Review by Jawnage

"Monster Hunter Freedom Unite"

Monster Hunter Freedom Unite is the perplexedly named expansion pack to Monster Hunter Freedom 2.

Gameplay: If you want a game to pick up on your commute for 5 or 10 minutes at a time, this is most certainly not the game for you. Expect challenging quests to last upwards of 20 to 30 minutes and some of the higher tier quests will last for as long as 45 minutes. Quests are a variety of slay, kill or capture, or forage for resources within a time limit of 50 minutes. There are minor chores to do around the hub world that don't take very long, but most of your time will be spent hunting monsters.

To say this game is difficult and frustrating is not to fully express how aggravating it can be; you can lose all your progress of a 40 minute game in a matter of seconds. Expect a game harder, but fairer, than Demon's Souls. Monsters react in realistic patterns, forcing you to learn and anticipate their movements and attacks. That isn't to say that you can memorize a monster's attack patterns and get a free win; no two battles will be the same thanks to the excellent artificial intelligence.

You will have a real variety of weapons to choose from: oversized hammers, bag-pipe like musical instrument called the hunting horn, katanas, great swords, bows, light and heavy guns, lance, gunlance, dual swords and a sword & shield. Each weapon is unique and balanced, providing for a different experience if you get sick of your weapon of choice. The choice of weapons allows for a proper MMO style party to be formed; a priest class would wield the hunting horn, a tank would wield the lance and a ranger would wield the bow. Monster Hunter Freedom Unite supports local ad-hoc multiplayer and online play through the PS3's Adhoc Party for up to four players.

Slaying a monster gives you raw material that can become a weapon or armor. Weapons have elemental and raw damage while armor grants raw and elemental defense similar to most RPGs. Like Diablo, armor grants the user certain abilities if you use the set, for example, the Tigrex Set offers faster consumption of potions and auto-tracking monsters. There is simply too much depth to fully describe the game's mechanics.

Story: There is no story to speak of in this game, your main motivation will be the challenge of the hunt and loot.

Graphics and Sound: The graphics are good, but not really outstanding. The music is suitably epic and the sound effects for the monsters and weapons are great.

Play Time: One play-through will last at least 600 hours from basic quests to the final tier guild quests. The game is infinitely more replayable if you can find a friend to play with.

Final Recommendation: Unfortunately, most of the new content in this game is restricted to high level guild (multiplayer) and high level elder quests (singleplayer). However, Monster Hunter Freedom Unite updates the UI from MHF2 and introduces partial installation to the memory stick to reduce load times which is reason alone to upgrade from Monster Hunter Freedom 2. Recommended to all who have MHF2. To the everyone else, try the demo and see if you can dig the combat .

Reviewer's Rating:   4.0 - Great

Originally Posted: 05/20/10

Game Release: Monster Hunter Freedom Unite (US, 06/22/09)

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