Freedom Fighters

Review

posted 10/11/2003 by Charlie Sinhaseni
other articles by Charlie Sinhaseni
One Page Platforms: PC
Admit it; killing Nazis is getting a bit repetitive. Even the series that’s most notoriously known for Nazi cleansing, Medal of Honor, is taking a different approach with its next installment. It’s time for a new enemy and no, the Chinese just won’t cut it anymore. Leave it to IO Interactive and Electronic Arts to deliver the oppressive Communist Soviet Union for our killing pleasure. To give more credit where it’s due there’s an excellent reason for you to kick some Communist ass as well. In this alternate universe the Russians beat the Americans to the Atom Bomb and thus held all of the world’s power. In the years following the Second World War the Communist regime spread, eventually ending up in Mexico. Castro was polite enough to provide the Russians with ample space to build Nuclear Silos within striking distance of the US from Cuba. As you may have learned in your 8th grade history class this is a bad thing. When the game begins the Russians have invaded the United States and it’s up to you, a plumber in New York City, to lead the resistance and send the commie bastards packing.

Since you’re leading a resistance you won’t have to go at it alone. This is what sets Freedom Fighters apart from all of the other 3rd person shooters on the market. Often times you feel like you’re fighting a one man war, even when you’re part of something much larger and global. IO Interactive reduces that loneliness and provides you with some compatriots to help you take down the invaders. As you accomplish more goals, take back more structures and perform more deeds you’ll gain charisma points. Every time you gain 100 charisma points you’ll gain a level which will allow you to recruit an additional freedom fighter. As you progress you’ll accumulate more followers and by the game’s end you’ll be able to have full control over 12 combatants. This is when the game starts to get good.

As you may have learned in recent years fighting alongside others makes for a pretty damn intense experience. The fact that these allies are able to think and react on their own makes the game just that more appealing. When heading into combat your allies will utilize whatever cover is available whether it be a wall, car or even a crate. They’ll peer around corners, pop up from behind obstacles to return fire and then hide to reload. It leads to one hell of an intense battle and by far is the best facet of this shooter. If they die, and they will, you can opt to revive them with the aid of one of your health packets or choose to recruit a new member to replace their slot. Controlling them utilizes a simple cursor and number based system. You can delegate commands by pointing to an area on the landscape and pressing one of the number keys on your keyboard. Commands are very simple and consist only of your basic follow, hold and attack commands. For a game of this nature this system works quite well as you can use your cursor to individually place your allies around the landscape so that they can spread out into attack formation.

You’ll have a pretty small arsenal of weapons at your disposal but they’re all worth using. The game places a sub machine gun a high powered sniper rifle, Molotov cocktails, grenades and the most bad-assed shotgun this side of Soldier of Fortune II into your hands. My biggest gripe with the arsenal is that it feels entirely too underwhelming. At times it takes 10, 15 or even 20 shots to take down some of your enemies. Sometimes a nice clean headshot with the sniper rifle won’t bring your enemies down and as is the case with the heavy machine-gun goons, can take upwards of five or six good headshots to bring down. Speaking of those goons, they can successfully withstand a direct hit from a rocket launcher, grenade or Molotov cocktail. This is especially strange since the game seems to be grounded in reality, having enemies that can withstand 30 or 40 bullets is just a little absurd to me, especially considering how fragile my own character’s life is.
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