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Monster Hunter Freedom

PSP ports of PlayStation 2 games have been hit-or-miss so far; a few have been good, most have been crap and nearly all of them suffer from terrible camera controls. Monster Hunter's camera was kind of terrible to begin with, though, enabling us to see past the technical limitations of Monster Hunter Freedom and appreciate it for what it is: a kickass action-RPG that seems to fit perfectly on Sony's handheld.

Monster Hunter Freedom hits stores late next month, but we've been playing a nearly complete version of the game for the past two weeks. An expanded version of the game that hit PS2s in 2004, Freedom lets you create your own fledgling hunter - male or female - and set out on missions to collect a grisly assortment of trophies (most of them useful) from the dinosaurs, warthogs and other giant creatures that roam around your little village.

While the localization from the best-selling Japanese version isn't quite finished, Freedom already does an impressive job of scaling down the PS2 adventure. Almost no graphical quality has been lost, and the environments are beautifully detailed even at long distances. Surprisingly, the camera controls are actually better than the console version - while you could only center your view with a single button on the PS2, the PSP's directional pad lets you rotate it freely.

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