In memoriam, Donald Sutherland

Descent: Freespace - The Great War

aka: Conflict: Freespace - The Great War, Conflict: Freespace - Wielka Wojna, Mahabarata
Moby ID: 721

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Critic Reviews add missing review

Average score: 86% (based on 28 ratings)

Player Reviews

Average score: 4.1 out of 5 (based on 70 ratings with 6 reviews)

Fast and addictive; a great space shooter.

The Good
Freespace is fast, very very fast. And I mean both the in-game speed feeling, aswell as in display terms. I played it on my old system, a P200MMX w/Hercules Thriller gfx-card and 64MB memory, and it blew me away. Not only did the graphics display perfectly (without any noteable glitches), they were also very nice to look at. The AI is decent aswell, as in if you blow up a capital ship (a cruiser, for example), that ship won't be there to bother you again. Another thing that I loved (after getting used to it), was the very simple yet elegant cockpit HUD-display. It gives you all the info you need, without cluttering the screen or reducing the size of your view-point. Rather refreshing, in this genre. On top of all this, Freespace comes with a very good and easy to use editor, allowing you to create your own missions in no time.

The Bad
It takes time to get the hang of it, maybe a too much time for those not a fan of the genre.

The Bottom Line
If you're looking for fast and furious space-based action, I can heartily recommend this game.

Windows · by faceless (438) · 2000

Screw star wars

The Good
Well, I was getting EXTREMELY tired of playing those monotonous old Star Wars space sims. I just happened to pick this game up off some shelf at a local software store and, well, WOW. This game has its own original theme. The game play is quite smooth and the story line is riveting. I constantly find myself actually yelling "Haha! Take that, you damn space invader from hell!" after blowing up an enemy craft. Quite unusual. There is a nice selection of ships, each with their own unique traits and appearances (unlike those stupid TIE whatevers and whatnot) allowing three different species to duke it out in style. The game even comes with a mission editor called FRED, which is really great. I'm working on my own campaign with it as I write this.

The Bad
There's this one aggravating mission that I simply can not beat. Damn you, Lucifer! It's SO hard!

The Bottom Line
This is Descent times 20. There is very little bad that could be said about this game. It's a completely original space sim in which three species have at eachother with their own squadron of unique fighters, bombers, cruisers and the occasional destroyer. Very nice graphics and gameplay. You can't go wrong.

Windows · by Sam Tinianow (113) · 2001

An excellent and complex space sim.

The Good
The battles are hectic and nerve wrenching. The battles get big at times. Really big. When you add a couple of the capital ships into the mix (which are usually around 10x to 50x the size of your ship) and the battles get insane. You can direct your fellow pilots with ease and the enemy ships are brutally good at weaving and dodging your shots at times. Unlike most flight sims I have every played, you actually have a good chance of hitting the enemy with your missiles, too. The graphics are not the most advanced at the time, but if you have an accelerator then they are pretty to look at.

The Bad
Some of the babysitting missions can get a bit frustrating. The game feels a bit too short. The accuracy and power of the capital ships can get to be disturbing. The final mission will take you more then a few tries to complete.

The Bottom Line
This is simply put, one of the best flight sims I have every played.

Windows · by Gene Davison (801) · 2001

Watch out, Wing Commander!

The Good
Excellent cockpit and graphics, cap ships that makes sense, LOTS of multiplayer options, lots of missions, full mission/campaign editor,

The Bad
Gets repetitive after a while, plot is old and stale, doesn't add much to the genre (refinements only)

The Bottom Line
Freespace is a new chapter in space combat sims, in the spirit of Wing Commander, but doesn't add much to the genre, if at all.

The graphics are noticeably better, at least as good as Wing Commander: Prophecy, the latest Wing Commander game, and supports more 3D accelerators. The missions are also better designed with more interactivity. You can tell wingmen to attack specific parts of the ship, and maybe even call in reinforcements (if available). You can configure loadout for the entire flight, both you and your wingmen (up to 11 of them). You can win awards and citations and promotions. You even get suggestions in the debriefing about your performance.

Freespace is very customizable. ALL the keystrokes can be remapped, and the cockpit HUD can be remapped/moved as well, even chosee from three different colors. There are also five different levels of difficulty and plenty of other config options to suit.

Where Freespace really shines is multiplayer, as you can play free on PXO, the free Freespace gaming service. Signup is as simple as Battle.net and action is just as furious, with random ships and missions possible. If you have the bandwidth, you can even try voice comms.

There's also Squad Wars, where the server keeps track of individual battles that affect an overall campaign map, which in turn generates more individual battles to be played out in MP games.

The full mission/campaign editor (FRED) is very powerful and user campaigns and mission are plenty. If you tired of those, there are even mods and total conversions for Freespace that converts the crafts and weapons and ships to vessels from other sci-fi universes.

