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Written by Dustin Murphy
-Melee and Ranged Weapons are unique and of wide variety
-The games Thorn mechanic makes combat frantic and wildly fun
-Multiplayer feels the slightly overused maps feel refreshing and new
-Multiplayer and online community makes the game feel as if it ties to the titles narrative
-Unique and in depth character customization makes it so no-one character is the same
-Daily special missions that can be obtained with an online connection and played online or offline
-Weapon crafting feels a bit on the convoluted and useless side
-Maps can seem blend and overused at times
What do you do when your life is a prison sentence to a world that is run by an intense prison system that wants nothing of you, but your entire cooperation? You serve them and earn your entitlements (rights) by completing missions. This is the not-so-warm welcome players get when entering the world of Freedom Wars. Upon entering the game, players are greeted with a character creation screen, it is here that players will get the first glimpses of their fully customized character (DLC is available if downloaded before going into this), and touch up on the fully edited character. Once this is completed the game will introduce you to the life of a ‘Sinner’ (inmate) and even baptise a player in what will be their new life in the world as a ‘Sinner’. This is where the game all, but takes off into a complete distortion of a immersive reality that is all too real. This is where we take a peek into our characters future life, which is fully dictated by the games entitlement system as well as resource gathering system in order to aid ones Panopticon (your ‘prison’ city that you support offline and online). Through this game players will travel from mission to mission in order to obtain these resources, but not as easily as one would think due to enemy mechs referred to as ‘Abductor’s” will be present and will require some tactical maneuvering using the in-game’s “grappling hook” system known as Thorn.
Each of these thorns which can be tactically used against all enemies, this giving players a chance to heal themselves, increase defenses, or simply stun enemies and allow for a barrage of damage to be made. This is something that will be only the small sounding of the horns for Sinners seeking to redeem themselves and become a citizen of their Panopticon by taking out Abductor’s for their unique resources. This can also be used in order to gather resources across the landscape of each mission, leaping at enemies to do a leap attack, drag Abductor’s down, and even help collect resources that could be hidden across the maps.
“Completing this, however, does have another effect that is more useful to some..”
These resources can be used to upgrade weapons, create new items, and even used in order to donate to a players Panopticon in order to help them take lead against others, but this is not as easy as it sounds thanks to a Panopticon like Hong Kong that absolutely have dominated the online leader boards. Completing this, however, does have another effect that is even more useful to some (trophy hunters for the most part); sentence reduction. Let alone can they be also be used in order to create special things called “augmentations”. These augmentations help increase a character’s attack, health, recovery, elemental, defense, anti-thorn, and much more – all of which can be used within the games offline and the games multiplayer in order to help players get a step up on enemies and very high advantage against just base stats when entering some of the games later on missions, but even the online for accepting only, and ever-changing special missions. It is because of things like this that actually makes the game ever changing.
Within the games missions players will be able to take notice of several things that can be reflected upon as multiplayer game modes, which the game takes great care to make its own, and work great with the games mechanics. These are modes such as “Search and Rescue” where teams have to rescue citizens and return them to extraction pods; Team Deathmatch, which requires players to do just as the name emphasizes on; King of the Hill where players must capture and hold nodes that are within the area, which are only a few of the games modes that actually provide quite a bit of the games entertainment. With each of the missions changing how they play between campaign and multiplayer, there is quite a bit of this to go around, and one of the most noticeable changes within this game can be noted by the story mission objectives that require players to alternate between accepting these missions and moving on through the games campaign. As players get a chance to explore their Panopticon, it will not be hard to see how run down the world has become, and the conditions in which their characters must live. It’s through these condition’s, however, that players will find themselves immersed into the game by. Though it is these portions of the game that players will find themselves growing bored; that, of course, is when they aren’t having to deal with the every-boring stealth missions that will seemingly drag on when players have to enter special regions of the Panopticon and grudge through them for a few minutes each.
“Though everything that shines in Freedom Wars is not a golden state and a score-worthy note for the game to have.”
When players have decided they need something a bit more interesting, players can take on the time to upgrade their weapons with increased fire-rates, higher elemental effects, and even other stats, but with a trade-off that could make or simply break a weapon in a rather fast-paced manner. Though that is something that will give the players an edge against others when they aren’t trudging through the games menu’s in order to learn all of the bells and whistles the game has hidden within it. One of these rarely found whistles is the games ability to hide the capability of finding the proper menu’s for co-op and even pvp-multiplayer (even after 30-40 hours I still forget at times where options are placed). Once the menu’s can be easily coordinated; the game is a breeze. Though everything that shines in Freedom Wars is not a golden state and a score-worthy note for the game to have.
One of the games largest portions, and greatest downfalls, is the latency issues that can easily be spotted when playing online. This is something that plagued my online experience when having to search outside of my region (North America in this case) and only being able to find matches from China, Japan, and portions of Europe. This means the game had a high turnover rate or unfortunately it did not sale as well as it should have for such a unique game. A problem that does run parallel with this; character augmentation and weapon balancing. When first going into the multiplayer, there was a rather big problem that took place with the weapons, which lead to players having a slight advantage over others based upon how far into the campaign and or the multiplayer progression. Some of these weapons could easily put a player in their place, which could be missions such as the spear, the Dragonfire heavy arms, heavy sword, or even simply as leap attacks that can easily devastate a player in a single hit. The only way to counter this is by moving as quick as possible and staying agile so that enemies can taken out as quickly as possible.
“It doesn’t take away from the games immersion, instead it adds to it”
When looking past these, there are a couple of things that were mentioned before that should be discussed in a large note; facilities to upgrade and create items. Within these systems there are ‘plots’ that players will place their factories within so that they can create, upgrade, and even modify weapons as well as create items such as grenades, med kits, and even ammo kits; all of these will be used quite a bit through ones own tour through the games campaign. This is one of the few things that will change how players will choose to spend their resources when the grind for them isn’t inhabiting their delicate time within the games multiplayer. Even though this does tend to happen from time to time, it doesn’t take away from the games immersion, instead it adds to it as players will build augments to stack with others, make load out items, and even combine weapons to make more powerful ones. This is something that is not easily done as it requires time, patience, and material farming to assure yourself of having the proper materials in order to do what it is you may wish to add onto your current weapons.
Overall, even with these few negatives and even more-so empowering positives, the game allows for players to have a high sense of customization (at any given time after a certain point within the game for single player). Players will find themselves constantly unlocking new appearance pieces, upgrades, and others via the entitlement screen, but also the DLC that has been getting a steady release string since the games launch and hopefully will continue to see the same treatment at the fairly well priced setting it has now, but even maybe some mega-bundles that will lure more players into enjoying the game with new missions, enemies, and even abductor types.
Review Score: 8 out of 10
Review Notice: This game was not provided to us by Studio Japan or Sony and was a personal purchase that was made. The game review is based upon the physical retail version with all current DLC obtained.
About the Writers:
Dustin is our native console gamer, PlayStation and Nintendo reviewer who has an appetite for anything that crosses the boarders from across the big pond. His interest in JRPG’s, MMO’s, Handheld Gaming, and Pizza is insatiable and can’t be softened by even the biggest names in the gaming industry. His elitist attitude gives him direction, want, and a need for the hardest difficulties in games, which is fun to watch, and hilarity at its finest. To follow Dustin, hit him up on Twitter over at @GamingAnomaly, find him on his Google+. Wanna game with him? You can find him on PSN with RaivynLyken.