Monster Hunter Rise: How to Choose Your First Weapons

Monster Huner Rise's weapons offer unique ways to play the game, but which one is the right one for you?

Monster Hunter Rise
Photo: Capcom

Monster Hunter Rise continues this series’ tradition of offering a complex series of mechanics wrapped in a stylish package that emphasizes absurdity and fun. Before you can dive into everything that makes this franchise famous, though, you’re going to have to choose which of Monster Hunter Rise‘s weapons are right for you.

While Monster Hunter Rise doesn’t make you commit to your starting weapon for the entire game, choosing the right weapon for you can make all the difference. That’s especially true if Rise is your first Monster Hunter game and you really want to give yourself a chance to become absorbed in its charms rather than frustrated by its complexities.

So which Monster Hunter Rise weapon should you choose? Only you can really answer that, but here’s an overview of what each weapon type has to offer that should make one of the most difficult decisions in Monster Hunter just a bit easier.

Bows are Powerful Later in the Game But Tricky to Start With

Monster Hunter’s Bows utilize a “scatter” mechanic that makes them incredibly effective in a variety of situations. This weapon also scales well into the late game thanks to its many available enhancements. 

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However, Bows can be a little tricky to start with. They’re slightly more mechanically challenging to utilize and demand resources that you just don’t have in the early stages of the game. They’re a great “investment” but may not be the best place to start if this is your first Monster Hunter game. 

Charge Blades are Bad for First Time Players but a Lot of Fun to Use

As the name implies, Charge Blades are based on your ability to deal enough damage to “charge” your weapon. Those charges can then be used to unleash incredible attacks that deal massive damage when properly utilized.

The “problem” with Charge Blades is that they take a lot of practice to use properly. Failing to utilize this weapon’s capabilities can severely reduce its effectiveness, which makes it kind of hard to learn if you’re not already used to how it works. 

Dual Blades Are Fast, Fun, and Fairly Easy to Use

Dual Blades are some of the fastest melee weapons in Monster Hunter Rise. Each hit doesn’t do a ton of damage, but successive hits charge your “Demon Mode” which can greatly increase your damage output when activated. 

If you’re just looking for something simple, fun, and effective to start with, then it’s hard to go wrong with what Dual Blades have to offer.

Great Swords Are For Patient Players Willing to Make Mistakes Along the Way

It’s hard not to be tempted by Great Swords. They look incredible, and they certainly fit the series’ theme of over-the-top characters battling over-the-top monsters with over-the-top weapons. Their slow attacks also land with a satisfying impact.

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Still, you should know that Great Swords are slow, clumsy, and dependent on tricky combos that can go wrong quickly. This is a pretty fun weapon to learn, but you should expect some growing pains along the way as you try to master its potential.

The Gunlance Offers a Complicated Blend of Defense, Range, and Melee

You might not expect much in the way of subtlety from a sword that fires explosive rounds, but Gunlances are surprisingly graceful weapons. They require you to master a tricky combination of big hits, defensive stances, and well-timed range attacks. 

While that means that Gunlances can be incredibly difficult to learn, they at least offer the advantage of giving you a few options in any given situation. They’re one of the better “complicated” weapons for beginners if you like what they have to offer. 

The Hammer is a Tremendous Starting Weapon That Can be Kind of Boring

There aren’t a lot of surprises to be found in Monster Hunter Rise’s collection of hammers. They’re big and blunt weapons that deal incredible amounts of damage despite the fact that they’re sometimes painfully slow. 

Hammers are great in terms of their overall effectiveness and even require enough game knowledge to make them ideal for those who are learning the more complicated aspects of Monster Hunter Rise. Even still, you’ve got to know that what you see from the hammer is pretty much what you get from the hammer. 

Heavy Bowguns are Perfect for Ranged Players With a Little Patience

Like many of Monster Hunter Rise’s larger weapons, Heavy Bowguns are built on a charge system. That is to say that effectively utilizing them requires you to charge your shot ahead of time and optimize your moment of attack.

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It’s not incredibly difficult to spot your opportunities with this weapon, though, and it’s honestly pretty fun to use. If you’re looking for a ranged weapon to learn that still offers a little kick, this could just be the one for you. 

The Hunting Horn is Weird, Complicated, and Worth the Effort For the Right Player

Hunting Horns have long been one of the strangest weapon types in the Monster Hunter franchise. Effectively a deadly instrument, Hunting Horns use musical notes and songs to battle enemies rather than strict melee damage. 

While previous versions of the Hunting Horn were thought of as support weapons, Rise’s version of this weapon concept makes it a little easier to solo you’re way through the game with them. They’re perfect for players looking for a more complicated take on hammers that offers a unique way to play the game. 

Insect Glaives Work Best For Players Who Are Really Into Their “Gimmick”

The star of any Insect Glaive build isn’t the glaive itself but rather the insect companion that comes with it. That companion is going to supplement a lot of your quicker attacks by offering additional damage and even occasionally buffing your character. 

Because the Insect Glaive doesn’t offer as much “straight” damage as the Dual Blades (at least not at first), you’ve really got to buy into the idea of utilizing an insect companion and want to learn that gimmick to push through the wall that comes at you when you choose to start with this weapon. 

The Lance Lets You Play Things Safe When You’re Learning the Ropes

Despite its size, the Lance is actually best thought of as a defensive weapon. It allows you to tank up and stay behind a shield as you use this weapon’s size to keep distance between yourself and your enemy. 

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The defensive nature of the Lance means that it allows new players to learn the game without taking massive amounts of damage in the process. That said, this is hardly the most exciting weapon in Monster Hunter Rise, and you may eventually choose to replace it with the Gunlance or even the Hammer.

The Light Bowgun is a Simple Range Weapon With a Twist

When you’re thinking of ranged weapons in a game like Monster Hunter Rise, you’re probably thinking of the Light Bowgun. It’s a way to attack from a distance that offers few thrills but proves to be reliable and simple enough to learn.

One thing you should know about the Light Bowgun, though, is that it relies on an ammunition system that requires you to learn about the benefits of various kinds of ammo and how to best combine them. It can be complicated, but it definitely gives this weapon more depth than it would otherwise enjoy.

The Long Sword is An Ideal Starting Melee Weapon That Scales Well

Long Swords have always been popular among Monster Hunter fans, and Monster Hunter Rise largely sticks to what makes them work. They deal a consistent amount of damage, they’re relatively fast, and they even look good.

What’s the downside? Well, their “tripping” mechanic means you’ll need to stay away from other players a lot of the time, but Longswords really are one of the most rounded options for melee fans who don’t mind mastering their combo and special attack systems. 

The Switch Axe is Wild but Not As Complicated As You Might Think

The Switch Axe starts off as a fairly standard axe, but you actually have the option of turning it into a sword if you do enough damage. Each form offers unique benefits but really mastering this weapon will require you to swap between the two forms. 

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Sound complicated? It can be, but because the Switch Axe deals decent damage even as a “straight-ahead” melee weapon, it’s surprisingly easy to learn its more advanced mechanics as you go along. Definitely consider this one if more standard melee weapons just don’t appeal to you. 

The Sword and Shield Are Ideal For Beginners and Useful in Multiplayer

Monster Hunter Rise’s Sword and Shield offer about what you’d expect. Seriously, this set-up is really little more than a sword for stabbing and a shield for blocking. 

Before you dismiss that combo as “boring,” consider that it actually does take a little while to learn how to properly utilize this weapon’s unique abilities. On top of that, Sword and Shield players tend to be prized in multiplayer groups due to their versatility. This is a great beginner weapon for sure, but its multiplayer advantages mean that it’s actually quite good for more experienced players as well.