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Freespace 2

(prices updated 9/19 1:42 AM )

Description official descriptions

It has been 32 years since the GTA lost contact with Earth. As a young pilot joining the fleet of the GTVA (Galactic Terran-Vasudan Alliance), you will be fighting the Neo-Terran Front, a rebel faction that opposes the GTA's alliance with the Vasudans. The Shivans will also show up again...

Freespace 2 is basically an enhanced version of Freespace. You get better ships (you can fly all the older ships if you like), more and more powerful weapons (both guns and missiles), and capital ships that can actually put up a fight with their anti-fighter beam cannons, turrets, flak, and missile launchers.

The capital ships now also engage each other with large beam cannons that shoot beams wider than your craft; these beams can shoot through enemy ships. Contribute to the fight by flying bombers (with large anti-ship torpedoes) or defend by taking out the enemy bombers. Fly escort missions to protect assets, recon enemy assets, test new weapons or even fly a few missions for spec-ops (optional).

The game features full multiplayer support at PXO (Parallax Online) and SquadWars.com, with co-op, team-based, or free-for-all dogfights, with many different missions to choose from. It also includes FRED2, a fully featured editor that you can use to create your own missions and campaigns.

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Credits (Windows version)

166 People (159 developers, 7 thanks) · View all

FS2 Beta Testers
Voices Unlimited
Line Producer
V.P. of Product Development
Division Director
Director of Quality Assurance
QA Manager
Quality Assurance Project Supervisor
Compatibility Manager
[ full credits ]



Average score: 88% (based on 32 ratings)


Average score: 4.1 out of 5 (based on 56 ratings with 4 reviews)

The greatest of the newer space-sims

The Good
Freespace 2 takes size to a whole new level. The capital ships in this game are HUGE, and they have neat beam weapons that they use to cut eachother to pieces. There is also flak cannons on them, which makes big battle really intense to be a part of. The game has very good graphics, with highly detailed ships, colorful space backgrounds, and my favorite, thick and soupy nebulas that you must navigate through from time to time. It features voice acting from professional actors, and the storyline follows the progression of the war closely, you really feel a part of it. The sound in Freespace 2 is great as well, with strong EAX booming from your speakers during the larger battles. Hits rattle your cockpit and flak exploding outside your ship has to be heard to be believed. The music is equally absorbing, thrusting you into the moment. There are a large variety of missions, and the game is LONG. Some missions have you sneaking through a nebula with no radar trying to locate a missing ship while others are all out attacks on an enemy fleet. The flight model is what you would expect from a Wing Commander type Space sim, there's no newtonian physics here. Bottom line: Turn on EAX sound, crank up your 5.1 surround sound, turn up the detail and graphics and use a heavy force feedback stick and nothing else will compare.

The Bad
The larger battles can be a chaotic at times with so many ships on screen. You will sometimes find yourself frantically searching for buttons on your keyboard to target the next enemy or open communications. Some missions involve some degree of timing which can be frustrating. Otherwise, I see very few faults in Freespace 2

The Bottom Line
Freespace 2 is the sequel to Descent: Freespace which was originally an offshoot of the old Descent games. My how far they've come. Freespace 2 is a fantastic game. Great story, great graphics, perfect force-feedback, voice acting by famous actors, and huge sweeping battles between capital ships with fighters swarming all around. I love this game

Windows · by MojoHelperMonkey (39) · 2005

Now I hate myself for not playing Freespace 1

The Good
Just about everything. The game is probably the greatest looking game I have seen. The music fits in the game perfectly. The HUD (Head up display) of the game is simple yet contains very much information. The tutorials are great. Added together the tutorials would take maybe 2 hours but they are wisely spread around the campaign. Some people have complained about the AI (not very much though) but I didn't have any problems with it. The story is great. It was quiet fun to understand the Great War (which happened in the Freespace 1 which I did not buy, silly me).

The Bad
I would like to see the newtonian physics used in this type of games. But I guess the game would have got too complex.

The Bottom Line
Buy this game if you haven't already. A great game in the tradition of X-wing etc.

Windows · by Heikki Sairanen (76) · 2000

The next big thing on Sci-fi sims, and I do mean BIG!

The Good
Freespace 2 is more than your average Wing Commander clone and actually manages to make quite an impression in the genre to the point of carving itself a place as one of the most impressive examples of sci-fi sims ever.

Taking up years after the original, the Freespace universe has now joined the terran army and it's Vasudan counterpart in one big happy family. Sure, the gate back home is gone so they are all stranded together but what the heck. Things are peachy for a while with only a renegade band of Vasudan-hating maniacs causing trouble, however when an alien gate is discovered the Shivan threat surfaces once again and this time their ships are even bigger than before!!

The game builds on from the already solid model that the original used, which is good news for everyone who fell in love with the multitude of targeting options, wingman commands, speed management and weapon firing modes. Standard features such as shield and energy management are also present ultimately giving the game almost every control option upon your little fighter without going into I-War territory.

