Freedom Wars Hands-On: The Ibara Hookshot Is A Hunting Game Changer

By Cheng Kai . February 24, 2014 . 5:33pm


Before you learn how to fully utilize the Ibara whip, Freedom Wars plays quite similarly to other games of its ilk. I was certainly getting a God Eater vibe when I went hands-on with an English demo build of Freedom Wars. In both games you always have access to a melee weapon (a machete, in the demo) as well as a ranged option (sniper rifle).


When you’ve got the melee weapon equipped,  square and triangle are your light and heavy attack buttons, respectively. Similar to Dynasty Warriors, the triangle button heavy attack changes depending on how many square button attacks you perform prior to hitting triangle. For instance, after performing four quick slashes with the square button, hitting triangle will activate an attack that looks similar in spirit to Ken’s Shinryuken in Street Fighter.


In the demo, the sniper rifle provided can be fired in a zoom scope mode or in third-person view simply by hold the L button to lock on to an enemy. It did not appear there was any way to tell if the Abductor took more damage if you aimed for its head or other weak spots. You can switch between melee and ranged weapons by hitting up or down on the d-pad. The left and right d-pad buttons let you scroll through your inventory of items — medpacks, magnetic mines, grenades — which you then use by hitting the circle button.




When an Abductor is defeated, it will drop capsule-like items near its unmoving carcass. These capsules are materials you can collect for forging weapons and other equipment, and they can be picked up by hitting the circle button when you’re standing close to the capsule. One time, when I tried picking up loot while running past a downed Abductor, I accidentally used up a medpack instead of picking up my reward. I hope the developers will remap this function to the square or triangle button instead — Monster Hunter players, remind me, did the button used for "carving" overlap with the item use command? Holding down the X button lets you run faster, and tapping it while the left stick is held in a direction performs an evasive roll. Last but not least, the R button allows you to fire the Ibara hookshot at a nearby surface in the environment.


Once the hookshot latches on to something, hitting the R button again will reel yourself in towards that structure, where you’ll stay latched on to (you’ll be able to attack with a ranged or melee weapon while latched on) until you hit the R button a third time to kick off the surface and jump away. While in mid-air during the jump, you can fire off the Ibara hookshot again and the cycle continues. Once mastered, this manoeuvre instantly makes the action feel much speedier.




How so? The Ibara hookshot can pretty much latch on to almost anything in the environment, as long as it’s within range. Not only will you be able to swing from building to next by firing the Ibara hookshot at high-rise structures. Even if there aren’t any such structures, you can actually fire the hookshot at the ground, reel yourself in, jump, and fire the hookshot at the ground again which will allow you to traverse across the terrain faster than running.


The Ibara also changes the way you approach enemies. Prior to discovering all the ways I could use the Ibara hookshot in, for the most part I just ran over to the Abductors and started hacking and slashing away, occasionally hitting the X button to roll away whenever I sensed an attack coming. That did not appear to be a very wise strategy, as I got hit fairly often when the Abductor attacked. The only reason I wasn’t wiped out and killed was because the Abductors featured in this demo are fairly low-level cronies, and did not attack very often.


Some of the Abductors’ attacks simply had too wide an effective range for me to roll away to safety That’s where the Ibara comes in. The Abductors’ attacks — claw swipes, tail sweeps, and stomping around with its feet — were usually aimed at the ground. So if you were to fire the Ibara hookshot at the Abductor’s torso to escape into the skies, then more often than not, you could dodge an incoming attack.




When the Ibara hookshot latches onto an Abductor, apart from hitting the R button to reel yourself in up close, you also have access to a few more attack options. Hitting circle in that state will allow you to restrain the Abductor. What happens is that your character will start tugging on the Ibara and the game will ask you to hit the circle button repeatedly. If you manage to fill up a radial meter while doing so, the Abductor will fall to the ground, allowing your entire team to pounce on it without fear of retaliation. I found disabling the Abductor in this manner was incredibly difficult to pull off. I tapped the circle button repeatedly and as fiercely as I could, but I could never muster more than 1/4th of the radial meter. You’d probably have to seek the co-operation of your entire team to successfully pull this off. As my Player Character was tugging on the Ibara, attempting to bring down the Abductor, my target inched ever closer to me, and eventually hit me with a sweep attack. That’s the risk of attempting to restrain the Abductor; there is no way to dodge or escape incoming strikes.


