Monster Hunter: Freedom Unite ReviewDustin Hill
Monster Hunter: Freedom Unite starts with a hunter roaming the upper mountain regions only to find that some grazing animals have been attacked and eaten. Soon after, amid the howling winds, a terrifying creature known as a Tigrex appears. The Hunter stands their ground but is knocked from the cliff. The Hunter wakes later after his/her rescue and some rest and is revealed to have been chosen as the next Hunter for Pokke Village.
This Hunter is you.
Monster Hunter: Freedom Unite is a very unique game with personality to spare and more content than most sandbox games. Based around epic boss battles, Monster Hunter's graphics are quite good for a PSP title and controls are responsive, which is good since the monsters you'll be fighting really do want to eat you.
As you progress through each level, you'll soon realize that there's a large amount of risk in these dangerous missions. Monster Hunter is a challenging game and as such, you can expect not to defeat many monsters on the first try. It takes the proper strategy involving combinations of items, armor and weapons, knowledge of where to find the beast and its behaviors and lastly, good reflexes. Monster Hunter: Freedom Unite can be quite unforgiving for those faint of heart and poor of tactics.
Being an expansion of Monster Hunter 2 may give the impression that this game adds little. That could hardly be less true. You get extensions on your inventory and amount of items you can hold, epic missions, vastly more missions and a Felyne cohort that levels up and becomes more powerful so you can always have partner for dangerous missions.
As you play through the story and/or Guild Hall missions protecting Pokke village from increasingly dangerous monsters, you'll have the chance to forge armor and weapons from these defeated foes. Missions/Bosses can be played and defeated as many times as you wish and as many times as it takes to get the proper ingredients (randomly dropped from your monstrous foes) to create armor and weapons of awesome power. Most armor sets when completed offer perks of some kind from resisting heat to increasing the sharpness of your weapon or even so far as to give you psychic vision' to track the boss monsters of each level.
Speaking of each level, they are rendered both physically and acoustically to seem realistic and true to this fantasy setting. Deserts bask in the sun overhead, forests filter beams of light through their canopies and puddles within the swamps splash under your feet. The sound and environments are stunning and to get the most out of them, I would highly suggest at the very least hooking your PSP to external speakers of some manner you won't be disappointed.
Monster Hunter has wonderful diversions aside from the main story missions; Secret training with your legendary esteemed instructor as he likes to refer to himself, you can play around in the Guild Hall with your friends and manage farm even. You also get an assistant, a Felyne warrior who is mostly useful and sometimes will hit you with bombs.
This is possibly the best co-op game currently out for the PSP. Specifically when I found this title, I was looking for a great Cooperative experience. Though Monster Hunter: Freedom Unite does not offer online gameplay, it's Ad hoc mode (where you can play with the person(s) sitting next to you) still offers quite a bit. There are many, many missions that are made easier with a friend or three. Expressions help you communicate without words, if you happen to be sitting in different rooms, and generally after you've played for awhile, everyone will have a good strategy for taking down the large monsters that inhabit the world of Pokke village.
Monster Hunter has tons of free online content! Not only do you not have to buy expansions to get 500+ hours out of this game but, there are also tons of online missions and content you can download simply for the asking. I was immensely impressed when I found this.
Though Monster Hunter: Freedom Unite does so many things right, some of these actually come back in the form of problems. This game does offer a solid 500 hours of gameplay. This can be overwhelming for some after you've played for 150 hours and find you still have so very much to do.
Some boss battles are only available either in the Guild Hall (which means they're quite difficult) or in the offline story mode. Some missions in the Guild Hall are nearly impossible with a four-man team and they get no easier if you do them by yourself. This is because all monsters are tougher in the Online missions within the Guild Hall making some of the truly epic bosses nearly impossible to defeat but, they do yield greater rewards.
Monster Hunter has no online network. This is somewhat sad because of the shear popularity of this series. It would also be nice to have three friends with you when you fight the terror of the land that other massive creatures cower from.
Lastly, this game is challenging! Sometimes new bosses can be frustrating when you die a dozen times. Of course you do get the satisfaction of defeating them eventually, sometimes dying over and over can be a bit irritating.
Overall, this is quite possibly the best cooperative game on the PSP. With over 500 hours of game time, lots of free content and more sets of armor and weapons to create than we have names for cheeses, you and your friends will probably get worn out on the game before you run out of things to do! Put simply, this game is not only phenomenal but also a phenomenon. If you're tired of beating a game in 10 hours, looking for action, adventure and laugh out loud good times with your friends, I implore you pick up Monster Hunter: Freedom Unite.
Disclosure: We are provided copies of games from the game companies for some games that we review.