Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate Articles RSS Feed | Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate RSS Feed on en Launch Media Network A Look Back at the 3DS's Best RPGs Mon, 05 Feb 2018 10:24:40 -0500 wlkrjesse


The 3DS has provided us with many fantastic RPG's, frankly too many to list, but these are a few of the real standouts. While the Switch is the best of both worlds, if any of these games have grabbed your interest feel free to dust off your 3DS and pick up a few. They're all relatively inexpensive at this point and can provide you an entry into a franchise you never even knew you loved. Like Shin Megami Tensei.

Did I miss one of your favorites? Do you want to tell me about how Monster Hunter isn't an RPG? Leave a comment and let me know!

Shin Megami Tensei IV 

Price: $19.99


Buy it on: Amazon


It's not easy to get people on board the Megaten train even with the success of Persona, and understandably so as the older SMT games can seem outdated. If you've ever had the slightest bit of curiosity about the older SMT games, or you're a Persona fan and want to cover some bases, Shin Megami Tensei IV is your best way to have a foot in each world.

The first thing that will hit newcomers to the series is the difficulty. While not one of the hardest Atlus titles Shin Megami Tensei is certainly not a like a stroll through the park and is a big step up from Persona in terms of difficulty. You can't stop and smell the roses in SMT4, and while a lower difficulty setting is available you're still well within range to get bopped if you aren't playing smart. 

The second thing you'll notice is the ideal SMT/Persona gameplay. I'm a big fan of the enemy weakness exploitation featured in Atlus games and that's here in full force as is something called the "Smirk" system. This system gives  you the chance to do even more damage after an effective attack. Of course, you also have full access to your typical SMT fair; negotiating, fusing, and creating your own party is still very much the name of the game. Stepping in with a more traditional Megaten feel are battles that you often can not escape from or bypass by juking on the overmap. There will be plenty of times where you have to fight it out, and things can get unexpectedly hairy.

As you'd imagine, the story is phenomenal and one of the game's strong suits, but it does take a darker path than some of the installments in the Persona franchise. I think it's all the much better for it, but if you're looking for a story about plucky high schoolers maybe you should stay away. The feudal Japanese system mixed with medieval Europe theme works wonderfully, and the music is as intoxicating as is tradition for a Megaten game.

What makes this such a truly fantastic title is the scope of the whole thing. You really do get your money's worth with this game as it lasts around 40 hours for the story alone. While also featuring cutscenes that could be mistaken for a RPG console release. The entire game is fully voice acted, complete with fully realized 3D environments and a surprisingly mature story for a handheld RPG. This is the closest you'll get to a full blown SMT game without dipping over into some of the less friendly titles. If you've ever had a small interest in the franchise, SMT is where you should begin.

The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds

Price: $18.95


Buy it on: Amazon


Another entry some may dispute as a role-playing game, but it's just too damn good to leave off the list. The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past is the best Zelda game ever made. We know this. The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds is its true sequel, and at times is close to grabbing the crown. 

While The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild was widely revered, some fans still pined for a traditional Zelda experience. Understandably so, but the traditional Zelda formula is, to be blunt, stale. This is where A Link Between Worlds shines. The freedom to approach the dungeons in any way you choose and to rent items instead of having to tackle the dungeons in a specific manner to complete the game was a welcome addition to the series. Being able to lift that oppressing weight from a long entrenched franchise, that was frankly threatening to go belly up, made A Link Between Worlds a turning point for the franchise.

The unique wall merging mechanic is something that works better than it has any right to. It is an oxymoronical gimmick that you're always expecting to lose its luster, but at the very worst becomes adequate. If you haven't played A Link to the Past, or you're missing a more button down Zelda experience, A Link Between Worlds is absolutely mandatory.

Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate

Price: $39.99


Buy it on: Amazon


Monster Hunter is a commitment. When you choose to play this game, you're willingly signing part of your life over to Capcom. No one plays Monster Hunter just once. Not even you. Monster Hunter 4 is your gateway drug to a fantastic gaming series.

Some people might say Monster Hunter is not an RPG. I don't think so. If anything it's a simulation game with RPG elements. You are THE monster hunter, and that's what you're going to do. Go out, kill monsters, harvest their rich tasty courage and then return to base to craft or purchase your eternal rewards. Sounds boring on paper, but something about it is so much greater than the sum of its parts.

Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate is not the best Monster Hunter on the system. I'd say that honor is reserved for Generations; mostly due to the addition of holding a button to gather instead of having to press it repeatedly. However, Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate does a phenomenal job of introducing newer players to this imposing franchise. If you're not quite sure if Monster Hunter World is for you; are afraid of the price tag, or don't own a PS4/PC than this is where you should start. Also the blacksmith is named The Man so, come on. Live a little.

Pokémon Ultra Sun and Moon

Price: $30


Buy it on: Amazon


Though to be fair, you can get any of them. X, Y, Sun, Moon, whatever; you can even go Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire if that's how you do your business. There's nothing that fits what people want out of an RPG on their DS better than a Pokémon game. You can spend as much or as little time on a Pokémon game, but chances are if you bought it you know what you're getting into.

However, I personally think Pokémon design has entered something of a renaissance with Pokemon: Sun and Pokemon: Moon and because of this it is my personal recommendation. You can see some really fantastic Pokémon designs slowly gaining traction with X and Y: featuring the likes of Klefki, Aegislash and Hawlucha who were all interesting left turns, but once Sun and Moon came out there seemed to be a full blown wiping of the slate. 

Almost every entry in Sun and Moon is a banger. All the starters are fantastic Popplio is underrated and often hated like every genius of their generation, Mimikyu has the perfect amount of self awareness to still be charming and a little creepy. Palossand continues the theme of making cool inanmiate objects into Pokémon while Wishiwashi is an interesting take on Pokémon with multiple forms, the list goes on. It's one of the most solid lineups I've seen from the franchise in an extremely long time and with the release of Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon, now is as good a time as any to jump back in.

Bravely Default

Price: $44.94


Buy it on: Amazon


Square Enix is a veteran in the RPG circuit, and has had their fair share of impressive portable releases. Crisis CoreFinal Fantasy Tactics Advanced and a myriad of Final Fantasy re-releases have all made their way onto modern handhelds, and rank from nostalgic to excellent.  

Born as a spiritual successor to the spin off game Final Fantasy: The 4 Heroes of Light, Bravely Default hits the mark through a charming blend of old school nostalgia and modern sensibilities. Metro referred to it as "the best Final Fantasy game that never was," and they aren't alone. Bravely Default has been praised for an overall phenomenal localization, presentation, music and everything else, but I think the real draw to the game is  through the combat. 

Turn based RPG's have an issue with keeping the gameplay loop engaging, and Bravely Default takes a unique approach. In combat you're able to forgo your current turn, but then use that same turn again in the future. This alone makes the game worth checking out for RPG fans. If you're a fan of other Square Enix games and are looking for one with a gameplay twist while familiar elements of the RPG genre are not just kept intact, but enhanced than I highly recommend Bravely Default.


RPGs and portable consoles are a match made in heaven. You can whittle away at a massive game bit by bit when you have some free time, so it simultaneously stretches an already long game out to cover plenty of time and you don't get too burnt out on it. With this in mind, it's no wonder that the 3DS has given way to some of the most addictive role-playing games in recent memory. Here are a few of the best.

Wow Your Friends, with Gear from Linkitty Wed, 14 Dec 2016 06:00:01 -0500 Glitchieetv

Looking for last minute presents for your loved ones? Maybe you just want to update your style with looks from your favorite games. Want to show off your love of coffee and video games in the morning? Linkitty on Etsy is the shop you need! Featuring a large inventory with a wide variety of items, there is something for everyone here.

Linkitty carries products featuring a plethora of games. Have a need to show off what role you main in League of LegendsShirts of all sizes are available. Want to cover your booty with a pokemon booty? Done. Cosplaying Chloe from Life is Strange? Her "Misfit Skull" tank is ready for purchase. The list goes on and on. From apparel to mouse pads, to coffee mugs, the amount of items is sure to please anyone. Take a look at a selection of items below for just a taste of what Linkitty has to offer.

Mini Poro Pillow
Pokemon Mimikyu and Pikachu Tank
Monster Hunter Felyne Coin Purse
Jane Doe T-Shirt

Didn't find what you were looking for in the shop? Linkitty also takes custom order requests! Perfect for gifting that hard to shop for person in your life or creating a custom shirt for a cosplay.

A Solo Hunter's Guide to Monster Hunter: Self-Improvement Tue, 05 Jul 2016 15:36:37 -0400 FlameKurosei

Welcome back fellow hunters! Flame here with another Solo Hunter's Guide installment, in preparation for Monster Hunter Generations, soon to be arriving for the Nintendo 3DS this July 15th! This time we're focusing on self-improvement, and how you can better yourself at hunting efficiently! This part took longer to annotate than expected, so strap in for the long haul and let's get started!

*quest horn noise*...And we're off!

In this part of the guide I want to focus on 3 skills about self-improvement that I find most rewarding out of solo hunting -- what they are, and how to do so (click to jump to the section!):

As said in the introduction, "self-improvement can be a wonderful thing". But what exactly is self-improvement, and how does one improve in the first place with solo hunting?

Does one just brute-force a few quests solo at the gathering hall? Well, that method of might work for some, but for many the first attempt can be overwhelming and even disheartening, such as this hunter trying to do a dual Nargacuga quest:


In actuality, self-improvement is simply this: "While the main goal is to win, it is far more important to learn from the monster, and to learn more about your own hunting skills." This helps you cut down on quest time, be a better support for your team, and more as you learn what's best to do during a hunt, one small step at a time as you solo hunt.

Wait, "a better support for your team"? You read that right--something you'll learn from this section is that self-improvement is useful even to multiplayer-focused hunters--all 3 of these skills are essential for endgame hunting, as a one-two hit combo from a monster can spell a quest failure for the team.

So without further ado, let's move on to the first skill to improve:

Skill to Improve #1: Monster Attacks and Patterns

"So, what is this?"

Well, you ever have that one attack that gets you every time in a fight? It's frustrating, and you wish the monster would stop spamming it (and sometimes online it seems today is just not your day).

*enters zone* "Dammit, why me?!"

Each monster has its unique menagerie of attacks they like to perform, and some attacks are repeated over and over. This attack repetition is called a "pattern", and some patterns can be predicted through various "cues" initiated prior to an attack.

For the above example from Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate, the monster Gravios uses his laser move at the hunter. In normal situations it's a slow, readable pattern, so let's take a look at that laser more carefully in a solo, non-sweeping "360 no-scope" setting:

Do you notice any cues to the straight Gravios laser? One cue is that Gravios rears back, and another cue is a small puff of fire appears in its mouth prior to lasering.

Also, the attack doesn't end there--during the laser, notice how there's also a puff of fire leaking out of its belly. This is a cue for the big fire fart cloud that appears shortly after the laser's completion.

This means if one wants to avoid the straight Gravios laser, don't stand right in front of him, and not too close to him either (unless a hunter wants some toasty flatulence coming in their direction).

