Monster hunter freedom unite game, android, ios, psp

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Even with tens of hours of new content and welcome improvements over its predecessor, Monster Hunter Freedom Unite has yet to hunt down a few critical annoyances.

By Austin Shau on July 2, 2009 at 5:58PM PDT

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When looking at a checklist of features, it"s easy to see why the Monster Hunter series has garnered such a cult following. With scores of monster species to hunt, classes of weapons to learn, and special items to craft, any Monster Hunter game is almost guaranteed to provide dozens of hours of gameplay even in a loose play-through. Monster Hunter Freedom Unite for the PSP, an enhanced version of 2007"s Monster Hunter Freedom 2, is most certainly the epitome of the series thus far with its scads of additional content and advancements to its predecessor"s core. Even so, there are some things that have not changed with this "upgrade," which leaves Unite with the same frustrations that series veterans have been putting up with for five years.

From the introductory cinematic that shows you getting knocked into the snow by a gigantic monster to the town in which you wake up and the people with whom you interact, Unite seems like an exact replica of Monster Hunter Freedom 2. The structure of the game is very simple: You reside in a single town that acts as a hub for many activities, the most significant of which are quests that send you out into the field. Among these quests are hunting expeditions, where you must take down a large beast; slaying quests, where you must take down multiple monsters of a certain species; and gathering adventures where you"re asked to bring someone herbs, mushrooms, or monster parts. There"s no shortage of variety to your encounters because the monster roster is a healthy mishmash of dinosaurs, swine, sea creatures, gorillas, and more.


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…but they can be incredibly annoying to fight solo thanks to wonky camera controls.

The silver lining is that, as with its predecessor, Unite allows you to tackle multiplayer adventures via ad-hoc play. With up to three friends watching your back and teaming up to take down the most ominous of wyverns, this has always been the way to fly, especially given the issues with the series. Multiplayer can lead to some great moments of camaraderie and elicit fond memories of games such as Phantasy Star Online. If you can manage to get accustomed to the awkward camera and controls, as well as remain a diligent player, you"ll be able to scratch your loot-scrounging itch with some truly spectacular, rare gear.

That"s a very big if, and while it"s one that many longtime Monster Hunter fans are sure to satisfy, others might not be so patient. Yes, the improvements made here are much appreciated, as well as a decent start to enhancing Monster Hunter"s playability (which is an important distinction from simply making it "easier"). But the series still has a few hurdles to clear before everyone who"s interested can enjoy all the content it has to offer, and Monster Hunter Freedom Unite simply hasn"t made those jumps yet.