Review by klakuv
"20 hours played later, and the intro cinema is still the best part."
Buying and booting up the UMD, I'm not going to lie, I had some really high hopes for this game. I had only heard a few things about it prior to me buying it, and I decided to finally pick it up due to it's huge cult following. Suffice to say, I could see why it had so many rabid followers at first, but after you watch the opening cutscene and create your character, it's all downhill. The main reason this game receives such a low score from me is because of the controls, which I'll sum up in a bit. First, lets look at the Pros.
The environments were absolutely amazing. If the developers had spent less time over doing these and more time working on the controls and combat mechanics, it would have gotten a much higher score.
Again, wonderfully done. The orchestral beauty mixed with the battle sound effects really suck you in.
Unfortunately, this is where the pros end. Now onto the majority of the review; the cons.
There is literally -NO STORYLINE-! You start off seeing your character get clumsily knocked off a cliff by a wyvern, wake up in your hut in your new village, and take over the duties of the village "hunter," who takes on quests to kill monsters and collect items like ore and herbs. In short, there's no reason to play the game beyond getting your hunter better gear, which is the main focus of the supposed 500+ hours of gameplay. Even World of Warcraft, which is one of the biggest gear grinds in video game history, is able to enrich it with it's dramatic and very well-done storyline. Without a story, this game ultimately lacks purpose.
LEVEL DESIGN: 3/10
Once you spend about 15 minutes in each "zone", you begin to get bored of traveling through them. The enemies spawn in the same place every time, giving this a whole new meaning to the word linear. Again, would have earned a higher score
Quests are monotonous, repetitive, and most of all, time consuming. You will literally spend half of your entire day to complete 4 or 5 quests. For someone who doesn't have all day to spend digitally fishing or failing multiple times at the same boss because of the ridiculous damage they deal, it's simply impossible to play the game at all. This not only cuts out over half of it's potential audience, but after getting over the initial hype of ZOMGBIGMONSTURS, you realize that you've payed $10 for Farmville on your PSP.
This was the game breaker for me. Extremely slow paced, sloppy combat favors any weapon with a high defense, because avoiding attacks with dodge rolls is nearly impossible. As if that wasn't bad enough, bosses can literally 2 shot your character, which usually means getting hit once is an instant death because it takes so damn long to get back up. But the true enemy here is the camera angle. Controlled with the D-pad, its a wonder how this game made it to shelves with this control scheme. I'm not even joking when I tell you that you have to assume a cramped crab-claw finger grip between the analog stick and the D-pad just to be able to see behind you. It's that atrocious. This set up registers any hopes of a reasonable learning curve completely void. Also, you can't pause the game on the field, so once you start a mission, if you actually find enough time between trying to stay alive against enemies that have triple your speed, health, and damage output to open up the menu, you'll find that you're going to have to choose between staying alive or answering your phone, which will usually set you back a half hour of your life. To top it all off, no lock on system, coupled with the fact that there's no way of knowing your enemy's health (which is insane by the way. Early bosses take upwards of 40 combos to kill) is the coup de grace on this awful excuse for a combat system.
Also, before one of the rabid fanboys jump on my throat screaming "YOU'RE JUST BAD IS WHY YOU RATED SO LOW!!!!!!!1!"; The game is challenging before you add in the controls, or lack there-of. I won't deny that it could be a challenging game, but the main challenge and the source of I want to say 60% of the difficulty stems from the controls just being plain bad. I've played disney movie video games that controlled better than this. If you want a challenging game that actually knows how to pull off difficulty without sacrificing control, just crank up any of your former RPGS to your unused hard-modes and you'll see what I mean.
Obviously, everyone is entitled to their own opinion, and looking at the other reviews, It's apparent that most of the people who played this game found some redeeming qualities in it. Unfortunately, I couldn't see anything good about this game, save the aesthetics of it. The only thing I got out of this game was a $10 void in my bank account, a cramped hand, and the ability to share my horrible experience with others. Unless you're a seriously devoted fanatic to the series, or have countless hours to waste on Runescape PSP edition, avoid this entirely. It's pretty graphics and orchestral soundtrack isn't enough to save obvious flaws in the gameplay that should have been adressed early in development.
Reviewer's Score: 3/10 | Originally Posted: 07/18/11
Game Release: Monster Hunter Freedom Unite (US, 06/22/09)
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