"So how do I go about learning patterns?"

This is where solo hunting can help out a lot! Here's one way to practice learning monster patterns: The No-Hit Challenge!

Steps for The No-Hit Challenge:

  • Go entirely on your own (i.e. I recommend not taking the palico/shakalaka either), and try to withstand at least 10-15 minutes in the quest without getting hit by the monster. I suggest this length because some monsters have new attacks/patterns when they are enraged. As a word of caution, monsters can move faster and/or hit harder when enraged too.
  • Choose a monster quest that matches the rank of the monster you're trying to fight. This is important because monsters learn new moves/patterns for each rank (low/high/g-rank). There's nothing more embarrassing than thinking you know a boss inside-out and then it carts you with an entirely new move in g-rank. Also, the frequency of attacks tends to increase per rank. A monster that previously stood still roaring in low rank will rush at you mercilessly in g-rank, so keep on your toes!
  • Pick the same subspecies/variant monster. Experienced hunters can tell you that a Pink Rathian is a much different experience than a normal Rathian -- subspecies can have new attacks, new status/elements, and even new weaknesses. Don't assume that if you know one Rath, you know them all -- that's just what Pink Rathian want you to think.
  • Make it simpler for yourself and choose an easier monster quest than the target if possible. For example, if you're struggling against a G-rank naked quest against 2 Deviljhos, then choose a g-rank normal quest against 1 Deviljho. Self-improvement is all about starting small and working your way up -- there's little sense in tackling 2 brute wyverns when you can't even deal with 1.
Optional: Think this is boring? For even more of a challenge, leave your armor at home and go entirely naked! Even the small raptor-like Gendrome can prove to be a scary endeavor when its short hop takes half your health.

This learning exercise might sound crazy and pointless, but hear me out--the key point of this learning solo experience is that all the attention is on you. This helps you learn patterns better than getting 360 no-scope'd out of the air by a stray Gravios laser, or combo'd left and right by two ferocious kitty wyverns to death.

Also most importantly, DON'T GIVE UP if you get hit, because if you cart twice you can always select "abandon quest" so you don't lose your zenny and items on the third attempt. It's going to be a scary experience, and it may take you many tries, but play it safe and take it slow. After all, there's no rush since you're fighting on your own.

Another tip is it might be beneficial to not attack and watch the monster's movements when it does a different behavior, so you can observe the range and speed of the pattern. Since the goal is to learn the preferred patterns of a monster, watching might help you learn how to maneuver yourself before that pesky attack hits you again. (It also allows you to discover openings for attacks, but more on that later.)

On the flip side, something you'll learn from practicing this method unfortunately is that not all attacks have cues. For example, several monsters will perform an "instant charge" and steamroll the hunter without batting an eye, and this can leave the player in a very frustrating situation.

"In case you're wondering, I got hit by its instant charge.
Yes, it hit me with its charge before it charged."

~CantaPerMe, a renown solo speedrunner on YouTube

This is where the second self-improvement skill comes in handy:

Skill to Improve #2: Hunter Evading and Positioning

From the previous learning exercise, you probably already tried these two actions a bunch without even realizing it.

Let me define the terms first:

Evading is -- you guessed it -- when you avoid a monster's attack via a dash, a roll, a running dive, or even a jumping motion from pressing the selected command in a given situation.

Evading tends to use a bit of stamina (it varies upon the type of evasive maneuver), and depending on your weapon and armor skills it has a certain amount of "invincibility frames" (AKA "i-frames") where a monster's attack will pass through you with no damage. However, if the monster's attack frames exceed your i-frames, the attack will still connect, so be aware of lingering attacks (more on this later).

Evading allows a hunter to avoid all sorts of troubling monster behavior, from bites to roars to even lasers from a giant world-eating Dalamadur (another CantaPerMe MH4U clip incoming):

As you can see, evading requires a certain amount of precision. If Anna rolled too early, the laser would still go through and damage her -- the same goes for rolling too late.

Furthermore, to reiterate what I said earlier, lingering attacks will still connect if they exceed your i-frames. For example, monsters like Gravios have a longer roar, so even if you do a frame-perfect roll at the start, your hunter will still clap their hands over their ears at the end. This happens because Gravios's longer roar exceeded the shorter roll in terms of duration. Make sense?

By extension, positioning goes beyond taking advantage of i-frames like evasion does. Positioning is when a hunter seeks a spot to where the monster's attack can't reach them. This skill requires a lot of knowledge on monster patterns in order to be consistently successful, and is one of the hardest but most rewarding aspects of self-improvement.

Learning where to stand can take quite a few tries...

To clarify, good positioning uses a combination of evasive maneuvers and moving around to avoid an attack, but with a different mindset compared to strictly evading. Instead of avoiding a move that will damage you if you stand still, you're trying to find a place where if you stand, the move won't hit you at all.

A good solo hunter will take priority on positioning, and use evading as a last resort, because positioning lets you capitalize on an opening as the monster completes their attack animation, or it lets you move around to find a better one. On the other hand, evading is for when you know you can't avoid a hit, or you want to be sure that the one-shot move won't connect upon landing.

For an example on positioning, here's YouTuber OrigamiTim with a tutorial on how to handle Rajang, a monster known for a small repetitive list of attack patterns:


Do you see how OrigamiTim utilizes Rajang's patterns to know where to stand and deal damage? To contrast this with CantaPerMe's earlier evasion clip: instead of trying to roll through Rajang's laser, OrigamiTim runs to a spot where he knows he won't be in range of the laser, and capitalizes with a greatsword charge attack.

Note that this works best in a solo situation, because the attack targets OrigamiTim, and not his friend on the other side of the zone. This allows OrigamiTim to position himself to land a full-powered hit as well as be ready for the next attack Rajang decides to unleash.

"But Flame, then how does positioning help a team?"

A fair question to ask, because in team play, you don't know who the monster is going to target next. Rajang might decide to throw the boulder at your partner for a change; suddenly you're flying through the sky with a mouthful of rock because your friend was at a slight angle behind you and the projectile just so happened to nick you passing by...not a fun time. But this is where positioning plays a role with a big assumption: assume every time the monster faces you, it's going to attack you.

Remember how I said the second self-improvement skill will help against attacks with no tells? Positioning is key! Take for example CantaPerMe's instant charge frustration from earlier, now with positioning in mind:

In this situation, Yian Garuga finishes up a fireball attack, and then instantly charges forward -- yet Anna somehow manages to avoid the charge.

How did that happen? Note where the hunter stands. She's standing in that perfect sweet spot that lets her avoid the charge from hitting her. This is how positioning helps in a fight where a monster has a no-cue attack -- you simply stand or move to a place where you know the attack won't reach you.

Now you might be asking another question -- why in both clips of fighting Yian Garuga does CantaPerMe target the monster's head? Wouldn't it be safer to just stand behind it since Yian Garuga can instant charge forward?

This question's answer relates to the third and final self-improvement skill I will go over, known as:

Skill to Improve #3: Monster Weakness and Hitzones

Now that you have the skills of pattern recognition, positioning, and evading, what's there left to improve? Like a dance of the hokey pokey, you have mastered the step in and the step out -- even the shake it all about.

But even then, something can go wrong:

"I know your tricks! Okay, you may not remember me, but I remember you quite well!"

~cscolley, another entertaining solo hunter on YouTube

How strange--hunter Colley here managed to land a level 3 greatsword charge. The attack should have landed with a solid slam, and then he could roll to avoid Rathian's tail swipe attack. Instead, Colley went flying.

"Then what happened?"

Short answer: Due to the hardness of the hitzone, his weapon type, and sharpness, Colley bounced off the wing.

Long answer: There's a lot of jargon in that short answer. Let me do my best first to explain the most important phrase: "hardness of the hitzone".

Hitzone Hardness: So in the Monster Hunter series, there are parts of a monster called hitzones. This means that depending on the part (wing, head, horns, etc.) where you attack the monster, it deals a different amount of damage.

For a difficult monster in which you wish to tackle more effectively, I implore you to look up its hitzone data (usually found in a table or chart). The Monster Hunter Wikia and Kiranico MH3U/Kiranico MH4U are two informative sites to look at first, then some Google searching will hopefully help you find the rest.

For example, let's take a look at Rathian's Monster Hunter Portable 3rd hitzone chart from this particular game Colley's clip is from (as found on the Monster Hunter Wikia):

Now here's a lot of information to take in, so let's break it up into pieces:

First, the columns are divided based on the damage multiplier (highlighted in red below) from two categories: the weapon attack type of cutting/impact/shot, and the monster's elemental weaknesses of fire/water/thunder/ice/dragon.

Weapons tend to be straightforward with attack types, also known as "raw" damage -- a move that can slice off monster tails is cutting damage, a move that can KO monsters is impact damage, and a move that can hit monsters from afar is shot damage. In addition, weapons can have multiple attack types. For example, a bowgun is primarily a shot-type weapon but with Slicing S bullets it can also deal cutting damage.

In Rathian's case, she appears weakest to cutting damage for most hitzones other than her back.

The weapon attack-type damage, AKA raw damage, highlighted in red

Also, weapons can also have one or more elements, or be strictly non-elemental and only deal their respective weapon attack-type damage. For example, one pair of dual blades can have thunder/dragon blades, and another pair can just be raw cutting damage.

Again, to connect this knowledge to the example clip -- Rathian appears to be weakest to the dragon element, and strongest/most resistant to fire element.

The elemental-type damage (fire/water/thunder/ice/dragon respectively), highlighted in red

A general rule of thumb is to focus on the raw damage a weapon has more than the element, because the weapon's raw damage is part of an attack deals more damage than its element to a monster. That's not to say that elemental weapons are bad (far from it), but in the case of a weapon having 50 attack and 300 element vs 300 attack and 50 element, the latter is usually your best choice.

     For a game-specific, in-depth analysis on weapon to element effectiveness, I highly recommend looking at this MH4U post on r/monsterhunter to learn more!

However, there are exceptions to this rule. Some weapon types are more effective for elemental damage (such as light bowguns) and some are more effective for raw damage (such as greatswords).

Furthermore, some monsters are resistant to raw damage but very susceptible to elemental damage, such as Chameleos who is very weak to fire element, so the rule of thumb is a guideline, not an overall decree.

Also, a short digression from the hitzone topic: Something that I won't cover in this self-improvement section too much are status attacks.

Status is another category for weapons (such as poison, blast, sleep, KO, etc.), and an important note is status is not affected by hitzones. Instead, status application depends on a increasing threshold that differs per monster (the duration/damage differs too).

The values and effectiveness of status significantly change per game (for example 3rd gen's overpowered "slime" status is now called "blast" in 4th gen), so I recommend doing a bit of Googling to learn more about status damage for the game you're hunting. I will possibly cover a bit about status in a later installment towards building armor sets and weapons, but otherwise it's a topic I won't delve too far into due to the fixed amount of application wherever you hit the monster.

