It’s a known fact that the PlayStation Vita is struggling with sales in the handheld gaming department. With Nintendo’s 3DS dominating that field, less and less third-party companies have been producing games for the Vita. Earlier in the year, Fergal Gara addressed why the Vita is not selling like people had hoped. This may all chance now do to one game.
Built by the legendary SCE Japan Studios, Freedom Wars is an action/adventure role-playing video game made exclusively for the Vita. This monster hunting game puts you in the shoes of a hero who is born into apocalyptic yet futuristic setting. Times are so bad, as birth you are given an one million year sentence. You have no rights in the beginning of the story. You are not allowed to lying down or walking more than five steps in your prison cell, change the look you look or have access to certain weapons. Violating any restrictions results in a penalty of years being added to sentence. If you talk to somebody you’re not suppose to talk to that’s another two-hundred years. To remove this and be free, you must take on missions to fight monsters and to save other humans. Even after you get enough points to walk freely, you will still be penalized for running. You’re a prisoner and the game puts you first and makes the plot secondary.
The game seems to take advantage of all the Vita has to offer. It features online multiplayer up to eight players, both co-operative and competitive. The game allows players to chose their own control layout, which actually changes depending on whether you’re using a ranged or melee weapon. Japan Studio plans to make use of the Vita's built-in GPS functionality. Not only that, but it can be played using the new PS TV device in conjunction with a Dualshock 3 or 4 controller.
The combat and gameplay is simply amazing. You can equip two different weapons and will always have a “thorn” to resort to. The vine of thorns latched on your arm has a plethora of usages. From shooting it onto buildings and whip across a street to healing downed civilians. You can also use it for special attacks and hooking on monsters to pull them to the ground. As far as the game itself, it’s story driven as a RPG should be. It has its own lore behind the fictional world you travel though. The enemies you encounter are menacing and the people you meet each come with their own immersive backgrounds. As you play the game, you may feel connected to each and every bit of this cinematic tale.
Freedom Wars moved 188,888 physical retail copies the first week it was released in Japan. This is actually made it first place within the Japanese software sales rankings for that particular week and is stayed on top of the charts for two weeks, selling even more than the week prior. Freedom Wars is a milestone for Sony, as it is one of the highest openings of a new first-party Sony Computer Entertainment intellectual property in Japan. On the 7th of August, it was made available to all of Asia and it sold very well there. Sony is planning on releasing the game to its North America and Europe customers sometime this year, but there has not be any news on dates yet. With its success in other countries, one can imagine that the RPG will be able to help the Vita with it’s disappointing sales in across the globe.