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Monster Hunter: Freedom Review

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Capcom's Pokemon for grown-ups shrinks down for the PSP.

★★★★★

Like an epic Pokémon for adults, Capcom’s recent Monster Hunter on the PS2 blended the beast-collecting fun of Nintendo’s handheld hit with beautifully-crafted RPG elements, in turn offering players a deeply satisfying and unique experience. And while most of the elements that made the PS2 version a hit are still present on the PSP, several niggling problems mire an otherwise excellent adventure.

As with many 3D adventures on Sony’s portable, the lack of a second analogue controller makes it hard to keep the camera apace with the action, leading to moments of intense frustration when you’re in the midst of a fight but can’t see what the hell you’re doing. The huge weapons are also slow and clumsy – a nightmare when tackling more sprightly monsters – and having to search dead creatures multiple times for valuable booty often slows the action to an excruciating halt.

Nonetheless, Freedom’s graphics are breathtaking - especially when you set out on your first serious hunt and see the lush game world sprawling before you - and the addictive multiplayer mode where you embark on group hunts makes it worth struggling with the game’s shortcomings.