by Sergio Brinkhuis
reviewed on PC
Great game, but no hit?
When the original Freedom Force appeared two years ago, the gaming press was almost unanimous in its verdict: Freedom Force was daring, creative and refreshing amidst a throng of 'Been there, Done that, Got the t-shirt' games that would come out that year. Gamers found themselves immersed in a wonderfully rich RPG that resembled the Marvel Comics of old and those who played the game loved it. But it didn't sell. Not that it was a disaster, but it wasn't the hit it deserved to be. Irrational Games, convinced of the quality of their game, made another valiant attempt. This time around Freedom Force would fight the super-powered villains of The Third Reich.
Freedom Fighters vs. The 3rd Reich continues the story where its predecessor ended. After Man-Bot sacrificed himself to save the world and his friends, things have become very quiet for our heroes. Many of the do-gooders have left their headquarters and just when everyone was about to sink into a depression, a CIA agent informs them that the body of their old enemy Time Master has gone missing and is now in the hands of another old foe, Nuclear Winter. The latter is obviously up to no good at all and a squad is sent out to where both are believed to be hiding; Cuba. This is the beginning of an intriguing plot with twists and turns at every corner and it's up to you to lead our friends in their quest to save the world.
From the moment you enter the game, things will feel very familiar. The graphics have received an overhaul but, like last time, the world is richly coloured and drawn in the style of the super hero comics of old. The surroundings are more detailed than before, making the game seem a little more alive. Heroes seem to move a little smoother and many of the effects have been beefed up to look even more dramatic than they did in the original. There isn't anything wrong with the graphics, quite the contrary, it fits the theme perfectly. It's just very hard getting a 'wow' factor from this kind of graphics but then again, the 'cool' factor more than makes up for it.
We're all experiencing
Over time, heroes gain experience but unlike most RPG's, it doesn't matter whether you use them in your missions, or leave them behind. This may not seem proper, but at various points in the game, missions will require specific heroes. If that particular hero isn't up to fighting the difficult enemies of that mission, it would make the game very hard to play. Whenever a specific hero is required to finish the mission, he or she will automatically be assigned to the squad. Which other members you bring along, is completely up to you. New heroes become available as you gain prestige and with time, your headquarters will fill up again with a wide range of caped and non-caped super heroes. You'll never quite know what to expect from the mission at hand, so often it seems like a guessing game, and you'll mostly end up choosing your favourite heroes. Sometimes it will turn out to be a lucky choice, sometimes it won't, but that's the beauty of this game. The team you select will have to do. When it isn't coping, your creativity may yet save the day.
The environment now helps your creativity more than ever. The sense of never being able to take your surroundings for granted grew stronger on some of the harder missions that I played. Everything that isn't part of the ground or floor can be destroyed and many things can be picked up and used. Even parts of destroyed buildings can be used. Quite handy when your last man standing doesn't have a ranged attack amongst his superpowers.
No Pros and Cons at this time