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Freelancer

(prices updated 9/20 7:55 PM )

Description official descriptions

The war between the Coalition and the Alliance depicted in Starlancer had raged on and the Alliance forces were losing. A final plan was organized to punch through the Coalition attackers and send five colony ships across space to the Sirius Sector. 900 years have passed since then and the Sirius sector has been colonized by the surviving ships, dividing the area between four major nations: Liberty, Rheinland, Kusari and Bretonia. The fifth sleeper ship, Hispania, suffered a malfunction in flight, and is thought lost. In the spacelanes between these nations borders and outside of any specific jurisdiction lie undeveloped solar systems, pirate bases, corporate outposts and the neutral Freeports. One of these Freeports has come under attack and been destroyed by an unknown enemy attack. Survivors of the attack, including a freelancer Edison Trent and his business associate, Lonnigan, are evacuated to Planet Manhattan, capital city of the Liberty nation. Once there Edison hears rumors about military buildups and friction between the Sirius nations. It will be up to Trent to seek employment, rebuild his lost assets and discover the meaning behind these rumors.

Freelancer is a third person or first person space simulator and trading game, much like Elite or Wing Commander: Privateer. Players, taking the role of Edison Trent, will need to visit several locations on each planet in order to trade cargo, buy and repair equipment as well as obtain information. In space, Trent controls his spacecraft from either a first person or third person perspective and is able to use primary and secondary weapons. Destroyed enemy spacecraft often leave behind cargo which can be tractor beamed into the cargo hold.

Freelancer is a plot-driven game that slowly becomes completely open-ended. As such the player (eventually) has the freedom to fly around 150 planets across 40 solar systems looking for profit. As Trent trades cargo and undertakes missions (following an expanding story arc), he will affect the faction status of over 50 different groups (comprising of 3000 NPCs). Faction status will affect their attitudes towards Trent, including interaction planetside and in space.

Spellings

  • 星際遊俠 - Traditional Chinese spelling
  • 自由枪骑兵 - Simplified Chinese spelling

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Credits (Windows version)

177 People (157 developers, 20 thanks) · View all

Reviews

Critics

Average score: 84% (based on 39 ratings)

Players

Average score: 3.8 out of 5 (based on 93 ratings with 9 reviews)

If you "loved" Wing Commander: Privateer, you will "Like" Freelancer.

The Good
Freelancer shines in the area of space battle and storyline. Playing Freelancer in multiplayer is a definite rewarding experience, it's not just about the best equipment, it really does come down to who is a better pilot.

The storyline was very well done, albeit a bit short. You have to reach a certain level before the next story mission will open up, so you are forced to run missions from bar patrons, and other personalities. These missions are HIGHLY repetitious. Even the conversations seem to be on a random generator of about 20 different sayings.

The game is pretty to look at, and the ship graphics still hold up at this late date. While it's certainly no longer pushing the cutting edge of graphics, it still holds up quite nicely.

I must admit that a lot of my good will towards this game, comes from its VERY strong similarity to Wing Commander: Privateer. One of my favorite games of all time.

I always end up coming back to Freelancer though, to get my "space" on. It is my favorite game for traveling through space and blowing things up.

The Bad
The non story-line missions are highly repetitious, and the conversations in the game have little variance. Although not important to most people, this game will not work in Linux (wine or cedega), no matter how hard I try. I hope someone proves me wrong some day. As it is a Microsoft game I won't hold my breath.

The Bottom Line
A very decent space simulation, that is pretty to look at and fun to play. The drawbacks don't completely overshadow the gameplay. If you are one who sticks to the storyline you will enjoy this game immensely, but if you are playing the game for the "freelancing" you will be mildly disappointed.

Windows · by uttergentile (12) · 2007

Not all the free-lancing one would expect...

