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Written by  :  Droog (522)
Written on  :  Apr 04, 2002
Platform  :  Windows
Rating  :  4.4 Stars4.4 Stars4.4 Stars4.4 Stars4.4 Stars

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An action-packed romp through a 1960's comic book world.

The Good

There is so much to like about Freedom Force that it is hard to know where to begin. The graphics are outstanding. The characters and settings are colorful and detailed and the animation is well done for the most part. You can easily zoom in and out which makes for some spectacular looking screenshots, especially with the added "action balloons" that say "Zap!", "Whoosh!", "Krak!", etc. just like you were in an animated comic book.

The sound is very well done too, with a good variety of interesting music and sound effects. The voice acting is generally excellent -- it sounds like it is straight out of those old Adam West Batman TV shows.

The gameplay is where Freedom Force really shines, though. The hot keys allow you to pause the game or play in slow motion, and most attacks and movement can be done entirely with the mouse. The enemies are varied enough so you don't get tired of fighting the same foe, and there are a wide variety of strategies that can be used to defeat your enemies, especially since on most missions you can select the heroes (or build your own) that you want to use. Even if you don't use a variety of powers it is still fun to fight just with found objects such as thrown park benches or uprooted lamp posts.

Character development is pretty well done. The built-in heroes are well-balanced and have a variety of powers to play with and customize, and if you get bored or frustrated with the built-in heroes you can make your own with the easy to use character creator. If you really want to customize your hero you can download additional hero meshes and skins from web sites and use them for your characters or even design your own if you have the proper tools.

The Bad

There are a wide variety of ways you can build your heroes, but some abilities are a lot more effective for the character point cost than others. For example, you can complete almost all of the scenario missions with a high-speed guy with a medium damage extreme stun attack. Some statistics are not very useful in comparison to others. Because the hero abilities are not well balanced in some cases (especially the Agility stat vs. Speed or Energy) the most effective characters all tend to kill the same way - by stunning.

Another problem with the game is multiplayer. You can only do deathmatch style play, and it is difficult to control a team of players since you cannot pause as effectively as you can in single player. The worst problem with multiplayer is that there aren't enough point restrictions -- you should be able to restrict the point costs of powers and ability scores as well as the total cost of the hero to keep people from designing boring one-dimensional heroes just to win multiplayer. It is also dissapointing that some of the more interesting powers like Cloning and Cloak of Shadows do not work in multiplayer.

The other problems with the game are minor gameplay issues such as only being able to use melee attacks when on the ground, and not being able to jump or fly when carrying objects, no matter what the strength of the character or weight of the object you are carrying.

The Bottom Line

Freedom Force is an action packed romp through a 1960's comic book. The gameplay is similar to other 3rd person squad-based games such as Fallout Tactics or the combat portions of Baldur's Gate 2, but a lot more refined, especially because the camera can move and the graphics are rendered in 3D not 2D. The environment is fully destructable and usable, so if you are surrounded by a circle of bat-wielding thugs, just pull up the nearest lamp post and bash away. The game features a single-player mode with a wonderfully campy plot and well designed heroes and bad guys. The multiplayer mode allows you to battle with premade or custom heroes in a variety of settings.