As a Monster Hunter freak, I decided to get down to the roots of the series, but I didn't want to play MH1 on PS2, since the analog-attack system was freaking ridiculous…an interesting idea, but it played terribly, judging from what I've played of MHDos. So, I decided to try out the first playable Monster Hunter game, Monster Hunter Freedom 1, after looking up videos of it and knowing what I'm getting into. People say that it's awful, and while they're not entirely wrong, I tend to feel that they're exaggerating a bit.
Let me make this clear: I did not beat this game in its entirety. I beat every Village quest, and decided to play something else around 4-star guild. I'm going to list the differences about this game and the rest of the series and say my thoughts. There's some stuff you wouldn't believe.
– You only have three pages in the entire box, and that's WITH the expansion books. This means you have just enough to have a stack of each item, except a stack would represent how much you can carry with you instead of 99 like in Freedom Unite and up. This means instead of having one stack of 99 potions, you would have 9 stacks of 10 potions and one stack of 9, making a total of 10 stacks! Also, you have to remember to never craft something if you're not going to use it.
-You have to take stuff out of the box in order to combine it. This makes it incredibly annoying to craft anything, and you're better off buying the stuff you can buy instead of crafting it, however…
-You barely get any money. A Rathian quest, for example, only gives you 2700z, instead of the 3000+ you'd get in later games. This goes for almost every quest in the game. I always had trouble crafting things because I had barely any money. Speaking of crafting…
-All weapons are on a single list for crafting. Not only that, but you can't gem your armor, and you can't even upgrade it. Whatever defense armor has, that's it. However, armor pieces are very generous with skill points. Some can give entire skills with just one piece, making mixed sets very easy to make. The skills didn't even matter that much, making the game more skill based. I like this because I feel like having a mixed set with Attack up L, Challenger +2, Sharpness +1, Weakness Exploit, Razor Sharp, and Critical Eye +3 is really freaking cheap, and I feel far more rewarded by making an armor set with like 3 skills, plus I don't have to grind for 30 hours to get that +8 Handicraft charm.
-Most weapons require low-tier materials. While a lot of weapons require like 30 Iron ore, you don't need stuff like Machalite ore until WAY later. This means you can make a high-rank weapon in the beginning of the game.
-The game's combat is very laggy. This is a result of the MonHun team porting over a PS2 game, Monster Hunter G, to the PSP. I often had to button-mash, not because I was bad, but because the game wouldn't register my presses unless I did so. Lance suffered the worst from this, on top of being heavily nerfed from the original MH Also…
-The weapons handle very differently. For some odd reason, Sword & Shield has a free 50% damage boost, making this the only game in the series where Raw SNS is not only viable, but the best choice. However, it couldn't use items when drawn, and Greatsword couldn't even charge, meaning you had to use combo-greatsword! Hammer couldn't KO, meaning the only reason you'd ever hit the head would be to deal more damage. Also, gunning was expensive AF, making it not viable at the slightest, since money issues are such a problem in this game.
-White sharpness was the max, as Purple wasn't added until MHFU. Since Green was the max in MH1, this means that you barely bounce off anything with Green in low-rank. You don't even bounce off Basarios or Gravios, making them completely doable with melee.
-This game really likes egg quests. There are so many of them, and they all make you gather like 4 or 5 eggs instead of 2 or 3. There was an egg quest in the Old Desert that made me so mad I screamed out of the top of my lungs, and it was probably the angriest I've ever gotten at a video game.
-This is the first game with Yian Garuga (Who was also the first monster to have its own theme play outside specific areas), and he was ridiculously hard. The fight is so hard, in fact, that it's not even in the main quest list. It's given to you as an urgent quest really early on, and I doubt you're supposed to be fighting it until G-rank. You bounce everywhere except the head, he loves to insta-charge, and he did crazy amounts of damage. Luckily, you only have to repel him in the quest, and you can cheese it by trading a spider web to the Veggie Elder and waiting until time runs out.
-You roll based on your position to the camera, not based on where your character is. This means that if you are facing the camera and try to roll to the left, you will roll to the right.
-Wind-press doesn't push you away from the monster, it actually only pushes you backward based on where you're facing. This means that if you are wind-pressed while your back is facing the monster, you will be drawn TOWARDS THE MONSTER.
-Monsters also have far less health in this game than they do in the later games. This makes most quests a cinch to do solo.
-There are an abundance of small-monster in the arena quests. There are also hunt-a-thon quests that take place in the arena. It's clear that you're meant to do these with multiple people, as they are ridiculous solo. In the Kut-Ku one, I just killed 2 Kut-Kus and waited in the base camp after carting twice, and cleared the quest.
-Quests with subspecies don't list the subspecies in the quest objectives. If there's a Pink Rathian quest, it'll just say to hunt a Rathian. The only way you'd know is if the quest's flavor-text said so, and it doens't most of the time.
Well, that was a long post! What do you think? I encourage an Monster Hunter fanatic to at least give this game a try. You can find emulate it very easily, and I recommend you do so, since PPSSPP upscales the resolution and allows you to map the right-stick to the D-Pad, so no PSP Claw!
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