G&NTFG : Monster Hunter Freedom Unite
Hello dear readers,
I think it’s high time for me to present my favourite game to these who still don’t know it: Monster Hunter Freedom Unite. I have been playing this game for more than a year now, and for more than 250 hours (without including the countless times I failed a quest and didn’t save), but I still love it as much, really. Why, you will ask?
The first episode of this series, named Monster Hunter, was released on the Playstation 2 in 2004. It had a pretty nice success, so various sequels were developped afterwards. This one is named Monster Hunter Freedom Unite, and got released on the PSP in June 2009 in America and Europe.
Basically, the game’s concept is simple : you are a hunter, and as the village’s guardian you have to repel monsters from the city. The whole hunting system is regulated though, since you have to go on quests to be allowed to enter a wild zone and chase one monster. The more quests you succeed in, the harder the remaining ones will become. And with some luck, you’ll start to face really powerful beasts… So at first, it seems like a normal action game. However… the greatest strength of MHFU (that’s how most fans call the game) is not in its story, and if you’re only playing for it, you’d better give up now.
If you start playing this game, you’ll just be almost bored in the tutorial (if not amused by your instructor’s witty comments… this guy is just awesome). It’s just some basic cooking, item-collecting and meat-hunting tasks. After you have tested the 11 different classes of weapons, you will have to face your first real hunt : a Giadrome. And here… as adrenaline rushes in your body, you’ll become filled by excitement, and you will understand the true meaning of the word “hunt”.
Here it is, the famed Giadrome ! He doesn’t look that strong ? Fight it and see by yourself !
Monsters from MHFU are not your typical, easily-killed Zelda-like bosses that you can quickly finish in less than 5 min when you figure out how you can kill them (well, you can quickly finish the easiest ones, but this would rather be due to experience and weapons). These monsters… they have no apparent weakness. There’s no typical “critical time” when you have to hit them. They are chasing you. They don’t wanna play or fool around, only chase you. You’re the prey… or you aren’t, depending on your hunter’s soul.
Facing the Tigrex.
And everything is made to maximise the hunt immersion. Each beast has its own cry and behaviour. Some will try to flee, others will fiercely retaliate. When you play for the first time, your moves will seem to be quite sluggish, but it’s’ due to realism; no magically-eaten potion here, your hero will stop and take time to drink it. Your weapon will lose sharpness while you keep using it, so you have to sharpen it every now and then… You’ll get hungry, cold/hot, and your status and global stamina will be affected.
Besides… There’s no ingame experience in this game. You don’t get “levels” once you kill a monster, and you can’t hit stronger because of it. Of course, you can improve your weapons and armour (and it is very important to do so)… but if you keep playing the bad way, you’ll always get killed, no matter how good your equipment is… The true worth of a hunter is in his real hunting skills, like his reactivity, his ability to guard and avoid attacks, how he can notice the weaknesses of a beast and hit it at the right time and so on. And this real-experience-based system is one thing I really appreciate.
Wanna have a little glimpse of it ? Look at this video… The person fighting doesn’t have better weapons/armour… this is training equipment, so you can’t choose it. All their skill comes from player experience.
Also… This game has a ton of equipment. Really. More than one thousand weapons and armours, each one with very nice details, and not always serious stuff (the cooking sets, or all the felyne-flavoured weapons are quite enjoyable… and trust me, killing a monster with felyne dolls as weapons is really funny).
As for sound… the musics are nice, although sometimes annoying while fighting a monster. These legendary giant monsters’ themes are just gorgeous! (which monsters? Oh, you’ll know soon enough when you start playing).
So… to sum up simply, MHFU is a wonderful game. Play it!
… Still not convinced ? Look at the game’s intro. It always works !