Freespace, however, is merely an evolutionary title that made the old features better, but didn't really bring anything new to the table. Story-wise it couldn't match Wing Commander (yet), and it's hard to imagine what the next breakthru feature would be. Freespace is about as state-of-the-art as you can go... And is worthy of your money if you like this genre, but just be warned that you have seen all this before, in one way or another.

Windows · by Kasey Chang (4591) · 2001

The fresh and arguably better alternative to the Wing Commanders and the X-Wings.

The Good
Descent: Freespace is deceiving mostly because of its name. Aside from the fact that both games use physics, Freespace does not have any references or common ship designs from Descent which is actually a great thing. If you are not a big fan of Descent, don't let the game's title discourage you from trying this ambitious space sim. Unlike Descent, you will not be put into a free-floating spaceship with ugly 3D spaces, bizzare flying objects, and power ups. Instead, Freespace will place you in the character of an unknown space fighter pilot and very capable fighter ships. Freespace does what Wing Commander and X-Wing have done for years but it's executed much better. The story is well crafted but not original which is typical of most space sims. In some ways the story feels closely imitated to Wing Commander: Prophecy. However, that doesn't undermine Freespace's other great attributes as a good space sim. Some of these great attributes include its ship designs, briefing presentations and overall pre-launching interfaces. It does it with so much polish and flair that a game of this caliber definitely deserves a more aggressive marketing campaign.

Freespace is also misleading in screenshots. A single look of the HUD makes you feel overwhelmed but Volition Inc. has gone through so much effort to help players grasp their ship's instruments thanks in part to the game's innovative training missions. The training missions are neither long nor boring; in fact, they are an intriguing part of the game. Some games train you by asking you to destroy 'X' and end the mission. Not in this case. The instructors in Freespace thoroughly educate the player with each of the HUDs gauges and indicators. Freespace will even make those who have never played a space-sim before feel like experts. It educates the player over its purpose and explains each of its uses well. Moreover, the design of the HUD is extremely intuitive. A single glance of any instrument is enough to understand the relative position of any incoming targets, missiles, or other random ships that come by your way. You won't see window rails or your hand and legs in the cockpit. Everything that blinks or moves in the HUD has some significance. The game even gives you the option to change the HUDs color, brightness, and opacity. Freespace also gives the player the ability to remove any instrumentation from the HUD - a feature that would be appreciated by experienced Freespace sim-jockeys.

The graphics and sound are pretty much over the top. Ships have spectacular explosions. The explosions are similar to what you see in sci-fi movies where the ship debris have remaining discharges and electric 'waves'. But what's really the bread and butter of this game is its attention to detail. Some space sims just try to create ships that have beautiful textures but Freespace designs its ships all the way down to its subsystems (which is also a separate part of the ship that you can target as well!). All ships of all types, from cruiser-class to fighter-class, have purposeful design. Damage is also done well. When a whole squadron of fighters and freighters are damaged in the middle of a dense dogfight, a whole level of intensity is added. When you see leaking reactors, burned subsystems, and a whole slew of other ship damaging effects flooding the dogfights, you definitely feel like there is definitely a "Great War" going on.

AI is good as the enemy or as your squadmate(s). Your squadmate may annoy you when they get into a bind with an enemy fighter but at least you have the option to have them jump out of the system to fight another day if they really bother you that bad. Controlling them is just as easy thanks again to the in-game intructors.

Voiceovers and CGI Cutscenes are also of high quality which help immerse the player into the game as a whole...

The Bad
Too bad the story is not as strong.

Even with all of the great strides it has made when compared to the more popular space sims, Freespace's plot is very predictable. Another weak spot is its multiplayer. Although it is easy to setup, there isn't much of a community to play with. Multiplayer was an afterthought in this game but at least it is stable enough to for minimal lag and can handle a big dogfight. Descent: Freespace is also short. Don't expect a lengthy campaign and it is linear. There are also no branching points in the story.

The Bottom Line
Small gripes aside, if you are a seasoned space-sim vet that believes Freespace is just one of those me-too games, you must at least try this game once. This especially includes those who were always discouraged by the complexity of these types of games.

Windows · by diglot.net (27) · 2005

A mediocre game at best.

The Good
I don't know why they insisted on making this game, especially when it's not from the original developer (Parallax). This game is simply pointless and no fun at all. There's nothing good about this game, not even ONE.

The Bad
Horrid and stupid AI which just screams "shoot the guy who programmed me in the head", lame previous-generation graphics engine (c'mon, with the likes of Unreal coming out in 1998, is this all you managed to pull off?) which runs a lot slower than it should, disgusting graphics and crappy sound effects.

The Bottom Line
Why?! Why in the name of God did they make this game?

Windows · by Tomer Gabel (4536) · 2000

Contributors to this Entry

Critic reviews added by Scaryfun, Kabushi, Caliner, lights out party, Xoleras, Martin Smith, Cantillon, Jeanne, vedder, garkham, Patrick Bregger, Wizo, ti00rki, Adam Wojciechowski, Klaster_1, Big John WV, Apogee IV, Plok.