Monster Hunter Freedom Unite
Monster Hunter Freedom is the latest part in the series that may be solely responsible for the success of the PSP in the land of the rising sun. This success later on continued in the west as also here the franchise was hailed with open arms. We’re now already at part 3, but is it innovative enough to fulfill the expectations of the fans? If we look at Japan, the answer on this is a big YES, but how will we in the West decide about that?
The core of the game is still the same, create a character and slaughter monsters. The more you kill the better your character becomes which makes that you can take on bigger challenges. At the start you can choose from 11 classes going from the tough warrior who chops everything down with his broad swords, to a class who fires explosives at monsters from a distance. There’s no doubt that every player will be able to find a class that he likes.
The missions you get on your plate can be divided into three kinds. First up there are the gathering missions which are the simplest once you start knowing all drop points which makes you get your hands on the necessary objects a lot faster. Another advantage of these is that you can upgrade your gear with them. Something that’s also necessary if you want to defeat the stronger monsters.
The second kind of assignments are the kill missions and the name already give away what you need to do when accepting such a task. The challenge is in understanding the attack routine of the monster and each type has a certain way it will take you on so once you figure that out you can easily extinguish the entire species. At first it’s quite easy to understand the routines but later in the game you’ll have to die a couple of times before being able to defeat the big monsters.
Finally there’s the hunting missions where the idea is to find tracks of a certain species, follow them and finally capture the monster. These are the most challenging as they take most planning.
In the beginning you’ll be fighting simple creatures but logically they get tougher as you progress. End goal are the so-called Wyverns, dragon-like creatures with unseen power and to defeat them you’ll have to evade their attacks for minutes before you get a chance to hit back. Some of their more dangerous attacks are for example blowing away your character or burning it with their breath.
If you’re not really into hunting monsters for a moment the game still offers a couple of minigames in the form of a little farm that’s connected with the village you start. Through these minigames you can collect additional objects which you can use to make better arrows or ammo. It’s a very pleasant change to having spent hours on succesfully hunting certain monsters or after several attempts haven’t worked yet.
Graphically the game looks a lot like its predecessor, which of course isn’t bad; The Monster Hunter games have the reputation to exhaust the PSPs graphical power. The colors used are still somewhat brownish which brings forth a dark atmosphere while the level of detail on characters and monsters is still very high. The devs perfectly know how to combine beauty with a fluid framerate.
We can’t complain about the sound either. The score perfectly fits the surroundings, going from a calm tune in the bushes to an up-tempo track once you start fighting some big monsters.
The word “Unite” isn’t in the title without reason. You can play at the same time with up to four players in order to defeat the bigger monsters, like the Wyvern. In Japan it’s even so popular that exclusive PSP shops have opened where players can come together to play. Over here things probably won’t go so far. The biggest problem of this multiplayer is that there’s only two ways to play with others: through your Playstation3 console, or the built-in ad-hoc mode of your PSP. Unofficially you can also play through a wireless connection but it’s a bit disappointing that the devs didn’t implement this themselves.
Monster Hunter Freedom Unite is certainly no revolution within the series but if you liked its predecessors you’ll certainly be able to enjoy this newest part.