Freedom Planet 2 Freedom Planet 2 PS4 Freedom Planet 2 PS4 Review Freedom Planet 2 PS5 Freedom Planet 2 PS5 Review Freedom Planet 2 Review GalaxyTrail PlayStation PS5 Review Sony

Freedom Planet 2 Review (PS5) – Blazing New Trails

Freedom Planet 2 Review (PS5) – Where the original Freedom Planet was a game that wore its inspiration on its sleeve, the long-awaited sequel to that game has managed to set itself apart and go in a unique direction while still staying true to what made the original game such a beloved title for platformer fans.

With unique characters, and imaginative and vibrant settings alongside a suitably cheesy storyline to thread it all together – Freedom Planet 2 isn’t without flaws, but it stands as a formidable 2D action platformer and a great sequel to a cult classic.

Freedom Planet 2 Review (PS5) – Blazing New Trails

Jumping Into The Action

Following on from the original game, Freedom Planet 2 opens on a cutscene of an ancient evil being awoken from the depths of the ocean before flying off to become the main antagonist of the game.

While I never felt like knowledge of the original game was absolutely necessary to understand the plot of this one, there’s a nice sense of continuity between both as Freedom Planet 2 takes place 3 years later than the original.

From there, players are free to choose the character that they want to play through the game with, out of 4 unique options.

Each one offers unique approaches to the stages that they go through and are each well-designed around particular skill sets. While each character goes through each of the same levels on the main quest, there are nuances to how each character navigates those levels.

The main cast of Lilac, Carol, Milla and Neera Li are all unique in their personalities as well as the abilities that they bring to the table so players are encouraged to spend as much time as they like with their favourites.

Lilac is a standard beginner character who can dash in multiple directions. Carol can scale particularly tall walls and summon a motorcycle where Milla has the ability to fly in the air and generally has a moveset built around defence.

Neera Li is a magic user who moves around using magic. Each one has pros and cons and feels totally distinct in how they navigate.

Your choice of character also has a slight impact on the way the story unfolds but not in a particularly meaningful way. Each of the main 4 characters generally stick around for particular plot points but the way certain scenes and interactions play out will be changed for each.

On repeat playthroughs, this is a nice way to inject some new life into places that you’ve already been.

Your chosen character is permanent for that particular save file so choosing your preferred member of the cast is an important decision and becoming acquainted with them early on is a necessity.

This decision frustrated me when I realised I had to start a fresh file to test the other characters but ultimately meant that I was given proper space to be able to learn the ins and outs of the four.

Hitting The Ground Running

Where the classic Genesis Sonic games heavily inspired the original game, Freedom Planet 2 does more to create an identity for itself in how the game plays from level to level. With a renewed focus on combat and exploration, I found myself enjoying this new direction for the series a great deal.

Levels tend to be less immediately focused on moving through them as fast as possible, with a pronounced focus on navigating environmental challenges and combat.

Over time I came to appreciate this change and found that these challenges were generally fun to work around, while still managing to maintain a strong sense of speed.

Levels are also themed in unique ways, with some exciting set pieces throughout the adventure that were as fun to look at as they were to navigate.

A focus on urban environments for a large portion of the game was a refreshing change of pace from the generic backdrops that largely define this genre of game.

Exploring museums, neon-coloured cityscapes and the waterways of a technological capital among others made for a memorable journey.

With this focus on exploration, I would have liked to have seen a more robust map system to see exactly where I have and haven’t explored in a particular area.

While I never found myself getting particularly lost, this small quality of life feature would have made all the difference in particular situations.

I also found that the camera could sometimes be too close to my character in particular situations, where attacks and obstacles could appear from offscreen without much warning.

A Focus On Combat

Each level ends with a unique boss and these challenges were generally welcome and put up a healthy challenge at the end of a level. These bosses are designed to mix the speed and combat of the main levels and do a good job at testing your skills.

A unique system of jumping back into levels helped to raise the tension of these fights.

Instead of being simply sent back to the nearest checkpoint, you can choose to immediately jump back into the fight with less health, or return to the nearest checkpoint with full health but needing to start all over again.

I found myself having to weigh up the risk versus the reward if I was particularly close to defeating a challenging boss. The ability to choose between the two was very much appreciated.

Player choice also comes into which areas you choose to explore; while the game ends in the same place across a single playthrough, there are opportunities to choose the areas you wish to explore first through the episode system of storytelling.

Each “episode” has a particular set of levels to complete with a mini-story within. On repeat playthroughs, doing these in various orders will similarly reduce repetition.

Pixel-Perfect Presentation

One thing that immediately jumps out is the luscious presentation, across the visuals, animations and soundtrack, everything is stellar.

As mentioned above, each area of the game is uniquely themed and full of intricate detail that you’ll undoubtedly miss if you run through these areas at breakneck speed.

I found myself tapping my toes to the soundtracks as well, that make exceptional use of electronic instruments to craft a song list that sounds like it’s been ripped directly from the Genesis era of platformers, in the absolute best way possible.

Each new level surprised me in the pure talent that was on show.

One other surprise lay in the extensive amount of effort that has gone into the storytelling here. Moving between levels leads to cutscenes that bring the story together, far more so than the games that Freedom Planet is inspired by.

Fully voice-acted cutscenes and bespoke animations help to really sell the feeling of a Saturday morning cartoon and it fits the tone of the game like a glove.

From the main characters to the rogue’s gallery of villains that crop up across the game’s runtime, I enjoyed every character and how they were presented – even if I did feel like some of these scenes could run on a bit longer than I would have preferred in a game like this.

The intricate care that has gone into iterating on and evolving Freedom Planet 2 from its predecessor is nothing short of commendable and helps bring it into its own. I look forward to seeing what comes next for Freedom Planet if this game is anything to go off of.

Freedom Planet 2 arrives on PS5 and PS4 on April 4, 2024.

Review code generously provided by publisher.



The Final Word

Managing to step out of the shadow of its inspirations, Freedom Planet 2 is a brilliant 2D action-platformer that balances all of its elements in a near-perfect harmony while trying plenty of new things. Painstakingly detailed visuals, an entertaining cast and toe-tapping soundtrack help to set this game out as a game that any platformer enthusiast should seek out, despite some small hiccups.