Freedom Wars Review – Sony’s Last Hurrah, Worth Playing in 2023?

Freedom Wars is a post-apocalyptic action RPG game for the PlayStation Vita released in 2014. It was Sony’s last first-party “hurrah!” on its handheld. The game is set in the distant future, where the world has become overpopulated, and resources are scarce. Players take on the role of a prisoner in a penal city-state called Panopticon, where they are forced to fight giant mechanical monsters known as Abductors.

The game’s storyline is well written and engaging, with a strong emphasis on the importance of teamwork and sacrifice. The game mechanics are intuitive and easy to grasp, making it accessible to new players. The combat system is fast-paced and fluid, with a good balance between ranged and melee attacks.

One of the standout features of Freedom Wars is the customizable player character, known as a “Sinner.” Players can choose from a wide range of appearance options and skill sets, and even modify their character’s weapons and equipment. This level of customization adds to the replayability of the game, as players can experiment with different loadouts and play styles.

Another impressive aspect of Freedom Wars was the multiplayer mode. The game supported up to four players in both cooperative and competitive modes, allowing players to work together to take down challenging Abductors. The multiplayer mode also included voice chat functionality, which even back then was way superior to most Nintendo Switch implementations. Sadly, the servers were shut down on Christmas Eve, 2021. I personally don’t think the date is a coincidence, either. Playstation had nothing but disdain for the Vita and its community. 

The game’s graphics are impressive, with detailed character models and vibrant environments. The game’s soundtrack is also noteworthy, with a mix of techno and orchestral music that complements the game’s dystopian setting.

However, there are a few downsides to the game. The game’s camera can be unwieldy at times, making it difficult to focus on the action. The game’s difficulty curve can also be steep, with some of the later missions requiring precise timing and coordination.

Let’s delve deeper into each aspect of the game, and see what’s what. 


Freedom Wars is played from a third-person perspective, and players control their character using the Vita’s analog sticks and buttons.

Combat is the core gameplay mechanic of Freedom Wars, and it is both fast-paced and challenging. Players must dodge and evade enemy attacks while also dealing damage with a variety of ranged and melee weapons. The game features a wide range of weapons, including assault rifles, sniper rifles, pistols, swords, and spears, each with their own unique attributes and attack patterns.

One of the unique features of the game is the use of the thorn, a grappling hook-like device that players can use to swing around the environment and dodge enemy attacks. The thorn can also be used to grab onto enemies and deliver devastating blows or immobilize them.

In addition to combat, the game also features a crafting and customization system. Players can modify their weapons and equipment to improve their stats or add special abilities. The game also features a deep character customization system that allows players to customize their appearance and skill sets.

The game’s storyline is divided into missions, with each mission requiring players to complete a specific objective, such as defeating a certain number of enemies or protecting a specific object. The difficulty of each mission varies, with some requiring precise timing and coordination to complete.

The game also featured a robust multiplayer mode that allows players to team up with friends to complete missions or compete against each other in various modes, such as deathmatch or domination. As I mentioned before, though, the servers have been shut down. 

The gameplay mechanics of Freedom Wars are engaging and challenging, with a wide range of weapons and customization options that add depth and replayability to the game. The use of the thorn and the multiplayer mode are particularly noteworthy, adding unique elements to the game that set it apart from other action RPGs.

Upgrade Mechanics

The game features a detailed upgrade and customization system that allows players to improve their weapons, equipment, and character stats.

Weapons and equipment can be upgraded by using resources obtained during missions, such as materials dropped by defeated enemies or salvaged from the environment. Upgrades can improve the weapon’s damage, accuracy, rate of fire, or add special abilities like critical hits or elemental damage. Upgrades also have a cost in resources and currency, and some upgrades may require certain items or materials to be unlocked first.

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Players can also customize their weapons by using modules, which are small attachments that can be added to a weapon to improve its stats or add new abilities. Modules can also be upgraded, and they can be swapped between different weapons, allowing players to experiment with different loadouts and playstyles.

In addition to weapons and equipment upgrades, players can also improve their character stats by investing in their “entitlements.” Entitlements are similar to skill trees found in other RPGs, and they allow players to unlock various bonuses and abilities that can improve their character’s combat abilities or increase their crafting efficiency.

Entitlements are unlocked by spending “contribution points,” which are earned by completing missions and contributing to the Panopticon’s overall goals. Contribution points can also be used to reduce prison sentences or improve the living conditions of the player’s character, making it easier to recover from injuries sustained during missions.

The upgrade and customization mechanics of Freedom Wars are detailed and rewarding, allowing players to tailor their character’s abilities to their playstyle and improve their combat effectiveness. The use of resources and contribution points adds a layer of strategy to the game, forcing players to make decisions about how best to allocate their limited resources.

Story and Characters

As I said at the start of the review, Freedom Wars takes place in a post-apocalyptic world where the majority of the population lives in penal cities called Panopticons, where prisoners are forced to work and fight for their freedom. The story follows the player’s character, a newly recruited prisoner known as a “Sinner,” as they navigate the dangerous world of the Panopticon and fight against giant mechanical monsters known as Abductors.

The game’s story is divided into missions, each with its own unique objectives and challenges. The missions are accompanied by cutscenes and dialogue that advance the game’s overall narrative. The story is well-written and engaging, with a strong emphasis on the importance of teamwork and sacrifice.

Throughout the game, players interact with a wide range of characters, including other Sinners, wardens, and citizens of the Panopticon. Each character has their own unique personality and backstory, adding depth and complexity to the game’s world.

The game also features a variety of factions, each with its own goals and motivations. These factions include the Panopticon, the rebel organization known as the Freedom Alliance, and the mysterious group known as the “Outerworld Services,” who offer valuable resources and technology to the highest bidder.

As the story progresses, players uncover the secrets behind the world of Freedom Wars and the true nature of the Abductors. The game’s story is well-paced, with plenty of twists and turns to keep players engaged and invested in the game’s world and characters.

The characters and story of Freedom Wars are well-developed and engaging, adding depth and complexity to the game’s already impressive gameplay mechanics. The emphasis on teamwork and sacrifice adds a layer of emotional weight to the game, making it a compelling and satisfying experience for players.


Freedom Wars remains an impressive action RPG that combines fast-paced combat, a deep customization system, and a well-written story to create a compelling and engaging gameplay experience, even nearly 10 years after its release. The game’s use of the thorn and the multiplayer mode added unique elements to the game that set it apart from other action RPGs, and the upgrade and customization mechanics allow players to tailor their character’s abilities to their playstyle.

The game’s story is well-paced and engaging, with a strong emphasis on teamwork and sacrifice. The characters are well-developed and add depth and complexity to the game’s world.

Despite the multiplayer servers being shut down, Freedom Wars is still a great game and worth playing. The game’s single-player mode offers plenty of content and replayability, and the customization options and upgrade mechanics allow for endless experimentation and customization.

Overall, Freedom Wars is a must-play game for fans of action RPGs and anyone looking for a unique and engaging gaming experience.

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About Marcos Codas 384 Articles
Lover of portable gaming and horror cinema. Indie filmmaker and game developer. Multimedia producer. Born in Paraguay, raised in Canada. Huge fan of "The Blair Witch Project", and "Sonic 3D Blast". Deputy head at Vita Player and its parent organization, Infinite Frontiers. Like what I do? Donate a coffee: