Monster Hunter Freedom

The call of the wild pulls us into this primitive-themed RPG

Freedom also keeps the hack-and-slash action intact, and even makes itself a little more accessible to beginners by offering an assortment of powerful weapons right off the bat. The gigantic Iron Sword is extremely slow and unwieldy, but smacking it into a monster's face is incredibly satisfying. (Using it to finish off monsters as they flail around in a near-death panic is a little less so, though.) The other close-up weapons - a hammer and a lance - were fun as well, and although the crossbow was super-weak, aiming it in first-person and sniping from a distance was a nice change of pace.

There's a bunch of new content as well, not the least of which is the adorable Felyne Kitchen. Here, you can hire a few of the goofy, semi-intelligent cat-creatures that wander the game world to be your personal chefs. They'll then scurry around in a musical food-preparation sequence, falling over themselves to serve you. Depending on what they cook, your attack power, defense or another attribute will get a boost. Additionally, each cat comes with a unique ingredient that adds a special effect to your meal.

Other additions to the PSP game include an expanded house for your hunter to use as a home base, new upgradeable weapons and armor, a new farm area and a central village that can grow depending on how you invest in it. The minigames from the console version are here as well, and you'll still be able to cook or fish for yourself if you've got the right items.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

After graduating from college in 2000 with a BA in journalism, I worked for five years as a copy editor, page designer and videogame-review columnist at a couple of mid-sized newspapers you've never heard of. My column eventually got me a freelancing gig with GMR magazine, which folded a few months later. I was hired on full-time by GamesRadar in late 2005, and have since been paid actual money to write silly articles about lovable blobs.
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