The PlayStation Vita has become home to quite a few hunter games over the past couple of years but, if my hands-on time with Freedom Wars at E3 2014 is any indicator as to what the full game will have to offer, there may be a new competitor primed to battle for the genre’s top spot.

Amidst all of the big console games, VR headsets and countless free T-shirts during the most recent E3 showing, it may have been easy to forget that the PlayStation Vita is still alive and kicking on the portable market. Sony barely touched on the device during its big press conference, yet loads of games were actually playable on the showroom floor, including the high-flying action title, Freedom Wars.

Hot on the heels of games like Soul Sacrifice, Ragnarok Odyssey: Ace and Toukiden: The Age of Demons, Freedom Wars is the latest in a growing list of hunter games for the PlayStation Vita, developed by Sony Computer Entertainment Japan Studio and heading to North America later this year. Like all of those other games, Freedom Wars allows players to team up with a group of buddies in order to raid maps, destroy enemies, collect loot, craft better gear, wash, rinse and repeat. Quite a few factors set this offering apart, though, including an online competitive mode for up to eight players, a heavier focus on story and maps that offer more verticality.

The PlayStation PR booth this year offered a selection of PS4 and Vita titles for the press to take for a spin, which is where I had the opportunity to get in some quality time with Freedom Wars, which in turn went on to became my “game to keep an eye on” for the portable console.

Set waaaaaay in the future, Freedom Wars takes place on an overpopulated planet Earth where the human race is forced to live in underground cities because the surface world has become too inhospitable. Here’s the extra twist: Anyone who commits a crime automatically receives a one million year sentence, which can only be reduced by contributing to society. In this world-gone-slightly-mad, though, contributing to society means you’ll be armed to the teeth and forced to wage war against a group of monsters called Abductors, which rule the wastelands humanity once called home. Fulfilling missions not only takes years off of your sentence, but it also opens up more freedoms for your character to enjoy, including additional areas to explore and more ways to spend your time when you’re not fighting rampaging creatures to the death. There are other ways to reduce your sentence, too, including turning in loot that you don’t want to use for your own crafting and upgrades.

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