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Monster Hunter Freedom review

Wear your enemies as a hat (or armor, or a sword) in this sublime slash-'em-up

Pros

  • Huge
  • sprawling adventure
  • Uniquely rewarding action
  • No "experience points" - just experience

Cons

  • Some hunts are super-frustrating
  • Can't switch equipment during missions
  • Those damn thieving cats

For many, the defining moment of Monster Hunter Freedom won't come when you first leave your tiny village to fight dinosaurs in a sweeping, hilly countryside. It won't come when you carve up your first kill for gruesome things you can later use to make other, more gruesome things. It won't even come when you go solo against your first giant, dragon-like wyvern.

More than likely, it'll come when - after dozens of unsuccessful attempts that end with your broken carcass being dragged back to camp on a wooden gurney pushed by yowling cats - you finally figure out how to outsmart that giant beast and bring it down. Then, you'll really feel like a hunter. Then, you'll be ready to take on anything. Then, you'll get cocky and have to do it all over again when you meet the next mammoth horror.

While it might look like a primitive hack-and-slasher, Monster Hunter Freedom is anything but. Essentially a souped-up version of the PS2 original, it casts you as a fledgling hunter in a village that's surrounded by dinosaurs.

Taking on hunting and gathering quests will give you the chance to harvest enough bones, scales and icky membranes, which in turn let you make yourself some really badass weapons and armor. And once your defenses are tough enough, maybe you'll be able to last more than a few seconds against the voracious animals you're tasked with tracking down.

These aren't just simple, cookie-cutter baddies you're after, either. For starters, they're not really "evil" - some are actually harmless - and killing them doesn't serve a greater purpose. They're just big, reptilian animals that you're paid to hunt. Each species has its own attacks and behavior, and while you can brute-force your way through the lower-level creatures, swinging a big sword only gets you so far.

The bigger baddies take planning, skill and - more often than not - offensive items like bait, bombs and traps. This makes for a lot of frustrating-as-hell battles as you try to probe your enemies' weaknesses, but it's just that much more rewarding when you finally bring them crashing to the ground.

More Info

GenreRole Playing
DescriptionHunt down freaky dinosaurs and make their skins into hats in this wild, weird adventure.
PlatformPSP
US censor ratingTeen
UK censor rating
Release date:23 May 2006 (US), (UK)
Available platforms:PSP
Genre:Role Playing

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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