Monster Hunter Freedom (PSP)
Posted by Guest Writer on Thu, 02 Nov 2006.
Simply put, this is a game where you hunt monsters, but when you really get down to it, it has a whole lot more to offer then just that.
When you start a new game, the character creation options are few, the only options being gender, face, skin colour, and more unusually a variety of voices to choose from (if different ways of saying GAAH! or HOOHYAH! can be classed as voices). This is not very important however; as the character will soon be hidden by some of the huge range of armours and gigantic weapons Monster hunter has to offer.
You start in your village, called Kokoto, which has your house where you can store items, change equipment, read the latest issue of “Hunting Life Magazine”, and later have the talking cats you employ cook you meals to increase or health or give you certain skills (remember this originated in Japan, so it could have been a lot weirder). Also in the village are several shopkeepers where you can buy items, ammo, upgrades and equipment, general NPCs to talk to, and a farm for gathering materials like ore, mushrooms and fish (by playing a fishing mini game) which can be used to make equipment or various potions you can use while hunting. When you are ready for a quest, you can find the village chief (old bearded man, about knee height) who will give you a choice of quests with a very slow learning curve, starting with searching for certain types of mushrooms in bushes, learning how to combine and make useful materials and potions to heal yourself etc, and other gathering quests which rarely involve any hunting at all.
Soon these will become less and less however, and will be replaced with actual hunting quests, starting with killing 3 velociprey, which are simply blue raptors, and small pink dragon called a yian kut-ku. When you are more experienced, it is worth trying the other source of quests, the Guild Hall. This is where the hardest and best rewarded quests can be found, and your psp can wirelessly connect with others nearby for up to four player quests. This isn’t fooling anyone though – it’s still not online, but it can be if you have a router such as a wifi-max, which is relatively cheap, and download a special ZD driver and the xlink program that lets you play games only meant for ad-hoc mode online, and the community that uses it is fairly large, so there is always someone to play with. The instructions for doing this can be easily found on the internet.
The quests take place in various regions such as forest, desert, swamp and the volcanic belt, and these are split into numbered areas, which are good because it adds more interest to tracking the monsters, but bad because a loading screen appears every time you go from one area to the next. This doesn’t last very long, but when you are in a hurry, or are going through lots of areas to get to your destination, it can get annoying. There are various types of weapons to choose from, each with their own good and bad points, and ways of using them. There are Great Swords, which are about as big as you are, and can make use of continuous combos, Hammers, are the most powerful weapon, and you can move around fast while it is drawn, even though it can’t block attacks. Lances are the most defensive, and are the only weapons that allow you to move while blocking, and you can perform a running charge to mow down enemies. Smaller swords are weak but very fast and can make use of complex combos; they can be with a shield to block, or with a sword in both hands for even more devastating speed. Aside from melee weapons, there are Bowguns of varied speed, power and ammo they are able to use. Ammo can be explosive, given an element that the monster you are going to fight is weak against, or can even poison, paralyze or send monsters to sleep. You can buy the ammo, or make it yourself from the resources you collect.
The game has a circus full of monsters to kill, and even more ways of killing them. Each type dragon (or as the game calls them, wyvern, the most important type of monster in the game) behaves differently, for example some can bury themselves in sand, swim, or shoot fireballs at you from the air, and each wyvern’s attacks and movements need to be learned, so you don’t have to watch some cats carry you away on a stretcher. Aside from simple attacks, you can be stealthy and leave some poisoned meat to weaken the monster, or set pitfall traps to give you the best opportunity to start the hunt, or in some quests you used a trap after the monster is weakened, and then use tranquiliser bombs to put it to sleep and capture it. After you’ve killed a monster, you can stick in a big knife and carve it (unless all the other monsters get in your way), and get materials for better armour and weapons. Each piece of armour increases defence against some things and weakens it for others, and helps you get skills such as auto tracking the monster, or being resistant to poison. Each weapon follows a path of upgrades to choose, so you can use your hard earned materials to choose the best upgrade for your weapon, and get the attributes you want.
The camera does require a fair amount of attention, but is easy to get used to, and the controls are well thought out to allow camera control, fighting and using items with the lesser number of buttons on a psp. Monster Hunter has graphics far superior to most psp games, with stunning environments, creatures and epic looking gear for your character. There is no lock on feature, but this makes it easier to choose the best part of the monster to attack (for example chopping off it’s tail, or hitting the legs so much it falls over). For an RPG, there is a complete lack of storyline, but the sheer level of content is huge, with hundreds of quests and pieces of gear to make, once you’ve got into this game it will last quite a while
- Review by HonourableOne