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Monster Hunter's greatsword has the best videogame animation since Chris Redfield punched a boulder

(Image credit: Capcom)

The best videogame animations are mesmerizing to watch over and over again. We have a whole list of our favorite first person hand animations, and another for the best reload animations. Those are all great, but recently I've become obsessed with an animation in Monster Hunter: World's new Iceborne expansion. It is, like everything else in Monster Hunter, absolutely ridiculous.

Last week I started learning the greatsword, one of Monster Hunter's slowest, most powerful weapons. It's hard to hit especially agile monsters with: You have to stand there, rooted in place, for a good five seconds as you charge up a massive, bone-crunching swing. It's really satisfying to land those hits, though, and the greatsword's power means it excels at cutting off monster tails and breaking other parts of their bodies.

As a heavy weapon, the great sword is also really good at "tenderizing" monster parts, which is a new mechanic in Iceborne. You use the new grapple claw to latch onto a monster, then attack it to do a chunk of damage and make future hits to that spot do more damage. One tenderize attack from the greatsword, and your whole hunting party can start hitting enemies harder.

The thing is, I'm not doing this attack to be a brilliant tactician. I just love the animation.

Have you ever thought to yourself, "Swinging a sword is cool, but you know what's extra cool? Punching a sword." I'll admit I hadn't really considered this an option, until now. But punching swords, it turns out, is extra cool.

To break down exactly what you're seeing here: I'm using the grapple claw to pull myself onto big boy Glavenus, here, then hitting my attack button to start a tenderize skill. With the greatsword, that means lodging the sword about halfway through Glavenus's bony skull, where it gets stuck. Darn! Guess there's only one way to get that sword out, huh? Yes: I shall punch it straight through him.

You probably need to see that again, huh? I know I do. For science:

I'm no monster physicist, but I think this move, and how it represents the principles of force and motion, may be slightly unrealistic. I guess science is just different in Monster Hunter.

This is not the first time Capcom has elevated the simple act of punching into an incredible animation. In the final act of Resident Evil 5, beefcake Chris Redfield gave us what is truly one of the greatest moments in the history of videogames: Punching a boulder inside an active volcano. As a quicktime event. It is perfect.

Bless you for your art, Capcom.

I don't think Monster Hunter's greatsword attack quite lives up to that absurdity, if only because the fantasy setting kinda says "anything goes." Chris Redfield was, at some point, a normal man who could not punch boulders five times the size of his body. Still, the next time someone asks me what makes Monster Hunter great, I'll tell them that plenty of games let you swing swords at monsters; this one lets you punch swords through them.

When he's not 50 hours into a JRPG or an opaque ASCII roguelike, Wes is probably playing the hottest games of three years ago. He oversees features, seeking out personal stories from PC gaming's niche communities. 50% pizza by volume.