The Good
Graphics were very nice and very detailed. Controls were extremely polished. Simple, yet functional and fit the game very well (not too many functions to memorize makes it easy to master). Being able to fight and trade for money and buy better ships/weapons is great, and this game allows it (to some extent). The universe is big and well-crafted.

The Bad
For the kind of game it set out to be it's way too linear. Being tied to the storyline means the game chooses when to upgrade your ship (you have to travel to certain systems and planets, and can't go back. And if you don't buy a specific kind of fighter the missions become impossible to pass). All the way, even when you're set free from the storyline after completing the final mission, the game suffers from a felling of "been there, done that", only the ships and weapons change names and get more expensive. There is no "aspiring for the dream-machine" in this one, and it takes out all the magic from it. Storyline is not good, yet well executed. But character interaction is ridiculous (again, suffering from the same problems as before).

The Bottom Line
Do not confuse this one with a Privateer-clone. It is a space simulation with a "freelancing" excuse. Look for other Privateer titles or a copy of Nomad, if trading and open-ended play is what you're looking for.

Windows · by tbuteler (3021) · 2003

Good game, Just wish they could have done more

The Good
First of all I was a big fan of the old Privateer games so when I heard this game was supposed to be a Privateer remake I was pumped. If you haven’t played Privateer it’s basically a game where you can go anywhere do anything and be anybody. The storyline only progressed as you wanted it to so you (the player) had complete control. That kind of freedom of gameplay coupled with excellent controls, hard hitting gameplay, and a decent plot made Privateer one of the greatest games of all time..

Like Privateer this game has the same type of elements and potential, you can try running cargo, being a merc or just following the storyline. (a bit more on this later) Basically the core of this game is just like Privateer. Your fun comes from earning new weapons, ships and seeing new sights.

Speaking of sights, the visuals in some parts of the game were jaw dropping. A few times I just stopped playing to feast my eyes on some of the greatest visuals ever. The vastness of space is fairly well represented but only to the point where you begin to notice it. At that point the jump gates, wormholes speed up the travel portion so it doesn’t interfere with game flow.

Battles are fun and enjoyable and easy to learn using a mouse which was unique for a traditional flight sim.

The storyline is what I would say is good not great but decent. I think I have to wait for the bad area to explain more.

Replayability is fair to good, with some mods you can really expand the game a lot so I would say you get your money's worth after the plot is finished.

The Bad
With out a doubt this game falls into the category of "should have could have but didn’t". I know from reading a few articles about the game that the designers had much more intended for this game but were overruled to create a game where more casual gamers could enjoy. In my opinion this is evident in many areas of the game and it in my eyes takes a potential hall of fame game to an ok forgettable game.

  1. Economics - The designers had intended to make this dynamic so that a player who wanted to be a merchant instead of a killer had a very in-depth game element. Instead Microsoft dumbed it down and made it very basic.

  2. People interactions - This one is huge and takes so much fun out of this game. When designed the game was supposed to have hundreds of interactive folks you would deal with in game. They were supposed to be able to enhance the ambiance of the setting and change as your rep changed. They were also supposed to have original dialog and different voices. Instead all the characters on all the planets and stations say basically the same exact things, sound all-alike and look all alike. You heard one person talk to you on one planet you have heard them all. A total waste of a great possibility, in privateer the ambiance of each town and station made it unique and interesting. You WANTED to visit it just to see it, in this game the only reason you go anywhere is for the money making or plot advancement purposes. Had this one area been allowed to be completed it would have in my opinion raised the score of the game by 20 points.

  3. Dude someone stole my flight controller. - So you design a hard-core space flight game and then say you want to encourage casual gamers by having mouse control. Ok I can live with that, but what in heck was Microsoft thinking not even supporting a flight stick! It’s all part of the experience; you use a flight stick so you feel like you are really a pilot. Somehow the mouse doesn’t quite make it feel that way. What a total joke and rip off, what makes this even worse is it comes from the very same company that sells the force feedback flight sticks for over 100 bucks and then doesn’t support it in a major flight title!

