|Developer: Io Interactive
|Release Date: October 1, 2003
|Also On: GCN, PS2 and Xbox
EA is well-known for their action games. Whether it is James Bond, Medal of Honor, or Lord of the Rings, EA covers a lot of ground in the action genre, in which it succeeds rather well. Freedom Fighters fits in well under the EA brand, as a 3rd person tactical shooter.
While games like Conflict Desert Storm and Medal of Honor take you into battle, based on real events, Freedom FightersÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ storyline is pure fiction, but excellent nonetheless, though impossible to ever take place. The story goes like this; after WW II, the Soviet Union succeeded in developing a hydrogen bomb, bringing a quick and violent end to the conflict and tipping the balance of power in their favor. They gained full control of Europe and parts of the Middle East. The United States was the largest country not affected by Soviet influence, but due to the lack of high-tech weapons, the American forces were weak compared to the Soviet forces. During the Cold War, Soviet influence gradually spread throughout the world, until the United States found itself encircled within the Soviet Union. By 2003, the Soviets invaded New York City, where you, Christopher Stone (a.k.a. Ã¢â‚¬Å“Freedom PhantomÃ¢â‚¬?), rebel against the Soviet invaders.
One of the most frustrating aspects of Freedom Fighters in the beginning was the camera and targeting system. After adjusting to it though, I grew fond of it and now believe it is one of the best in a modern video game. Shooting is simple enough, since there is an auto-target system or you can go into 1st person mode and shoot people who are farther away using a target.
Mastering the controls is essential, since the AI is rather intelligent and coordinate with each other to attempt to foil your rebellious plans. Enemy AI will call comrades in and out of battle, depending on what will better protect them. Enemies hide behind cars, barrels, walls, etc. to avoid fire and come out in order to fire upon the rebels. As for weapons, there is an abundance of different weapons to choose from, but you are only allowed to carry one heavy weapon (e.g. assault rifle) and one light weapon (e.g. pistol). Other items that you are provided with throughout the game include C4, grenades, Molotov cocktails, medic kits, etc.
Controlling your group of men/women, is simple, yet requires strategy in the battlefield. Each of the following orders can be used as an order for one person (tap button) or multiple people (hold button). The commands are attack/scout (Y), defend (B), and follow (X). At the beginning of the game you will only start out with one member in your group, but the number of people will steadily rise to at least 8 by the end of the game. In order to obtain more members, you must earn charisma in each level. Charisma can be obtained by completing secondary missions, healing civilians, or other things.
Freedom Fighters offers two modes, single player and multi-player. Single player has been described in the above paragraphs. As for multi-player, it allows up to four players, but unfortunately without Xbox Live. The rules of multi-player are simple. First, you must pick a team (American or Soviet), time limit, and map. Once all are chosen, each team must attempt to capture and hold the flag for a time that you determined in the options menu. Each map has four bunkers that each team can capture and hold, giving them good spawn points. When a team holds a bunker, they can recruit more soldiers, up to eight if you are on a single-player team or up to four if you are on a two-player team. By strategically placing your soldiers, you can easily capture enemy strong holds or wipe out a large amount of them with a grenade or Molotov cocktail. After staying up until four in the morning playing, I must say, this is the best 3rd person strategic shooter multi-player that I have ever played. The large amounts of forces that you can use to overwhelm your enemy is both pleasuring and relieving. Yet, it can be stressful watching your men go in a straight line and all get knocked out by a mounted machine gun or an explosive.
Now that I have talked about the game itself enough, I will now talk about some negative aspects of the game. While there is a high amount of detail on both the interior and exterior of a building, players can walk through each other and I also saw an enemy soldier walk through a barricade. Not only are there some invisible walls, but guns sometimes float in mid-air and Freedom Fighters can survive huge blasts that take place only three feet away from them and yet Soviet soldiers would die from the exact same blast. Other more unrealistic aspects of the game include the fact that helicopters and tanks donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t explode, even when you are constantly shooting them with a mounted assault rifle, only rocket launchers can get the job done. Nonetheless, if a game can keep you entertained for six hours straight, then it is well worth at least a rent. I believe that it only took me about four to six hours to beat the single player missions, which, by the way, kick as much butt as multi-player, but even if you get bored with single-player, I am sure that multi-player will keep you busy all night, literally.
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|Written by Kyle