Electronic Theatre In-depth Review: Freedom Fighters

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Rating: 5.0/5 (4 votes cast)

free.JPG (1472 bytes)            Upon receiving the press release stating that Lo-Interactives’ most original project since the first Hitman title – Hitman: Codename 47 – would be receiving a GameCube release in the UK, I was surprised to say the least. More than a year has passed since Freedom Fighters’ original release, but with squad-based games coming into their own in 2004 thanks to great titles such as Conflict: Vietnam, Ghost Recon: Island Thunder and Shellshock ‘Nam ’67 all being released, I decided to check out one of the GameCubes’ front-runners in the field.

            To begin with, the title feels freedom1.jpg (12012 bytes)very much like an extensively polished Hitman expedition. In addition to running and gunning, you are able to recruit members to your squad, limited by your “charisma” – which can be earnt by performing general good-guy actions such as healing your downed cohorts or rescuing survivors. The dual analogue control is calibrated perfectly, and your squad commands are issued on Y, X and A. The commands you have over your squad may seem fairly limited, consisting of basic attack, defend or hold position actions, but in practice adds a huge amount of depth to gameplay which is already flowing at a respectable level. Most of the mission objectives you will encounter include little more than reaching locations or raising flags, but with the intricately detailed and incredibly well crafted maps available they never get tiring. Although the game tries to force you into the position of using your assembled recruits as back-up, it’s often much more pleasing and tactically rewarding to utilise your recruits as expendable hired guns, as their health is easily replenishable, giving you the opportunity to direct the battle from a vantage point, picking-off the stragglers and searching for weaponry or more recruits.

            The title has been constructed with a large amount of both imagination and caution. While looking large and impressive, great care has freedom6.jpg (9313 bytes)been taken to ensure the game never slips from your grip, informing you where you are, where you’re going and what to do when you get there clearly and concisely throughout. The titles’ graphics are very solid, with complementing textures and gun-flare. The cut-scenes are crafted beautifully, seemingly taking some inspiration from Robocop; news reports, fully lip-synced, set the scene of the post-communist invaded New York. The only real graphical gripe is the staggering amount of pop-up, but this could be put down to the fact the GameCube conversion was probably way down on the list, so the title wouldn’t have been updated at all from the Xbox version. The sound is clear and each character gains depth through some brilliant voice-acting. At times it is even possible to recognise which of your recruits has been downed thanks to their distinguishing scream.

            While Freedom Fighters doesn’t break any boundaries, it’s very much a solid and playable experience. As with the single-player, the multi-player set-up is limited but rewarding. Lo-Interactives’ exercise into branding their development has been worthy of the effort, and has obviously been noted by other bods within the industry, with Freedom Fighters appearing to be the most likely inspiration for Free Radical’s step with Second Sight.

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