Freedom Fighters

aka: Freedom: Soldiers of Liberty, Freedom: The Battle for Liberty Island
Moby ID: 10560
Windows Specs
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The Soviet Union has invaded New York City! Chris Stone is just a plumber, and he was willing to live out his life normally even after the occupation until the Soviets picked up his brother Troy and charged him for being a terrorist (i.e. freedom fighter). Now Chris must contact the real freedom fighters, get his brother out, and eventually, drive the invaders out of New York.

Freedom Fighters is a third-person shooter with squad-based tactics, with a variety of typical weapons such as pistol, revolver, assault rifle, submachine gun, shotgun, rocket launcher, grenade, and so on. As you proceed further in the game, you can control more and more people in your squad, until you end up with up to a dozen different freedom fighters all fighting alongside you in your quest to drive out the invaders.

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Credits (Windows version)

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Critics

Average score: 81% (based on 52 ratings)

Players

Average score: 3.7 out of 5 (based on 87 ratings with 7 reviews)

A great game, flawlessly executed that just doesn't last long enough.

The Good
AI: The AI in the game is pretty darned decent. Pathfinding problems do occur, but for the greatest part, your squadmates go and do what you tell them to. The squad interface is simple and effective for the game. Graphics: Graphics are based on the Hitman 2 engine. They are respectable given the release time. While not totally detailed, environments very well as do the textures. NPC models are repetitive, but also appear and move in a very lifelike fashion. Sound: The score is by Jesper Kyd. Need I mention more? Gun sounds suit the models. Explosion sound effects are standard issue. All in all, the sound is average, but the music is great throughout the game. Gameplay: Here's where Freedom Fighters really earns its keep. The gameplay is probably the most seamless I've seen. Save points are frequent enough to be manageable, but distant enough to provide a challenge. The game is action packed but not so much that strategy does not play a part. The varied weapons and the fact that you can only carry one rifle and one handgun force you to think carefully about a plan of attack. Mission types are somewhat limited but understandably so. how many things does a revolutionary really need to do? Plot: The plot is fairly straightforward. Blast the commies. I didn't see the plot twist coming, but I understand that some players did. I think overall it was good for the action genre.

The Bad
Sound effects for guns were a bit of a let down. They were fairly muffled and indistinct. The ending is anticlimactic and comes far too fast. This is a sub-10 hour game for a decent action gamer. More NPC models would have been nice. It's tiresome to have the same 4 buddies and shoot the same 5 enemies. Almost every level had a machine gun nest/ bunker/roadblock on some street. You could bank on having to take out a cluster of guys at some critical area. No stealth options whatsoever.

The Bottom Line
A great action game. Straightforward and simple, I'd recommend it to anyone into pure action games. The game design is excellent with just a few minor complaints. It's very immersive.

Windows · by Marty Bonus (39) · 2004

Should have been a modern classic

The Good
Freedom Fighters drops you off in a very similar alternate universe that has all the makings of a good movie. What is weird that it has never been fully exploited by the gaming industry. Soviet Russia quickly invades the US as people are caught completely unaware by this. In the middle of this is Chris and his brother Troy, two plumbers in the middle of their work day. After Troy gets kidnapped by the Soviets, you take the role of Chris, and it quickly becomes a fight for your freedom and the country of America.

Freedom Fighters uses a great combination of team-based action with good AI that makes it an A+ squad based game. It may seem that the consoles are a poor choice for squad based games, because they lack enough buttons for both you own actions and squad commands. Freedom Fighters single-handedly eliminates this premeditated notion. While it lacks in depth commands like commands for opening doors or taking cover, it gives you the basic one. You can order your team to follow and retreat, go to a location (or attack a specific enemy, if you aim at a guy), or to stand their ground. You can also hold the buttons down to just tell all of your people to defend an entire area. The number of people you can hold in your squad is based off of your charisma level. You can raise your charisma by completing objectives but also by doing good deeds like healing he injured. All in all it keeps the difficulty steady by allowing by giving you only a few people in the beginning and a massive raiding party at the very end. This pretty much outlines the way things go and while it seems very basic it works very well in the game.

The rest of the things you can't do (like telling someone to go to cover) is easily covered by the outstanding squad AI. If you tell someone to go to a location, they will go to that location, but if they detect enemies they will automatically seek out cover. If you tell a person to defend an area, he will do the same and seek cover. They will also automatically mount a machine gun if they find one in the area and start plugging away at enemies. Not only this, but the same applies to enemies. Enemies naturally morph around the situation, and seek out cover when you are in the area. Enemies will eventually start to advance on your position in order to overwhelm you. This makes for a great squad-based shooter. Imagine you are standing on top of a rampart, looking down on 8 of your US soldiers battling it out a dozen soviet soldiers. All the while you are issuing commands to tell your soldiers to go here, and defend there. The enemies in the meantime grab hold of machine gun emplacements and find cover themselves. The difficulty also makes it very necessary to use squad tactics. On easy its a walk in the park, but on the hardest you will have to plan your moves carefully to avoid getting shot up. Seriously, this game will give you ulcers in a week, even if you are slowly managing to get your troops in there and complete your objectives. The objectives, are, thankfully very open about which way you can go. The levels are almost always open city levels with open streets that offer tons of ways to get to an objective. Your objectives will also help you in others levels, so if you destroy a helicopter pad in one level, the gunship will no longer be able to gun down you and your men in another level.

