I remember how I bought the first Monster Hunter game for the PSP and almost gave up after spending an hour on it because I didn't like the controls one bit. The weapons were hard to use, there was no lock on, the monsters you fought can kill you in one hit and the camera had to be adjusted manually.
It was a good few months before I came back to the game after seeing how easily other people played and upon getting used to the controls, I was soon having fun defeating giant monsters, using different strategies to gather the parts I needed off them for my next set of gear. However, the game still felt a bit lacking. Later, Monster Hunter Freedom 2 appeared with a huge selection of new content and improvements, cutting down many of the laborious tasks and offering a wider selection of weapons to use. It was so much better that I ended up spending almost 300 hours thanks to Xlink Kai and the newly downloadable quests.
Now, the same game is back with an added "G" to the end of the title offering all the content of the last game but now packed with even more gear, improvements, a small handful of new monsters and tougher versions of the old ones to beat. With what the original game already offered, it's pretty easy to understand how Capcom's latest Monster Hunter title "Monster Hunter Portable 2nd G" managed to move one million copies in less than a week and have surpassed twice that amount at the time of writing this. However, is it really better than its predecessor?
Upon loading the game, MHP2G will detect your old saved file if you have one on the memory card and let you know that you can transfer the items, money and guild card achievements you obtained from the previous game over. You can even edit your character if you wanted to.
As I mentioned earlier, the game contains everything from its predecessor. It's not just an expansion pack so if you decide to just start a new game, you'll just be starting out the same way as in MHP2. If you choose to import your save game data however, you skip the opening story and gain immediate access to the G content (providing you've cleared enough quests already!).
After porting the save data over, nothing much appears to have changed when you wake up in your house. There's no opening movie or brief dialogue to read and going outside, the village looks very much the same. However, taking a closer look you'll find there's a new character named Neko Coat next to the old village chief and you're also offered a Buddy Felyne to join you during your hunts.
Right from the start you're given an urgent quest to do to show off your strength before you do the other rated quests Neko Coat has and it acts as a introduction to the new Dense Forest map and the new monster Hypnoch. There's actually not that many new monsters to fight against and if you've played Monster Hunter Frontier, the online PC game, you'll even have faced them already. If not however, they offer a decent new challenge with their aggressiveness and attacks. The only original monster is the Nalgakulga, a panther like creature much like Tigarex.
Other than that you'll be fighting all the same monsters again but with a change of colour, increased power and a slightly different attack pattern. The changes aren't so drastic that it'll make you feel like you're fighting something different so if you've fought them a large number of times already since the first PSP game then you could get bored.
However, you'll find Capcom has thrown in up to three different monsters together for you to hunt in one quest if you go to the Gathering Hall which brings a new level of team work because everyone will have to bring the right gear for a separate monster. The funny thing is you'll end up carving Great Potions off them once they're dead and not the usual parts.
You can also go employ a Buddy Felyne right away to help you out whenever you go adventuring solo be it the village or guild hall quests. I'm sure you've been caught in a moment where you get hit multiple times because of a monster standing over you while getting up. Well, the Felyne can sometimes act as an effective lure to distract its attention but it doesn't work all the time. They also don't have much health and quickly run off after a few hits.
Besides being a lure, you can also teach them up to three different skills such as healing and increasing your attack or defence. Every time they adventure, they'll gain some skill points for you to spend but you can also set some training exercises for them.
As useful as they can be, the Felynes can also get in your way. From the list you can see what their personality like such as whether they like to use weapons that cut or smash or, whether they enjoy using bombs. However, the problem I found was that even though it may say they like using melee, you'll find they will still use bombs quite a number of times which ends up sending you flying away. It can get pretty annoying because it makes the quests longer than it should have been or wasting your traps.
New accomplishments and quests means a new Guild Card and you'll see it's been expanded to contain new pages. It now also records the key events that happen during your quests such as if you failed your goal, updated the record size of a monster or obtained some rare material which makes the cards more meaningful when exchanging with other players. It even have graphical statistics of what weapons you use the most.
As if MHP2 didn't have enough improvements, you can see there's quite a number of them in this latest version too. You can flip back and forth between the storage box spaces using the L and R buttons whereas before you could only cycle through the pages using the triangle button.
You can also combine items directly inside the box and whenever you go to the farm or quests, all items can be sent directly to the box so you don't have to worry about your small limited inventory space. Items such as honey now stack up to a maximum of 99 saving even more storage space. Mission messages are also displayed quicker and in-game movies at the start of quests can be skipped. All very welcome improvements.
Graphics wise, not much has changed although the new gear and weapons you can make still look great. However, some of them look like costumes out of superhero shows which makes it feel like a festival or parade, something the developers were aiming for. The new maps look just as stunning as when I first played MHP2 with some added weather effects such as rain. There are also new sound effects in the guild such as the bell whenever a player marks themselves ready to depart.
I would say the new village quests will last you between 20 - 30 hours although I've knocked up close to 100 just doing the G level Gathering Hall quests and collecting new gear in the process. Even if you've gotten bored of hunting the same monsters such as Diablos or collecting new gear from the last game, MHP2G contains enough new content and variety to give you plenty of entertainment. It just might not last as long.
- New monsters such as the "Nalkakulga" offer quite a challenge.
- New selection of weapons and armour to build.
- Older monsters get a slight change of attack pattern for a fresh challenge.
- Quests that offer three different monsters to fight in Gathering Hall for more strategy.
- Lots of minor improvements to the game's interface such as larger storage box.
- Have to redo old quests to upgrade Guild Card.
- Still no infrastructure support.
- The Buddy Felynes can get in the way more than help.
- Fighting the old monsters can still get boring quick.