Monster Hunter Freedom
Monsters speak to anyone’s imagination. Both the enfant who doesn’t dare to look under his bed as the horror fanatic that loves getting scared will tell you this. Also Monster Hunter Freedom acknowledges this and has built an entire game based on these critters. In Japan, the game was a huge success, also due to the fact that it managed to exploit the PSP’s strong points perfectly.
The story starts when… Hmmm, there’s no story! The idea is to become the best and coolest (you can adapt your look and build your character) hunter of them all. You hunt monsterish creatures, together and in competition with other Hunters. The world in which you do this is very extensive and dangerous as filled with beings that make Godzilla look like a castrated Pekinese. Luckily you get the possibility to co-op with your friends through multiplayer and take down even the strongest opponents that way.
Of course you can do more than just fighting. You get a little cabin and once outside you can interact with a lot of NPC’s that want to sell you all kinds of stuff and also buy your old junk. You won’t find corn flakes or washing powder but weapons, armors and other things for the average hero. The makers have certainly paid a lot of attention to this so you can really go very far in personalising your character. If all the standard stuff isn’t enough, you can even make your own goodies thanks to the Crafting system.
Less handy are the controls with which you have to use these weapons. The don’t react too quickly and now and then you’ll have the idea you would be a lot more efficient if they would have been better. Also very obnoxious is the lack of a weapon switching option during battle. And to finish the streak of bad news, the camera is crap as well but we’re getting used to that with such games. Luckily the graphics are sharp and both the surroundings and player models will appeal to you.
The amount of available quests is big (there are Hunt Quests and Gathering Quests) and also the necessary variation is provided although most do want you to terminate the life of the local fauna. Luckily this “fauna” is also very extensive with all kinds of mammals, from hammerthrowing kittens to huge creatures that will fill your screen.
Also your food supply has diverse options. Fishing, catching insects or cutting throats of small animals, the choice is yours. Just as in World of Warcraft you can also dig in the ground to look for ore or walk around in the bushes to get some herbs and plants.
Monster Hunter Freedom is without shining too much a very pleasant game with more than enough cool monsters to kill and an extensive system to personalise your avatar. In the end this is a game that especially in multiplayer, with friends, shows its best side, and for that it’s too bad such moments are rather scarse as you don’t always have 3 friends with a PSP nearby. Nonetheless you’ll have some fun moments on your own as well but as with so many other things, hunting is more fun with a colleague! Over here, this game won’t be such a success as in Japan.