Monster Hunter Rise, one of Paste’s favorite games of 2021, launched on the Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5 last week, bringing an influx of new players to the game. When going to the in-game blacksmith, many of these new hunters will inevitably be drawn to the Defender weapons. They shouldn’t. Here’s why.
The Defender weapons are an archetype of weapons that debuted in Monster Hunter World. The purpose of the weapons is to make progression through the main game faster so that players can get to the DLC content as soon as possible. To this end, the weapons are much stronger than the other weapons available at the beginning of the game and are easily crafted with a single bone pile.
For experienced veterans trying to get another character through Low Rank fast, the Defender weapons are a godsend. But for new players, it would be wise to consider other weapons—weapons that actually help them learn the tactics and strategies they’ll need to succeed later in the game.
The core gameplay loop of the franchise revolves around killing monsters to craft weapons and armor to kill bigger, stronger monsters ad infinitum. This is much easier said than done in a lot of cases due to the sheer brutality of some of the attack patterns players will have to learn throughout their various hunts, which can take up to 50 minutes at their most extreme. At its core, Monster Hunter is a game about learning and exploiting patterns, weaving in attacks at the perfect time and old-fashioned trial-and-error.
The Defender weapons promptly break this delicate balancing act into a million little pieces by trivializing Low Rank, which is when the game is at its most lenient. Instead of preparing players for intricate patterns and forcing them to learn the fundamentals, the Defender gear allows players to rush through that content with reckless abandon due to the sheer damage output. This will leave many with a rude awakening when they hit the higher ranks and the damage output alone will not be enough to carry them without the countless hours of fundamentals they missed out on.
The other big issue with using these weapons is the lack of materials that diehard users of the Defender gear will probably end up with. Refighting monsters to get materials to craft their weapons is another aspect of the core gameplay loop. But if all the weapons are worse, there’s no need to craft anything new, so players may find themselves with a crippling lack of materials required to craft some of the higher-ranked gear going into the game’s later content.
Oddly enough, the DLC Sunbreak isn’t even out on the two new platforms so it makes the Defender weapons’ inclusion slightly bizarre as they aren’t even there to serve their intended purposes. New players should consider avoiding these weapons so they can avoid setting themselves up for inevitable failure when they reach the late-game content.
Monster Hunter Rise is now available on Xbox Game Pass and PS5. Sunbreak will arrive sometime in the spring.
Desmond Leake is an intern for Paste’s games section.