Okay, now returning back to the hitzone table topic:

First the columns, now the rows. The rows of the table are divided by the hitzone on the monster. Hitzones can range from general regions like a monster's back to more specific areas like a back-fin, so wording can get confusing (e.g. "does 'claw' mean the wing claws or the feet claws?"), so be sure to know which part the row's referring to in the table.

Also, some monsters' hitzone damage can change once you break a part, so having a table for before/after the part break might help you judge which hitzone is better to focus attacking on. Furthermore, monsters of different species and subspecies may have different weaknesses and hitzones, as mentioned prior in Skill to Improve #1's No-Hit Challenge.

Thankfully for MHP3rd Rathian, her hitzones are divided into clear parts that we can visualize, along with no special change when her parts break. This means we can just look at this table for her hitzones:

MHP3rd Rathian: Head, Neck, Back, Stomach, Tail, Wings, and Legs

Now that we understand the chart more--let's go back to explaining Colley's misfortune in regards to hitzone hardness:

In Colley's case, he is using a non-elemental greatsword, and the GS is a weapon that deals cutting damage. Thus, let's aim our attention at the "Cut. D." column of the table:

Now let's see, one of the hardest zones for cutting damage are...Rathian's back and wings. Which part did hunter Colley hit again?

The wing! Now it's beginning to make sense.

So this is what we know -- Colley's greatsword slam hit a "hard" spot on Rathian, which caused him to recoil backward. This recoil animation is called bouncing, and you can't cancel out of it, which makes you open for punishment like Colley eating a Rathian tail swipe. Instead, Colley should focus aiming for a softer hitzone, such as the Rathian's head.

Another aside: as mentioned in the short answer, the formula for what makes an attack bounce on a monster depends on hardness of the hitzone, weapon-type multipliers, and also the sharpness of the weapon. I mainly wished to cover the importance of hitzones and monster weakness for this self-improvement section, but if you wish to read more about the mathematical aspects of bouncing, please see this subreddit post on the "Bouncing Formula".

Now after the long explanation about hitzones through an example, we come to the important skeptical question:

"The hunter bounced--so what? Why do hitzones matter?"

You probably know this better than I do: Not all hard hitzones cause bouncing, and there are skills/weapon attacks that negate the bouncing why does bouncing matter? Why do hitzones matter so much?

Here are some common answers:

  • When your attack bounces on a monster, the attack uses double the amount of sharpness than a normal hit. In other words, bouncing too much on a monster causes your sharpness to wear down faster.
  • Bouncing means you're hitting hitzones that do minimal damage to the monster, so you're wasting time and sharpness when you could be hitting something softer. Therefore, skills and weapons that negate the bouncing animation such as the skill "Mind's Eye" teach bad habits of managing damage per second (DPS) efficiently.

Both are solid responses, but there's a bit of a bias in these answers. They are both focused on the blademaster's perspective of hunting. For melee weapons, they all have a sharpness meter which determines an additional attack (and bounce) factor based on color.

But what about ranged players? Ranged-based hunters like bowguns and bows are rarely going to run up and smack the monster with their gun or arrow. Do hitzones really matter for them?

You bet they do: gunners have it even harder than melee hunters due to limited carrying capacity for ammo. They can carry a max amount of a bullet type (or for bows, a limited amount of coatings), and a max amount of combines to make more. However, once all that's used, it's gone. Thus, a ranged hunter must make every shot count.

Against large damage sponges like this Ukanlos in the above clip, focusing on soft, weak hitzones allows this heavy bowgun user to stunlock the beast, and maximize the damage each bullet inflicts.

Once the powerful special ammo is spent, then all they have is normal level 1 bullets and non-coated arrows, which dramatically decreases their attack output.

To put it into scale, imagine I'm in MH4U using a powerful normal-type heavy bowgun with Normal Up and Attack Up XL skills, and I load the clip with level 2 normal shot ammo. Within 4-5 shots, I will kill a small minion monster, such as an Ioprey. Then I load up the bowgun with level 1 normal shot ammo. Now it takes 10-12 shots to kill the minion. For this small case study alone, it takes at least double the amount of ammunition to deal the same amount of damage. And this is assuming I'm using a normal shot-type weapon and armor set!

"...A small minion monster, such as an Ioprey"

Imagine if I was an elemental light bowgun user, and I have a Fire Attack+3 armor set using Flame S ammo. Then I run out of Flame S--now all I can use is infinite normal level 1 bullets. Since I have no armor skills that boost normal bullets, my damage output is even worse. Now I might as well be shooting spitballs at a minion monster, let alone a full-blown Ukanlos.

In addition to running out of ammunition during a quest, it's also costly to a hunter's overall inventory to waste so many materials on a failed hunt. Sure, they can buy most bullets and coatings at the shop, but this takes a lot of zenny. Also, the materials to combine to make more ammo needs to be gathered or farmed--another expensive cost to be had: time.

Time is also the universal enemy for the solo hunter of blademasters and gunners, because in the online halls, monsters are scaled for multiple players. As one hunter, you alone have to deal enough damage to pass -- as much as 2 or more hunters fighting together.

Without targeting soft hitzones for the most DPS possible, it's extremely difficult to succeed against the larger monsters -- not because of patterns or evading, but rather the time limit the quest has. Like a gunner's ammo or a blademaster's sharpness, time is also a precious commodity a hunter must use efficiently. (I will come back to this topic again in the next installment in regards to resource management.)

Now to bring it all together...

Well met, fine hunter! After all of the pattern learning, evading/positioning, and hitzone analyzing, you finally have a grasp over the 3 skills I find most rewarding out of solo hunting. I congratulate you on your efforts, and I hope you realize now that self-improvement is both a challenging and beneficial experience as a late-game hunter. Maybe it will give you an edge over the competition when Monster Hunter Generations rolls around, eh?

As a reward for your efforts, have a look at one of my favorite solo hunting videos that combines all 3 skills into an amazing 6+ minute quest:

As a fun final challenge for this section--try to analyze how this hunter used all 3 skills to slay Shagaru Magala!

Self-improvement is the largest and most important piece of the "Solo Hunter's Guide" puzzle, and it's been quite the journey. That being said, we're not done yet! I'm proud of your progress -- improving on these skills will help you understand the usefulness of the next part of the guide:

The next Solo Hunter's Guide will cover tips about resource management!

See you then, and happy hunting!


For more game-specific guides on Monster Hunter, check out the various Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate Guides for more tips and tricks on how to be a better hunter, here on GameSkinny!

[Images retrieved from Capcom, Imgur (Gif1/Gif2), Gfycat, the Monster Hunter Wikia, Reddit, Tumblr, YouTube (Video1, Video2, Video3), and Yuri Araujo]

A Solo Hunter's Guide to Monster Hunter: An Introduction Sun, 19 Jun 2016 13:20:26 -0400 FlameKurosei

Ah, nothing more satisfying than taking down giant beasties of the Monster Hunter series with a team, from the giant enemy crab Shen Gaoren to the world-eating snake Dalamadur. And with Monster Hunter Generations coming out on July 15th for the 3DS, you'll have a chance to fight against even more monsters of new and old!

"Yes...I also can't wait to hunt...hunters, that is." *evil brute wyvern chuckles*

...But the question I'd like to ask you is: have you ever thought you could tackle the challenges on your own? (Even the multiplayer ones?)

Surely you must have wondered at some point if fighting a giant behemoth of a creature on your own is possible. I've seen many a forum thread asking about "Is soloing this monster viable?" with mixed replies and advice.

"Could I really do this, all on my lonesome?" thought the hunter.

The answer, of course, is yes! And if you need a hand, fellow solo hunter Flame (uh, that's me) is here to help! I've done a ton of hunting on my own these past few years, so I can tell you that while the journey for a solo hunter is a long and arduous one, it is definitely possible and fun! I'm excited for Monster Hunter Generations too, so I can continue my solo hunting tradition of "solo a quest before you play it with another".


Here're some potato-quality phone pictures I recently took of some of the late-game hunts in Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate--no speedrunning demon here, just a stubborn solo hunter who refuses to give up after a few carts!

I figure while we wait for the release of MHGen, why not write about solo hunting? Thus, in the weeks leading up to Monster Hunter Generation's release, I will focus on several "core concepts" about solo hunting, and how it can help you better yourself as a hunter.

However, before we get started on specific topics, this week's piece will be a clarifying introduction with three basic questions:

Question #1: What is solo hunting?

Do I mean the story mode where you play on your own? Eh, a little more than that. By "solo hunting", I mean doing any of the quests in Monster Hunter without another hunter, ranging from the story mode quests to the more challenging online multiplayer quests. There are hundreds of quests in each Monster Hunter game for both offline and online play, but a key point is you don't need to hunt with others to beat any of the quests. You don't have to be online either--with your little companion palico or shakalaka, or even on your own, a solo run is doable. Even the mightiest health sponge will dry up and fall--you just have to have a decent armor set and game plan.


Not like this: Okay, maybe this wasn't the best idea I've had...

Question #2: Why should I solo hunt?

 Time and time again I see this question whenever a solo hunter posts a crazy accomplishment. "Why should I hunt by myself when I can go kill something with a team? Is it for bragging rights? The adoration of your friends?"

Perhaps, but there are plenty of other reasons to be hunting solo:

  • You don't have the means to play online: There are many reasons behind this phenomenon. Maybe you're playing Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate for the 3DS without a Wii U, or perhaps you live in a place with a poor internet connection. Maybe you're in for a long 15-hour flight to a fancy vacation spot, and you want something to pass the time. In any case, having no online capabilities means you have little choice but to hunt on your own.
  • You're looking for a challenge: This is my main reason for hunting solo--there's just something special about being able to say "I did this all by myself", and snap a picture of victory to put on the fridge--er, screenshot album. People warn fellow hunters online about the soloing horrors ("you're fighting a boss that's designed for multiple players!"), but that only eggs me on more. Monster Hunter is a game series with a very open-ended agenda. Since you set your own challenges, so why not have a solo challenge for a change of pace?
  • You want to "git gud": self-improvement is a wonderful thing--maybe you feel you can't do enough damage to a monster online, or you want to stop carting to the same move over and over. The best way to improve is to practice and learn a monster's patterns, which is best done alone. (I'll go more in depth about this in one of the following articles, so keep your eyes peeled!)

With these few reasons, I hope you can see why a hunter would choose the life of a solo career in hunting (or at least temporarily).

Moving along to the final question! *pole vaults away*

Question 3: How do I solo hunt?

Comical Short answer: You accept a quest, go to the gate, and hunt a monster or two.


"All done, let's go home, fellas!"

Okay, I wish it was this easy for all quests. (But you wouldn't be here if it was this simple, yes?)

Actual Long answer: As I mentioned before, for the rest of this guide series, I'm going to try to respond to this question by focusing on a few core concepts that are essential for solo hunting.

Core concepts include:

  • Self-Improvement
  • Resource Management
  • Building Armor Sets/Weapons

Again, these core concepts are also applicable and important for successful hunting in general, so I encourage you to stick around! Maybe you can learn something to help a fellow hunter!

