Monster Hunter Freedom 2 Review

Monster Hunter is one of those franchises that every Japanese gamer is familiar with, but most American gamers have never heard of. I admit that until recently, I was in the camp ignorant of the games; I had heard them mentioned, but I had no idea what they were other than games where you hunted monsters. Deep, huh?

That’s why I was pleasantly surprised after playing Monster Hunter Freedom 2 to find that I loved it. As a longtime gamer, I love the difficulty the game throws in your face, as if it’s daring you to treat it like any other handheld title. At the same time, the game is incredibly robust (especially for a handheld) and offers so much to do you may be overwhelmed.

Of course, the main component of the game is hunting monsters. (Once you get past the insane number of tutorial quests, that is.) Unlike many games where you can get away with just running up to a monster and slashing it to death, in MHF2 you actually need to plan; you need to strategize. What’s the best way to approach it? Which weapon would be best? Which armor is best-suited for the encounter and the environment you’ll be in?

It’s definitely a game crafted towards experienced gamers who enjoy some meat in their gameplay. I can’t imagine someone who just purchased a PSP and has never really gotten into gaming enjoying this title. It’s hard, it offers plenty of incentives to learn several new swear words, and it takes a long time to learn and master the intricacies of it.

During your missions, you’ll collect all sorts of goodies. No matter how useless what you pick up is, you can make something of it. (I love the way you can combine two useless objects to make a useful one!) Without experience or a true RPG leveling system, upgrading your gear via the things you collect on your tasks is the only way to truly improve your character.

Outside of hunting, there are several other tasks you can enjoy. To keep MHF2 from becoming a Rune Factory/Harvest Moon-like title, most of the mundane things (such as fishing) are done via a minigame. A lot of these minigames also require timing to beat, making you actually stay on your toes, so to speak. Hey, it manages to keep the adrenaline running.

Alone, Monster Hunter Freedom 2 is a fun game, but can be a little overwhelming for most players. Thankfully, you can join up with friends via ad-hoc and journey on some hunts together. This makes the game incredibly more fun, and also helps ease things down a bit, as you’ll have people in all sorts of directions attacking the creature you’re trying to take down.

What may be the only truly disappointing thing when it comes to this game, though, also deals with the ad-hoc play; more specifically, it’s the limitation of only ad-hoc multiplayer. Is it fun playing with friends and hunting together? You betcha. Is it very easy and frequently I can find other friends who own a PSP and the game, get them together, and have everyone agree to play this rather than another game, watch a movie, have some beers, etc.? Not so much. Internet play would have opened this game up into another realm. Hopefully we’ll see it in the next version.

With a challenging-but-fun gameplay system which does a great job rewarding players, a large number of quests, wonderful visuals and spectacular creature variety, and all sorts of gear to utilize and pick between, Monster Hunter Freedom 2 is a game that offers a ton in its tiny package. Is it a game every PSP owner should buy? Probably not. Is it a game anyone who considers themselves a hardcore (or competent) gamer should purchase if they own a PSP? Without hesitation. It’s hard as hell at first and takes some getting used to, but trust me, the game will grow on ya.


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Author: Brendon Lindsey View all posts by

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