Monster Hunter Freedom Unite
A couple of glaring flaws almost single-handedly doom Freedom Unite
While it's relatively unknown franchise to US gamers, the Monster Hunter series is a beast in Japan, regularly selling hundreds of thousands of copies. Freedom Unite is the latest chapter to be released here and it retains the complexity and depth that the series is known for. However, a couple of glaring flaws almost single-handedly doom Freedom Unite and keep it from becoming a true global phenomenon.
- Top notch graphics, deep weapon and armour customisation, tons of missions to play through.
- The camera is horrible and the combat is poorly implemented
A bona fide overseas phenomenon, the Monster Hunter franchise hasn't really struck gold with American audiences yet, and it doesn't look like Freedom Unite will be changing that fact any time soon. A decent enough RPG adventure, an otherwise fun and addicting title is bogged down by troublesome combat and an unresponsive camera.
Lights, Camera, Action
Huge-flaw number one: the camera. An important crux of any third-person action title is the ability to always be able to interrupt, act and respond to whatever is going on around your character, and in Freedom Unite that is not always the case. The in-game camera is unreliable and flaky which often leaves you vulnerable in battle. It's hard to survive battles with vicious monsters when the camera suddenly collides with a wall, forcing you out of the frame. It's even worse considering the fact that circle-strafe is an almost necessary tactic.
This brings me to my second complaint: the weak combat. I especially hated the absence of lock-on targeting. This simple addition could have made battles manageable and fun. Without it, engagements that are already made difficult due to the wonky camera become even tougher, especially when you go up against the more agile beasts.
United We Stand
While those are really the only two major gripes one can find with the game (besides long load-times), they keep the game from realising its potential. Freedom Unite has some of the best graphics on the PSP, and the character and monster animation is top-notch. There are over 400 missions, which is insanely impressive and the depth of the weapon and armour customisation is ridiculously.
But in the end, all that content feels kind of wasted due to the horrible camera and lacklustre combat. It's like taking a delicious steak and drowning it in a foul smelling sauce; sure, you can get a few good bites here and there but for more most part, you're too busy holding your nose to truly enjoy yourself.
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