Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate (opens in new tab) is a robust game, and while fans of previous games in the franchise are likely prepared for this variety of monster hunting, the gameplay may seem daunting to players new to the series. But fear not! There are a few basic things that can make the onboarding process more painless, and we’ve put together some basic tips and tricks to help you get started and become a monster fighting machine.
Looking for more help with Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate? We also have the following guides available:
- General Weapons Guide (opens in new tab)
- Charge Blade Guide (opens in new tab)
- Insect Glaive Guide (opens in new tab)
- Monster Guide (opens in new tab)
- Palico Guide (opens in new tab)
- Village Quests Guide (opens in new tab)
- Hunter Rank Guide (opens in new tab)
- Item Crafting Guide (opens in new tab)
Weapons are Like Classes
Weapons are more than just the means by which you beat monsters senseless. All of the game's combos and moves are tied to your weapon, making the different weapons more akin to different classes in another game.
If you find yourself getting stuck, or don't think the gameplay is really working for you, try a new weapon! If you're new, the Sword and Shield are a great place to start. For a full breakdown of the different weapons, check out our Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate General Weapons Guide (opens in new tab).
Get Used to Using Items
Holding the L bumper and pressing Y or A to scroll left and right through your items is the main way to select an item in Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate. But while you can select an item while your weapon is out, you'll need to put it away with the Y button before you can use the item.
Get used to scrolling quickly, hitting Y to sheath your weapon, then Y again to use an item. Different items take different amounts of time to use, so keep in mind it may not be the best idea to chow a huge steak while a giant monster is charging at you.
Combining Items is Super Important
Items can be combined on the fly, or at the player’s blue Item Box. Combining items is essential in Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate, as this is your main way to craft powerful healing potions and utility items.
To open your Combining Pouch, tap the pouch icon on the screen during a quest, and tap the item you want to combine. If you have the materials, you will create that item. Occasionally, a combination will fail and you’ll have garbage in your pouch as a result. You can avoid getting failed combinations and wasting precious ingredients by combining mainly at your Item Box and buying the “Book of Combos” 1-5 books and keeping them in the Item Box. See our Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate Item Crafting Guide (opens in new tab) for details about item recipes.
Stamina Management is Vital
Stamina is the yellow bar beneath your health bar during a quest. If you run out of stamina, your character will stumble slower, and be helpless in front of a monster. Running holding R will deplete your stamina, and letting go of R will give it time to recharge. Certain actions, like rolling, vaulting, holding on to monsters, or charging, will deplete your stamina gauge a fixed amount. So don’t run around too much if you think you might need to make a sudden dodge roll.
Eating rations or cooked meats will increase your stamina gauge. The easiest way to make sure you don’t let your stamina get in the red is to increase the gauge. You’ll notice over time, the gauge depletes in maximum size. You can always offset it by eating more. Yum!
Learn to Mount Monsters
The ability to mount monsters is new to Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate. The easiest way to do this is to use an Insect Glaive to vault onto the monster’s back. You can also use the environment to climb up and drop down onto a monster. Once you are on its back, a gauge will appear at the bottom of the screen with a monster head and a blue bar. When the monster head is Green, spam the X button to stab the beast – this will fill up the bar with blue. When the monster head is Red or Orange, hold on tight by pressing the R button down. Remember, though, that this drains your stamina, and you cannot continue holding on to a monster if you run out of stamina. When the monster head turns green, spam X again.
Once the gauge is filled by the blue bar, the monster will topple over, temporarily helpless. Wail on it before it gets back up. Wait a few minutes and repeat for easy solo hunting. In multiplayer, do NOT attack the monster when another player is on top of it. This will cause the monster to buck more and the player will be more likely to fall off. This means less free damage for everyone, since it's better to wait for the riding player to knock the beast down so everyone gets extra hits on the helpless monster.
Maximize Your Skills
In Monster Hunter, skills are tied to your armour choices. You don’t “Level Up” your character as you do in other RPGs. Instead, killing and carving monsters unlocks new armour sets that unlock new skills. Try to pick armour with skills that compliment your preferred weapon and play style. After you defeat a very difficult boss, don’t forget to run back to the blacksmith and see what kind of weapons or armour you can turn him into. To see your skills, hit START and go to Status. Hit right on the D-pad twice and you will see a list of skills from armour you have equipped.
Most skills need to have over 10 points to actually do anything. If you hit Y to show details on the skill list screen, some skills will be listed as having additional benefits (in blue font) at level 15 or 20. These skills will provide additional buff strength if brought to those levels. You can craft jewels to supplement skills you already have. When you’re crafting jewels, hit START to list them by skill name.
Conversely, debuffing skills require -10 points to negatively affect your character. You will notice some armour sets provide negative skills, which can weaken your character. If your equipment has a slot, craft one jewel of the same name as your negative skill and decorate your equipment to make it -9. You will then be unaffected by the skill debuff! It’s usually worth crafting one jewel to negate a skill debuff.
Get Your Free Auto-Guard Talisman
During the single player, you will eventually be given a talisman with Auto-Guard 10 on it. If you are new to the game and use a weapon that can block, you should not hesitate to equip it. The necklace will automatically block hits directed at you, as long as you have your weapon out and enough stamina to cushion the blow.
This necklace is infinitely useful to beginners for learning monster patterns and tells. Eventually you will outgrow these training wheels, and the day you equip a new talisman will be a proud one.