New gameplay mechanics are introduced by the enlargement of the capital ships to gargantuan proportions (over 5 times larger than the already gigantic Lucifer on the original), and the inclusion of gigantic beam cannons that form the basis of capital ship engagements. Seeing these monsters in action is an amazing sight comparable to the best moments of animé spaceship fights like on Macross (aka Robotech) where the giant ships charge up, and then let loose a gigantic beam of light that actually rips through the enemy spaceships, and obliterates anything in it's path. While these mega-weapons are usually for capital-ship combat only, their arsenal also includes flak-guns, missile launchers and plenty of other surprises to keep space dangerous for your flimsy fighters. In fact, bombing runs pose quite a challenge to even seasoned players regardless of the new collection of ship-shaking, shockwave-creating bombs, swarm missiles and assorted weapons of destruction that manage to turn spacefights into massive rocket-frenzies with no safe zones to turn to.

These weapons and ships showcase the game's most obvious improvement over the original (and pretty much any other sci-fi sim out there): the graphics. Freespace 2 looks incredible, with detailed models, clean textures and simply amazing special effects that include breath-taking particle explosions, shockwaves and dynamic lightning effects seen specially in the kickass nebula sequences and whenever a big beam-fight occurs. It took a hefty machine to showcase the game on 1024x780-32bits, but believe me when I tell you that it's all worth it once you see the colorful spacefights in full glory.

Sound effects and music quality is equally amazing, with owners of an EAX surround setup being in for quite a treat as ships whiz by from all angles and the explosions give your subwoofer the most joyful moments of it's career.

Finally, the final cornerstone on every game of this kind, the mission design, qualifies with the best of the genre with a collection of interesting missions that revolve around recon, multi-part assaults and desperate evacuations (given the massive scale of the Shivan threat) and more esoteric objectives usually given in the optional Spec-ops campaigns. As in the original the missions follow a steady difficulty curve, but no longer it's possible to rely on your wingmen to do you job as before (tough they still remain fairly competent). And if things do get too hairy, you still have the winning choice to simply skip the mission after a number of tries, meaning you won't get stuck for too long.

And if you do, there's always the kickass level designer and multiplayer component to extend the shelf-life of the game considerably.

The Bad
The story, while an engaging sci-fi warfare conflict, lacks the personal element we have got used to from the space-opera classics of the genre, pretty much you are the unnamed soldier in the gigantic conflict, who has no apparent life except the one in the cockpit... a far cry from the trials and tribulations being Mark Hamill on the Wing Commander games gave you.

The multitude of ships and weapons can be confusing at times, specially since the game, while making a great work of introducing the player to the game mechanics in it's tutorial missions, fails to introduce each weapon and ship accordingly. Something that's troubling to say the least, when there's no clear differentiation between them (there's the fast ship, the slightly faster ship, the minimally faster ship, etc...) and only experienced players will known when it's best to modify the default loadout/ship combos.

I also couldn't get the game to recognize my throttle, meaning I had to resort to the keyboard's collection of step-by-step increments and speed pre-sets, which unfortunately aren't versatile enough to my liking (regardless of the excellent auto-speed settings).

Finally, I believe that the capital ships may be TOO big. This might sound like stupid bitching, but there's a point where you are simply too confused by the scale of the enemy ships to know where you are and what you are supposed to do. Not to mention that the textures need to have like 1.000 levels of detail, which obviously they don't, and results in a somewhat blurry mess when you get too close to the biggest Shivan Juggernauts.

The Bottom Line
Probably the best looking space fighter to this day, Freespace 2 injects the genre with a hefty dose of massive, colorful action that nonetheless includes exceptional mission design and killer features.

A must for action fans and sci-fi simmers looking for the next big thing. Too bad Volition's/Interplay separation means there won't be another game in the series...

Windows · by Zovni (10504) · 2004

[ View all 4 player reviews ]


1001 Video Games

Freespace 2 appears in the book 1001 Video Games You Must Play Before You Die by General Editor Tony Mott.

Source code release

The source code was made available to the public in 2002. This means the community could use it for mods and update it graphically. It is also used as engine for standalone fangames like Wing Commander Saga: The Darkest Dawn.


  • Computer Gaming World
    • March 2000 (Issue #188) – Science Fiction Simulation of the Year
  • GameSpy
    • 1999 - Sim Game of the Year
  • PC Player (Germany)
    • Issue 01/2000 - Best Science-Fiction Simulation in 1999

Related Games

Freespace 2: Dimension Pack
Released 2000 on Windows
Descent: Freespace - Silent Threat
Released 1998 on Windows
Descent: Freespace - Battle Pack
Released 1998 on Windows, 2013 on Macintosh
Descent: Freespace - Darkness Rising
Released 1998 on Windows
Descent: Freespace - The Great War
Released 1998 on Windows, 2001 on Amiga
2 Hot 2 Handle
Released 1991 on Amiga, Atari ST, Commodore 64

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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by Heikki Sairanen.

Additional contributors: Cochonou, Kasey Chang, Catalin Patilea, Patrick Bregger, MrFlibble, FatherJack.

Game added February 9th, 2000. Last modified August 25th, 2023.