This Freedom Planet 2 Review covers the second installment in a series that most fans have been eagerly waiting for. But for some reason, there was little to no promotion before the release of the game, but now the title is officially available on all major platforms.
It is no secret that the first Freedom Planet originally started out as a Sonic The Hedgehog fangame, but it quickly became its own thing over time. Now the addition of this sequel to the franchise has improved upon its unique take on the classic formula, further emphasizing its own identity.
The game was initially announced back in 2015, but the release date was pushed back multiple times. And after nearly 8 years of waiting, fans of the original can finally get their hands on it. And though it has managed to improve upon everything that was lacking in the first game, it also somehow managed to mess some things up, which were great about the original.
So, with this review, we intend to give you a better understanding of the game and whether or not you should invest time and money into the title.
Story And Setting
It is recommended to play through the original Freedom Planet before jumping into Freedom Planet 2, as the story is set on the exact same planet of Avalice.
The story this time around involves Merga, an ancient water dragon who frees herself from her shackles and seeks vengeance upon the descendants of those who sealed her away centuries ago. The plot layers on a lot more worldbuilding and lore to Avalice and the events take place in such a way that greatly improves the writing of the characters themselves.
Players can choose to play as as some of these characters, each of whom has different stories in the main scenarios. This makes the game replayable and gives the player multiple perspectives through which to view the events that unfold during the story. Each cutscene in the game is also voice-acted, and the quality of the voiceovers has greatly improved since the last time.
For some, the narrative might be a bit too generic at times, since many of the plot beats appears to have been lifted from Sonic Adventures. And while this isn’t inherently a bad thing, it does come across as somewhat unoriginal.
Gameplay is without a doubt the most enjoyable aspect of the title. While Freedom Planet 1 was more closely related to its sonic-inspired roots, with Freedom Planet 2, the developers have taken it a step further.
Like the titles it takes inspiration from, the core gameplay loop revolves around getting through beautifully crafted levels with your character of choice. This is combined with fluid combat, which is as important for level progression as it is for platforming. Each playable character also possesses unique abilities, which adds some much-needed diversity to the gameplay.
While most levels are designed around fast navigation, there are plenty of stages that focus on and reward exploration and puzzle solving. There is also a world map now, but it felt counterintuitive at times. To buy something you have to backtrack to the shop repeatedly, and this is made tedious by the fact that reaching certain areas in the levels can be very time-consuming.
The physics of the game might be a hit or miss depending on your preference as well. I found them to be a little too slippery, and it felt like the characters were sliding around a lot. But you can get used to it over the course of a few levels, and it’s not much of a hindrance.
The combat itself is where the game sets itself apart from its counterparts. Each character has different combat options, which tie into their playstyles. For example, Neera, who is a power-type character, is exceptional at combat and can utilize ranged and melee attack options. On the other hand, Lilac, who is a speed type, excels at exploration. The fighting doesn’t feel like it breaks the flow of the gameplay, and ties in nicely with the movement options.
Boss battles feature a wide array of tough challenges as well, and of them have a striking design and alluring pixel-art sprites. The old-school approach with the sprites adds a lot of charm to the game and gives a lot of character to these enemies. The bosses also have different combat styles, which allows for multiple strategies to deal with them. To enhance this gameplay experience even further, there are a number of challenges in the Battlesphere Arena at the players’ disposal. These include participating in a race and testing your mettle against the bosses all over again.
Overall, Freedom Planet 2 is much more forgiving compared to its predecessor. There are plenty of mobility options accessible to the player which make exploration easier, and moreover, you can unlock certain items which tweak the game’s challenge.
However, the game’s difficulty balance isn’t ideal. The toughness of the boss fights spiked randomly at times, making the progression feel strange. But the difficulty wasn’t entirely due to the fights themselves, and partly because of one of the game’s major flaws. Good controller support is an important aspect of the gameplay experience, yet Freedom Planet 2 falls short in this regard. The controller setting menu has room for improvement, and certain controllers, such as the PS5 controller, are incompatible with the game right now.
As a whole though, all of these parts come together to form a gameplay loop that can keep you entertained for hours on end. The combat might be too simplistic, and by the time you reach the later levels, it can certainly feel repetitive. However, the gameplay is still the most enjoyable aspect of the experience.
Visuals And Performance
If you are a fan of the pixel art aesthetic, then Freedom Planet 2 will utterly captivate you. Each level is visually distinct and memorable in its own way, and the attention to detail is apparent when you realize that the game has over 100 distinct NPCs that you can interact with. Moreover, the sprite animations are crisp and clean, maintaining consistent quality throughout the game.
While Freedom Planet 1 had a soundtrack that was very good overall and more synergistic with the tone of the game, this isn’t the case in this game. This isn’t to say that the soundtrack is bad, but it is underwhelming, to say the least. Speaking of audio, the game suffers from some technical issues in that area as well. The sound balance is off and sound effects drown out the voices of the characters when they talk.
The game runs very well when it comes to actual performance though. It has minimal system requirements to run, and it does so without any issues. During my playthrough of the game, I never encountered any framerate drops, bugs, or crashes. The game itself is very polished and it’s no surprise since GalaxyTrail worked on it for nearly 7 years.
Freedom Planet 2 is going to be a well-received game because the positives outweigh the negatives. Despite the issues with some boss fights being too hard, and some fights being uninteresting, it’s safe to say that those things are few and far between. The gameplay loop of exploration and platforming fused with smooth combat makes the experience very enjoyable. You can also play the game with different characters which makes the game feel fresh through multiple runs.
If you can ignore the issues with the controller compatibility and forgive the generic plot, there isn’t much to nitpick here. The story can feel cliche and unoriginal at times, and that might be an issue if narratives make or break a title for you. And other than that, there are some audio balancing issues, which will hopefully be fixed soon in an update.
All in all, this is a very fun and fast-paced platformer that can satisfy that itch for nostalgia while also keeping you entertained for hours.
This has been our Freedom Planet 2 Review. While you’re at it, be sure to check out some of our other articles.
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Freedom Planet 2
- Story And Setting
- Visuals And Performance
Freedom Planet 2 is going to be a well-received game because the positives outweigh the negatives
- Fluid Combat.
- Fun Exploration and Platforming.
- Charming Pixel Art.
- Generic Story.
- Bad Controller Support.
- Audio Balancing Issues.