The more useful attack option to consider, after you’ve fired the hookshot at an enemy, is to hit the triangle button which will reel you in for a quick strike to your target. Unlike the R button command which leaves you latched on to the target sends you flying away using the inertia from the entire manoeuvre. What I found most interesting about this move is that when you lock on to the Abductor beforehand, regardless of which direction your Player Character is actually facing, he or she will always fire the hookshoot at your target. So while locked on, you can hit R to fire the hookshot at an Abductor, then hit triangle to close in for a quick swipe attack, and — as you’re sent flying off into the distance due to the momentum — hit the R button again to instantly turn around and fire the hookshot at the same Abductor who is now behind you


Unfortunately, we did not manage to capture that manoeuvre in our video hands-on. As you could tell, the player on the PS Vita TV is not particularly skilled. Besides, in the first place, in the demo it was never explained that you could pull this off by simply locking on to the enemy and hitting the R and triangle buttons over and over.


But as you might imagine, it looks incredibly cool, and is a heck of a rush to perform. I felt as if I was one of the members of the Scouting Legion in the Attack on Titan anime series. The downside of performing this quick manoeuvre is that you’re ultimately not doing as much damage as you could be doing if you’re simply hacking and slashing away at the Abductor.




Ideally want to do is to use the hookshot to get in close, start hacking-and-slashing on the ground, and switch to the Attack on Titan style neck swipes only when the Abductor is about to attack. This would let you safely deal damage without getting hit. Abductors do have means to attack players in the air as well, which I found out the hard way. When that happened, what I found effective was to — after hitting R and then triangle for a quick swipe attack — switch to my ranged weapon to attack safely from a distance, waiting till the Abductor focuses on assaulting another player, before I closed in on it again by using the hookshot and switching back to my machete.


Freedom Wars for the PlayStation Vita launches in Japan and Asia sometime in summer 2014. A Western release for the title is planned, but not yet announced.

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  • Lilith

    Somehow I don’t think this game can top the awesomeness that is Toukiden. Will wait and see.

    • Lightthrower

      I’m itching to buy Toukiden, out of stock at though o_O.

      • Folk Hellfang

        Bro, digitize your portfolio

        • revenent hell

          Some people do prefer a physical copy over a digital one.
          I know for myself I only buy a digital copy if the game I want doesn’t get a “physical” release but since this one does have both some peoples preferences would most likely dictate waiting until the item came back in to stock.

          • Folk Hellfang

            I get that. Some games are special and you want them on the shelf. My current strategy is multi player games I buy digital and single player I buy physical. I like having all my multi player games ready at a moments notice.
            Toukiden is one of the better hunting games out there, take a chance. Maybe we’ll see you online!

          • revenent hell

            I bought it …. Im way to easy hu?

      • revenent hell

        I keep going back and forth with wanting Toukiden and not wanting it …Oh and its in stock now :)

    • tubers

      If you prefer the setting, aesthetic and being closer to MH’s mechanics then this game certainly won’t top Toukiden’s.

      Personally, I think FW is a bit more interesting but won’t outsell the recent Toukiden and the first SS (JPN sales).

  • QueenDecim

    How can people juggle more than one Hunting game @[email protected]
    More than enough grinding to go around with one for me

    • TheExile285

      Heh, its not too hard. I’m doing it right now with GE2 & Toukiden. ;P

    • Anthony Birken

      The more the better! although it is time consuming~

    • Namuro

      If I was younger, I could probably do it. I used to play multiple RPGs at the same time, but now… *groan*

      Anyway, I could only focus on Monster Hunter right now. Hopefully, I can make time for this game when it’s released.

