Review by jazzek55
"Capcom, I salute you!"
I have been a long time Monster Hunter (almost 700+ hours of total game play) and I must say this third "redo" of Monster Hunter Freedom takes the cake and spits it in all the faces who turn their noses at it. Vastly more customization, way more monsters than the 2nd game, and an outstanding visual enrichment give this game five thousand thumbs up (if I had that many). I have come to realize how many hunters there are out there, either in this American country or another foreign one like Japan where Portable 2G made its debut earlier last year. Capcom, I salute you 100%. Ever since Monster Hunter Freedom came into the world as an infant, all of the world has come to appreciate the wonders the hunting world has to offer, including the realistic actions, like rolling doges, gathering speeds, sword and gun actions, and even mishaps such as getting your butt kicked by a Nargacuga and rolling so hard you forget where you're at for a few minutes.
The game starts similarly to the 2nd game, although there are changes if you have a saved game from the previous release. If you do have a saved file from MHF2, you start the game as if you had just saved moments ago: you wake up and shuffle off the bed and stand up in a heroic position. Nothing abnormal about that... except when you exit your house and find that almost everyone outside wants to speak with you about something important and new. When you visit the crafting shop, the clerk will give you some little bits of advice on the upcoming crafting options that are available, such as X and Z armor sets and new armor spheres: Royal AS, and True AS. If you go first to the retired hunter, he will tell you about the epic hunting quests of the G-rank status, which are by far the most difficult quests ever since White Fatalis... You may even go to the Village Chief, who will introduce you to a little cat that gives you High-rank quests you must do by yourself, but with new areas and monsters, not to mention another great arena area. The Chief also has new quests, such as the red Lao-Shan Lung and pair-ups of various large monsters, like Yian Kut-Ku and Ceanataur at the same time.
As you progress in the game, either on the cat's quests or the G rank ones, you will notice changes in the monsters and their fighting styles. All the prey monsters are WAY more aggressive; all large monsters have new or improved attacks, such as the ever-annoying "move-jump" the hermitaur does every so often; you will gain better items and can put vastly more of them in your item box; you can have more custom armor sets, the limit increased to 20 instead of MHF2's 10; and many more great changes in the game thus far.
Your guild card changes as well. There are several new menus to see on the card. For example, the weapons usage panel, where it displays the times in which you used, say, a LS or a Sword and Shield. It will also keep track of your monster logs, treasure hunting quests, awards X2, and many more things. If you want to find out something, just go to the guild card. Its your access pass to your stats.
Various new things have been added to the game play motion. You may now employ the fighting courage of a Felyne Comrade. When you go out on quests with a felyne, it will automatically attack any monster in the area, unless you run off of course, then it'll run after you. Also, you can teach your felynes skills, such as lightning attribute weapons, attack up, and clairvoyance (ESP for monsters). You can also trade over one of your chefs to fight for you as a comrade, although I don't recommend that because you can't trade over a felyne from your comrade list once this is done (you can undo it, but you can't trade a comrade over anyways)
The fight style and button configuration is identical to that of MHF2. You still roll with the X button, you still slash with the triangle button and you still kick with the select. The weapon button configuration hasn't changed at all either; spirit blade it still R, fire is still R, and everything is exactly the same. The only thing different is the weapon you use. Some weapons, especially dual blades, have multiple attributes. For instance, the Festive Fall Typhoon had both thunder and para attributes, not to mention a +12 defense. Another is a weapon with both fire and ice attributes.
The monsters just got a whole lot more complicated in this game, however. The Daimyo Hermitaur can move while it jumps into the air; the Ceanataur is faster; the Plesioth is so much more annoying with its hit-bump; the Congalala's farts and exploding flatulence is way more devastating; the Rathalos just doesn't want to die; and the Nargacuga (black version of Tigrex) is wicked fast. Despite these offsets, the game has gotten a whole lot more challenging with the new moves. Your circumstances are always changing, and a good hunter has to adapt in every way he (or she) can in order to slay or trap the monster targeted. Your strategy will change constantly as a result, keeping you and your comrade on your toes at all times.
All in all, MHFU is a must have for any hunter willing to step beyond the Akantor in toughness. I rate this game a 9/10 without regrets.
Reviewer's Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Originally Posted: 08/21/09
Game Release: Monster Hunter Freedom Unite (US, 06/22/09)
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