When I first heard that Monster Hunter Freedom Unite was coming to iOS, I was pretty excited. Having played the PSP version of the game, as well Monster Hunter titles for PS2, Wii, and Wii U, I knew exactly what to expect—killing copious amounts of monsters, then harvesting their organs and making cool weapons out of them.
What I wasn’t sure about, however, was how the controls, graphics, and general feel of the game would work on iOS, considering this was a port of the PSP game of the same name. Thankfully, after playing Monster Hunter Freedom Unite almost non-stop for the last several days on my iPad, I can safely say that the game works very well.
Actually, I would say that graphics are better on iOS than in the PSP version, and comparable to the Wii U version of Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate. The controls, meanwhile, are handled rather smartly, too.
The graphics are easy to explain. The graphics are now in high-definition, meaning they look very nice and take up a little over 1GB of storage. The world, characters, and monsters are all crystal clear, which is certainly a step up from the PSP version. Not to mention, an iPad screen is considerably larger than a PSP screen.
Unlike the PSP version, however, there are no joysticks and physical buttons to press on the iOS version. Instead, a virtual joystick and a unique button system is displayed on the screen. I have played a lot of games on the iPad that require players to use virtual joysticks, and they usually are slow and tricky to get the hang of. Maybe it’s because I’m so used to them, but I found the virtual joystick very easy to use in Monster Hunter Freedom Unite on the iPad.
Part of the reason for that is because both the joystick and the buttons are very large on the screen. For someone who wants to see the entire screen without interference, that might be a problem. But, for someone who wants to be able to easily control his or her character, the setup is perfect.
Without going into too much detail, as the pictures might be able explain better, the movement joystick is on the left, while the action buttons are on the right. Pretty standard stuff, only the actions buttons do different things depending on whether a player slides them up, left, or down. For example, the movement button will have the player’s character roll if it is pressed. If it is moved to the left, however, the character will sprint, while moving it up or down will also have the character do different actions.
This means there are less buttons on the screen, ensuring you don’t accidentally press something you didn’t mean to. It is a considerably different control scheme, but easy to get the hang of, and a good fit for the iPad.
After players get used to the controls, then they can begin to explore the huge world that is Monster Hunter. As with all Monster Hunter games, the goal is to complete quests, which mostly involve either gathering things or killing things, and get rewards. New weapons and armor can be made by collecting the bones and skins of the monsters you’ve killed, while potions and poisons can be made from collected herbs.
Players may either complete these quests on their own, or join up with people online. Up to four people can play co-operatively online, and it a fun way to experience the game if you get tired of running errands alone.
Monster Hunter Freedom Unite offers hours of fun RPG-style gameplay, and is available now for iOS.