Freedom Fighters
  • Publisher:
  • Developer:
  • Genre:
  • Release Date:
  • Players:
  • Save Feature:
  • Rarity:
  • Price:
  • Rating:
7  |  Freedom Fighters Review (XBox)
larsoncc , 10/7/2003 5:28:47 AM
Freedom Fighters

Before I picked up Freedom Fighters, I considered what other online mags were posting about it. Even though the editors of GameSpot gave the Freedom Fighters a 9.3 (WHORES.), the average review from the readers was pegged at 7.7.  Basically, a publication is calling a game a legend, and you're Average Joe sums it up as "meh."  I love it when that happens. Expecting the worst (I usually come in below the average guy), I picked up Freedom Fighters for the XBox and gave it a few hours play.

When I popped the disc into my XBox, I was treated to a few nice surprises. Freedom Fighters presents you with a semi-plausible alternate history, the backdrop for a Soviet invasion. Growing up with this "fear of the Soviets", I thought that this re-write of history seemed decent enough for the purposes of blowing stuff up.  In Freedom Fighters, I am a plumber (yes. yes I am.), and when Manhattan is invaded, it's all up to me to stop the RED MENACE from taking over our fair country (*waves flag*)!

So, Freedom Fighters has some good cut scenes. That's usually a bad sign.

Starting the game, I realized that Freedom Fighters has one of the worst camera systems ever made. It's absolutely atrocious. I was constantly swinging the camera around manually, because the damn thing never followed me. GRRRR. When I had control of the camera, I was swinging it wildly into spaces that no camera should go - into walls, on the ground - wherever the WORST angle was, I found it. The worst camera system EVER becomes a major factor about 5 seconds into play. You're following some commander-type of guy through a crowd. Good luck with figuring out which blur you're supposed to follow.

The control system is pretty awful, too. To select your weapon, you CAN use the regular directional pad, which is pretty darned normal, and my preferred mode of operation. But this is NOT what the computer instructs you to do. Here's the other (WRONG) way that you can get at your weapons screen. Press down on the right thumbstick (the one controlling the camera), and then move to the weapon that you want with the OTHER thumbstick (the one controlling your character). I absolutely HATE that recent games have started to assign critical functions to pressing on the thumbstick. The first few weapon selections were absolutely maddening to me (until I found out the sane way to switch weapons). The camera would fly around (changing my aim), and my character would move slightly in whichever direction I had to push. There are several other little quirks to control, from how your character aims, to odd buttons for just about everything.

The graphics are like Grand Theft Auto 3. Really and truly, that's their style. In fact, I'd dare say that your character looks exactly like the guy from GTA. So, the graphics aren't good. But in return, you get most of what you get in Grand Theft Auto 3 - expansive environments.

Combine all of the above, and you have a game that begs to be turned off within the first 10 minutes of play.

Freedom Fighters for the Xbox

But... Don't turn it off!

The first few levels are "solo" - they give you some time get used to the control scheme, or lack thereof, as the case may be.  As you pick up some experience, you're able to recruit others to your cause, and then order them around.  They are your bitches.  And they aren't stupid, either.  The XBox has some nice features - all your call out commands are on the controller, so it's actually pretty easy to get them to do your bidding.  They will become a squadron of elite troops pretty instantly with your guidance.

I found that the squadron features save this game.  You'll giggle with glee the first time you send your squad to certain death attacking a garrison of Soviet troops.  You're probably better off with the "stick and move" approach - I was.  Tell your squad of rebels to defend a spot, scout forward, give them covering fire, and bring up your squad.  Aim closely at your enemies, and have your buddies mow them down.  Capture some good positions, and wander around - this is at the core of the game, and it's absolutely spectacular. 

When you start to understand that Freedom Fighters is about strategy, you start to understand how good of a game it really is.  It's ALMOST a fantastic game.  It tries to combine "easy" with "depth".  Freedom Fighters could ALMOST pull in the casual gamer, drawing them into a mission-based strategy game (like Vice City or Hitman 2).  If you give Freedom Fighters a chance, you will be surprised, and you will want to continue playing.  This is a game that really rewards the "hard core" gamer - and isn't meant for a quick moment of game time.

But Freedom Fighters doesn't draw in the casual gamer - the flaws of the game are too great for the casual gamer to look past.  And as for the hard core gamer, well - it takes some getting used to.  Freedom Fighters is ultimately a rewarding experience, and it's worth having a long look at.  But don't expect perfection.  I give Freedom Fighters a 7/10. 

Submit your own review!