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Springtime for Monster Hunters

The New Year brings promise, and spring. Spring generally welcomes new life, hope… and the soul-shredding roar of a Rathian as it swoops down on a hapless Hunter. That’s right; Monster Hunting season begins anew on the 3DS with Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate, and they’re bringing back some old foes, old friends, new foes, and new gear.

Undoubtedly, players who have followed the series have already chosen their favored weapons and maybe gotten to know the rest (let’s be real though, many a Hunter have tested themselves with unfamiliar weapons) – but the latest iteration of Capcom’s long-running game introduces two new weapons (none of which is the Tonfa, but I digress): the Insect Glaive and the Charge Blade.

There’s a bug in my weapon… Literally!

Be honest, a flying roach would scare the living daylights out of you if it were as big as your face. Interestingly enough, the Insect Glaive comes with one such flying menace, otherwise known as the Kinsect. The Kinsect is basically the creature that lives in the weapon, and is really only a flying menace towards the monsters you hunt. The Kinsects are also capable of evolution through feeding – as in feed it enough, it will level up and eventually meet the criteria for evolution into a better bug.

As an attacker, the Kinsect can be sent to home in on the monster if you whack it with the blunt end of the Glaive, and it will steal essences from your marks. These essences can then be used to buff its master. Yep, you.

The weapon itself is purported to feel like the Long Sword in terms of swiftness, only where the Long Sword is based on the principles of Kendo, the Insect Glaive is based on Bojutsu. It is capable of dealing both slash attacks and impact attacks. What’s revolutionary about the Insect Glaive is that you can basically use it to pole vault and a jump attack, which can stagger monsters if done right, and evade some downright nasty breath attacks.

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I love the sound of gears clanking~

Variable weaponry is a thing of beauty, or so Capcom seems to think. After the Gunlance’s debut in Monster Hunter 2, and the Switch Axe in Monster Hunter 3, the Wyvern Artisans have seen it fit to combine the Sword and Shield into a thing of lethal beauty in the Charge Blade (or the Charge Axe if it pleases the Elders).

Where the Switch Axe goes from ginormous Axe to the Great Sword, the Charge Blade does the reverse by going from SnS to a ginormous Axe. In its Sword and Shield mode, it affords the same class of agility that the weapon class has, and adds the ability to charge its attack in three stages. The charge attack comes from the same Phials that are present in the other variable weapons, and the Hunter can either infuse the element across the weapon or deal an attack that can cause a number of physical maladies (like Stun) to the Mark.

The drawback to it thus far is that it appears to have limited combos, though this can be offset by certain combinations the movesets for both modes.

Have you decided which one makes it into your new arsenal? Wanna see it in action? Have a video courtesy of MHVuze:

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Kitty? Killer.

Much as Kayamba and Cha-Cha were interesting characters in MH3U, the Felynes – now Palicoes (Pal + Calico, yes?) – are wonderful. According to videos, they appear to have become miniature Hunters of a sort, more so than they ever used to be. New to the Palicoes are the weapons and armor in the form of various Capcom and Nintendo franchises. To reacquaint veterans and introduce novices to them, Capcom’s Monster Hunter channel released a tutorial late last year, seen below:

New, and quite possibly improved.

There is absolutely no reason why a long-time fan, or anyone wanting to try the game should skip it. The Monster Hunter franchise has always been a game that connects people and Capcom is doing fairly well in ensuring that the series remains fresh, as most of the weapons have also been given new features as well as the arrival of Online Play. Returning monsters have also somehow managed to become twice as menacing, and new monsters can very well give them a run for their money. Ask yourself now, young Hunter: are they going to send you packing, or will you, your friends, and your Palicoes bring home the bounty?

Sharpen your skills, Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate arrives Q1 2015.

Box Art via the Monster Hunter Wiki

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Miggy Castañeda
Miggy Castañeda
Gamer, Writer, Golden Time Lover. I like match-three games and I play tabletop RPGs every Saturday and I wear pink most Wednesdays. I'm one of those big honking smart boy brain types, except for when I actually want to say something.
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