Don’t chase the dragon, chop its head off!

Capcom prepares to confront fire-breathing beasties in Monster Hunter Freedom

Don’t chase the dragon, chop its head off!
| Monster Hunter Freedom

Ever since George got a sainthood for picking up a princess and dusting down the dragon, there’s been no finer pastime than taking a large pointy piece of metal and sticking into a large fire-breathing monster. Even in Japan, where dragons don’t fly and were said to grant wishes, there’s plenty of desire to slay the big worms; hence the popularity of the Monster Hunter series of games.

Now being primed for PSP, Monster Hunter Freedom, the game is a mixture of the existing PlayStation 2 series with some extra portable features. The core of the game, however, is the usual role playing approach where you start off creating your hunter by choosing clothes, hair, face and voice.

Then it’s out into the hub village to start your questing. To begin with you’ll be limited to picking over defeated monsters for food and collecting bones to make weapons and armour. But once properly equipped, it will be time to progress to egg stealing and finally hunting down the vermin. Each successful quest will result in the ability to shell out at the village shop for better weapons, accessories, upgrades and food. You can also get a house so you can stash your treasure.

Other neat domestic touches include a farm where you can fish, a garden for food and the cat kitchen, where you can go to improve your powers with special dishes. Each cat (actually known as felynes) has a special ingredient and the more you frequent them, the more powerful their food becomes.

But the main reason to play is the combat, where there will be plenty of gruesome creatures to slay. The majority of the game is designed for single player, but you can play co-operatively with one other player using PSP’s wi-fi in the special Treasure Hunter mode. In this you have to collect and deliver treasures in a specific time to achieve high scores and earn various items. There are also four-player dragon hunting co-operative missions to undertake and you can trade items between players in both modes.

Currently due for a US release in March, Capcom has yet to announce a UK release date but Pocket Gamer will keep you informed - just log into the site and click on the Track It! button to get any news emailed directly to your inbox.