  4. Freedom from the plot - Remember what I said about Privateer being a free game where you could follow the plot when you choose to?. Well in this game that just isn’t so, you are purposely limited to small areas of the game world during each part of the game. This is determined by the plot, which you are basically forced to follow. The same freedom you had in privateer just isn't the same in this game. Way too linear.

  5. Lack of depth - Once you eliminate the story line and a few small areas of the game its basically rather boring. What made the privateer world interesting was its diversity in people, places, missions, and challenges. While on the surface Freelancer has all the trappings of this diversity in practice it doesn’t. Because of the dialog issues with characters and the lack of interesting side story’s it makes your non story line missions get boring after the first few missions.

  6. Expandability - The game is in a serious need of an expansion pack. More systems, more ships, more challenges and for heavens sake better dialog for characters.

  7. Plot - Frankly in some ways this game had a better plot or I should say a larger plot than privateer. However it isn't enough to carry this game alone. The whole idea of a "freelancer" is to be free and have complete control. Tying down the plot and forcing you to play it kind of kills the whole concept and makes you resent the plot instead of enjoying it.

    The Bottom Line
    Now that 4 years have passed clearly you aren’t going to pay 49.99 for this title now. For 10 bucks this game is definitely worth the price. Just keep in mind it never lived up to its promise and remember to go look for player made mods to make it fun after you beat it.

Windows · by William Shawn McDonie (1130) · 2008

[ View all 9 player reviews ]

Discussion

Subject By Date
88 Flak - Awesome Mod! John Doe Apr 21st, 2009

Trivia

Intro (Spoiler!)

There's a previous version of the intro video. Alike the final release version, the intro told the story of how the Alliance was losing the war to the Coalition and launched five sleeper ships to the Sirius sector. Unlike the final version, the story continues where the Alliance retreated all the way to Pluto to make their final stand. Just when they were about to engage the Coalition ships, a large alien vessel appeared... and destroyed the Solar System! There was a young Alliance general who survived the destruction and headed to warn the colonists at the Sirius sector... saying that mankind has finally found their real enemy: The Nomads.

For certain reasons this version of intro was changed into the final release.

Mods

If you have issues with how controlled the jumpgates are in relation to the plot or how pirate shields never regenerate or how you never see battleships patrolling the spacelanes... then rejoice! There are player-made mods to address all these issues. New Systems, New Ships... even options to turn off the plot and explore the galaxy like a real freelancer. See related links for mod sites

References

In Freelancer you can talk to many, many people. Most of the time in bars. And all of them have names... sooooo many names had to be invented for all those people... why not take real names from real people, might have thought the designers and gave some people in the bars vip's names like Erin Roberts and Martin Galway. - There is one planet that mimics the movie Planet of the Apes and can be found somewhere in the Fringe system, but beware of the nomads there.

  • Before Freelancer's release, Bargib, aka Christian Koerner, a site admin of Freelancer fansite The Lancers Reactor, requested to be featured in the Freelancer release. He got his wish; the bartender on Planet New Berlin is named Christian Koerner.

Awards

  • E3
    • 1999 - Best of Show
    • 1999 - Best PC Game
    • 1999 - Best Simulation
    • 1999 - Outstanding Achievement in Graphics

Information also contributed by Arvin Chandra, tsukasagoeth, Twilightseer, WildKard and Zovni

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Related Sites +

  • Freelancer
    Official Website
  • Lancer's Reactor
    A good source for Star/Freelancer information and a growing collection of player-made MODs, editors and utilities.
  • Project UberLancer
    A Freelancer community wide project to build the ultimate Freelancer mod

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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by Arvin Chandra.

Additional contributors: Rebound Boy, Indra was here, Felix Knoke, Shoddyan, 梦迪 高, Patrick Bregger.

Game added March 4th, 2003. Last modified August 7th, 2023.