Written by  :  Dwango (300)
Written on  :  Jul 26, 2005
Rating  :  4.29 Stars4.29 Stars4.29 Stars4.29 Stars4.29 Stars

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Still the BEST Super Hero simulator out there.

The Good

Story: The storyline heavily uses the plotlines more attributable to the X-Men than Fantastic Four. It still fits the commix genre of plot with heavy melodrama mixed with plot twists. I really enjoyed getting to the cut scenes to hear more of the story, as I found each twist at least as interesting as the old X-Men or Spider-man stories.

Style: Like its predecessor, this game oozes the old comic style. The game reads like a bad soap opera that many old comics were. Each mission is interspersed with comic style montages, which lay out the story, while some of them are in-game shows. Over done voice acting adds to the flavor and bright colors of the in-game really feel stripped out of the comics. And to put it over the top, the WW2 missions are more muted with more straightforward adventures story telling, fitting in with the old Buck Rodgers adventure commix. To create such detailed copies of the real comics shows a lot of love and care was put into this game.

Characters: While the original characters are still interesting and have their parts to play, the new characters are wholly original and exciting. Tombstone is the man looking for revenge beyond the grave, and plays that way with the ability to possess enemies. Green Genie only wants to have fun and has strangely eclectic powers such as turning enemies into vases or lifting them up in the air. Again, Irrational creates personalities that work both in the story and in the gameplay, truly making them fun to learn about.

Gameplay: Nothing much changes from the previous game. You get to choose four heroes from your stable of heroes to go on missions ranging from kill all enemies to protect the town. Powers are used by right clicking on enemies, allies, or items and then selecting the power to use, as simple as it gets. Also, you can use default attacks selected from a menu below each hero’s icons. With a team of four, you get a tactical style of game play requiring you to creatively find ways to win the mission. It’s fun to try different characters throughout each mission, though you may not want to.

You see; the game is also an RPG. You get to upgrade your hero between missions, adding new powers or abilities, and improving those you already have. Going on missions gives you more experience to work with, so you may want to choose a few heroes to concentrate on.

All the items in the game world are destructible, and no game does this better than Freedom Force. You can pick up almost any item and use it as a weapon. Hitting buildings brings them crashing down, and in pieces which don’t seem to be standard animation, but based on where you hit them. Nothing is more fun than throwing a car or smashing an enemy with a light pole you ripped out of the ground.

Finally, there is the newly improved Rumble Room. Here, you can grab four heroes to run any made up mission on any map. And the missions are varied from Iron-man last as long as you can to four on four fights. This extends to the multi-player where one can run battle against enemies including fighting with a time limit, so its not over when your team is down.

Graphics: Again, the graphics fit the style of the game. All areas are fully 3-d rendered and are rich with detail. And the destructible environments all work smoothly, without much detectible error. Characters all look well done, keeping their style and not looking too stiff.


The best part of the sound is the music. Various tunes set a quirky, yet entertaining backdrop. The asian yet modern ethos of rising sun's song, the silly german Oompah music, and the far out killa-gorilla theme using jungle beats. All set the missions and are memorable.

Voicing is generally superb, for an over-the-top cheesy script that really works well. Each character plays the parts with gusto and enough witticisms to keep one from really questioning the exuberant acting.

Game sounds are wonderful as well, buildings crashes, cars smashed, lampposts bent, and other game object’s destruction is far more fun with the visceral sounds used. Unreal sounds feel in place, though standards seem the norm. Though, the sound effects for Tombstone and Green Genie get some real kudos as they are used well creating the ethos of their characters.

Mods: The modding tools were recently released, but mods should be coming soon. Already there are mods changing the heroes and updating gameplay. And there are plenty of character skins to use to create new heroes of your own.

The Bad

Bugs: For a continuation of a previous game, there seem to be a lot of bugs. My own pet peeve is the 3-d sound for EAX, which cuts out completely after a few loads. I tried to find out what the problem was, as the same occurred in the previous game. It turns out the Miles sound engine has a bug in it, and that turned out to be the excuse for the problem. Seems like a bug in the first freedom force could be somehow fixed in part two, but never got addressed.

Another weird one is the Green Genie’s ability to change foes into random allies. There are goals in the game to destroy certain enemies before moving on to the next goal. So, killing the enemy while it is transformed won’t count as killing the enemy. And you will never get the next goal, effectively leaving you trapped in the level.

Gameplay: Much like in any game of this style of tactical battling, there are problems moving your teams around. Many times the characters will tend to go in a way you weren’t expecting. Most of the time they follow good pathing, as I was able to click on the opposite corner of a complex maze, and they found their way there without getting stuck. Just sometimes in the heat of battle they will get to close to dangerous enemies, taking more damage than wanted.

Also, the auto attack causes problems, as support characters will sometime go after enemies far too powerful.

Another issue I had was the decision to pull certain characters out of the game. I know this was part of the story, but it can be frustrating to develop a character, only to find you lose that character.

Graphics: The graphical improvements for this sequel were okay, but they also had problems. In the more colorful areas, with lots of light, the colors bled heavily and look like a bad tv image. This may be a result of trying the over popular bloom, a graphical ideas I wish would fade away, as I’ve never seen it used well.

Multiplayer: Sadly, Internet multi-player games are far and few in between on the GameSpy network. You may need to find a friend and battle over the LAN, or just play the computer in the Rumble Room.

The Bottom Line

The more things stay the same, the better they are! So many people want a game to revolutionize everything, but Irrational thought better. They tweaked what already existed, adding new powers and some graphical improvements. But by not re-making the wheel, they continued to create the intangible sense of style made in the previous game, and didn’t ruin an already well-made tactical rpg. And it pays off in this well crafted game lovingly depicting the comics.

I just don’t believe there is any other game that does the comics so well. It has the corny story, drama, deep characters, colorful environments, destructible environments… just everything that makes the comics so enduring. And I hope this game endures, for it truly is a personal favorite and the best way to experience being a comic super hero.