PSP Review: Monster Hunter Freedom Unite

The biggest selling Japanese PSP game finally hits Europe…

Let me be honest here. I have never played any game in the Monster Hunter series before, for whatever reason I seem to have let it pass me by. So, Monster Hunter Freedom Unite is my first entry into the franchise. I may not be able to fully appreciate it and what makes the series great, what I can do is take a look at the game and just give you my initial thoughts. Don’t worry though, I did enjoy it…
First of all, I was impressed with the sheer amount of things to do in Freedom Unite. There are around 400 missions and 500 hours of gameplay, should you feel the need to do everything. Then there’s the fact that you can tackle some missions with 4 players via ad-hoc mode or offline with the AI character 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. I can’t claim to be a huge fan of the combat in the game since it seems a bit too simplistic for my taste, but the rest seems just right for a game like this.

You create your own character to control in Freedom Unite with quite a few customisable options. On top of that you can import your data from Monster Hunter Freedom 2 and install the game to the memory stick for faster loading times. I didn’t have enough room on mine to do it, but the actual loading times without are fairly long. You’ll be charging your PSP a lot during your time with the game, since it takes so long to do.

Monster Hunter Freedom Unite isn’t the kind of handheld game that you can play for 5 minutes, put down and then pick it up later for a bit. It’s one that requires a lot dedication through each of the missions and patience to get through all the mindless text to read. There’s plenty of dialogue in the game via text boxes, perhaps too much at times which I found off-putting and would expect the same for other newcomers.
The game is simply far too large in the amount of time you have to put in, but it does eventually become worth it. Perhaps the quests become too similar after a while and the locations repeat for different quests, but overall it’s a very deep and challenging game. I do have a few complaints about the combat and the camera, but the amount to do in the game just topples anything else seen on the handheld.

Visually, the game is quite strong for the PSP. It won’t blow you away, but it does push the system quite far with some impressive draw distances, good level design and character models that are well animated. Some voice-acting would have been nice since there seems to be far too much text in the game.

The Verdict

It’s kind of ironic that the longest game that I’ve played in years gets a short review. I could rant and rave for pages about the many problems that the game has, but when you are playing a quest with a bunch of friends, you will overlook them and realise this is the best PSP game in ages. Giving the system a breath of new life…


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