The music created for this game is spectacularly mind-blowing. IO Interactive brought in Jesper Kyd, the composer who did music for the Hitman series. The music created for this game is superbly high-quality, but also manages to accent the atmosphere nicely. The main title echoes in with war drums beating loudly to the Gothic chorus of the Hungarian Radio Choir. It adds to the militaristic and dark sci-fi feel of this game. All throughout the game melodies will chime in and it is perfect for the situation. Whether it is the hopeful and rising while you are at the rebel base, or quick and heavy while raiding the enemy base, it is one of the key contributing factors of the game. After this, I even went out and bought the soundtrack to the game. I simply loved it.

Freedom Fighters still manages to create a fun and entertaining plot. It has some good twists and turns, and has good supporting characters. The plot stays fresh with good dialog and characters. Even the troops have nice tidbits of sayings (my favorite one is when the American troop is one the machine gun and shouts "say hello to my little friend!") that make them seem more alive than typical enemies and a typical squad based shooter (unlike Conflict: Desert Storm, which lacks a good unified story and colorful characters). This also allows you to really get into the whole team-based actions.

Lastly, Freedom Fighters pulls through with some surprisingly good multiplayer action. Granted, it is definitely not the buying point for this game. It has a lot of bad flaws that really make it a major one player game. But what it does have it does good. At its best, Freedom Fighters creates humongous battle scenes between players and their squads. It does this by retaining all of the squad-based actions and squad AI that it has in single-player. Your objective in this is to secure outlying bases for extra troops, while also capturing a central flag for a set amount of time. Playing and commanding a squad against other human players is not only challenging but fun. Battle can get very heated, with 16 soldiers standing and shooting on the battlefield trying to find cover and take the battlefield. In the meantime more soldiers spawn at the home bases and shoot from mounted mini-guns, and 4 players can help or command their troops during the battle. You can go 2 v 2, which is great fun, or just 1 v 1, or 1 v 3! Multiplayer is a mode that me and my friends have revisited time and time again.

The Bad
What is really missing that would make this game a masterpiece is an outstanding and emotional plot. What the plot in this game is meant to do is entertain you. It is very interesting and will draw you into it so much that at then end you will wish they had a good sequel (the end leaves you hanging somewhat), but is not meant to blow you away and leave you feeling like you had just witnessed a masterpiece. Occasionally, especially at the end, the game dips into some emotional stuff. But during the game the characters can lack some emotions like sadness or tension. And even though their entire world has been turned upside down and they are forced to live in the sewers, they still manage to make logical decisions with a clear head and act as though the transition has been quite easy to make. Also, while the supporting characters are very colorful (especially your brother Troy), the main character Chris himself shows little or no personality or attitude. He occasionally has a few lines of dialog, but thats it. So while in a few cutscenes he appears as a good strong leader, during game play he is pretty much mute except for the commands you shout.

The weapons also need to be worked on. There's a very limited selection of weapons in the game. You can basically choose between two main weapons, and two side arms during the game, with a few different ones sprinkled in the levels for short time use. They serve their purpose well, and it rarely becomes an issue during the single player game, what with all the fighting and tension. It is more of a way that they can fill in the potential of the game.

Where it truly becomes bad is multiplayer. Multiplayer has plenty of potentially great functions that this game just doesn't fill. Weapons diversity has a glaring absence here. The Soviets get the AK rifle, and the Americans get the shotguns (yes only two teams, another flaw). That is pretty much it. There are a few weapons scattered around the maps, but they are so far away from the playing area, that it is not worth it to leave your men and bases unattended to go grab a gun that the map has little or no extra ammo for (besides, you will most likely die 5 seconds into battle with it anyway). There is also a glaring lack of good maps. The game supplies three maps, just three, but only one of them is spectacular, while the others are pretty much mediocre.

Others seemed to have said that it was very short, but I cannot see how that it. On the easiest setting this is definitely possible, as the difficulty is really what determines if its a strategic squad-based shooter, and a run n' gun shoot-em-up (keep that in mind when deciding the difficulty level). But on the hardest you will be trying over and over, and will definitely be playing this game for hours trying to get pasts the levels. So I suppose its really subjective, but this game may or may not be a very short one.

The Bottom Line
Freedom fighters is a game that while it isn't a masterpiece, hides its imperfections nicely with what it does real, really well. The action in this game is fast-paced and exhilarating, while still keeping it squad-based and strategic by adding in some amazing squad and enemy AI and a good difficulty. The plot is entertaining and captures the imagination, and the characters are very colorful. Accompanied by a master score by Jesper Kyd and the Hungarian Radio Choir, it is a game that I love to go back to.

