Electronic Theatre Preview: Monster Hunter Freedom Unite

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Electronic Theatre Image            Monster Hunter Freedom Unite is all but knocking on the door of European retail, and Capcom aren’t afraid to let you know it. Alongside an incredibly informal demonstration at the MCM Expo in London this weekend, Capcom unveiled plans for a more elaborate, long-term space for fans to freely gather for all things Monster Hunter. If that wasn’t generous enough, Europe will be receiving two productions of the Monster Hunter Freedom Unite demo prior to launch – one available for download, the other on a limited run of Universal Media Discs (UMDs) – and some unfathomably generous helping hands in the form of the Encyclopedia Gigantica.

Electronic Theatre Image            However, no publisher would go to this much effort for a single title unless there was near-certainty they would reap just rewards. And when your next release is the latest instalment in a series that’s widely regarded as having single-handedly kept its host system within the public eye in Japan, you’re in a good position to be fairly confident in your efforts. Monster Hunter is that series, and Monster Hunter Freedom Unite looks to be worth the effort.

            The playable code at MCM Expo allowed for up to four players to embark upon one of three hunts (each of a prescribed difficulty), and was suggested to be similar (if not, in fact, identical) to the demo version soon to be released across Europe. Following in the footsteps of its predecessors, which earned the series placement in the first of Electronic Theatre’s brand new weekly features, Sunday Special: Top Ten Multi-player Games, the playable demonstration quite clearly delivered hours of addictive hunting with friends, or even likeminded strangers.

            Players could choose between a selection of characters based upon their weapon set, and begin by sharing out the goods stashed locally. The Radar Electronic Theatre Imagedisplayed in the top-right of the screen gives a remarkably accurate real-time interpretation of each player’s position, and the Boss Monster’s location once discovered. Loading is swift and downed players will soon find their way back to the action.

            Apart from the general tidy-up and incredibly reliable wireless set-up, few of the new features offered to the series by Monster Hunter Freedom Unite were evidenced during the time Electronic Theatre had with the game. With many of the improvements suggested to be coming in the form of further customisation features, additional missions, maps and monsters, it was hard to assess how much of this would warrant attention upon release during a limited playtime on a busy show floor. If series tradition is anything to go by, however, the fans are likely to have little to worry about.

            With Monster Hunter Freedom Unite due to arrive in Europe on June 26th, 2009, and Capcom readying a massive push for the title, there’s sure to be plenty of information forthcoming in the next few weeks. As ever, Electronic Theatre will bring you the latest as it happens.

 

 

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