Tuesday, October 7, 2003
EA is having great luck creating great original franchises. The Medal of Honor and Need for Speed series always guarantee solid gaming. Freedom Fighters is the new kid on the block and dwarfs the likes of Microsoft's Brute Force in the realm of useful, accessible squad-based action.
You're a plumber named Chris in an alternate version of the U.S. as if the Soviets had won WWII and the cold war never happened. The Ruskies have invaded New York City and it's time for Chris to learn to be a Freedom Fighter.
Freedom Fighters creates the war-torn NYC with bravery and fluidity. Your squad that you recruit isn't stupid and is actually rather intelligent. You will most likely start commanding all of them to go ahead of you to clear the path once you have more than five or six at your command. The more you play and kill, the more charisma you have. The more charisma you have, the more people want to fight with you.
You can hold two main weapons at a time along with grenades and Moltov cocktails. Weapons are everywhere but you need to get in the habit of picking them up frequently as you run out of ammo quickly.
The AI on both sides of the coin are very impressive. Enemies will advance at you while taking cover at the nearby oil can or vehicle while your advancing squad will do the same. It's not uncommon for one of your fighters to go kamikaze on a group of Soviets hiding in a bunker, laying waste to all of them with a machine gun.
Chris has certain missions to accomplish. Most of the missions are straight-forward even though there are several instances of "get this here to go here then get another thing there to get back here" scenarios. It all works pretty well. The PC version has a much better aiming system with the accuracy of the keyboard and mouse. The console versions hold your hand with auto aiming.
The graphics aren't stunning, but they are wide in scope with impressive draw distances. The overall tone of the game still seems a bit muddy for its own good, but is so much more colorful than its console counterparts.
There are tons of lines spoken by enemies and allies you'll wonder how they fit all of the high bit rate samples on one disc. There are several types of gun shots and explosions to be heard so that the effect won't get old. Most impressive indeed.
There is no multiplayer mode, which hurts the game a bit. But if you play the console multiplayer, you won't care that it is absent from your PC version.
The overall feel is great, although not as deep as one would hope. Regardless, EA has another winner on its roster that warrants a better sequel.
Overall: 89% B+