Freedom Force

Moby ID: 6047
Windows Specs
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Description official descriptions

Freedom Force is a real-time tactical role-playing game which allows you to create and customize your own superheroes.

Along with the ability to create your own skins, names and super power attributes, you can take your team of superheroes out in the town to defeat countless enemies, improving the experience points of your character. All of the buildings and items in each city are destructible and you can throw most items at your enemy.

The single player campaign starts with you taking control of Frank Stiles. Frank overhears a conversation between two scientists about a secret experiment. The scientists discover Frank and leave him to die by a glowing statue. Luckily for Frank, the statue turns him into Minuteman, and now you must stop the scientists from getting away.

As you dive deeper into the story, you will gain teammates, each with their own special powers, and even more deadly enemies to defeat.

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Credits (Windows version)

211 People (160 developers, 51 thanks) · View all

Reviews

Critics

Average score: 84% (based on 38 ratings)

Players

Average score: 3.8 out of 5 (based on 71 ratings with 5 reviews)

Great Caesar's Ghost!

The Good
No one would have believed in the middle years of the twentieth century that this world was being watched keenly and closely by intelligences greater than man’s and yet as mortal as his own.

Scratch that.

From the far reaches of time and space, impending doom streaks towards the Earth!

Much better, this is the Silver Age after all.

Patriot City, 1962—An old man sits on a park bench, dwelling on the events that led to his expulsion from Los Alamos. Catching a scientist giving secrets to a Russian, the old man makes a valiant attempt to crush the communist plot only to be struck down at the foot of the Minute Man statue. But wait, the statue glows! The mysterious Element X leaves the statue it’s imbued and revitalizes and rejuvenates the old man. Now this man, taking the name Minute Man, dons the colonial costume of his namesake, wields a staff, and forms Freedom Force, a society of like-minded superheroes dedicated to the defense of liberty. Little do they know that this is all part of a master machination.

Freedom Force is a cross between an action-role playing game and a real time strategy game. Initially players take control of Minute Man, chasing the spy through the park and around town. Through a series of pop-up tutorial windows, we learn that Minute Man can leap atop tall buildings, rip lampposts from the ground and hammer thugs with them, and has a few basic attacks.

Minute Man controls rather easily. Players click where they want Minute Man to go and he runs to that location (leaping when necessary). Clicking on enemies (mostly thugs at first) uses the default attack and right-clicking on them brings up more options. Minute Man’s initial powers include a powerful punch, an arcing swipe with his staff, and a somewhat limited missile attack. Performing these actions depletes his stamina, so players must exert a little strategy since a winded superhero doesn’t do anyone much good. Minute Man also has the requisite health bar that determines the amount of damage he can take.

Minute Man gains experience when he completes a mission. He also earns prestige points by taking out opponents and completing secondary objectives. Prestige points can be lost if he or his enemies hurt innocents or cause property damage. Prestige points act as currency allowing Minute Man to recruit new members to Freedom Force, either ones that came with the game or player created ones—more on this later.

Even though the first few missions are Minute Man specific, he soon teams up with Mentor, an alien being with psionic powers. Mentor fills in some of the back story and is the first of the story mode characters (ones that the player doesn’t need to recruit). Before long, Minute Man meets up with El Diablo, Man-Bot, and Alchemiss, giving the player real options when creating a party to go on a mission.

Most missions allow for four party members and few of them have required characters. Doubtless players will have their favorites. Minute Man faded into the background as I preferred El Diablo’s flying powers and ranged fire attacks. Even if you leave characters on the back burner (sorry Mentor), they still gain some experience which keeps them in the game.

When characters level up, their core stats don’t change but they do gain more health points and stamina. They also gain new abilities and can power up existing ones. The ability tree seems somewhat rudimentary, since you have to buy and level up seemingly unrelated powers to get the ones you really want. Players also have the chance to buy attributes like flight or poison resistance depending on the character.