Freedom Fighters really hasn't gotten much press or hype, even after its launch, height, and its decline into the bargain bin. But Freedom Fighters is a diamond in the rough of gaming, and if you see it sitting on a store shelf, I dare you to give it a try. It hasn't happened yet, but Freedom Fighters is one of those games you go back years later and try to look for on eBay. Who knows, it may even become a modern classic. We may even see a sequel for it, because I can assuredly say it deserves one. At the price of a $5 bargain bin game, the game is well worth that price.

GameCube · by Matt Neuteboom (976) · 2006

A fantastic game, if a bit short.

The Good
This is one of the better games I've played, even though I finished it within a day. Maybe I'll play through it again tomorrow?

Freedom Fighters has an interesting storyline that I'm surprised hasn't been done before. Russians have taken over America and it's up to a growing group of rebels known as the Freedom Phantom to take it back! Or at least take back New York, in which the game is set.

The controls are simple and it works great. You control yourself, and command a number of squadmates through each mission. The view is third person, similar to Hitman (Freedom Fighters uses the same and is developed by the same people), which is perfect for most of the situations you get in to. By clicking the right mouse button, you "aim", in which the camera zooms in to a closer angle so you can get the best shot possible. You only have three commands at your disposal to command your squad with; follow; attack; and guard, but it works marvelously and doesn't tire itself from overly complicated leadership.

The AI is supurb. Your squad and enemies alike will find suitable cover and seldom will they just hang around in the battlefield waiting to get shot a la Rainbow Six. Tell them to guard an area, and they'll find cover, man a gun turret, duck behind walls or dive into a trench, whatever they can find, shooting down any enemies they see.

Every level has several ways of completing it. You could just storm the entire level and hope for the best, or you could do it the very tactful method. Or you might find a passage to a top of a building, allowing you to fire down upon the enemy. One particular level, I told all but one of my troops to charge down a street, while I took an alleyway that lead me to the same area. I was able to sneak into a building, kill the snipers on the top floor and cover my men as well as issue orders to them from that position. It was executed perfectly. There are just so many ways to go about doing any given task in almost every level, that alone makes up for the shortness of the game.

The levels are also action-packed and varied. One level requires you (well, doesn't require you to, but it's a good idea) to progress through it using stealth techniques, another level you find yourself amongst ruined helicopters and floating platforms of ice, some levels are just charging through abandoned city streets. Each one has its own uniqueness to it and each one has many ways of beating it.

The cutscenes and acting are very good, as well.

The Bad
It's short! Very short. There are only like eight levels. And while you usually have a selection of what level you want to play through, it's much more linear than it pretends it is. For instance, you might have a selection of four levels...but due to a helicopter making the levels almost impossible, you must destroy the helipad in one level first. But to get there, you must get some C4 in another level before that. So really you have to do those levels in order, unless you want to deal with a helicopter ruining your day (though, the very last level is a hilarious sight of destruction if you choose to attempt that before you do all the other levels in the area first.) I did like the strategic element of destroying obsticals that would get in your way in other levels, but you don't really have much of a choice.

Graphics aren't photo-realistic or anything.

At the end of the game, I was commanding a squad of ten men. When you're ordering around ten of them, planning strategies becomes much more difficult and at times futile. After that point, I pretty much just told them all to storm an area and hoped for the best.

The Bottom Line
A fantastic game. One of my all-time favorites. The ending sort of leaves room for a sequel or an expansion, and I hope they do one, because this game is simply much too short. If you're looking for a fun game with great AI and simple squad-based gameplay, Freedom Fighters gets my highest recommendation!

Windows · by kbmb (415) · 2003

[ View all 7 player reviews ]

Trivia

1001 Video Games

Freedom Fighters appears in the book 1001 Video Games You Must Play Before You Die by General Editor Tony Mott.

References

There's a reference to I/O Interactive's Hitman series near the beginning of the game. On the wall of the apartment you start in, you can see a movie poster for a movie called "Hong Kong Love Story" with a picture of Agent 47 and Lei Ling (the girl from the Lee Hong Assassination mission of Hitman: Codename 47) in a romantic embrace. This is kinda funny because in the original game, Agent 47 couldn't stand her. He can also be seen in several billboards around the city advertising a clothing store.

Voice acting

Nicholas Worth, who did the voice acting for the main villain in Freedom Fighters, also happened to play a very similar role in the game Command & Conquer: Red Alert 2 as Alexei Romanov - another alternate history game where the Soviet Union strikes at America.

Information also contributed by Rambutaan and Zovni

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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by Shoddyan.

PlayStation 2, GameCube, Xbox added by Corn Popper.

Additional contributors: Alan Chan, Erwie84, Patrick Bregger, FatherJack.

Game added October 2, 2003. Last modified May 1, 2024.