Monster Hunter, the franchise that breathed life into the PSP, and arguably one of the biggest reasons that the 3DS outsells the DS in Japan. In the latest incarnation of the series, Monster Hunter 4 players will be able to wield not just one, but two new weapons with which to combat giant predators.
Much like the Slash Axe from Monster Hunter 3, the Charge Axe is a form-changing weapon that combines the abilities of two different weapons into one. In the Sword and Shield mode, the weapon is geared for basic one-handed sword combat with the ability to block enemy attacks as well as the added ability to charge energy. By combining the shield with the sword, players can then use the Axe mode which sacrifices the guard and charge abilities for longer range and more powerful attacks. Energy that was charged in the Sword and Shield mode can be used in the Axe mode for crippling attacks to turn the tide of battle.
Coincidentally, Capcom was not the only company to announce a new weapon for one of their popular games this week. Namco Bandai has also announced via Famitsu.com the introduction of the new Charge Spear for their upcoming game, God Eater 2 (for those unfamiliar with the God Eater series, think "Monster Hunter with characters and plot"). Unlike Monster Hunter, where players pick a weapon type to hunt with, in God Hunter, players are given a single weapon that can transform into a bladed form for close range combat and a gun form for long range and support roles, depending on the situation. The new Charge Spear is an attachment for the bladed form that allows for unique attacks and special super attacks that are unavailable with the standard blade form.
As someone who has played both games, I can honestly say that at their core, both Monster Hunter and God Eater are basically cut from the same cloth. Both are games based on hunting and gathering quests, but take different paths in their execution. They each have their merits and drawbacks. Monster Hunter has a greater variety of enemies, a more down-to-earth gameplay feel, and for the most part it has no real ending. God Eater on the other hand has better plot and character development with flashier action. Whichever game tickles your fancy (or, if like me, you play both), both games will be heading to stores, charge weapons and all, next year.
Monster Hunter 4 is scheduled for release on the 3DS in Japan in March. God Eater 2 is scheduled for release on both the PSP and the PS Vita with cross-console capability in Japan in 2013.