...And on that note--that's all, for now, folks!

The following Solo Hunter's Guide will cover more about self-improvement!

See you then, and happy hunting!


For more game-specific guides on Monster Hunter, check out the various Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate Guides for more tips and tricks on how to be a better hunter, here on GameSkinny!

[Images retrieved from Imgur, Monster Hunter Wikia, Redbubble, Reddit, Youtube, and myself]

Top 12 Greatest Cats of Video Games Sun, 05 Jun 2016 08:06:34 -0400 Anthony Pelone


And so ends this list. Yes, that is a cat cuddled up with a copy of Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood. That's Fukurashi, the cat of Masahiro Sakurai (Kirby, Super Smash Bros.) and whose hilarious adventures are cataloged in these two Twitter albums. In case you're hopping mad your favorite gaming kitty didn't show up, I'd highly recommend checking them out to soothe your soul.


Did your favorite feline miss the cut? Let us know in the comments below!


12. Crono's Cat (Chrono Trigger)

Imagine a sunbaked morning, with your head buried beneath the warm covers as your fur baby is curled up within your arms. Granted, Crono's Cat chooses to rest beside a nearby waste bucket, but he still represents the ideal cat: a loving companion who'll never leave your side. Just look at how he follows Crono around the house!


Crono's Cat is hardly seen throughout the game, yet its role is potentially the biggest of the game's cast. It influences Chrono Trigger's default ending, and winning a certain game at the Millennial Fair will win you more cat food...which attracts more cats. If the mischief of various cats throughout the game are any indication, looks like those sunbaked mornings are about to get a lot more lively for Crono.


11. Meowth (Pokémon)

Meowth, that's right! Several cat-inspired Pokémon have debuted throughout the years, but none are nearly as iconic as Meowth. Just look at his resume: he's the Team Rocket poster child, is one of the few talking Pokémon, had his own GameCube tech demo (Meowth's Party, where he rocked out with a groovin' guitar), is a PokéBall summon in Smash Bros., the list goes on. Granted, half of those come from the anime, but it's helped propelled him into stardom, regardless.

Meowth's signature attack, Pay Day, comes quite in handy for Pokémon Trainers in need for cash. In what are probably the funds its gathered from its nightly prowls, Meowth showers the opponent with coins, some of which go to the player's wallet. Whoever said cats can't make money?


10. Toro and Kuro (Sony)

These two cats aren't from a specific game, but they operate as Sony mascots for their gaming platforms. Toro Inoue, the white one, tries his best to act like a human, while Kuro, the black one, is his bully of a rival rival with something of a perverted streak. Their follies aside, taking just one look at their faces will give you the warm fuzzies

These mascots mainly function as such in Japan, but we've seen them several times in the Western sphere. Pictured above is their playable appearance in Street Fighter x Tekken; not a game loved by many, but their theme song is just too cute. 


9. Nago the Cat (Kirby's Dream Land 3)

Yes, that is a cat! His one and only Kirby appearance lies in Kirby's Dream Land 3 for the SNES, where he's one of many animal buddies that aid the puffball's quest. Some get a bit creative with how they accompany Kirby; in Nago's case, he rolls him along like a ball.


Animal buddies can channel Kirby's Copy Abilities to concoct devastating attacks, and Nago is no exception. So, what can he do? Well, in the case of Spark, he paws Kirby with enough static electricity that it is dangerous to the touch. Then there's Clean, where Kirby turns into a cloth and Nago slides on him to plow into enemies. And, my personal favorite: Stone, where he picks up Stone Kirby and repeatedly slams him into the ground with earthquake-level force. It's great. 


8. Judd (Splatoon)

Everyone can't get enough of the kids and squids of Splatoon, but us cat lovers know who the real star is: the referee, Judd. The corpulent kitty oversees the Inklings' Turf Wars, raising and dropping flags in stupefied awe to whoever, respectively, won or lost. But when he's not busy judging, you'll find him in Inkopolis Plaza doing what every cat does best: napping.


In this world of aquatic-human hybrids, it's refreshing to see a full-blooded mammal within Splatoon's colorful cast. But why is that the case? The answer may lie in the Sunken Sea Scrolls, which imply a past that'd make any cat owner's heart break...


7. Katz (Tales of Symphonia)


This one might be cheating, although we never learn what exactly Katz are. In any case, they're a pot-bellied cat-like race who occupy nearly every town in the world of Tales of Symphonia, offering treasure hunting services and mini-game fun. There's even a hidden Katz Village in the far corners of Sylvarant, serving as a cozy little hamlet full of goods.

Racism is quite the heavy theme in Tales of Symphonia, as citizens of both Sylvarant and Tethe'alla fall prey to anti-Half-Elf propaganda. Thankfully, it would appear Symphonia's world is populated with cat lovers, as they embrace the mysterious nature of Katz with open arms. Just look at how touched they are when they help rebuild Luin! 


6. Cat Goomba (Super Mario 3D World)

I'm sorry, I know Cat Toad is the cutest of Super Mario 3D World's catfolk, but in my heart I know Cat Goomba is the greatest of them all. They're not just cute; their newfound jumping prowess is so fearsome that even Luigi is too panicked to fight back! 


...But that's just Luigi; actually, if he musters up the courage to fight back, he'll discover they're still defeated in one stomp. But they still try hard with their new feline persona, and that melts my heart enough to make me want one of my own. Seriously, why haven't they made a Cat Goomba plushie yet? 


5. Jibanyan (Yo-Kai Watch)


Paws of Fury! Jibanyan, the mascot of Level 5's Yo-Kai Watch series, is one of the first ghostly Yo-Kai you'll come across. A fire-breathing, two-tailed kitty, Jibanyan was once a cat named Rudy in a past life, until he was fatally run over by a truck. But a kitty's grudge runs deep; even now, he tries to challenge the truck that killed him, but fails every time. Why exactly does he go to such lengths? I'd tell you, but I'm getting chocked up just thinking about it...


Yo-Kai Watch has been gradually gaining momentum since it launched in Western territories last year, but apparent reports of its slowing down in Japan have dispelled any notions of Jibanyan taking down Pikachu. Whatever the case, I just can't get enough of his dancing animation while charging his Soultimate. It's so purrfectly adorable. 


4. Tangy (Animal Crossing)

Is there any cat in all of Animal Crossing more fascinating than Tangy? As much as I remain amused by Rover's stalking train hopping, all it takes is one look at Tangy's head to start asking questions. What's with all pores? The leaf sprouting between her ears? Was she actually born as a half-cat, half-orange hybrid, or was it plastic surgery gone horribly, horribly wrong?


I realize I'm asking this in a series where villagers can be robot frogs and mummy dogs, but those have logical answers: Ribbot was just built that way, and Lucky might've had a terrible accident. We get no such answer from Tangy, but in any case, she might want to watch out: villagers with the "lazy" personality are known to get pretty hungry, reeOWR.


3. King Tom (Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch)


That's Your Meowjesty, to you! Reigning over the province of Ding Dong Dell, this third-person-speaking cat was a great wizard in his heyday, but you wouldn't know it when we first meet him. Indeed, he's one of the many Other World residents who's fallen under Shadar's Brokenhearted spell, and so we first encounter him lounging about lazily in his throne room. Typical for a housecat, but not so much for a king. It's not until Oliver and Drippy cure his broken heart that he repays his debt by handing Oliver his old wand, setting his first real step as a full-fledged wizard.


By the way, they say every Other World denizen has a soulmate in the Real World, like two sides of the same coin. Could Oliver know King Tom's counterpart back in Motorville? Possible, but as seen above, Ding Dong Dell has something of a rat problem, so it's best not to linger on that...or is it?


2. The Cat Who Swims on the Ground (EarthBound Beginnings)


Ninten meets a number of enigmatic figures in the mystical Magicant, be it evil tree stumps, a legendary bard, a forgotten man...and yes, swimming cats. You can spot a couple swimming in the enchanted realm's waters, but it's The Cat Who Swims on the Ground that captivates us. Just how did it master the art of swimming through Magicant's cloudy landscape, and is it as blissful as it looks?


Even more impressive is how it can swim with only one paw above the ground, and so it engages Ninten in a guessing game: what does it have in the paw below? Rumors say it'll only give a prize to a girl, though. 


1. Palicoes (Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate)

The Felynes of Monster Hunter have never been afraid to hunt down meownsters, but their role as Palicoes in last year's Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate touched our hearts. Palicoes accompany the player right from the beginning, and can be customized with a wide variety of weapons and costumes. There's nothing quite as cathartic as being accompanied by a talking, fighting cat while on the prowl.

Oh, did I mention the existence of Sunset Isle, a Palico paradise where Felynes can engage in mini-games? Best of all: they can equip armor borrowed from famous video game characters via DLC. I mean, let's face it: who doesn't love dressing up their cats?


Last year, we had not one, but two Top 10 dog lists here at GameSkinny. To balance things out, here's a list featuring gaming's very best of what's really the greatest animal out there: cats, the stars of YouTube videos and meme images all across the internet.


And you can forget posers like Big the Cat or Bubsy the Bobcat; we're going to discuss the true feline stars of gaming. Who ranks among the greatest of gaming cats? The cutest? The fuzziest? The weirdest? Join us to see which cantankerous kitties made the cut.

Top 5 most adorable NPCS Fri, 08 Apr 2016 06:03:07 -0400 Cresta Starr


1. Palicos

Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate

There have been many iterations of these adorable cat-like creatures throughout the Monster Hunter franchise. The latest version of these human-like cat creatures are called Palicos, and they are just as cute as they are fearsome. While you cannot play as these purrfect little creatures, they will fight for you. You can even dress them up in different costumes from other popular video games that have different powers. What's not to love?


Is your favorite adorable NPC missing? Or did you find a new one to love? Leave your comments below and let us know what you think!


2. Poros

League of Legends

These furry little snow ball creatures first made their appearance back 2013, when Riot Games introduced Summoners to the Howling Abyss. When asked where did Poros come from, Riot Games had this to say:


"We wanted to create something furry that looked like it could survive through harsh weather, so RiotEarp looked to mountain goats, reindeer, and polar bears for inspiration. He sketched the initial poro concept art based on a cuter version of all of those things and we ran with it!"


And ran with it they did. Players can even feed these furry little critters -- but be careful not to feed them too much, because they will explode in to more Poros!


3. Carbuncle

Final Fantasy XV

We have yet another Final Fantasy NPC on our list. This time, it's Carbuncle from the upcoming Final Fantasy XV. In the playable demo, players get to play young Noctis as Carbuncle helps guide them through a dream. With a similar appearance to a Fennec fox, this adorable little guy is sure to melt our heart once Final Fantasy XV becomes available to play.


4. Chao

Sonic the Hedgehog Series

These fun little creatures made their first appearance in Sonic Adventure back in 1998. These guys take on the role of your pet, where you can do a lot of fun and cool things with them. Players can raise them like their own, and even enter them in special races for fun.


