Please note: all credit goes to アンジェル !
Many of the other posts are already expressing what I would think too, so here you have a different approach in form how I see each weapon for beginners.
Summary would be: pick what you feel as good for you, with Sword & Shield being technically easiest to handle for beginners.
Feels very slow and heavy, the damage output is amazing – if you actually manage to hit the monster. Being able to block is beginner friendly, but the sluggish handling in comparison to the rather fast starter monsters made me step back from them. Big damage numbers mean little when you need to learn proper movements first to actually hit with the strong attacks.
Interesting: with Surge Slash from Sunbreak the Great Sword becomes much more approachable for beginners, from my point of view.
Looks cool, but feels clunky? Poke, poke, slice. No block. Need to be sharpen a lot at the beginning. When meeting the monster it feels like one-winged-angel theme starts playing in the background. The long range is making attacking easy, but it still feels clunky. That is until you learn its actual power in form of counters. Scary! Learning counters as a beginner is not so easy, but it is definitely rewarding.
Sword & Shield
Fast hits, but very low range. Movements hardly restricted and you can block! It feels like playing a character which can do only low hits – kinda weak impression. But once you learn how to use the shield properly, the gameplay becomes more stunning. Easier movements allows easier dodging and shield enables blocking. A very forgiving weapon which feels weak at first. Great for first time explorations.
Make no mistake, in the right hands every weapon is strong.
Slow combos, no block. Bonk. Big bonk. Bigger bonk. Straightforward combos, easy to learn, with straightforward effects. But if you get hit: ouch. Surprisingly the weapon feels so straightforward as the tool sounds. Charging hammer and status effects make it a great weapon later on with more versatility than you might expect from a bonk.
Fighting with an instrument? Are you crazy? Is it not just a different hammer? Is it even viable when playing solo? Self-buff is strong, and status attacks are easy applied with the correct combos. The handling is not as clunky as with the hammer, and the attack does not feel so strong. But it allows easier movement and once you learned how much stronger you get via buffs and how to use status effects, you are constantly looking for the perfect buff-set for every encounter.
Self-heal horns makes you feel very strong. But damn: sharpening an instrument???
Maybe coolest movesets and “rage aura”. Super fast – in and outside of battles. Not caring for low damage numbers, as long as you hit plenty. But… kinda a beginner trap when you are locked in certain movesets. The fast pace tempts you into charging fast into the enemy. Makes you feel like a glass cannon for a while, until you stop underestimating monsters. It feels awesome dancing on the top of the monsters while dealing out damage.
But does the monster X not feel too strong? Why is monster X so much easier when using a shield…?
Je suis monté! Je suis monté! Je suis monté!
Fast and cool. But you need to learn about Kinsects first. Once you understand the different Kinsects and how the self buffs via essence effects you, you will either start love to fly or ditch it. The hits feel strong, and the buff feels strong. The numbers of combos and possibilities are plenty. Very versatile, very cool. No blocking. And when getting hit while midair… big ouch! Do you like bugs? If you like bugs, the entry level is not that bad. And I feel like MHR has it easiest and most interesting for Insect Glaive users.
Poke. Poke. Poke. Okay, that is easy. But why do you feel like a stone when you draw your weapon? Can you actually fight like this when it is so hard to move? Evade Extender? Game Changer! Tell that sooner! Best weapon to hold your ground and learn the monsters’ movements. If you manage the counters, it looks even cooler than Long Sword! Maybe?
If offense players prefer to start with Long Sword, then defense players probably love to start with Lance.
Why is it called Gunlance when you cannot actually shoot at monsters like with a gun? Should it not be called “explosion/dynamite lance”?
What is the big deal with this one anyroads? Feels almost as slow as Lance, and the attacks feel weird. Oh? There is a trick to them? The shelling ignore monsters’ defenses? That is much better than I thought.
Great Sword or Axe? Just take both. Kinda ~
Very fast, very versatile. Has some movements which locks you into place easily, and you need to learn – like with others weapon too – how the charging bar works. But damn, the transformation looks cool and the explosions you can do with the weapon even cooler.
Is it really that hard to use this weapon? No? Ah, “difficulty is higher” because of the combos? Eh, I am not sure. I think the explosions are punishing for beginners with the limited weapon shaprness. But that was it. Reminds me of Dual Blades. But with less moving around.
- Power in your hands – check
- Good shield – check
- Transformation coolness – check
Kinda like the Switch Axe but instead a merger of Sword & Shield + Axe?
Oh, the discharge – an ultimate move! That is really cool!
Charged weapon and shield for extra effects? Bought!
I really cannot relate why the Charge Blade has the weird reputation of being the most complex of all weapons. But it sure is very versatile with the ranges and easy block moves. Defense is not as good as with the Lance, but you can move better. You can move less than with Sword & Shield — nope — not exactly true in MHR with silkbind moves.
It is actually easy to learn and to use… I personally recommend it to beginners.
Understanding effective range is key. Once you got that, learning dodging is next. Then it is about ammo types / Spread / Pierce / Rapid. Incredible strong if you take your time. It is not solemnly a range weapon. And having control of the draw gives the bow an overall good feeling and feedback. Surprising for a “ranged weapon”. Though as a beginner still a tad scary to use. Why? You think of Bow and Bowguns as ranged weapons – but when you actually use them in Monster Hunter… there is hardly any distance between you and the monster!!!
You still need to learn the monsters’ movements to make best use of it. But once you got it, you can deal big damage with easy to use combos.
I expected something else from a gun. But in fairness: I did not expect a gun to begin with in a fantasy setting. It is pretty straightforward, is it not? How do you use these mines? Is this actually fun? Should I not rather play a FPS if I want to use a gun? Is the Heavy Bowgun any better?
Damn, this one is heavy! But machine gun, I like! Yet it is too short and needs so long to charge. What is this weird sniping? Yeah, I better go for a FPS if I want to play gun.
Though, it is not unfun. You can use support ammo and effect ammo. Maybe they are more enjoyable in multiplayer? Definitely. Can I try the Light Bowgun again? This one is too heavy… Oh, I can use a strong shield with this too?
To be fair – gameplay feels weird when you start off with bowguns. But they are not difficult to use, and are fun too. I use them mainly when I am tired in multiplayer…
Killing Floor 2 is currently on sale by the way!
Those are my personal impressions I had as beginner.
Maybe you feel the same. Maybe not.
My advice: do not be afraid of the initial “entry level” to learn a weapon.
Every weapon is viable and fun to play if you allow it. And you might be surprised later on!
Every weapon feels much better in endgame when you have less to care about sharpness like in the beginning. And with Sunbreak additional skills you get an entire additional level to enjoy weapons in new ways – weapons you disliked before might be much more fun with the new skills. Give all of them a proper try for the full real experience.