Monster Hunter: Freedom Unite PSP
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Released on 26/06/2009
Japan’s most successful PSP title, Monster Hunter Portable 2G, is heading to Europe. Renamed Monster Hunter Freedom Unite, this latest installment in the epic Monster Hunter series delivers over 500 hours of gameplay spanning some 400 missions. Add in previously unreleased monsters, weapons and missions and you have the biggest Monster Hunter game to date.
Using the Ad-Hoc connection players can adventure with up to three friends for a savaging multiplayer hunting party. From devising the strategy to executing the attack, players will need to work together in order to hunt down the ferocious beasts and progress through the wide range of quests on offer. Players will be rewarded for their use of deep fighting combat systems, encouraging them to seek out the more experienced hunters and team up in order to learn from their experience.
Even in single player mode Hunters won’t be alone thanks to the introduction of the new AI Felyne feature. Accompanying players on quests your furry ally will helping them battle monsters and gather extra resources.
The biggest Monster Hunter title to date, Monster Hunter Freedom Unite features:
- Over 500 hours of gameplay
- Huge variety of character customisations, including 1500 weapons and 2000 armour sets
- Players can form a team of up to 4 players through Ad-Hoc play and experience the multiplayer social gaming phenomenon
- Media Install option where players can save the game to a memory stick, allowing the game to load from the memory stick and UMD simultaneously for faster loading times
- AI Felyne companion who will accompany players on quests and gather extra resources. With the ‘felyne casting’ feature players can share their companions with other players, transferring data using the PSP’s sleep mode.
- Fans of the series can transfer their data from Monster Hunter Freedom 2
The developer revealed at this week's Tokyo Game Show that a revamped version of the Wii hit Monster Hunter Tri is in development for Nintendo's handheld and will make its Japanese debut later this year.
Monster Hunter Tri G will include all of the features of the home console release plus new touch-based control options, as well as a host of additional creatures, quests, items and characters.
Capcom also announced that the next fully-fledged sequel in the series, Monster Hunter 4, is also coming to the Nintendo 3DS at some point in the future.
Monster Hunter has become one of the most successful franchises in Japan since its 2004 debut, with 18 million games having been sold so far.
If you go down to the woods today...
Monster hunter Freedom Unite is being touted as one of the flagship releases for the upcoming PSP Go!, largely because it's one of the first titles to let you install the game to your PSP memory stick – or, when Go! releases, the system's built-in 16GB flash memory. It's pretty much essential in reducing loading time, and is one of the few key new features for a game that is otherwise essentially a re-released special edition of 2007's Monster Hunter Freedom 2.
The hunt begins!
The good news for people that already own Freedom 2 is that Monster Hunter Freedom Unite lets you take your saved characters, including all of your items and completed quests, over in their entirety. Series newcomers, meanwhile, will find this to be the most complete version of Monster Hunter currently available – and distinctly less frustrating, thanks to a new option to have an A.I. partner venture out with you on your epic hunts.
Absorbing, ambitious and enormous... Or perhaps gruelling, frustrating and infuriating. It all depends on what type of gamer you are.
And epic really would be the word for this most absorbing, ambitious and enormous of PSP titles. Or perhaps gruelling, frustrating and infuriating would be more apt. It all depends on what type of gamer you are and how much patience you have.
Monster Hunter, you see, is a rather slow-paced affair with an insane difficulty curve, a frankly bamboozling wealth of items, weapons and equipment, and no real story to speak of in order to provide incentive for ploughing up to hundreds of hours into the game.
You are the village hunter; you exist to hunt; and doing so keeps the village safe. The more terrible wild beasts you fell, the stronger equipment you can fashion and the better the items you can afford, with the help of the village's various special shops. In fact, the game's intro movie pretty much gives you the gist; Monster Hunter Freedom Unite is all about the grind, and the grind in itself becomes your reward.
Because of this, buying Monster Hunter Freedom Unite is going to be pretty much the worst idea in the world if you're the type of gamer who needs instant gratification. If so, stick to shooters, racers and sports games. If, on the other hand, you're the type who invests hours each evening into getting the rarest weapons and uber-powerful spells in a Final Fantasy; if you're the kind of player with an Xbox gamerscore reaching into the millions; if you found yourself hitting the level cap on WoW: Lich King within a matter of weeks rather than months, then Monster Hunter will be right up your street.
When you find your skills, strategy and equipment all coming together, it really does feel like something special.
As the title suggests, Monster Hunter is all about combat; but this is no simple Phantasy Star style hack and slash. Every beast has their own attack pattern, strengths and weaknesses, requiring a different strategy to take them down, and often a different weapon, each with their own pros and cons. Heavier blades are more powerful but slower; lighter blades are faster but aren't as devastating; ranged weapons like bows won't serve you well at close quarters... and so much more.
With hundreds of monsters to hunt (including a few extras that weren't in Freedom 2) and eleven weapon types to select from, that's already a lot to learn – and that's before you've even factored in secondary items like traps, bombs and potions; or considerations like sharpening your weapons; or skinning the hides of fallen beasts to make new armour; or creating your own weapons on the farm; or getting your A.I. companion to draw a Wyvern's attention while you sneak behind it; or rolling to avoid enemy attacks; or mixing up horizontal, vertical and power strikes; or... oh, you get the idea!
Invest and reward
And – crucially – there are no character stats in Monster Hunter Freedom Unite, so unlike many an MMO, you can't get around using the right tools for the job by merely playing until your character is ridiculously strong. That only makes it even more challenging – and yet, when you find your skills, strategy and equipment all coming together, it really does feel like something special.
Yes, Monster Hunter Freedom Unite is largely a retread of the 2007 game. Yes, it can be almost impenetrable for newbies. Yes, the camera can be pretty woeful. Yes, it lacks an online mode (and good luck finding friends to play it with in local ad-hoc mode). And yes, it won't be for everyone. But if you're willing to invest the time it takes to make Monster Hunter great, Monster Hunter Freedom Unite will reward in ways you won't find elsewhere in handheld gaming.
- So much depth; the more you play, the more your equipment, strategy and your own personal level of skill grow.
- The new A.I. companion helps take the heat off you mid-battle.
- The only game on PSP for the hardcore dungeon-crawling RPG nut.
- Steep difficulty curve and woeful camera can be frustrating.
- So much to get your head around; Freedom Unite can be all a bit overwhelming for newcomers.
- Basically a re-released Special Edition of 2007's Monster Hunter Freedom 2 - still lacking online play.
Capcom announces new Monster Hunter g… (15/09/2011)
Capcom has announced that it will be bringing its multimillion-selling Monster Hunter series to the Nintendo 3DS.…
Monster Hunter Freedom Unite Review (02/07/2009)
If you go down to the woods today...
Monster hunter Freedom Unite is being touted as one of the flagsh…
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