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Take me down to Kokoto

I’ve put in about 60 hours into Monster Hunter Freedom now and I can easily believe the game has double that amount of gameplay left undiscovered.

This does not take into account the fact the game is replayable ad infinitum. There’s no real ending and the game can, if you should choose, be an endless treadmill of hunting, upgrading your armour, weapons and ranking. I’m not sure if I would still want to be playing once I’ve finished each hunting quest at least once but it’s nice to know the game I’m enjoying now still has a lot to offer.

Hunting party

This is one of the few games that makes me really wish there was someone in my neighbourhood with a PSP. Hunting wyverns with a partner would a lot of fun, I’m sure, (not to mention much easier) but more to the point, there are quests in this game that are only accessible to a multiplayer party.

To complicate matters, the US version of the game is somewhat hamstrung since Capcom curiously did away with the Infrastructure Mode support that was present in the Japanese version, Monster Hunter Portable. There is a workaround for those who really want play the game online but it involves jumping through some hoops.

MMO lite

In play, Monster Hunter Freedom resembles a MMO. There are upgrade treadmills for weapons and armour and like most MMOs, upgrading requires crafting which in turns requires drops in the form of materials carved from monster kills. The grind in this game comes from randomness of these drops. Upgrading a sword or a piece of armour might require multiple runs of the same quest.

Instead of accumulating XP to level up, players will need actual experience in order to tackle the more difficult beasts at higher levels of difficulty. The difficulty ramps up at a decent pace but there are a couple of quests which might frustrate players.

The first Yian Kut-Ku hunt might prove troublesome and once hunting the bird-dragon becomes a piece of cake, players will be taken aback to find the Gypceros a much tougher opponent.

And then you will know the pain that is Yian Garuga.

It may look like a Kut-Ku but the Yian Garuga is a right bastard with a variety of different offensive abilities at its disposal to put you in a world of hurt. The real problem with the Rage of the Yian Garuga quest, however, is its 20-minute time limit. The journeyman hunter will find it difficult to down the beast fast enough.

The key thing to remember is the quest is not necessary despite its Urgent Quest status. Skip this optional “Urgent Quest” until much, much later.

I actually think “Urgent Quest” was a translation error. What the developers probably meant was “Pain-Inducing Quest That Will Leave Ignorant Foreign Barbarians Hitting Their Heads On Hard Flat Surfaces In Frustration.”

Language, language

There are a few other translation oddities here and there. Getting a good meal (Cubesteak plus Spicy Sausage) in the Felyne Kitchen saw my avatar receive a boost to his Vitality which is referred to elsewhere as Health. If the avatar’s Health/Vitality dwindles down to zero in a quest, he’s said to be knocked unconscious but the tally at the end of the quest lists it as a death.

KOs (be it Knocked Out or Killed Off) are part and parcel of a hunter’s life but the thing I really dig about the game is that if you’re careful, thoughtful and patient, victory is possible no matter how dire the beast.

That doesn’t make the Yian Garuga any less of a bastard, however.

Posted in Games, MHF.

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