5. Moogles

Final Fantasy franchise

Starting off at the top of the list are Moogles from the Final Fantasy franchise. There have been many versions of Moogles though out the Final Fantasy series. However, the most notable Moogle looks like a white teddy bear, has a giant red pom on its head, and tiny bat wings. Moogles come in at Number 5, because in Final Fantasy VI you could play as a Moogle. So not completely an NPC after all.


NPCs, or non-playable characters, can be found all thoughout the video game world. An NPC is any character you encounter and interact with in any video game who is not controlled by other human players -- they are generated and controlled by the game. Most NPCs are neutral, while others my try to harm or help you.


Many NPCs are just normal-looking folks. But some of them can be just so darn cute. We're going to talk about the most adorable ones across many games -- so get ready to "squee" and go "awwwhh", because here we go.

The state of RPGs in 2015 Fri, 04 Dec 2015 15:31:16 -0500 Ty Arthur

We've reached the end of another year, and it's time to take stock of what's come to pass and what's on the horizon in the world of role playing games. Although several of the biggest names didn't get sequels, 2015 was still a stellar year overall for RPGs – so long as you knew where to look. The best entries frequently weren't the AAA titles.

Recapping a full year's worth of games is a difficult proposition, and its made more challenging when considering just where the boundaries of the genre really sit. Unlike some genres, like first person shooters, RPGs cover a much wider range of play styles and tend to tweak their formulas more often. Take the reboot of King's Quest, for instance -- it might be primarily an adventure game, but there's a compelling argument there that it also lands in RPG territory, especially considering the series' history.

Things get more complicated when you thrown in strategy games. Are Blackguards 2, Sorcerer King, and Age Of Wonders III out of the running entirely, or are they RPGs that happen to use turned-based or real-time strategy as their core mechanic? Let's not forget Bloodborne, which is more an action game than an RPG, but seems to lean into role-playing through its setting and character stats.

RPG, or turn-based strategy in a fantasy setting?

Where to draw the line is an interesting topic on it's own, but for our purposes we're going to stick primarily to titles that are solidly RPGs in the classic sense of the term, with only a few forays into gray territory.

The Biggest RPG Disappointments Of 2015

In a full year's worth of releases there will always be duds, but thankfully this year was filled mostly with worthy entries that are genuinely worth playing. In fact, one of the major letdowns was simply a release that didn't appear when it was originally projected to land. Persona 5 was sadly pushed back (we really should be playing that right now), but is slated to drop in the summer of 2016.

The biggest RPG disappointment of the year took a classic role playing formula and dumbed it down into a hack-and-slash click fest with only minor DM tools: Sword Coast Legends.

D&D has been missing from the single player or co-op arena for a long time, and it's return wasn't groundbreaking by any stretch of the imagination. Garnering mixed reviews at steam and a metacritic score of 61, its clear this isn't Baldur's Gate. Hell, this isn't even Neverwinter Nights.

This is not the 5th edition game you are looking for

The Biggest RPG Releases Of 2015

Welcome home indeed! After years of delays and waiting in silence with no official info dropping until the 11th hour, the biggest RPG of the year (and probably most anticipated game of any genre) arrived in November. There were tweaks to the formula that make it possible to play the game more like a shooter, but Fallout 4 still remains pretty solidly in RPG territory.

Between the settlement building, weapon and armor crafting, side quests, and main story, you could easily sink hundreds of hours into the post apocalyptic wasteland. Granted, there are problems – graphical glitches and bugs abound this close to launch, as is expected from Bethesda at this point – but the Metacritic score of 84 speaks of a game that is remaining competitive even if there were disappointments.

Welcome Home Vault Dweller!

Continuing to bring in heaps of praise and with a whopping 92 metacritic score, The Witcher 3 is the surprise hit of the year. It's been a wild ride for this series, going from a niche PC RPG by a little-known European developer to a huge phenomena that reaches its crescendo in the third installment. The graphics are fabulous, the gameplay is solid, and a steady stream of DLC keeps massively expanding the game so you never have to stop playing.

There's also something to be said about the Witcher series giving us what Bioware's RPG romances have typically been too afraid to provide: actual sex scenes with *gasp* nipples and everything! What has got me most hot and bothered about The Witcher 3 though is what comes next – with this title finally released, CD Projekt Red can finish Cyberpunk 2077!

Classic Gameplay And Crowd Funding In 2015

It can't be overstated: crowd funding has changed the gaming landscape. We're getting a sequel to Planescape: Torment next year, and that's entirely due to crowd funding. Publishers and middle men are getting cut out entirely, and the consumers are putting their money into the projects they actually want to get made.

As it turns out, quite a bit of what RPG fans want involves returning to classic gameplay, as was clearly shown with Pillars of Eternity. While some were disappointed in the end product, it's the vast majority loved seeing the Infinity Engine games get a modern day overhaul, because this title sits at a solid 89 metacritic score. Honestly I couldn't have been more happy when I first booted up Pillars: it was somehow 1998 all over again and I was kid spending a silly amount of time exploring every last inch of Baldur's Gate once more.

Obsidian took us back to a classic era with this one

More importantly, the game brought me back to the oddity of Planescape: Torment's companions. The banter between Durance – a priest who hates his goddess – and Eder – whose god was killed by Durance - are imminently enjoyable. And that's just the beginning. The unexpected themes of atheism versus faith were a welcome change to the typical RPG storyline, and there were much more mature themes than what you'd typically see (due in no small part to cutting out D&D and Wizards of the Coast, who don't want anything even remotely close to passing a PG-13 rating).

There were some complex morality issues to be found in there as well, with unexpected consequences for your actions. I particularly enjoyed how siding against the evil tyrant could result in everyone in the area being slaughtered by undead, while helping to subjugate the peasants actually led to peace and harmony down the road.

On the heels of Pillars came another classic reinterpretation of an old school gem: Shadowrun Hong Kong was just dripping with atmosphere and upped the ante from the already stellar Shadowrun: Dragonfall. Starting out as an Asian cop movie with two siblings on opposite sides of the law, this third iteration in Harebrained Scheme's adaptions of the classic pen-and-paper RPG goes some crazy places. It all gets grounded back in reality at the end though, as your world-saving anti-heroes are reminded that if people can survive the resurgence of magic and dragon attacks, then they wouldn't mind one particular town getting taken over by an evil demon goddess.

Harebrained Schemes will be quite busy for the next couple of years after successfully kickstarting a Battletech game. But honestly, these guys need to do an Earthdawn RPG one day. That's the one FASA pen-and-paper title to never get its just due in the PC realm.

Where man meets magic and machine: and Asian cops and demon gods

While Pillars and Shadowrun were the most visible old school games, there were plenty more than went under the radar and are worth investigating -- like the early access UnderRail, which continues in the style of the original Fallout games. If you dig party-based, isometric RPGs, you will want to take a gander at Serpent In The Staglands. For those who like lots of dialog and turn-based gameplay, don't forget that The Age Of Decadence just dropped back in October.

Earlier Games Updated With New Formats In 2015

It wasn't just entirely new games that generated buzz this year, as plenty of games – both old and relatively recent – got facelifts and saw new editions land in 2015. Two of the biggest came to games created through the power of crowd funding. Wasteland 2 and Divinity: Original Sin (two very different takes on the RPG genre) were both overhauled and re-released in updated versions, with graphical improvements and plenty of gameplay tweaks that changed them to the point of nearly being new games.

Previous owners got the new version for free to boot!

The Final Fantasy series has always lagged behind in terms of PC releases, with consoles getting all the love and the PC master race only getting occasional scraps years after the fact. One of those scraps finally arrived in 2015 ,as the 3D version of Final Fantasy 4: The After Years landed on Steam, letting anyone without a Wii get to experience the direct follow-up to the classic Final Fantasy 4 story.

Beyond just PC or console, the Final Fantasy series likes to toy with North American fans and give Japanese players all the love first. The 2011 title Final Fantasy Type-0 just arrived on North American consoles back in May and on Steam later in the summer. The wait may have been too long though, as reviews are definitely mixed, with a metacritic score of 72 for this HD rendition of the aging game.

Better late than never?

Not to be left out, the much loved creature-raising series Monster Hunter saw a late North American release in 2015, as Monster Hunter 4 arrived in its “Ultimate Edition” for the 3DS early in the year (after being out in Japan since 2013). Handheld fans are clearly digging this one despite the length of time they were required to wait, as reviews are mostly positive and hover around 86%.

The Many RPG Sequels Of 2015

Outside the big name titles, returns to classic gameplay, and re-releases of old games, 2015 was a year heavy on sequels when it came to RPGs. One that's had everyone waiting with baited breath lands this week at the tail end of the year, with a new entry in the Xeno series arriving to prop up the struggling Wii U. There really aren't that many RPGs at all for that particular console, so the launch of Xenoblade Chronicles X stateside is a breath of fresh air for anyone in need of a role playing fix.

The dungeon crawling crowd got not only two sequels in one, but also a surprise crossover on the 3DS in April when Etrian Mystery Dungeon launched. Make sure to stock up on healing items if you plan on delving into ever-deeper levels of dungeoneering in this one, because the addition of rogue-like elements makes it a lot more unforgiving!

The anime-based Sword Art Online: Lost Song also launched this year, taking the series to a different game world and putting a heavier focus on both action combat and hardcore level grinding. Another grinder that show how very different two RPGs can be is Disagea 5, where Sony let gamers play as the bad guys and put them in control of a demon army that seems more focused on slapstick humor than damning any souls.

Who said demon princes can't be comedians?

Significantly beating out Disagea in the longevity department, the Tales franchise got a new entry as the year is closing out with Tales of Zestiria, which again mixes 3D action combat with classic RPG gameplay. As usual this entry is a mixed bag, featuring a lackluster story and humor that sometimes works and sometimes falls flat, but if you liked any of the previous Tales games, this one will keep you hooked on the combat.

The Forecast for 2016

While 2015 was a solid balance of old school charm and slick, next generation games, the coming year is currently slanting more towards the bigger releases with hyper polished effects. Final Fantasy XV will of course dominate, although it remains to be seen if SquareEnix is ready to actually recover from the fiasco that was the FF13 and its spin offs and deliver something worth playing in the single player department again.

Titles in the Mass Effect and Deus Ex franchises will keep sci-fi roleplayers covered, along with Technomancer, an upcoming game set on Mars that is looking very interesting indeed. 

Just because the big name developers and AAA titles are on the rise next year doesn't mean you should discount the indie titles or throwbacks to an earlier generation of RPGs though! There's not a PC RPG fan around who isn't waiting with baited breath to see if Torment: Tides Of Numenera can live up to the hype of its predecessor, while Project Setsuna sees Square Enix returning to its roots and focusing on its strengths with a SNES style offering.

In a move no one expected, there's also an actual Baldur's Gate title coming, as Beamdog studio gives us an expansion/sequel using the exact same engine and assets titled Baldur's Gate: Siege of Dragonspear.

Get ready for this one to get weird!

Want a full list of what's coming soon you should be saving your money for? Check out our complete look at the most anticipated RPGs of 2016 here, as well as our examination of the coming year's MMOs, which feature more than a few RPGs in their ranks.