Missions typically have the same objective—take out the enemies, but since that covers rescuing a nuke from Nuclear Winter, fighting giant ants, pummeling dinosaurs, or defending the Freedom Fortress from an army of giant robots, it’s unlikely the player will get bored anytime soon. There’s very little repetition in the game’s thirty something missions—except, of course, where the story calls for it.

If you don’t like the characters offered by the game, there’s a character creation screen that lets you design your own superhero. Want a purple hulking beast that can fly and shoot fire? Want an icy lass who’s faster than a speeding bullet and made out of rubber? It’s all here, in a somewhat rough form. Players can design their own heroes, but still need enough prestige points to recruit them. It’s far too easy to design the ultimate hero and then find out that purchasing her is mathematically impossible.

Tired of generic heroes? Want some licensed men in tights to boss around? Check the fan community for Freedom Force versions of popular heroes complete with authentic powers and animations. You have to love a game this well supported.

The Bad
I installed the game and was quickly met with a message that Freedom Force wouldn’t work with my version of Windows (XP SP2). The game asked me if I wanted to continue any way and I said yes, hence this review. If you have XP SP2, it’s probably best to go in expecting to fail. There is a rumored patch on the way (as of 2.05) which addresses this issue.

People I’ve talked to, who didn’t like this game, have legitimate concerns over controlling four characters in real time, especially on levels which require dividing the team. While you can (and must) issue orders while paused, I wonder if another control scheme would have worked better. I do wish that the interface allowed better control of units spread across town—especially since crossing the road can be deadly. If a car (usually a taxi) doesn’t want to stop, it knocks the health points right out of a character. I highly recommend installing the patch which addresses Liberty City’s traffic problems.

Finally, while you can save anywhere in a mission, you keep overwriting the same save spot. Saved missions appear in alphabetical order, not sorted by date or time, so it can take a little effort finding the correct one to load. I’m not sure if any patch helps with this.

The Bottom Line
This game essentially is a playable Silver Age comic book. The voice acting and dialogue is campy and the graphics are cartoony, but not in a pejorative sense. Rather the game captures the excitement of that era without the use of irony. I found it to be the gaming equivalent of sitting in front of a big box of comic books.

Windows · by Terrence Bosky (5397) · 2005

An Amazing, Incredible, and Smart Way to Play the Comix!

The Good
Style: I have to say the best part of this game is the way it sets itself up and shows off its comic style. It really is best when it plays it over-the-top, which it does often. The bad voice acting, rich colors, goofy cast of characters, over-dramatic story, ridiculous naming conventions (Liberty City, Minute Man and Liberty boy, Nuclear Winter) really create a great caricature of the classic comics (don't know? Try some Marvel Essentials to see how true to the original they are.) All these separate parts come together in a masterwork of kitschy ness and camp, highly enjoyable.

Game play: The game plays similar to Baldur's Gate, except on a smaller scale. The player selects the stock heroes, or their own home brew. Then they are given various goals such as defeating all the enemies or protect people. The game allows pausing and lets the user give commands, making it somewhat phase based. This is a strong formula that is highly involving, making time pass quickly as you go about your heroic deeds. And you have a lot of actions to choose from, such as attacking with various powers, picking up the local items to attack, such as cars and light posts, finding various canisters to boost power or heal. And the game is well balanced with the stock heroes, as none are too powerful to fight on their own, and each is good in some situations, but terrible in others. Building the right team matters.

Another aspect of the game play is building heroes. You can build almost any kind of hero you like with the game, from super-men to psychic brainiacs, it’s almost all there. And you have plenty of models to use, as they can easily be downloaded on the net. Even better, you can add user made versions of your favorite comic heroes.

The A.I. is appropriate and challenging. You will find most villains do what would be expected, though there are some issues.

Interface: The interface is elegant simplicity. You can click on any place or person, and an appropriate menu will appear in context to that item. The list of items is easy to read and makes sense in the light of you character. They even switch as you change heroes, but keep the item in focus.

