I recently wrote a review on GameStop about Monster hunter Unite, hopefully attracting more first timers to the series. Here it is, feel free to comment. I know there's a few typos, but since I can't edit the GameSpot review I decided I'd leave this one alone as well.
Best Monster Hunter on PSP. Not for everyone though.
Posted Jul 4, 2009 1:58 am GMT
Difficulty: Just Right
Time Spent: 100 or More Hours
The Bottom Line: "Best in series"
It seems professional review sights have very mixed feelings on the game. Often they sight the lack of any kind of lock-on targeting and "wonky camera controls" (thank you Gamespot for that wonderful quote.) But these "issues" are easily overcome with a little thing called "skill".
I'm going to say early that this game is not for everyone. Those used to creature comforts such as targeting and health bars may find the series too difficult and quit early. Players also used to mmo style grinding and fighting wave upon wave of grunt enemy types will also feel alienated.
The game showcases the difficulty it takes for simple humans to slay great beasts. Fighting is an exercise in restraint, one must avoid slashing wildly and wait for, or create, the oportune moments to attacks. Quests, especially ones later in the game, try to force players to work more cooperatively, making this MH much more group focused than previous titles.
The game starts off fairly slow, the beginner quests are largely used as the closest thing you'll get to a tutorial. If you're a veteran or converted over previous saved data, you could start by doing guild quests as they are more difficult.
The game quickly ramps up its difficulty though. It is assumed that the order the player undertakes quests is Village, Village G, Guild, High Rank Guild, and finally G Rank Guild. Players can do quests in any order they chose though, once they reach certain criteria such as an established rank.
The game features a huge amount of weapons and armor. Much of your time you are farming monsters for materials used to upgrade an existing weapon or make a brand new one. Thankfully this feels nothing like the "farming" seen in most other rpgs. Fighting Monsters is incredibly rewarding, especially when the co-op factor is in play. Solo hunters gain the help of Feyline fighters, simple npcs that gradually become better the more you use them. Though not an adaquate substitute for humans, they definetly help easy the frustration of inexpirience or the strength of end-game quests.
Hunting with a group is easily the games most enjoyable feature. Sadly though, the lack of true online multiplayer can be annoying. Thankfully, PS3 owners can download ad-hoc party and play with other online. To those of us who do not own a PS3, multiplayer can be a bit trickier. Fans often resort to downloading multiplayer clients such as Wi-fi Max or X Kai Link, which have servers with enough players to keep most players content.
Now on to the subject of lock on. Reviewers hate that the game lacks it, fans hate the thought of adding it. At the beginning the camera controls can be frustrating to beginners, which may alienate them from the series. However, after at least 10 quests to camera controls should become second nature, only hindering a player when they become boxed inbetween a monster and a wall. Lock on targeting, although making the game easier, would cheapen the expirience and make it seem more hollow. Glitches would easily occur when fighting multiple "boss monsters," most likely resulting in the camera being unable to distinguish which monster is of more importance to targeting. Manuevering the camera, despite what review sights say, is more skill related and much easier than they would lead you to believe. When I personally started playing back when Monster Hunter Freedom 1 came out, It took me 4 quests before I had camera movement down to an artform.
My single greatest problem with the game is its story. Don't get me wrong, I love fighting monsters and upgrading my gear, advancing in the quest heirchy, and improving my guild card, but sometimes I long for more. The game could easily showcase more lore. I don't necessarily need more story about my character, but more story on the world of Monster Hunter. Multiple towns and cities to visit would be great. Perhaps "unique missions" would appear from time to time with objectives that deviate from the normal hunt slay and kill. The game is fine the way it is, but with Capcom's team of writers they could craft a world wrapped in lore and legend, steeped with mystery, just begging to be explored.
Final Word. Monster Hunter Freedom Unite is not for everyone. Give the game patience early on and hopefully you real see the true value of it. It forces players to adapt, giving them the range of tools to overcome any foe. With a little patience and the help of friends by your side, perhaps you too will come to see the joy of being a Monster Hunter.
So long and Good Hunting...