In a world dominated by titanic and deadly beasts, the only rule is - Hunt or be hunted. Humans would be at the bottom of the food chain if it were not for the Monster Hunters.
Armed with weapons and armour fashioned from the materials at hand, the Monster Hunters take the fight to the predators, carving out a space for their village to flourish and harvesting important resources from the beasts they defeat.
It is to protect your village and become a legendary name in this revered group of hunters that drives your character to engage in deadly games of cat and mouse, in which the cat can be a 20 ton killing machine of muscle, claw and tooth.
Life in the frozen peaks
Your activities are based around Pokke village a remote vantage point, nestled amongst snowy peaks. Found half frozen and unconscious, after falling from an icy cliff, the village Elder invites you to remain and become a hunter for their community.
Stylistically, the look and feel of the village and its residents is a mishmash of cultures, with Mayan and Mongol influences being most dominant. Fantasy elements, such as talking cat people living alongside and providing services for the residents of Pokke village, blend nicely into this cultural melting pot. It is this blend of different styles that gives the game its distinctive look and feel, extending to the wide range of equipment available for the customisation of your hunter.
Weapons, such as bows, lances and swords, and armour let you create a unique look and provide a wide choice of gameplay options. Various items are available through the village store but more satisfying is the creation of piecemeal armour and weapons scavenged from your environment.
One of the pack
If you feel daunted by the prospect of taking on beasts alone the easiest way to even the odds is to team up with more players online. The Network multiplayer game opens up additional unique quests and enemies that prove a challenge for the most experienced team of hunters.
Although the single player game provides a wealth of diversity, online is where Monster Hunter Freedom 2 comes truly alive. Working together you can set lethal traps for the most dangerous monsters or distract a titanic beast as another hunter steals its precious eggs.
All things great and small
In contrast to the huge and eye-catching landscapes and the equally massive monsters that roam throughout the game, it is the small details that add depth and realism to play.
Most notable is the degradation of your weapons with use and time, requiring you to rummage in your pack for a whetstone and apply a new edge. Equally, mastering skills and tools to survive off the land is essential on long expeditions in restoring your health and stamina. It is these little, real-world details that set Monster Hunter apart.
However, if it is the small details that make the gameplay it is the monsters that make the experience. The distinctly Jurassic and prehistoric feel of Monster Hunter provides excitement without any of that tricky DNA reconstruction.
From lumbering herbivores to the quick footed Velociprey, the creatures encountered prove a continual challenge for the most adept and well-armed hunter, the difference in scale between yourself and the majority of your prey giving you a constant sense of being caught on the back foot.