What did you think of the RPG offerings throughout 2015, and what were your favorite games/biggest disappointments? Share with us in the comments! 

Seregios Tips and Tricks: A guide to hunting Seregios Thu, 27 Aug 2015 06:45:44 -0400 Zach Stratton

Seregios, or “Steve the flying pinecone dragon” as he is more affectionately known, is easily one of the cooler monsters in Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate. Not only is the design of monster excellent, the gear crafted from his parts is powerful as well.

I think you'll see the similarities.

His High-rank and G-rank armor sets are two of the best (non-elder dragon) sets in the game and his weapons have great sharpness and high raw damage. Additionally, the Seregios weapon series has a neat ability: the weapon sharpens itself when you evade. For certain play styles, this could mean you never have to sharpen again.

Hunting Steve

However, some players find that he is a difficult monster to hunt. The major issue is that Steve is very fast and he likes to jump around a lot. He also inflicts a unique status affect: bleeding. If you get hit by one of his scale or claw attacks, he will inflict this status on you. Bleeding causes you to lose health when you evade, sprint, or attack.

There are only three ways to cure bleeding: chowing down on a Well-Done Steak, eating some Mosswine Jerky, or crouching for a bit and taking a rest. You can also avoid bleeding by evading away from the third explosion after getting hit by a scale.

The biggest tip a seasoned hunter can give for hunting Seregios is to focus on his legs and belly. For some reason, Seregios appears to be very easy to trip and focusing on his legs will give you many opportunities to trip him up and land some free hits on his head or tail. Just be sure to avoid his raking claw attack when you are underneath him; this is one of the attacks that causes bleeding!

Fortunately, Steve has many tells that you can watch for to help avoid his attacks. The photos below will help show some of his attacks.

 A powerful wide area sweeping attack. He always does this twice in a row.


 A raking claw attack that causes bleeding. He will do this with both legs, usually twice. 

A projectile scale attack that can cause bleeding. If you get hit, start evading immediately and you might be able to avoid the bleeding status. 

A projectile tail attack that can also cause bleeding.

As always, try to hunt Steve in large groups, but if you have to solo him, remember the above advice, stay underneath him and whack those legs.

Breaking Steve

When hunting Steve, there are four parts to break or sever: the head and horn, his wings, his claws, and his tail. These all give different loot, so be sure to break as many of them as you can to maximize your chance of getting rare and valuable drops.

Broken head. Gives "Seregios Breacher"

Broken wing. Gives "Scraper," "Airblade," or "Slavescale"

Broken claws. Gives "Carver"

Severed tail. Gives "Impaler," "Slavescale," or "Dissenter"

Where to Hunt Steve

There are a few quests where you can hunt Steve easily. These are listed below. Seregios can also be found on Guild Quests. Lastly, he also appears on a few Event DLC quests, including the popular “USJ: A Colorful Feast” quest.

Caravan Quests

  • 9: Dance of a Thousand Blades (High Rank)
  • 9: An Omen in the Skies (High Rank)
  • 10: Advanced: Prickly Pair (High Rank)
  • 10: 1000 Shimmering Swords (G Rank)

Guild Hall Quests

  • 9: Seer of Swords (G Rank)
  • 9: Out for the Count (G Rank)
  • 9: Rival Clash (G Rank)
  • 10: Advanced: The Scathing Shore (G Rank)

Event Quests

  • Episodic Quest: Bonus: A Bigger Boat
  • 6: Super Sonic Seregios
  • G2: USJ: A Colorful Feast
Crafting and Weapons

Seregios armor, or Regios armor series, is incredibly popular due to the skills it grants, high defense, and its aesthetic value. Online, you will notice quite a few people who are wearing this excellent armor.

Blademaster: High rank gives Constituition +2, Mind's Eye, and Negate Bleeding. G Rank gives Constitution +2, Edge Lore, and Negate Bleeding

Gunner: High rank gives Constitution +2, Recoil Down +1, and Negate Bleeding. G Rank gives Constitution +2, Recoil Down +1, Normal/Rapid Up, and Negate Bleeding.

The "Seditious" weapons have good sharpness, very high raw damage, and the neat little gimmick of self-sharpening when you evade. When honed for attack, Steve weapons can dish out some of the highest raw damage out there. Plus, if you farm for armor, you'll probably have leftovers for the weapons, so it's a win-win!

Good luck!

Hopefully, this little guide helps to get rid of some of the mystery surrounding Seregios and makes future hunts a little easier!

White Fatalis finally lands in the West for Monster Hunter Ultimate Thu, 13 Aug 2015 07:57:01 -0400 Zach Stratton

After a devastatingly long wait for devout Western followers of Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate, the White Fatalis has finally arrived! Every month, Capcom releases free DLC with bonus quests that let players fight rare monsters or craft rare or unique weapons. Included in the August DLC, released last Friday, is a quest to hunt a White Fatalis.

This rare elder dragon has been available in Japan for months, but as of last week he was unavailable to Western players.

OK, But Why the Big Deal?

This dragon is a seriously bad dude. He's the bigger, meaner, and wiser version of the Crimson Fatalis, one of the single player campaign's end bosses. But the challenge he presents is worth the effort. His armor looks awesome.

Aside from looking fantastic (which is approximately 68% of Monster Hunter), the skills the armor yields are incredible as well. Without any kinds of modification or charms, the armor gives:

  • A brutal +28 in Expert (just 2 skill points shy of a +30% critical chance)
  • +10 in Constitution (slows stamina consumption on certain moves)
  • +10 in the ever-desirable Edgemaster (raises weapon sharpness and greatly increases Attack)

As a bonus, the White Fatty armor gives a +7 in Unscathed, which is only 3 skill points away from granting Peak Performance (raises Attack when player's health is full). It does give a -15 in Fate, which sometimes increases damage taken, but you should be able to gem this out with the right talisman.

Want! How to get?

If you want this armor, just complete the newest Episodic Quest. Make sure you have some hunting buddies because White Fatty is no joke.

Happy hunting folks!

Online communities and inclusiveness; just enjoy yourself Thu, 13 Aug 2015 08:11:46 -0400 Zach Stratton

“Git gud skrub.”

This is the phrase that became etched deep in the creases of my brain after I began playing Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate online. While the grammar leaves something to be desired, unfortunately, the sentiment is common across all facets of gamer culture. If you aren’t good enough, get out. The problem, though, is that I am good at MH4U

Sure, I made mistakes, even fainted once or twice, but everyone does. I had completed the single-player campaign and honed the skills I had gained in the series’ previous (Western) installment, Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate. At the very least, I was competent, if not “gud.” 

And yet, here I was, my self-esteem under attack and my significant investment in the game minimized in the very public arena of online multiplayer.

Would I even try to fight this bad boy if I didn't think I was at least decent? I mean, LOOK AT HIM 

So, what does this mean for the every-gamer? The answer is simple and devastating. Judgment is passed immediately, with each player potentially acting as his or her own judge, jury, and ill-spoken executioner. For those of us who don’t meet a particular player’s rubric, this can lead to a form of social anxiety, stopping otherwise enthusiastic players from fully enjoying their game of choice.

A Marketplace of Multiplayer

This is especially pertinent in today’s game market, where almost every AAA title is marketed as multiplayer first and single player (if it even has a single player mode) a distant second. For years, my gaming experience consisted almost exclusively of single player outings and a few LAN parties. The reason for this was manifold (I’m looking at you, dial-up internet), but the most significant reason was fear of ridicule. 

The idea of being told I wasn’t good enough to play a game that I apparently liked was very scary to a young gamer like myself, deep in the throes of teenage insecurity. As I have aged, I have learned to shrug off such attacks, but it still stings, particularly when I have practiced and practiced, sometimes for hundreds of hours, offline.

Now, understand, I typically do not spend a lot of time online in my games. I much prefer the personal experience of playing offline. But I can say with certainty that there have been games that I wanted to play online (*cough* Halo *cough*), but didn’t because I was afraid. Some games, for reasons I will explore in a later article, foster the atmosphere of “if you aren’t good enough, get out” (*cough* Call of Duty *cough*. I should see a doctor for this cough.) But all online communities have this to one extent or another.

Am I Right?

1. Play. 2. Ignore trolls. 3. ??? 4. Fun!

If you are like me, you want everyone you meet to enjoy games like you do. Games make you happy and offer a temporary escape from an increasingly stressful world. You don’t want to be stressed trying to decide if you are good enough to play online. Unfortunately, the people who make you stressed will not go away and, realistically, will not change. So, what can you do? Try your best and ignore the trolls. Don’t engage them. Play the game because you want to.

Just try to remember that online multiplayer was designed to allow like-minded players to get together and compete in a good-natured arena. “Gitting gud” is a fortunate side effect of having fun, not the reason to play.

New game Monster Hunter Cross coming to Nintendo 3DS Mon, 01 Jun 2015 09:34:06 -0400 JDAtkins

Nintendo Direct often brings with it a small treasure trove of surprises or shock reveals. This year was no different – yesterday Nintendo unveiled the Japanese release date on a shiny new installment to one of their most popular and iconic series, Monster Hunter X (Cross) alongside a dazzling reveal trailer.

The series seems to be attempting to bring a gameplay flair that has become characteristic of the Monster Hunter MMORPG 'Monster Hunter Frontier'. Cross heavily features and emphasizes a sparkly new array of attacks for each weapon, seen in the above video.

Though the gameplay seems to have been given something of an overhaul with some ostentatious and awe-inspiring attacks, Nintendo still made sure give some love to the thing that makes Monster Hunter what it is for so many of it's millions-strong fan-base – the Monsters. Showing off the four beasts that would act as the game's flagship creatures and spearhead the charge against unwitting Hunters still playing around with their flashy new weapons.

A crystalline looking Wyvern, a giant Mammoth, an oversized aquatic themed reptile, and a T-Rex-looking brute that would make any respectable Deviljho turn tail and run. These were the main players of the trailer that also featured a few new, unseen enemies no current details are known about as well as a slew of returning names such as Rathalos, Rathian, Agnaktor, Tigrex, and -much to the behest of many- the Fourth Generation original Najarala.

Don't throw away your copy of Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate just yet, though. Cross isn't scheduled to be out until the cold months of Winter – and that's just in Japan, who knows when and if localization will occur and the West will get their opportunity to venture to the game's setting, Ariou village, as well as the plethora of other villages from past games Nintendo promised would be featured.

Regardless of could-be, would-be or should-be theories that Western fans of the increasingly popular franchise cook up about its overseas release date, one things for sure – the Cross trailer has lit a spark under many Hunters and prompted them to grab their whetstone, sharpen their greatsword and prepare themselves by bashing in a few monster skulls.

The top 5 multiplayer games for 3DS Fri, 29 May 2015 05:46:54 -0400 Michael Slevin

The 3DS has one of the best handheld libraries ever. Fire Emblem: Awakening, Pokémon XY/ORAS, and my personal favorite, The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds, among plenty other great games.

But out of the wonderful 3DS library, what are the best multiplayer games? Here are what I think are the five best (in no particular order).

1. Pokémon XY/ORAS

You need to have Pokémon if you own a 3DS. There is no better feeling than combing through the Pokédex, assembling your team, and battling your friends to decide who the real Pokémon master is. Online and local wireless play are available, providing one of the best multiplayer experiences the Nintendo 3DS has to offer.

2. Animal Crossing: New Leaf

Animal Crossing: New Leaf is perhaps the most addicting game I've ever played. Playing as the mayor of your town, you get to build a unique town through public works projects and town ordinances.

What makes the multiplayer so great is that you can visit your friend's town via local wireless. Plus you can check out each other's houses, providing a very personal touch.

3. Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate

Ahhh the thrill of the hunt. The name is in the title! You get to go out with other hunters and take down incredible beasts, earning materials to forge new weapons and armor. Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate is actually the first handheld title in the series to offer online multiplayer, with previous games on PSP and 3DS only offering local multiplayer.

[Related: Check out GameSkinny's Monster Hunter 4 Guides]

4. Super Smash Bros. for 3DS

This one is a no-brainer. It is Super Smash Bros. for 3DS, the game in which beloved Nintendo characters duke it out on classic Nintendo stages. Local and online multiplayer are available, but if I could make a recommendation, there is nothing like four grown men or women sitting in a room together screaming simultaneously while playing Smash Bros.

5. Mario Kart 7

Our fifth game is another Nintendo multiplayer classic. Mario Kart 7 offers so many ways to play, including local multiplayer if each person owns the cartridge, as well as online multiplayer.

But wait, there is more! Mario Kart 7 also offers download play, meaning that your friend does not even need to own the game to play with you locally, just so long as they own a 3DS system.

So, that wraps my list up. I know for a fact that I missed several great multiplayer experiences available on 3DS, so let me know in the comments what you think of my list, as well as what games I missed.

Legend of Zelda Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate DLC Fri, 06 Mar 2015 19:45:53 -0500 TumsST

Fans of Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate and the Legend of Zelda will be happy with the announcement that downloadable content will be coming to the game. Nintendo crossovers and Monster Hunter go hand-in-hand with the likes of Super Mario and Metroid. Monster Hunter is a franchise that lends itself very well to the cross over realm.

The DLC gives you the ability to fight with some of the same weapons that the hero of time, Link, uses. Being able to fight with the Master Sword or the Gale Boomerang just feels right in the Monster Hunter series. You already fight with similar weapons, so it only feels natural to fight with said Master Sword. You'll get your hands on new quests, as well, so the game doesn't get that stale feeling.

In the past, Nintendo has stated that they want to expand their brand, and what better way to get more people talking about one of the golden franchises, the Legend of Zelda, than to give another up-and-coming franchise, Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate, Zelda DLC. It's taking Nintendo some time to learn how to do this DLC thing, but it looks like they're finally getting it.

First Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate DLC Set For March 6th Sun, 01 Mar 2015 05:49:55 -0500 Ryan Mayle

Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate for the Nintendo 3DS has only been out for a couple weeks, and it looks like we will soon get to see the first wave of DLC for the game. The first set of content you can get in Monster Hunter will be available March 6th. This DLC gives you the ability to create Legend of Zelda themed items to make yourself look like Link. These items include armor sets, a sword and shield, and a bow.

This isn't the only content that will be available for download, as Capcom representatives spoke on IGN's Nintendo Voice Chat about the future of Monster Hunter. They intend to provide content patches on the first Friday of every month, starting March 6th. On top of this steady stream of content that will be released, they also mentioned that each DLC released will be for free.

If you haven't had the opportunity to scour the internet to see what DLC Japan has for Monster Hunter, we will get a huge stream of different content crossovers, such as hunter gear modeled after Samus Aran. They also have more planned for Palico's, such as costumes from Devil May Cry, Sonic the Hedgehog, MegaMan, and Street Fighter.

Nintendo's Going To PAX East! Fri, 27 Feb 2015 18:20:31 -0500 TumsST

In the first week of March, there will be more than just a ton of snow in Boston as video gamers will venture into the city for this year's PAX East. Nintendo will be joining the masses in Bean town to show off their new 3DS as well as up-and-coming games like Splatoon and Code Name S.T.E.A.M. Showgoers will be able to give the New 3DS a test run if they haven't already gotten their hands on one. Nintendo recently went to the first PAX South in Texas to show off the New 3DS as well as Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate and the Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask 3D which was a huge success.

PAX East has become one of the bigger game shows/conventions in the United States. Nintendo always wants to give the fans at the show something memorable as well as the latest products to try. It should be interesting to see how the E3 build of Splatoon and what is shown at PAX East differ. This demo will go a long way in showing what to expect from the game and if the game will be ready on time. PAX East will be the first time many gamers will get to play Splatoon and they will be in for a real treat. It's Nintendo's answer to the shooter genre and plays/feels like a Nintendo game. There are ink grenades that blow up as well as giant ink rollers that cover the ground in ink in this capture the flag/cover as much land as possible game.

To all the PAX East showgoers have fun and enjoy!

Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate Guide: Lance Tips Thu, 26 Feb 2015 09:36:56 -0500 Synzer

The Lance in Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate has simple attacks, but the best shield in the game (tied with Gunlance). You won't be doing many flashy attacks, but you'll be able to stay in a monster's face and take hits like a boss.

The Lance is a precision weapon and there are two different methods of using it, Guard Lancing and Evade Lancing. I'll go over the basics, the difference between the two styles, and more.

Go to my Guide Directory for more guides and tips for Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate.

This guide will go over using the Lance including:

  • Basic Controls - The basics on using the Lance.
  • Guard Lancing vs. Evade Lancing - The difference between the two play styles.
  • Extra Tips - More tips to help master the Lance.

Basic Controls

The Lance is a very precise weapon, and that is shown in its combos. Everything comes in 3's and you can mix and match almost anything in 3's.

  • Press X to do a normal thrust attack.
    • You can do this up to 3 times for a combo.
  • Press A to do a high thrust attack.
    • This is the same as the normal thrust, but it hit towards the sky.
    • You can also do this up to 3 times for a combo.
    • Good for hitting monster heads or flying enemies.
  • Press X + A to do a swipe attack.
    • You can not do 3 of these for a combo like you can with the thrusts.
    • This is used more for smacking than damaging the monster.
  • Hold R to block with your shield.
    • You can move while holding you shield up.
    • If you stand still while guarding and press x, you will do a poke. You can not combo with this attack.
    • Press forward and X to rush forward. This lets you cover ground quickly, and block all attacks in front of you.
    • Press X again after the rush to do a shield strike. This does damage and can stun monsters if you hit their head enough times.
    • Press A while guarding to start a counter strike.
      • If you are hit from the front during this time, you'll automatically counter.
      • Even if you don't get hit, it will do an attack at the end.
  • Press B to evade.
    • This is more important for Lancers than most. 
    • You can evade up to 3 times just like the thrusts.
    • If you evade during or after a thrust combo, you can go right into the combo again.

Guard Lancing vs. Evade Lancing

There are two philosophies to using the Lance. One involves a lot of guarding, and the other involves a lot of evading.

Although both actions are used when Lancing, each style relies heavily on one more than the other.

Guard Lancing

This style revolves around using your shield. You will do a lot of counters, guard rushes, and blocking attacks.

  • This is my preferred style because I love the counter attacks and blocking all damage with my shield.
  • It is very important to get armor with the Guard skill on it.
    • This stops you from getting knocked back and taking damage while guarding.

Evade Lancing

This style uses the evade hops a lot and not so much guarding and countering.

  • Armor with the Evade skill is essential to this style.
    • This gives you a longer invincibility window while evading.

Extra Tips

  • You can use the counter strike in the middle of a combo by pressing R + A.
    • This is great when a monster is going to attack and you can't finish the combo in time.
  • If you do the Guard Rush off a cliff, you'll guard the whole way down.
    • This is great for keeping yourself safe while jumping off ledges.
  • Press R + X + A, or the special attack button on the touch screen, to charge.
    • Press X or A during the charge to stop with a thrust attack.
    • Press B to stop.
    • Press back and X to turn around and attack.
    • Press forward and B to jump during a charge. You'll keep moving after the jump.
    • You can also press X during the jump to attack. This can also mount monsters. 

That's it for my Lance tips. Feel free to visit my Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate Guide Directory for more tips and guides.

Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate Guide: Long Sword Tips Thu, 26 Feb 2015 06:29:51 -0500 Synzer

The Long Sword in Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate is a technical weapon. It is a Japanese Sword and has some pretty cool animations. While playing solo, you can swing away to your heart's content. You have to be very careful in group play because you can trip your teammates very easily.

Long Sword has some of the best evasion in the game, and I'll help you understand how it works. I'll go over the basics and the technical aspects of using the Long Sword.

If you would like help with anything else related to Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate, be sure to visit my Guide Directory.

This guide will go over using the Long Sword including:

  • Basic Controls - Basics on how to use the Long Sword.
  • Spirit Blade - Explanation and tips on using Spirit Blade.
  • Extra Tips - More help to master the weapon.

Basic Controls

  • Pressing X does a downward slash.
    • Press again for a second slash, there is no 3rd hit.
  • Pressing A does a poke.
    • Press X after to do an upward strike, and then X again to do the downward slash.
    • You can also do the poke after any of the downward slash attacks.
  • Press X + A to do an Evade Slash.
    • This does a very wide slash and makes your character jump backward.
    • You can move the circle pad left or right to evade in one of those directions instead.
    • This can also be done after any attack.
    • Press R after an Evade Slash does a wide spinning slash. You can also change the direction of this attack with the circle pad.
    • Press X after the spinning slash to do an upward strike. You cannot combo after this one.
  • Press R to do the Spirit Blade attack.
    • You need energy to do more than the first hit. I'll explain in the next section.

Spirit Blade

In order to do Spirit Blade attacks, you must fill up your Spirit Gauge.

  • You can fill up your Spirit Gauge by landing any normal attack on an enemy.
  • If you fill the bar up, it glows and gives an attack increase.
    • It also makes your attacks less likely to bounce off a monster.
    • The gauge gradually decreases if you don't attack.
  • A full spirit blade combo is 4 attacks. Just press R when you have a near full Spirit Gauge.
    • The first 2 attacks are wide slashes.
    • The 3rd attack is 3 hits, 2 wide slashes, and a downward slash.
    • The last attack is a Spin Slash that sheathes your weapon at the end.
  • Landing the final hit of a spirit blade combo puts you at the next Spirit Gauge level.
    • There are 4 levels, the initial one, white, yellow, and red. The color of the gauge changes if you are successful.
    • Each level increases your damage, but red increases it by a lot.

