long Sword
- Dual Blades
- Switch Axe
We’ll admit to having been a little worried about the Great Sword. Our love affair with it stretches way back in the series’ history, it having carried our sorry behinds to many a hunt victory, but prior to World our most recent exposure was MHGU. There it took the usual massively powerful form it should, but the style options saw it break out of the ‘immobile’ shell, transforming it into sidestepping, leaping tower of destruction. Where on earth could they go from there, and have it not feel like a downgrade?
Well, with one single ability they managed to retain it’s power whilst adding a significant layer of complexity. We’re talking about the tackle of course, that tiny shoulder barge movement that not only speeds up your charge, but also allows the hunter to absorb attacks whilst doing so. It’s a marvellous addition that managed to keep the weapon relevant without removing it’s identity. Lovely.
The Long Sword has always been such a smooth piece of hardware. It’s swift movements, long slashes and measured chunks of damage always leave us feeling like a modern, monster slaying samurai. Well, in theory it does anyway. In practice we suspect our hunters always look a bit more like a starving amateur chef, desperate to slice a piece away from an ever-moving cake. Regardless, between MHGU and World it retains a spot atop our list, which it achieves by somehow feeling equal parts deadly and stylish all at once. The addition of a dodge-into-counter attack, and the frankly ludicrous helm splitter, manages to push it right to the top for us. It’s powerful, it’s fun, deceptively complex and above all, great fun.
The Lance is the first weapon to move tiers compared to MHGU, in which it occupied our A Tier. Why has it moved up a tier? Well, this weapon in particular seemed to benefit from the transition to a smoother style of game play. It still feels like a walking tank, but it’s hops and thrusts feel much more fluid. The Lance is a weapon that’s all about the little movements, and when quality of life improvements come along and make everything feel better, this weapon in particular benefits greatly.
Another benefactor of the smoother playing style is the Dual Blades. They’ve always been a weapon that favours quick darting movements, so having every little movement chocked with additional frames can only benefit. The move set has also been slightly altered and the result is that, for us at least, they feel more playable than ever.
Yet another weapon that retains it’s high spot is the Switch Axe. It accomplishes this by coming equipped with more swag than ever, which is honestly quite an impressive accomplishment. Capcom took our favourite side stepping, range morphing freak and added just enough flourishes to bring it up to speed. Iceborne might have stolen one of it’s tricks for everyone else, but it still feels fantastic. If we’re honest, this is probably our favourite solo weapon in Monster Hunter World.
- Light Bowgun
- Insect Glaive
- Sword and Shield
- Charge Blade
Whilst the LBG was a weapon in our MHGU S Tier, it’s demotion to A really isn’t as bad as it sounds. We do miss the hunting style options, specifically Adept, but that doesn’t mean it’s completely useless. The mines are a nice addition, and the whole affair feels a whole lot smoother, but it’s just not quite up there with the S Tier weapons for us. Some of it’s peak weapon options are a real pain to make too. All in all it just didn’t quite click for us this time around.
We quite enjoyed the Bow in previous Monster Hunter titles, and whilst the aiming had definitely improved, especially compared to the handheld titles, it’s not quite enough to boost it into our top rank. The sideways movements are fantastic, and the wall climb is certainly novel, but it didn’t quite grab us this time around.
The Glaive has moved up in our estimation, though we’re not sure which reason to put it down to. In MHGU it felt under-powered, probably due to it’s huge strength in MH4U, so we didn’t have a great time with it. This has seemingly been corrected in World, and it’s been improved further by changes to it’s aerial arsenal, Kinsect aiming and indeed levelling. It feels like a very deliberate buff to the weapon, but we’re not complaining – it’s a leaping, slicing, whirling dervish of a weapon that we really enjoy.
Yet another weapon that’s taken a step up with the advent of World is the Hammer, though we’re having trouble explaining exactly why. The move set doesn’t really present anything new, and monster’s heads are still pretty much exactly where they were before, so it’s hard to apportion credit to the weapon itself. In the end, it’s the improvements to mobility, hitboxes and animations that make the difference. The graphical fidelity helps too, all of which combines to make the weapon feel that little bit more visceral in use.
Strangely, the Gunlance has gone up in our estimation not because of anything they’ve added to the weapon. Rather it’s the removal of that damned heat gauge that brings it back. It benefits from everything the Lance does too of course, but we’re mainly just pleased to be poking and exploding without restrictions again. The slam is stupidly satisfying when it looks this good too.
Sword and Shield
The A Tier is getting a bit packed now isn’t it. Maybe we should have made more tiers available, but we’ve committed now and honestly we tend to write these based on our play time with each, which turned out to be pretty equal overall.
On balance, whilst we’re very happy they took the heat gauge away from the Gunlance, we surely weren’t happy to hear that they had taken the Oils away from the Sword n’ Shield. That is, until we used it. The QOL improvements present in World, combined with the new consumable animations, made this underdog of a weapon into the ultimate supporting tool. We’ve carried our fair share of hunts with this thing, especially when its combined with Wide Range and Mushroomancer. Less fun solo, but a fantastic online weapon.
The Charge Blade is another weapon that we enjoyed throughout Monster Hunter World. It needed a little love, and that’s certainly what it got. It’s a return to form for us, having fallen out with it a little in Gen and Gen U, and it’s almost entirely down to the new sword buff. Having that little bit of element applied to our sword attacks just makes it feel special, no matter the mode you’re in. It’s chunky and satisfying, as it should be.
- Heavy Bowgun
- Hunting Horn
Perhaps the Heavy Bowgun deserved it. Perhaps it was just too powerful. Still, we’re not sure we agree with the complete removal of Siege mode in this fashion. If we hadn’t came over directly from MHGU things may have felt different, but as it is we really can’t come to terms with the loss. Every other weapon having significant benefits as a result of the upgrade makes it sting a little more. Safe to say this one’s not for us – maybe Rise will resurrect it.
We feel kinda bad for the ol’ Doot Doot in Monster Hunter World. Technically it’s everything it’s always been; a tool for whacking monsters in the head, cheering up your teammates and lobbing nice buffs at everybody. Unfortunately the Sword n’ Board took the crown for us from a supporting perspective. Perhaps it’s the new consumable animation, or maybe even the weapon selection / models, either way we really didn’t chime with the horn this time around.
More Monster Hunter World…
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