Review by Warwicken
"Not just a game, but an investment."
I started out playing Monster Hunter 2 Freedom out of pure curiosity. Believe it or not, I got hooked just by wandering through the training school missions! I never owned a PSP before trying out Freedom 2. That game alone got me to invest in what I didn't even realize would be a huge hit among not just friends, but also co-workers alike! Then, Capcom went further and released an expansion that is just outstanding to plum the depths of!
The draw from my angle:
Music: 9/10. I love the various themes that Capcom has orchestrated for the areas and in some cases the specific elder dragons. Kushala's is easily one of my top favorite scores because it really puts you in the zone that it's gonna be either you or him that walks (flies in his case) off that mountain top or out of that jungle. A soundtrack can make a huge difference for me as a player and MH2GU delivers some killer BGM.
Graphics: 9/10 The outfits are freakin' amazing, even the ones that serve no real purpose than to just strut around the guild hall or village. They've got the creative and reflective twist of what they were made from. The weapons look killer too (no pun intended), the gun lances being some of the most visually appealing to look upon in my opinion.
Innovation: 10/10 This is a game that you play how you like, almost quite literally. Take any weapon from the 11 available types and learn how to combat each monster effectively. The training school is a great way to explore before you explore and learn about yourself and what you would prefer to use most of the time in the field. Manage a farm that will become more expanded as you rank up, allowing you to gain access to more materials, ALL of which have SOME purpose! There are now 20 preset equipment pages, making gear up for missions faster than before, all items can stack to 99 in your goodie box, with additional pages of space for all the new goodies to be harvested from the farm and monsters. Data Install was a great idea for speeding screen transitions, and while I'm not too worried about the speed thing, it's a nice additional treat.
Combat System: 8/10 This may have a couple setbacks in it, mostly due to how the camera is controlled. Otherwise, there's not much to hack them about. It's a crazy mix of real-time combat and straight action. Timing and observation are the keys to taking even some of the most daunting beasts down for the count.
Things to do: There are rewards for lots of different accomplishments. Ranking up, managing a farm, hiring felynes to learn how to cook you a decent meal, hiring other felynes to accompany you in the field, making weapons, making armor, completing training school missions, completing elder quests, completing guild missions, defeating a certain number of critters. But, ultimately the biggest reward is oddly enough, the sense of accomplishment a player can obtain from making it through the trials this game sets upon them. Especially when you manage to come out of a particularly difficult mission without getting K.O.'d. There's also a sense of accomplishment when you manage to create that certain weapon or armor set that required rare parts or items to make.
Humor: Yes, this game possesses some gags here and there, from the CG movies, drinking in the guild hall, watching the Data Install screen, and certain weapons and armor along with their descriptions are great for a smile or a chuckle about how ridiculous some of the concepts are. Hence this is not a game that takes itself too seriously. Also, some of the monster attacks such as the Congalala's infamous 'colon cannon' are still amusing even if it results in a bad run for the player.
The ad-hoc niftyness: Here is one of my favorite parts of the game. The online guildhall that lets up to 4 players come together and help one another out. Those insanely hard battles become a bit easier with the help of a few other players. There's also nothing like seeing a monster go into rage and send everyone flying, adding intensity and a sense of urgency to the situation.
So why call this game an investment?
The sheer amount of things to make and do. This is a game in which one will be compelled to set goals and see if they can be attained. Some of these goals may seem impossible, but eventually, with enough perseverance they can be attained. The game really has no end to it, and it's really the player's choice as to how much of it they wish to complete. Some players will only be after a select few pieces of equipment and care nothing about the others, while some, like myself, are out to make everything possible! Even the sets of armor that have no value in the upper rank missions can be fun to throw together just for the sake of saying, 'Did it'. So reach as far into the game as you want, see as much as you desire, create all that you want, and most importantly, CHALLENGE yourself and discover how cunning a hunter you can be!
Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 07/06/09
Game Release: Monster Hunter Freedom Unite (US, 06/22/09)
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