I’ve never really gotten into Monster Hunter style games. I tried them once on the Wii and another time on the PSP. I just couldn’t get into them. However since starting Freedom Wars I have not been able to put it down.
Granted, it’s been said that Freedom Wars is not exactly a Monster Hunter clone, but is in the same vein as those games. I have no idea what the connection is since I can put all my Monster Hunter experience into a nice little ten minute box. Either way, this is turning out to be a good game.
The story of Freedom Wars is fairly simple on the outset and more than enough to move things along. You are a sinner which also makes you a prisoner in this world. You are given a prison sentence of 1,000,000 years. But good news! You can work it off and get your freedom early by doing missions that benefit the greater good. The basic missions are rescuing citizens of the world and collecting resources. All of these take years off your sentence.
During the missions you collect resources no matter what as well as weapons. At the end of the mission you can decide whether you want to keep all the stuff you just found or donate it to the greater good. Donating stuff also takes years off of your sentence. In addition to earning time off your sentence you also earn points that you can use to buy “entitlements”. These are basically the right to do the simplest thing. Need to rest and want to lie down? Make sure you bought the “lay down” entitlement or else you will earn an additional 10 years ON to your sentence. You need to buy the right to run more than five seconds, talk to other people, etc. It sounds a bit ridiculous, and I suppose it is, but it’s kind of funny too. Luckily you get most of the aggravating ones out of the way early.
The game plays out as a third person shooter/hack and slash. When you start it up you get to make your own character as well as your own Accessory. Your Accessory is like your own personal assistant that helps you with whatever you need. It also tells on you when you break a rule. So there’s that too. You get to equip yourself and your Accessory with pretty much any loadout you desire. From melee weapons all the way up to rocket launchers and everything in between. The guns all feel good and the controls work well. There are many different button configurations to choose from and while none of them felt exactly right for me, I did find one that worked well enough.
One area the game has gotten a lot of flack for is the story. Personally I am enjoying the story quite a bit. I really dig the whole premise of the game. However, as expected, things don’t always play out like the very beginning of the game would have you believe. Things start to get not as simple as doing missions and earning your freedom pretty early on but it’s still a major part of the game.
Graphically, this is one of the better looking games I’ve played recently. It has a very animated look to it with bright vibrant colors. The graphics are very sharp and overall quite pleasing to look at. I am tempted to take screenshots every few seconds, which I feel is the sign of great art direction.
The sound is fine, the game only offers Japanese voices with English subtitles over here in the states. Most of the time it works but occasionally they will write a characters dialogue in a way to have a different accent. Reading what is supposed to be said in a stereotypical New York gangster accent while the guy is speaking it in Japanese is a little far-fetched. Luckily that hasn’t happened often.
The missions are short enough and it’s easy to pause and come back to. That’s good since save points can sometimes be out of the way to get to. My only complaint would be not being able to save anywhere as it’s a Vita game. Otherwise I am having a blast with it. It’s also compatible with the PlayStation TV though I’ve yet to use it with it. I imagine it probably scales to a large TV quite well given the art style. Overall Freedom Wars is a solid game worth picking up. It’s a lot deeper than I was expecting and I am finding out why it takes a minimum of 40 hours to complete. I don’t expect to finish it anytime soon and that’s ok. As I said, it’s easy to come back to and I expect to be doing that for a while.