Freedom Fighters

Okay, it's about time I come clean with my Freedom Fighters obsession.

I've had this game for about a week and a half now, and I've held off from writing anything about it because I really wanted to divulge myself in this game before passing my opinion on it.

This isn't one of those pick-up-and-play games that you can judge by their cover. This game starts out brilliantly and once you get a hint of the direction it's going in, you know it's going to be something special, if it is executed right. That's a big "if."

Let me explain.

The game is set in New York City. The Russians, for some reason, have decided to take over the world. The plot is pretty thin, but once you get over that, the action is top-notch.

You get dropped into mayhem in the streets with the Russians taking over. People running everywhere, cars blowing up, etc. A friend leads you into the sewers where you join the resistance.

This game, essentially, is the story of your rise to the top of the resistance. When you start out, you're a small fry and you have to get things done on your own. As the story progresses, you start getting noticed by doing things like blowing up bridges, capturing key locations or rescuing prisoners. Some of these actions are required parts of missions, others are extra, optional missions. Either way, completing one of these tasks ups your charisma meter. If you get your charisma up to 100, a soldier, if you tell him to, will follow you around and follow your commands. Every time you get 100 charisma, you can recruit another soldier, but you can only have as many soldiers as you've earned.

This is where things get really cool. As you progress in the game, your charisma keeps increasing, so you get more and more soldiers to follow you and do your bidding. Towards the end of the game you can have a small army of 8 or 9 guys, if you do enough side missions.

By issuing commands, you can tell your soldiers to attack a specific or general area, or to fall back if they're getting their asses beat. It's best to find a high spot and provide cover fire while keeping an eye on your soldiers. If a soldier gets wounded to the point where they cannot fight anymore, you can sacrifice one of your medical kits to heal them - but you have to use these carefully, because they heal you too.

The game uses the Hitman 2 engine, which is absolutely amazing in this game. The ragdoll physics on dead bodies are unbelievable, probably the best this side of Metal Gear Solid 2. It's really satisfying to snipe a guy in a tower and watch him hunch over and slowly slide down until his limp body falls and splats on the ground. Grenades and the lovely rocket launcher send bodies soaring into the air. It's quite a spectacle.

So once I started recruiting soldiers in the game, I thought it was ridiculously cool, but I thought if done poorly in the end, the game could drop the ball. You see, there isn't really much given to you in the way of commands, simply attack, "investigate," or fall back.

The game makes up for it with some great AI. Your fellow freedom fighters find cover behind anything - walls, crates, even light posts. They position themselves well and fire when appropriate. That's not to say you can just send your soldiers off into an ambush. You have to be a smart leader also, and very careful of what you have your soldiers do. My personal strategy is to create a firefight and find an alternate route to sneak up behind the enemy and pick them off one by one as they're engaged in battle with my soldiers.

Each mission in the game has one main objective, but that usually can't be accomplished without doing something ahead of time. To accomplish this, each "level" is divided into three sections, each with their own smaller objective. For example, the main objective on one level is to blow up a Soviet supply bridge. The bridge is located in one of the three sections within the level. You can't get there because a huge helicopter with big ass guns keeps killing you. One of the other sections has the helipad where the helicopter is parked. But you can't blow that up without some C4. The third section of the level has C4 hidden in it. Get the C4, blow up the helicopter, and then you can blow up the bridge.

What you do in one section of the level affects the other sections. Another example, although more subtle: if you blow up a building in one part of town, you can see it in the distance in another section of the level. Very cool.

The presentation is fantastic. The graphics are really special, with all kinds of cool scenery in the background like burning buildings or the New York skyline, most of which is polygonal as opposed to a giant, boring texture. In between levels, you see news clips from the Soviet-run news, with the occasional hilarious press conference by the Russian General Tatankarin. The soundtrack is filled with atmospheric Russian vocals that add to the overall universe.

In short, Freedom Fighters is an extremely fun action game with a great method of controlling fellow troops that adds a new dimension to the genre. If you find yourself a fan of both the action of Max Payne and the strategy of Warcraft III, this is the game for you.

Creative Commons License


2003 - 2005
Reverend Hughes