Or “An account of why I love this game” in a 3 part journal entry.

I’ve been Pokke village’s main hunter for a few weeks now.  That pretty much means I serve the snow covered, mountain top community by terminating pesky velociraptors and dragons.  I’m really starting to get into the role by this point, and some parts of the joy of the hunt are becoming second nature to me.  In any case, it’s high noon and I’m in the blazing hot desert.  I’d taken a contract the previous day to bring down a massive enemy hermit crab, known officially as the Daimyo Hermitaur.

The village has set up my base camp in a nice, shaded area surrounded by cavern walls, so I’m safe from the sun for now.  My make-shift armor, a patchwork of wyvern scales, monstrous ape fur, rare plant fibers, and experiences, fits like a glove.  The mid-day sky is as blue as it gets.  I check the village supply box for gear picked personally by the elder: someone who surely knows more about the fight ahead than I do.  There’s the normal desert care pack, the standard kit for dealing with particularly large critters, and…a box simply labeled “Bouncing Bombs.”  I’ll have to hold my breath on that one.

I should note that this isn’t my first attempt at bringing down this particular crustacean; once when I was a much less experienced hunter, I took a similar mission despite having never bested anything larger than a Giadrome.  At the time I ran headlong into the fray and got a sound thrashing thanks to my inexperience.  I’m determined to see this mission go differently.

I make sure my weapon is secure, an eastern blade the length of one and a half men from head to toe, and I step out of camp.  I check my map briefly; the last time I was here, I found the jerk hanging out at an oasis out east, so the best hope I have now is to march in that direction and see what I find.  After a bit, I’m finally approaching the open dunes.  The heat is restrictive at best and I slam down a cooling solvent from my survival pack to help avoid overheating.  Without it, my strength would sap out fast.

I walk for a good bit, avoiding the ire of the sandshark-like Cephalos in the area, and hit the oasis.  There’re some turtle-shelled Apceros grazing at water’s edge, but no sign of the crab.  No reason to stop here, then.  It’s in the next area, a small outcropping of rock encompassing a natural cave and hugging a large field of sand, that I hit gold: there’s the bastard, Daimyo Hermitaur.

Good with butter?  I hope so.

Good with butter? I hope so.

He’s, quite literally, your average red and white hermit crab, but two stories in height and using the sun-bleached skull of what looks like to have been a much, much larger one-horned wyvern as a shell.  Sandsharks are making their rounds in the area, but I take it on good faith they won’t bother getting too close once the festivities begin.  I have the good luck to have the element of surprise, as well.  He’s feeding, or knitting a nest or…god knows, something crabs do.

I check through my hunting supplies and pull out a paint bomb; when big marks get spooked or hurt, they almost always run, so making them easy to track by covering them with paint is a necessity on a hunt that might last a while.  There’s the wind up, the pitch, and pow!  There’s a huge pink splotch on his shell now.  Convenient AND eyepleasing!  He doesn’t seem too pleased about it, though, and starts to charge, horn shell first.  I barely roll out of the way of his house-width girth and get ready to dance.

My sword leaves the sheath with a satisfying ring and the blade slams on his shell as he winds down from the charge.  I do my best to make evasive maneuvers, as being crab-snapped isn’t high on my list of wants, but I’m still not completely familiar with his routine.  He presses with his claws, I roll and attack, he sprays bubbles, I manage to get out of range and retaliate.  Round one isn’t terrible, but I’m still too green; he throws me a distance with a clean smack from a pincer, he slams me with a backwards charge and I end up getting the wind knocked out of me.  I try to spot-patch the bruises and scrapes, but he steamrolls me time and again and after a minute I tap out and duck back to camp, needing to take a real break to bandage myself up.

I didn’t do so well that time, but, I’m confident I’ve got his moves down now.

Monster Hunter Freedom Unite is an upcoming Multiplayer PSP Action RPG from Capcom and overall improvement on the game I am playing as-of writing this, Monster Hunter 2 Freedom, that treats players to something like the thrill of the hunt of giant beasts, and not so much just the thrill of the fight like most games.  It can be played with up to four other players via AD HOC wireless play and is a fantastic game whether playing alone or with friends.