Game Review: Monster Hunter Freedom 2

Written by Viewtiful D

Having bought a PSP using birthday funds earlier this year, I had been mostly just buying the cheapest games I could find,all enjoyable, but I hadn’t really bought anything that could sustain my interest in the long bouts of gaming I usually indulge in. This was when a friend of mine recommended Monster Hunter Freedom 2 …

Monster Hunter Freedom 2

Reviewed By: Viewtiful D

Platform: Playstation Portable

Released: In Stores now (!)

Rating: 8/10

Having bought a PSP using birthday funds earlier this year, I had been mostly just buying the cheapest games I could find,all enjoyable, but I hadn’t really bought anything that could sustain my interest in the long bouts of gaming I usually indulge in. This was when a friend of mine recommended Monster Hunter Freedom 2. Now, I was sceptical at first. My only foray into the monster hunter series was a five minute play on a demo which promptly ended when I realised I couldn’t JUMP. Feeling too tethered to the floor, I quickly turned it off without even indulging in the titular hunting. Then ANOTHER friend recommended it and as soon as my resident game shop got it in, I decided, hey, two recommendations, maybe they’ve moved on since that terrible demo.

Oh I didn’t know what I was getting myself into. Now, the game is made by Capcom, who (I hope people know by now) are slowly building up a reputation for making games which are really quite HARD if you take them lightly. And MHF2 is quite possibly the best game to demonstrate this sudden increase. However its better to say that this is one of those games that REALLY needs skill. You start the game after having your behind promptly handed to you by the love child of a T Rex and a Dragon. Waking up to the mockery of the villagers, you resolve to continue hunting. Kitting up and heading off to the quest giver, you begin your rocky climb back to the top.

Now, the quests vary from gathering herbs, fishing, killing X of the resident small fry beasties to taking on the bigger, gnarlier beasties. There is a wide range of weaponry you can choose from, most of which are sharp and pointy but there are ranged weapons for those afraid to get their hands dirty or simply don’t want to be in range of the talons that are bigger than their character. The possible combinations of armour are ridiculous as you literally carve pieces off of the beasties you kill to forge it.

However, don’t think you can equip the heaviest, Cloud Strife-esque blade, pick the “kill the daddy monster” quest and just charge in. Because daddy will be waiting for you. And he doesn’t take kindly to whipper-snappers like you poking him in the leg with a sword. And will promptly swipe you away. Two or three shots and you’re down for the count. But don’t be discouraged.

The lure (and reason many gamers will FLING their psp in rage) of the MH games are the closet thing you can get to being a real monster hunter. You need to factor in everything, the temperature of the environment you’re in (nights are freezing cold, Deserts are blazingly hot), the surrounding smaller beasties (who will go ballistic at the presence of a larger monster), the vegetation and where you stand when facing down the enemy. A lot of planning is required before you even head out of the comfort of your village. Do you have enough potion? Enough rations to keep your endurance bar peaked (some weapons rely on having enough endurance to make the difference between a love tap and a lethal blow)? Got enough traps and bombs to even the score when your measly sword pokes aren’t enough to fell the boss? It all makes the difference between victory and embarrassment.

For those who want more than just stabby killy goodness (though to be fair, why did you buy Monster HUNTER if you do?) Capcom has you covered with the Pokke farm. Manned by several comical cat….THINGS, your farm allows you to fish, mine, catch bugs, pick mushrooms, grow crops and collect honey. All this adds to your resources which can be used to manufacture stronger weapons and armour. Of course, the only REAL way to improve your kit is to go out and chop it off of the nearest beast but the farm definitely helps.

The game boasts an impressive number of quests by itself but the downloadable content consists of numerous quests, cosmetic changes and additions to your pokke farms. Linking with friends is always good fun but with MHF2, it doesn’t by any chance mean instant victory. Your lives are linked, three KOs from either party and you’re done for. It really does incite a desperate need for teamwork. you also need to be careful where you’re swinging your sword as while friendly fire doesn’t incur damage, your friend wont be impressed if you send them flying with an ill aimed sword swing (something I’m guilty of, but in my defence, she ran into it).

One thing to definitely take into account is that many of the quests will take quite a while. This is not, by any means, a casual gaming experience. There’s a reason a lot of the quests give nearly an hour as a time limit. most of the time its not needed, but this is definitely not “on the bus to school” material. This however isn’t SUCH a bad thing, although it does affect the “portable” aspect of the game.

Give it enough time, use your brain and by the end of it, you’ll be kitted out in armour so frightening, you make the Guyver look like like a lego monster. MHF2 is a beautifully made, thinking mans game which could have you flinging your PSP into the wall with anger if you don’t give it a chance. Bear with it however and you’ll be pleasantly surprised and hooked.

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