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Freedom Wars Review

The Vita has become the go to place for indie games and old updated classics as of late so it is about time we have an original exclusive arriving in the way of Freedom Wars. So for a game that was made specially made with the Vita in mind (a rare occurrence), can this revitalise the oft forgotten console?

Freedom Wars is set in a far distant future, a time where the world’s supplies of basic amenities are extremely low and where you are branded a criminal the moment you are born, a sinner from the very first breath as you are now classed as a burden to society and the limited resources. In desperate times desperate measures were required, the world’s populace splitting into Panopticons, giant hubs of humanity where they all work towards the goal of keeping each other alive, some are classed as citizens, offering their skills for the greater good whilst the military, in which you are placed are classed as sinners, offering nothing of value other than your ability to fight. Your character was originally a higher class of warrior but following a battle is rendered with amnesia, a capital crime that is punished severely, which in your case is having your sentence re-started back to 1,000,000 years and all of your privileges and freedoms taken away. All is not lost though as the only way to reduce your sentence is to pay back your debt to the Panopticon, which essentially means going on crucial strike runs on the surface to battle rival Panopticons who are also in desperate need to gather resources. 

With such a hefty sentence you are obviously keen to get it lowered by doing the right thing and obeying the rules however this does not come easy when you literally start with nothing other than a cell; with all other rights revoked, even the ability to sleep lying down. To make sure you are giving your all to the Panopticon all of your actions are continually watched over by your own personal AI called an Accessory, an automated humanoid that works on behalf of the Panopticon, logging your tasks but also penalising if you stray form the strict laws.

With the Accessory as your guide you soon learn the best way to reduce the term is to go out and battle, taking on missions that result in working with other sinners to collect resources and also battle huge robots sent out by rival Panopticons who kidnap important citizens for their own causes.
Starting off with a basic array of weaponry this third person action game turns into a very versatile and enjoyable title, though the initial few levels are a mess as it over-saturates the player with too much information, teaching you the various weapons on offer, from ranged rifles and rockets to close quarters knifes and swords to the Thorn, which is essentially a grappling hook that allows you to shoot and attach to items, zipping you into the distance, grabbing walls and even pulling down huge robots. For the majority of battles the controls do come naturally after a while with weapons quick and easy to swap between and the Thorn really opening up the possibilities of interesting attacks and tactics but at times the camera can get infuriating, which seems to be only when using the lock on function, this supposedly easier option seems to make things a little harder. When on the battlefield the touch screen also comes into play, allowing you to command your Accessory or team mates in battle and with quick taps you are able to request them to follow, assist and even pick up dropped civilians on your orders.

As you become a well-rounded warrior you will slowly earn new freedoms as you level up, like the chance to finally sleep properly, talk to the opposite sex and leave your cell to more importantly use even more powerful weapons. From the battlefield you will earn various items from parts dropped by enemies, however these are not really for you as the Panopticon expects you to offer these as contributions, often resulting in you taking only a slither of what you earn for all of your work; you can however take it all but do not be surprised when your Accessory and the Panopticon decide you are being selfish and increase your sentence. With progression and more freedoms gained you also unlock new areas in the many confusing menu systems on offer, allowing you to customise your characters looks and upgrade to new and more powerful weapons and this is where the real grind comes in, resulting in you revisiting many areas as you collect vital resources.

With a deep and interesting, though at times, confusing customisation system Freedom Wars is a strong title for the Vita, allowing plenty of single and multiplayer and even co-op games modes alongside a fantastic visual style that really looks great on the handhelds small screen. Fans of games like Monster Hunter or another Vita exclusive Soul Sacrifice will find a thoroughly enjoyable game here. 

Words by Ash Buchanan.

(Version Tested: PS Vita)


+ Strong visuals and sound effects
+ Loads to unlock and customise
+ Interesting and original premise
+ Solo, multiplayer and co-op options


- The grind can get a bit boring at times

Edited On 31 Oct, 2014

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