Monster Hunter Freedom Unite - PSP - Review

When I previewed Monster Hunter Freedom Unite for the PSP, I said that it was already looking like a bigger and better version of the last release, Monster Hunter Freedom 2. In fact, the game looks and plays much like the last Monster Hunter game but it still manages to be just what Capcom promised us in a game that definitely is a more complete version of the game that is, by far, the best game in the series.

 

On the surface, nothing has changed from Monster Hunter Freedom 2. In fact, the game begins the same way with your character on a dangerous hunt in the merciless tundra when you suddenly figure out that you’re no match for a massive monster. You wake up a few days later resting comfortably in a little shack in a village that is home to a monster-hunting guild. This is exactly where you want to be seeing as you haven’t given up on the monster hunting game.

In the village, you’ll find all the necessary tools to begin your career as a monster hunter and, as I mentioned, there’s the guild hall that posts a number of missions of various difficulty grades. This time around, you’ll find some harder mission classes that make up a few of the extras that make up Unite’s new content. The tougher mission classifications deliver just what they promise … tougher missions that require you to fetch items that are too hard to get or take down monsters similar to the one that almost killed you.

If you missed Freedom 2, you can start the game fresh with a new character you can create from scratch. You can also import your character from said game so you can have a powerful hunter from the very start. While you do start with the basics, the more missions you accept the more money and parts you get to buy or design various weapons or armor. I once made a shield with the scale of a dragon and a lance made from the jawbone of a beast that resembles a velociraptor. This time around, the number of upgrade sets is numerous so it’s possible to have hundreds of different armor or weapon types.

The number of missions has also increased, although the majority of them are taken directly from Freedom 2. These extra missions range from simple (find a rare herb or monster egg) to the more difficult missions that have you hunting big monsters. While it’s possible to tackle the missions solo, there are times when you will wish you had a friend or two lending a hand … but I’ll get to the multiplayer a bit later. With over 400 missions, there is certainly a lot to do in this game so you’ll be glad that there are plenty of weapons to use. This is certainly not an easy game.

 

Thankfully, there is help for those who are tackling the missions solo and this help comes in the form of cat-like creatures called Felynes. In past Monster Hunter games, Felynes played minor roles in the games but here you can actually take one in as a traveling and hunting companion. There are a few Felyne training options that allow you to make the best of your furry companion. You can have your Felyne act as a distraction when you’re going up against a monster or even have your cat friend pick up useful items along the way. You can even have a Felyne perform some tasks that normally take up much of your time.

There’s also a lot of ground to cover in the game. It’s impressive to see the various areas you can move through but I still wish the map were more understandable. You’ll still be able to perform tasks such as cooking (which opens up a cooking mini-game). Battle still remains the same as the console version, although, on the PSP, the camera can occasionally get in the way of the view of a charging monster. Thankfully, the controls are responsive enough to make combat entertaining.

As a single-player game, Unite is a fun and lengthy adventure. What really makes the game shine, however, is the Ad Hoc multiplayer mode that allows you and up to three other friends to meet in the Guild Hall and take on missions together. With other players, you will be able to coordinate attacks against the bigger enemies or have your friends complete one part of the mission while you complete the second half. This is definitely the way to play the game.

Unite also looks really good on the PSP widescreen. The level of detail is quite impressive seeing how close the game comes to making this game look like it would feel right at home on a console. With some sharp-looking character models and gorgeous backgrounds, this is a game that won’t fail to surprise.

 

The game doesn’t have any voice acting. In fact, the dialogue is made up of text and some gibberish that comes from the characters when they speak. There is a great deal of sound effects, though, and all of it sounds great … especially if you’re wearing earphones. The soundtrack is good but a tad on the repetitive side.

Monster Hunter Freedom Unite for the PSP is indeed a bigger and better game than Freedom 2, although the core game is still the same no matter what extras are included. Still, the new content does make for a far richer experience that should be worth the purchase price for fans who did buy Freedom 2. For those who missed out on the last title will definitely be surprised by all the things that make this such an exciting and deeply involving Monster Hunter game.

Review Scoring Details for Monster Hunter Freedom Unite

Gameplay: 8.5
Played as a single-player game or with a hunting party composed of friends, this is Monster Hunter game that gives even the console original a run for its money. Unite doesn’t really change the story introduced in the last Monster Hunter game but there are more missions and extras to make this a much bigger game.

Graphics: 8.0
Visually speaking, Unite looks just as sharp as it would if this were on the PS2. The backgrounds are beautifully detailed and the monsters look amazing. It’s just too bad that there are some awful clipping issues.

Sound: 8.0
The background noises are impressively detailed to the point that you’ll hear the buzzing insects and the sounds of a monster breaking twigs as it makes it your way. The music in the game is actually really good.

Difficulty: Medium/Hard
The minute you go up against a giant monster or fire-breathing dragon you know you will be in for one challenging battle that will often require you to reload a saved game. Sure, you can take on the tough monsters on your own but you’ll definitely appreciate the help if you like playing with a friend or two.

Concept: 8.5
Unite brings more of everything to the table including extra missions to extend the monster hunting experience, more pieces to use as armor or weapons and bigger monsters to go up against. The new Felyne companions are actually great to have around and are actually helpful.

Multiplayer: 9.0
A far more rewarding experience than playing solo, Unite is definitely the right word to describe the multiplayer action that allows you and up to three other players to take on monsters together. The wireless multiplayer runs smoothly and with enough equipment to trade and missions to tackle together, the multiplayer option is the reason you’ll be playing this game for quite awhile.

Overall: 8.5
Surprisingly enough, Monster Hunter Freedom Unite has more than enough extra content to bring returning Monster Hunter fans back into the savage hunting grounds. For those who missed it the first time around, however, this is the real Must Have version you have to own.

Great

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