For the better part of a year, Japanese PlayStation 3 owners have been enjoying an amazing service on their PS3s, called adhocParty. As of this afternoon, all of us PSPers here in North America will finally be able to jump on the adhocParty bandwagon as well. This news is especially exciting for Capcom, as it means that Monster Hunter Freedom Unite players will now be able to connect with each other without having to be hanging out in the same room.
What is adhocParty? Smarter people than me can tell you all about the service right here.
You’ve probably heard stories about the unbelievable Monster Hunter juggernaut in Japan, and how it’s reached the point that one in every five Japanese PSP owners are playing the game. Capcom has sold millions and millions of copies of the three PSP titles in Japan to date, and Monster Hunter 2G (which we confusingly call Monster Hunter Freedom Unite in North America and Europe) was one of Capcom’s biggest game launches in recent history. Monster Hunter Freedom Unite is available digitally on the PSN, which is perfect for those of you who have just picked up the amazing pocket-perfect PSPGo or for those of you (like me) who are too lazy to get off the couch and hike down to the local video game retailer.
Personally, I’m a recent MonHun convert – in the last few months, it’s sucked me in like no handheld game I’ve ever played. My dedication to the game is comparable to the reaction I had to EverQuest and World of Warcraft: I just can’t get enough. A group of Capcom staffers have been happily hunting away since the release of the game, and we’re now all over 100 hours in on our characters, with the group in the Hunter Rank 8 and 9.
The best part of Monster Hunter is, of course, playing with other people. The secret sauce to MHFU’s uber-compelling gameplay comes in coordinating a group of four hunters, each bristling with diverse weapons and equipment and slaying tricksy beasties that range from a meager 20’ tall Yian Kut Ku to the overwhelming monstrosity that is Fatalis, a dragon so big that you have to fire cannonballs at his face just to get his attention. Finding other hunters in public places in North America can be tough – it’s not as easy as in Japan, where gamers are constantly thrust together in trains and highly concentrated urban areas. Unless you have a group of buddies that you’re hunting with regularly, it’s hard to randomly stumble across other players on the bus or waiting in line to buy a burger. And as a recent convert to the ways of Monster Hunter, let me tell you that taking on the high level G-ranked quests on your lonesome is a daunting and potentially PSP-hurling activity.
With adhocParty, you can now quickly and easily find other hunters. Download the adhocParty service from PSN (it’s free!), connect your PSP with your PS3, load up your game on your PSP and either start a room on adhocParty or join one that’s already established. Within no time, you’ll be able to find a group of dedicated hunters willing to help you with your HR quests and suddenly that giant G-ranked Rathian isn’t so hard to deal with. You can connect several PSPs to a single PS3, so if you have 2 or 3 fellow hunters hanging out in your dorm room or at your house, while another friend is stranded at a distant location, you can all still play. Way to keep the band together!
Since adhocParty runs on your PS3, you’ll be able to communicate with your hunting party in various ways. Yell through your Bluetooth headset (which I’m sure everyone now has, thanks to Call of Duty), or type away the controller keyboard or on a separate keyboard – just make sure to type fast if you’ve got a wyven munching on your face. Running quests on Monster Hunter can be challenging, so instant communication through the adhocParty service makes those all-important key quests even easier to complete.
Over on our own little community neighborhood – the seething and exciting world of Capcom-Unity.com – we organize regular online game sessions on Fridays afternoons. These Play Against Capcom Fridays have been heavy on the Street Fighter and Resident Evil matches over the last few months, but with adhocParty now live and legit, we’ll be hosting regular Monster Hunter Freedom Unite PAC events. Hell, with the amount of Monster Hunting done by myself (“Kramez”), Shawn “Snow” Baxter and Christian “Sven” Svensson, we’ll probably be running adhocParty sessions several times a week. Join up with our community and keep in touch and perhaps we’ll see you in the wild.
Did we mention that adhocParty is free? We’ll see you online this afternoon.