Monday, 10 November 2014

Review: Freedom Wars (PSVita)

Are you ready to serve your one million year jail sentence?  Freedom Wars has finally been released in both the North American and European regions.  Freedom Wars has been on top of my list of my most anticipated Vita titles slated for this year.  Developed by Sony's first party studio, Studio Japan, expectations were set fairly high and rightfully so, Freedom Wars was well received the Eastern audience.  It's exciting to know that the Western audience will now be able to enjoy Freedom Wars as well.  

Freedom Wars is set in a setting in which Earth has become uninhabitable and resources have become scarce.   As such different cities or factions known as PanopticonsPanopticons are underground shelters where humans live and selected individuals are sent to the surface to collected scarce resources.  The citizens within these Panopticons live within strict surveillance and are forced to abide extremely strict rules.  In each of the Panopticons there exist two types of inhabitants,  citizens and sinners.  Citizens are classified as productive members of society and Sinners have been deemed as a drain on their respective Panopticons resources.   

Sinners are encouraged to take upon the task of fighting dangerous beasts called Abductors.  Though the officials like to toy with the idea that these tasks are optional, they are basically tasks that must be taken by each sinner.  Upon completing these tasks,  years are taking off their prison sentence of a million years that is given to each Sinner just by existing.  Granted, thousands of years can be shed off your million year sentence, years can just as easily be added just for laying down, standing in one place for too long or even running for more than five seconds can add hundreds of years to your current total sentence.  The player can earn the right to these basic life commodities by purchasing entitlements, using entitlement points that are earned by completing tasks given to you by your respective Panopticon.   

Freedom Wars has the core gameplay mechanics of basically all the games in the hunting game genre.  Freedom Wars plays in third person, the ability of harvesting for resources is there and there are also a variety of mission types.   

The basic weapon types in the game are guns and melee.   Melee weapons trickle down to three types, one handed swords, two handed swords and polearms.  Guns, like melee weapons come down to three types, Assault Rifles, portable artillery and auto canons.  The player is able to equip any combinations of two weapons and what the player equips depends on the strategy of the player.  Guns are mostly effective when used against other sinners or smaller enemies that do appear in each map.  While melee weapons are most effective against Abductors, but guns that fall into the auto canon category are also effective in help dismembering the Abductors.   Each weapon type has their pros and cons, and it is up to the player find out how to effectively use these weapons to maximize their damage output.  

With every game in the hunting genre, one can expect for there to be a weapon crafting system.   Gathering resources, finding new weapons, upgrading/modifying weapons and creating new weapons all together is the basic premise of any weapon crafting system found in a hunting game.  Why fix what isn't broken right?  Now onto the third weapon/device that is essential to the kit of ever Sinner. 

Thorns are the games most appealing gameplay element that is unique to Freedom Wars that can make the game pretty fast paced.  You can use the thorn to grapple your way through a field quickly to revive a fallen friendly Sinner or get to the resources before your foes do.  A big abductor is about to stomp you?  No worries, use your thorn to grapple out of harms way.  The thorn adds a great gameplay element, that gives the player the ability to be very versatile in the battlefield.  Keep in mind there is a bar that limits the thorns use but that can be refilled quickly at certain spots in a map or you could simply wait for your meter to recharge slowly on its own.   There are three thorn types as well, trap, healing and shield.  All three thorn types can be upgraded so their active abilities have a great effect.  Each of the thorn type are available for purchase but as entitlements and are only obtainable through story progression, much like many of the weapons.  

Accessories are also a big part of the game as they are also used in battle and serve as your parole officer per say.  Story wise the accessories always follow their assigned Sinners to keep them in check and your accessory will also accompany you in battle.  The player accessory is also fully customizable but only through the purchase of entitlements and progression of story so keep that in mind. 
Story wise, the games story progresses much like other hunting games, complete a task and you will get to experience a new cut scene or take part in unlocked character dialogue.  Take note that if you complete story missions in online cooperation mode, you may not experience certain story cut scenes.  Don't be afraid to repeat missions as that is a great way to obtain valuable resources.  Characters are also unlocked the farther you advance through the game, so I strongly advise to be beat the game to unlock all the characters that be brought along tasks.   

One of my only gripes in the game is that to get through the story I was tasked with talking to different characters in different areas and which was very annoying. I wasn't even able to use the fast travel map until I unlocked the feature through story progression. Games that employ the fetch system really bug me and it's a shame Freedom Wars employs such system.

Visually Freedom Wars is a marvel, the game is very stylish, the characters models are crisp and the frame rate is persistent.  For a game with so much action, visual effects and characters on screen I am surprised the Vita runs the game at a locked frame rate.  The wizards at Studio Japan are truly something.  

Freedom Wars comes packed in with two online game modes, Cooperation mode in which you participate on tasks with other players and PvP mode in which you go against other players.   Both game modes are very fun and will keep you coming back for more.  The online servers also appear to be pretty good as well, I suffered from minimal lag during matches, which resulted in a smooth experience.  But of course, you must have a somewhat decent internet connection to experience the online aspect of the game to its fullest, like most games.  

Freedom Wars has a great setting and tone which my teenage self would have loved if this came out when I was an early teen.  There insane amount of customization to the game, that vary from you weapons all the way down to your physical appearance.  That alone will keep you busy for hours.  

Freedom Wars is the last big first party title for the year and likely for the rest of the Vita's stay in the market.  The game is incredibly fun and stylish, with tons of content and with more content that will be available through the rest of the month throughout the rest of the month via the PlayStation Network Store.   Freedom Wars is now available for purchase physically and digitally.  


Who should buy this? 
  • fans of hunting games 
  • anyone looking for great replay value 
  • anyone that has recently purchased a Playstation TV

Who should not buy this? 
  • players that don't like repetition in games 
  • looking for a story that is very

For anyone that may have more questions you could do so on my Twitter @GloriousBagel


  1. I have been playing this its a great game. I'm currently code 7 and have lost a bit of confidence in the game with what people are saying about the end of 7. But it has been really worth playing so far.

  2. Remember that if you find some missions too hard you can go online and do that mission. Then you can come back to your directory and select on that mission. It will ask you you have already done this quest, will you like to skip the fight. Keep in mind that doing this will skip any cut scenes so keep that in mind. :)

  3. You'll get your money worth until you finish the main story of the game. After that it requires a bit more dedication and luck than your usual game, since the crafting could get on your nerve if you're unlucky.

    Having friends to play together will solve most of the end game problem, though, and it's a wonderful experience you can't get by playing solo, so it's recommend to play co-op if you could.

  4. I have heard people are "save scrubbing" to get past the issues with crafting. But you should not be expected to do this to get good gear, it also requires PS+.

  5. Yeah I have heard that but I have enjoyed the story so didn't really want to miss any of it. I suppose if I must go online to do it I will have to YouTube the cutscene so I have not missed out. Out of interest what weapons are you using endgame? I am using a Rarity 6 Barbaras P. And a Dragonfire (think that's right name I'm at work.)

  6. Despite this glowing review, Im still commited to pass on this game this year as their are too many Vita games out and available and not enough time to play them all. Besides the one issue these monster hunting games have is that a year after their intial launch they tend to get their deffinitive eddition. So i might as well hold off for "Freedom Wars Delta"!