Music: The scores are excellent and never feel repetitive. The music fits the mood of the enemy and adds to the atmosphere of pure camp. You'd think this stuff would be standard stock of any super hero cartoon.

The Bad
Game Play: Despite the involvement of the system, you will find those little annoyances that drive you crazy. When you pause and select actions for your heroes, sometimes they just don't respond, so you lose time having to figure out they aren't doing anything and get them to act again. Also, the focus on enemies does not shift to a new enemy, so if you click on attack another enemy, they attack the same enemy. And many times, you will be your own worst enemy as you heroes can hit each other or knock them selves out if they are too close to their own blasts.

Also, this game it not fast paced, as you will find yourself pausing many times to keep up with the flow. You really will have a hard time navigating menus in real time, a problem in the multiplayer.

And the creation system, while thick with many options, has the usual problem of some powers being too powerful, easily creating one trick ponies to dominate the single player and multiplayer games. This was nerfed somewhat in patches, but issues still exist.

Bugs: There aren't too many, but one exists where the characters with get stuck under the ground.

Multi-Player: This is the weakest point of this game. As mentioned, certain powers allow dominance in games, and there is no pause, so it’s a much speedier game lending to beam and smashing the main course of action. There is some co-op with the added danger room, but it only goes so far.

The Bottom Line
Freedom Force is a strategy / RPG where you can create heroes to fight villains in a 60's style comic book send off. Freedom Force is somewhat mis-classed, in that it’s more of a tactics game than a role-playing game. It has the ability to create all kind of heroes using stats, but it relies on small maps with simple objectives in a beat the other guy before he beats you strategy. It could easily have become repetitive except for the kitschy comic book style that just leaves you grinning and somewhat nostalgic for the old comic, and the old games. Overall, if you are the nerd type or love a challenging strategy game, this one is for you.

Windows · by Dwango (298) · 2005

If Jack Kirby had been a programmer, this would be his game...

The Good
The game is incredibly true to its subject matter, featuring Jack Kirbyesque art and graphics throughout. The environments are fully destructible, and the single-player game feels VERY much like one is playing through a series of 1960s Marvel-style comic adventures!

The Bad
If you AREN'T a fan of Jack Kirby style 1960s comics, you may not like this game. It doesn't have much to offer the Spawn generation, and its "campy" feel may cross over to "oghod this is so corny" in the hands of players who can't get into the proper mood. The FFEditor and patch is an excellent tool for modifying the game; it introduces a "danger room" mod that lets you play heroes and villains from the game in any environment from the game, and allows the use of custom heroes and villains as well. Unfortunately, this terrific tool is only available online; it didn't ship with the game sigh... Multiplayer is weak, weak, weak, being largely a matter of who can point and click fastest; the "pause and plan" feature that makes the single-player game so appealing just isn't there in multiplayer.

The Bottom Line
It's a great "classic superhero comic" romp, and loads of fun. You can't really beat the price. The patch and Editor tool are available online. If you like your comics Kirby flavored, dive in!

Windows · by Dr.Bedlam (55) · 2002

[ View all 5 player reviews ]

Trivia

Awards

  • Computer Games Magazine
    • March 2003 (Issue #148) - #9 overall in the "10 Best Games of 2002" list
  • Computer Gaming World
    • April 2003 (Issue #225) – Strategy Game of the Year
    • April 2003 (Issue #225) – Best Story of the Year
    • April 2003 (Issue #225) – Best Art Direction of the Year
    • September 2006 (Issue #266) – Introduced into the Hall of Fame
  • GameSpy
  • PC Gamer
    • April 2005 - #50 in the "50 Best Games of All Time" list

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  • MobyGames ID: 6047
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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by Kartanym.

Macintosh added by Kabushi.

Additional contributors: PCGamer77, Sciere, Zeppin, Patrick Bregger.

Game added March 27, 2002. Last modified March 7, 2024.