    • Arcana Drill

      Isnt hard, just know your priorities, and organize your schedule, and forget other games for a bit XD

    • tubers

      Only if you’re somewhat in a rush to finish or “min-max” a game from the genre.

  • TheExile285


    • Arcana Drill

      A trailer would be nice too… but all i want is a localization announcement saying which season it will come.

      • HassanJamal

        Its a vita and Sony produced game IIRC. If a game like Soul Sacrifice can do well away from Japan, Freedom Wars should be able to as well. Helps that it lets ya grip to walls and stick to them like Spiderman or Attack on Titan.

    • Ric Vazquez

      LOCALIZATION! NOW! (even thought it’s not even out yet in Japan lol)

  • Folk Hellfang

    This is why I love this site. I feel like I will be ahead of the game when freedom wars comes out because of this article.

  • Anthony Birken

    GE2, Toukiden, SS Delta, and Freedom Wars…I’m gonna need a loooooot of time

    • Folk Hellfang

      Come on Bamco! Get that announcement out already. Maybe they like Nandai better?

  • Lemski07

    got ge 2 and toukiden waiting for this to be added onto my collection.

  • hero371

    English? Demo? We want to play it too!!!

  • dragoon_slayer12

    Can’t wait for this.

  • Kroz

    This is sounding really cool. Monster hunter 4 is not coming out until next year but all these hunting games coming this year will make the wait feel like so much shorter. Who know this one might even be as good or even better then Monster hunter.

  • Vash bane

    this article has me hyped lol I could tell from the way it was written that it was blast to play.

  • neocatzon

    Jelly with the demo. With that hookshot, fast maneuvers build sounds delicious.

  • Mind0105A

    This game looks interesting.

  • revenent hell

    I just want to pre order it already.
    At the end of the day that’s what kills me really, knowing the game will be localized but having no preorder up for it…. I know its really to soon for one but once I clicked that lil pre order button …….
    A demo release would be awesome to

  • Raze

    Well right now the only thing that makes me really interested about this is because of the hook…

    Other than that it’s the same as GE hunting right…Which is I think not really hard….

    And one other thing….I really hope they fix their animation on walk/running that’s all…It was still kinda weird to see in the demo that played back then……

    • tubers

      Probably similar.

      Ammo-mechanic (no Oracle “refill”/stacking), pvp, cover, rescue-orientation, health regen (watch the the vids carefully), enemy grabs doesn’t seem to be much of “GE” tho.

      From what was shown, the Abductor roughly swipe hits heavier but that can only really be tested with the actual game (gear, enemy type).

  • DanielGearSolid

    Omfg that was the best article I’ve ever read in my life

    Sounds like u had fun

  • A definite buy whenever it comes out =^_^=

  • isotrex

    will the Asian release be in english?

  • tubers

    Aren’t you supposed to hold down circle instead of mashing to take down the abductor?

  • MaximDualBlade

    Like “onde está o ponto de ônibus?” means “Where is the bus station?”, you can also say that “I need this filthy awesome game” means “I need this filthy awesome game RIGHT NOOOOOOW” :D

    Seriously is looking pretty fun

  • k.b.a.

    so it’s a hunter? and it sounded so promising. i really wanted to play this one.

    knowing my fool self i’ll just buy it and probably never play it

    • natchu96

      . . . hasn’t every piece of information about the gameplay screamed “hunter” since said information has surfaced?

      • k.b.a.

        I probably shouldn’t have posted before reading more than this and one other article about the game. My apologies. I was holding out hope for a stylish action game

  • Clairis Cannon

    I’m just happy it’s planned for western release, I can wait. *stare*

  • Skeptika Crediblus

    Bring this game to me NOW.

  • natchu96

    Being an Abductor sounds sweet, all the hookers XD

    Being serious here, the animations in the videos thus far do seem a bit . . . off to me, though I can’t really place why. Mechanics seem solid thus far though.

  • Istillduno

    I saw the words English build there, those are good words, getting this even if I have to import.

  • Earthjolly

    Lost planet grapple :D

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