Monster Hunter has a repute for its large weapons; the comically outsized nice sword is simply the collection’ most well-known monster-killing instrument. The collection additionally has complicated weapons, just like the cost blade or the insect glaive.

But Monster Hunter’s weirdest weapon is the hunting horn and, after going by way of some main adjustments from earlier video games, it’s now my favourite of Rise’s 14 weapons.

What is the hunting horn?

The hunting horn is precisely what it seems like: an enormous horn used to beat monsters mindless. But the horn additionally has a distinct performance: As I wail on monsters with my standard combos, I add notes to what is primarily sheet music on the prime of my display.

In Rise, every word correlates with a selected buff distinctive to every horn, like elevated assault energy or earplugs that stop the monster from startling you with its roar. Here’s an instance of the way it works: Tapping the A button launches an assault that hits the monster and logs a pink word in my sheet music bar. If I hit A twice in a row, I’ll log two pink notes again to again and activate a buff. Different buttons are mapped to totally different assaults, every of which has their very own buff if performed again to again. I might repeat this identical course of utilizing X or X+A to carry out totally different assaults and activate totally different buffs.

A brand new tune

The hunting horn from Monster Hunter Rise

Image: Capcom by way of Polygon

Before Rise, the hunting horn was identified for being a distinct segment and comparatively unpopular weapon outdoors of a completely devoted group of gamers, and it’s usually been regarded as a “support only” weapon.

There’s no scientific checklist of weapon rankings, however old Straw Polls and information amassing makes an attempt concerning common weapons in Monster Hunter: World and its enlargement, Iceborne, didn’t provide favorable rankings for the hunting horn. Many gamers positioned the hunting horn very low on their weapon rating checklist in World, with a minimum of one ballot displaying only 1% of voters had chosen the horn as their favourite weapon. Even Arekkz, one of many biggest and best YouTubers covering the series, known as the hunting horn “one of the best weapons that you’re not using” in his Monster Hunter: World tutorial for the weapon.

But in quite a few polls I’ve seen asking gamers what they plan to play in Rise including one with over 2,500 votes from the Monster Hunter subreddit — the hunting horn is primary. Why?

There have all the time been diehard followers of the hunting horn, nevertheless it was all the time a bit clunky, a bit difficult, and sidelined by being a “support weapon.” With Rise, Capcom took a number of the complexity out — gamers used to have to mix totally different notes into a selected “song” combo earlier than they may activate any buffs — and distilled the hunting horn right down to its core identification: a musical instrument that additionally works as a bludgeon, buffing gamers whereas damaging monsters. And now it excels in that job even with no full social gathering of hunters.

A noisier bludgeon

I made a decision to place down my trusty hammer to check out the brand new hotness after listening to all of the hunting horn buzz from the Monster Hunter Rise demo — and I not often ever put it again down. I’ve hunted every of Monster Hunter Rise’s monsters a number of instances, all fully solo, and I’ve used the hunting horn for nearly all of them, together with the ultimate boss. I by no means fought a monster I couldn’t defeat utilizing the hunting horn, and I’ve not often had as a lot enjoyable with my lengthy sword, hammer, or swap axe.

In Rise, Capcom added a brand new triple buff combo known as the Magnificent Trio that may solely be used after inserting a pink, blue, and inexperienced word on the sheet music menu without delay — by hitting A, A, X, X+A in a row, for instance. By utilizing a normal combo just like the one above, you not solely allow your self to make use of this tremendous highly effective transfer, you additionally re-up your A word buff with out a lot threat. Once you’ve activated the Magnificent Trio, you’ll be able to retailer it eternally, even after you’ve moved on to different combos or began combating a distinct monster.

Activating this Magnificent Trio conjures up my hunter to carry out a bunch of flips and gyrations, enjoying music and dealing a ton of harm throughout the monster. And when the transfer finishes, it performs all of my buffs without delay. If that wasn’t cool sufficient, dealing sufficient harm with the hunting horn lets me improve Magnificent Trio with an assault the place I spin my horn on the bottom, dealing main harm to monsters with my candy tunes, rising all of my harm for a number of seconds, and looking out cool as hell doing it.

Rise’s sport director, Yasunori Ichinose, advised Polygon in an e mail interview that he wished to “make a drastic change to ensure the [hunting horn’s] musical performances during combat were more immediate and impactful.” Ichinose succeeded, and with the suite of latest combos listed above, the hunting horn is deadlier than ever.

The buffs are useful, however they aren’t every little thing I really like about my hunting horn. I additionally adore the bizarre manner my hunter strikes with the combos, the vary the horn presents over the hammer, and the distinctive positioning I want for the horn. If I’m actively attempting to place notes on the bar, I’ll keep to the facet of the monster for a fast escape. But if I’m attempting to arrange my Magnificent Trio, I’ll transfer below the monster to maximise my harm. My combos aren’t lengthy or exhausting to recollect, however I all the time keep engaged whereas wielding the hunting horn.

If different gamers are in my hunt to get my buffs, that’s nice, however whereas they’re standing there jamming to my tunes, I’ll be single-handedly wrangling the monster with my favourite weapon.