Freedom Wars Review:
A collaboration between Dimps (Previously worked on games like Sonic Rush and Street Fighter 4), Sony Computer Entertainment Japan Studio and Shift (God Eater) that made a very frantic and but intense 3rd person action game. This was one of the most heavily marketed Playstation Vita games in Japan but got a very soft but noticeable push in the west. At only £20 this game is the most value you are going to get for a new game this year that pushes the Vita to its limits.
First of all this is not going to be a ‘Like Monster Hunter but…’ sort of review because it’s not really comparable. Even though you go around killing large monsters it’s is not based on Monster Hunter’s focus of slower gameplay and boss management with everything else not providing a threat.
The first major thing this game has is speed and lots of it. The game’s main movement tool is the ‘Thorn’ which is used to pull yourself and other things towards each other. It’s also used to cling to walls, sealings and enemies. The movement speed from zipping from one point to the next can make for some amazing actions which can mean the difference to saving a citizen, not dying and making a kill.
Another interesting focus this game has is on TPS style ranged combat which is very fluid and competent if this game was only a third person shooter. This combined with the speed makes it more of a cross between Socom and Lost Planet than something similar to Monster Hunter. You always have to worry about what is around you rather than just the big boss enemy you are facing and how you can get tactical and positional advantage of the area. There is a huge focus on this in both PvP and PvE which allows the game to have a PvP platform in the first place.
The only similarity to Monster Hunter (More of the older ones) is its difficulty spikes. The game does a good sense of luring the player into a false sense of security, but then it tends to throw some tough challenges that do require knowledge of the game system and where you truly have to manage your resources.
A little more variety in the areas and enemies could have been good, but the enemy module variation is a nice touch to keep old enemies fresh and to keep you guessing. A different variations tend to also have different AI so approaching the same enemies with different variations means you’ll have to use different tactics and priorities. The maps also tend to have the same issue, but I do like the PvP exclusive maps, the tactical advantage points and cover positions feel very nostalgic to a traditional third person shooter.
Customisation in this game is top notch. With a ton of different features, colours and body styles, it’s easy to get lost in customisation alone. Also that you need to customise an accessory (a robot partner that accompanies you in battle but also to keep you in check), means you can spend hours without even starting the game. Definitely one of the most fun aspects of the game, considering you can change your name and gender mid-story. This makes sense considering you are only allowed one save file per system. This is probably due to the online capabilities.
The game makes a huge attempt at having a story which is unusual for hunting styled games. All of the main missions to rank up and progress are all story driven which adds a nice touch to immersion of the game’s universe. The NPC responses also give a sense of doom and gloom atmosphere to the game which also change upon progress. The biggest problem with however is the end, where it kind of falls flat, quite disappointing there really.
The graphics and sound is actually top notch. The music is a huge collection of electronica, rock, techno, funk and ambience. The battle music changes depending on what you are fighting against and their current status. The dynamic music works well especially in scenarios like a rescue and the enemy goes into rage mode. The increased tempo really sets the scene for a frantic scramble to get someone to safety. As for graphics, the game really hits home with some excellent work making the most on the Vita’s capabilities. There are times where it frames drop when absolutely everything is going on at once but it tends not to be a bother.
Overall, this will be the most amount of fun you’ll have for £20 on your Vita. The game has a considerable amount of content for a discounted price and it’s gotten DLC support over the past three weeks which puts us on the same level as the Japanese version of the game. Overall considering its flaws of needing more content, and more areas you’ll always get that of a multiplayer based action game in its first iteration. Even then it’s a very good start to what can be an aspiring franchise.