Extra Tips

  • After doing an Evade Slash, press R to do the upward strike, and then again to start your Spirit Blade at the 3rd attack.
    • Obviously, you must have enough Spirit energy to do this.
  • You do more damage the closer you are to the enemy.
  • If you Press X before the 3rd Spirit Blade attack, you'll do an upward strike.
    • This gives you more Spirit energy if you're low to make sure you have enough to use the final Spirit Blade attack.
  • Be extremely aware of your teammates in group play.
    • There are many wide slashes and they all trip or knock down teammates, especially Lance or Gunlance users.
  • All Long Sword attacks get Super Armor, meaning you won't be interrupted by wind or small attacks.
  • Master the Evade Slash.
    • Practice a lot with the positioning and evading left or right. This is crucial to mastering the weapon.

That wraps up my Long Sword tips for Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate. Let me know if you have any questions or suggestions. Please visit my Guide Directory for more content.

Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate Guide: Greatsword Tips Wed, 25 Feb 2015 19:11:55 -0500 Synzer

The Great Sword is one of the most popular weapons in Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate. At first glance, it feels alike a pretty slow and sluggish weapon. Personally, I like speed, so I left his weapon a lone for a while. After learning the game I went back to it and it isn't that slow if you use it correctly.

Even thought the Great Sword is a great beginner weapon, learning a few tricks will make you a master of it and use even in advanced situations. I'll help you become that master in this guide.

For help with anything else related to Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate, check out my Guide Directory.

This guide will go over using the Great Sword including:

  • Basic Controls - Basics on how to use the Great Sword.
  • Sheath and Charge - Tips on mastering the most important parts of the Great Sword.
  • Extra Tips - More tips to further your expertise with this weapon.

Basic Controls

  • Pressing X does an overhead slash.
    • This has a slow start up, but you can evade after.
    • Pressing X again does a quick poke.
  • Pressing A does a 360 degree swing.
    • It is also slow, but you can evade after.
    • Press X after to do the overhead slash.
  • Press R to block with the Great Sword.
    • This doesn't have good defense and should not be used often.

Sheath and Charge

Since the Great Sword is pretty slow, you'll actually sheath (Press Y to put the weapon away) your weapon quite often.

  • You move faster when your weapon is sheathed.
    • Your draw attack (attack when you take your weapon out) is also faster.

This gives you much more mobility and faster attacking. The majority of the time will be spent using your draw attack, then sheathing the weapon to do it all over again.

The different combos with the charge attacks give you the most damage.

  • Hold X to do a normal charge. It has 3 levels. Each one does more damage.
    • Level 1 - When you glow the first time.
    • Level 2 - When you glow the second time.
    • Level 3 - When you see swirls of white after the second charge. This requires timing.
    • If you hold the 3rd charge too long it will auto-attack and do the Level 2 charge.
  • You cannot move while charging like the Hammer can.
    • You can't evade or block during a charge, but you can release it early if you need to and evade after.
  • If you hit A twice and hold the second hit, you'll do a Super Charge.
    • This is a more powerful charge with a different stance. It also has 3 levels.
    • Pressing A or X after the Super Charge will do a huge swing attack. It has the same power as the level of the Super Charge attack.
    • If you overcharge a Super Charge, you still get the level 3 power.

  • You can also go into a Super Charge by holding back and X after a poke attack.
    • Similarly, you can press X during a guard to kick, press it again to poke, then back and X to do a Super Charge.

Extra Tips

  • The best time to do a charge combo is when the monster is down or stunned.
    • You can attack without fear of retaliation.
  • Fast Sheath, Focus, and Crit Draw are great skills to use with Great Sword.
    • Fast Sheath sheathes your weapon faster.
    • Focus decreases charge time.
    • Crit Draw makes your draw attack 100% critical hit.
  • You can not evade after a Super Charge Swing.
    • There is a slight recovery time after using the swing, so make sure you are safe when doing it.
  • The big swings knocks teammates over.
    • Always be aware of the positions of your teammates when playing with others.

These are all the tips I have for Great Sword, hopefully it helps you master it. Feel free to leave a comment if you have any questions or suggestions. Don't forget to visit my Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate Guide Directory for any other guides.

Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate Guide: Hammer Tips Wed, 25 Feb 2015 10:02:48 -0500 Synzer

The Hammer in Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate does one thing very well, break monster heads. It is simple to use, but difficult to master. The attacks can be slow, but you can stun and break parts of a monster's head with ease. 

Even though the controls are simple, mastering the charge mechanic and combos takes a while. I'll help you get better with the Hammer by giving some tips that are not obvious at first. Please visit my Guide Directory for other weapon guides or anything else related to Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate.

This guide will go over using the Hammer including:

  • Basic Controls - Basic on how the Hammer works.
  • Charging  - Details on the Charge mechanic.
  • Extra Tips - A few extra things to help master the Hammer.

Basic Controls

  • Pressing X does a slam attack.
    • The 3 X combo end with an upward swing that does great damage.
  • Pressing A does a side swipe.
    • This does less damage than the first X hit, but it is faster.
    • It can also be followed by the last 2 hits in the X combo.
  • Holding R starts the charge. There are 3 levels of charge.
    • Lv 1 - As soon as you hold R.
    • Lv 2 - When you glow the first time.
    • Lv 3 - When you glow a second time.


Besides bashing a monster's face in with the normal X and A attacks, the main draw of this weapon is the charging and combos you can do with it. You can also move while charging, one of the most important parts of using this weapon.

  • Level 1 charge won't be used much, focus more on 2 and 3.
  • Level 2 charge while standing still, does an uppercut.
    • You can follow this up with an X combo.
    • When you do this charge, the first hit will always be a side swipe, regardless of which button you press.
    • It ends with the last 2 hits of the X combo as long as you keep hitting X.
  • Level 2 charge while moving does the same thing, but also pushes you forward before doing it.
    • This is great for closing distance.
  • Level 3 Charge while standing still does a huge slam attack.
    • This does massive damage and has a big delay at the end, but you can evade to cancel the end animation.

  • Level 3 Charge while moving does a multiple hit swinging attack.
    • This spins your character, and the Hammer, around for a while.
    • You can press X within the first 1-3 hits to do an upward swing.
    • Press X during hits 4-6 to do a bigger version of it.

Most attacks let you go right into a charge after it. The first X hit does not.

Extra Tips

  • You can climb and jump off ledges while charging.
    • You can also do jump attacks at different charge levels.
  • You get super armor while doing the X combos.
    • If you start with X, it ends after the second hit.
    • If you start with A, you get it until the last move.
  • Although the charging does massive damage and looks cool, a simple X combo on a monster's head is the best to do when they are downed.
    • The charging attacks don't do as much damage overall to a downed monster as an X combo does.
  • Always aim for the head.
    • The best reason to use the hammer is the stun.
    • It is so easy to stun a monster by using the hammer, making it easy for you and everyone else to take advantage.
  • Be aware of your teammates when playing online.
    • Many of the big swings will send teammates flying.
  • Practice attacking to learn the distances of your attacks.
    • Most Hammer attacks are slow, and you can't afford to miss the monster.
    • This also helps to know if your attack will hit a teammate or not.

That's it for my Hammer tips. Don't forget to check my Guide Directory for anything else related to Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate.

Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate Guide: Hunting Horn Tips Wed, 25 Feb 2015 06:07:42 -0500 Synzer

The Hunting Horn is a very unique weapon in Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate. It is a weapon that plays different notes when you attack and you can activate up to 4 notes at once to play a "melody." These songs give different buffs. The Hunting Horn takes some getting used to, but it is a great solo and group weapon.

I'm going to break down the Hunting Horn so that you understand the basics, then explain it in detail and gives tips to master it. If you're looking for more guides and tips, please go to my Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate Guide Directory.

This guide will go over using the Hunting Horn including:

  • Basic Controls - Basics on using the Hunting horn.
  • Melodies (Buffs) - What each note means and the melodies they can make.
  • Extra Tips - Mastering combat with the Hunting Horn.

Basic Controls

The Hunting Horn's attacks play notes so it is important to know which note each attack plays. Each horn has 3 different notes.

  • Pressing X plays Note 1 and attacks.
    • Standing still does a wide swing attack.
    • Moving does a slam attack.
    • While standing still you can keep pressing x to switch between the swing and slam attacks.
  • The special attack button on the touch screen does a Hilt stab.
    • It is the only cutting attack and it also plays Note 1.
  • Pressing A plays Note 2 and attacks.
    • Standing still does a high swing attack.
    • Moving does a double swing attack.
    • You can also press any other note button after the first swing to play that note for no extra cost.
  • Pressing X + A plays Note 3 and attacks.
    • Standing still does a slam attack.
    • Moving does a harder slam attack.
  • R performs the Melody.
    • It takes up to the last 4 notes played.

Melodies (Buffs)

There is only one melody that every Hunting Horn has, Movement Up, other than that, you can look at the notes on the horn to see which melodies you can play. They even give you the list of melodies on each horn.

  • When you play a song twice, you get a bonus effect and duration increase.
    • You can also press R during the melody to do an "Encore".
    • This will play the song again to give you the effect without the need to get the notes all over again.
    • Some songs do not have an extra effect or duration increase.
  • All buffs, except Movement Up, go to teammates as well. Below is a table of useful Melodies. Try to get a horn with one of these patterns.


Effect 1Effect 2Melodies
 Movement Speed Up - Increases movement speed. Attack Deflection Prevention - Your attacks won't be deflected.

White + White or

Purple + Purple 

Attack Up - Increases Attack.  Attack Bonus - Increases Attack More.

White + Red + Red,

Purple + Red + Blue + Purple,

Purple + Red + Green + Purple,

Purple + Red + Light Blue + Purple,

Purple + Red + Yellow,

Red + Yellow + Purple,

Yellow + Purple + Red, or Purple + Orange + Orange + Red

Defense Up - Increases Defense.  Defense Bonus - Increases Defense more.

White + Blue + Blue, or

Purple + Blue + Blue + Purple

Negate Stamina Use - Stamina will not decrease as long as this is active. Duration Bonus - Extends the duration of this effect. 

White + Green + Blue,

White + Light Blue + Blue,

White + Yellow + Blue,

Purple + Green + Blue + Green,

Purple + Light Blue + Blue + Light Blue,

Purple + Yellow + Blue, or

Purple + Orange + Blue + Orange

Hearing Protection - Stop flinching when monsters roar. Boost - Increases Small to Large. Has no effect on Large

Light Blue + Light Blue + Red + White,

Light Blue + Light Blue + Green + White

Light Blue + Light Blue + Red + Purple

Light Blue + Light Blue + Green+ Purple

Purple + Yellow + Orange + Yellow


Extra Tips

  • Remember the important melodies on your weapon, so you don't need to keep looking them up. 
    • You don't need to play every melody, just the useful ones.
  • Make different Hunting Horns for different situations.
    • You can't get every boost on one horn, so make a few and take whichever one is best for the fight.
  • Keep Movement Up on at all times.
    • You move slow normally, so you need to keep this buff up.
  • Evade after playing the Melody.
    • Once you get the buff, you can evade to stop the animation.

That wraps up my Hunting Horn tips. Let me know if you have any questions or think of any other helpful melodies. Be sure to check out my Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate Guide Directory for more guides and tips.