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SummaryNostalgia is a traitorous foe, but this game still holds up pretty well
The GoodLike most GameCube games there is a very entertaining multiplayer mode. Freedom Fighter's multiplayer has up to four players playing as either the Rebels or the Soviets (no real differences aside from the starting weapons) and capturing a control point in the center of the map. Once taken over the timer will start to run and the team who's timer is down to zero first wins. Most of the time however, we decided to ignore the flag and just enjoy the fighting that works the same as in the singleplayer except you have to take over bases to recruit more soldiers.
The auto-aim works pretty well, meaning that it's both functional and it doesn't make the game too easy. It's easy to go wrong with such a dangerous feature, but Io interactive pulled it off nicely. The idea is that you can shoot without aiming, the character will do that for you, but you can only hit one enemy at a time, so you will have to make the most out of taking cover and ordering soldiers around.
Commanding your men is also a lot easier then it could have been, by pressing the A-button you will tell them to follow you. You can also press X to make them defend a location or Y to make them attack. Most of the time they will figure out on their own where to defend and which enemy to attack, but if you want to control everything, there is also the option to aim your orders (aim your gun at the location/enemy).
The story mode is so fun that I used to play through it once a day back when I was younger, the story is your standard Cold War goes wrong scenario in which you play as a New York plumber caught in the middle of the conflict. You gather up a small army of allies and take on missions that involve sneaking into Russian bases and ruining their day behind the front-lines. It tells a pretty decent story within cut-scenes and it can be finished within a day (which is perfect for me). It's also accompanied by a soundtrack that mostly features well-times dramatic and heroic orchestra music.
I really liked the fact that there is a small chance that friendly soldiers will get wounded when shot, instead of just dying instantly. Are you going to run back and help a fallen comrade or are you going to save what you have left and hope a new batch of recruits is somewhere around the corner. I have also seen moments in the multiplayer where the more passionate players refused to let a certain soldier die even if it meant wasting all their health-packages on slowly dragging him out of a sniper invested area.
The BadThe game is linear, which isn't really a problem, I love linear games, but it tries to hide that fact. It gives the impression that you can do missions out of order, but instead you will end up stuck at one point or another because there is something you had to do in another stage. The very first example is when you can free a Rebel leader at the police station or take down a Russian position in a post office, but the post office is out of reach until you complete the police station mission and you can't make it to the station without blowing up a goal in the post office map with C4 found in the Police map. The game is full of stuff like this and it's just an arbitrary "where to go first" puzzle that often forces you to stop a mission half-way because there is suddenly a helicopter blocking your path.
Some of the power weapons respawn way too fast in the multiplayer, the rocket launcher can take down an entire enemy base in one shot (either killing or severely wounding all the soldiers in one hit), but ammo is everywhere and even if you die and lose it, it will already be back before you die. Turrets are also located everywhere and pointing in every direction, so a clever tactic can easily be ruined by a single soldier.
The game has some huge glitches, the most common of which is related to the multiplayer. The problem is that there is a random chance that soldiers will just randomly disappear, it only happens maybe once in a thirty games, but when it happens you will be left with a soldier slot filled by a soldier who is lodged in a wall somewhere (I actually saw that happen once). It's also pretty common to see a turret with perfect aim or soldiers not firing at enemies.
The Bottom LineThis used to be one of my favorite games for the GameCube when I was a kiddo, but time has moved on since and like almost every other shooter, it didn't get off very well. The glitches are very troublesome and I can't imagine why you would want to give the player a choice when the game requires a strictly linear level progression anyway.
It is still very playable though and the multiplayer is one of my favorites, but you shouldn't go into this game expecting a timeless classic. I recommend this game for both teens and adults, younger kids may find the multiplayer to be somewhat interesting, but they would have problems following the story. God bless America. Casper out.