Reviewed on PC


                      Reviewed By: Brendan Frizzley

Computer Platform: PC
Produced by: Microsoft
Learning curve time: 1-30 min.
Age level: Teens
ESRB Rating: T (Teen)

Genre: Roleplaying Game (RPG)
Christian Rating: 4 of 5
   (slightly offensive)
Gameplay: 5 of 5
Violence: 3 of 5
Adult Content: 3 of 5

Freelancer.  Illustration copyrighted.
Freelancer is by far, one of the greatest games of 2003. It combines the depth and scope of an RPG with adrenaline pumping action flawlessly. Although a few minor problems keep this game from being one of the top games of all times, it is certainly worth picking up.

You play as Edison Trent, a freelancer who went to Space Station Freeport 7 to cash in on the deal of a lifetime. However, while there, Freeport 7 is attacked and destroyed by terrorists. Barely able to flee on an escape pod, you land on planet Manhattan, broke, and without a ship. By taking a job with the Liberty Security Force (LSF), you are given a cheap ship. After completing several missions for the LSF, life seems good, until you discover that all survivors of the Freeport 7 are being hunted down and killed, and the only one still alive is you. Soon you become embroiled in a battle that threatens to destroy the entire galaxy, and you hold the key.

Where Freelancer really shines is in its gameplay. The galaxy is huge, containing fifty star systems, some of these containing multiple planets. In this huge universe, you are not forced to do anything. You can completely ignore the story missions, and become a miner, freighter captain, bounty hunter, fighter pilot, pirate, or revolutionary. Your ship is fully customizable, with countless energy weapons (lasers), turrets, missiles, torpedoes, mines, countermeasures, shields and thrusters available. There are also several types of ships available, from the lightning fast Cavalier, to the heavily armed Barracuda, or you can buy a freighter. With the exception of near the end, when you need an extremely powerful fighter, you can choose any of these and still be able to complete missions.

Non Player Characters (NPCs) are amazingly done in this game. Each NPC ship must reside on a station or planet, so if you destroy a pirate base, you will be able to make that area of space safer for freighter traffic. Or, you can make spot raids on Rhineland (German), bases and help the freedom fighters.

Unfortunately, there are some gameplay problems. After the story missions end, you have the ability to continue playing, but there are only five types of random missions, so being a bounty hunter or fighter pilot becomes repetitive. Also if you have a Radeon graphics card, there is a bug which slows down the game to a crawl when text is displayed (there is a fix involving mucking around with some settings every time you want to play). Radeon is supposedly working on a way to fix this bug, but don't hold your breath.

As for offensive content, the worst problem is the language. There is an occasional d**n, hell, and the misuse of God's name, but the biggest problem is one S.O.B. (not abbreviated). This seems largely unnecessary, when you realize that the person who says it is one of the five most important people in the galaxy. I expected a bit more cultured dialogue. The main characters aren't nearly as bad, one even uses "What the heck" (really surprising in today's games).

Some parents might not like the fact that the aliens called Nomads can possess people, or the fact that they were created by another alien race. However, the Nomads are always bad, so the game does not glorify any of their actions. One of the main characters refers to the Nomads as having their own place reserved in hell.

However it's not all bad. This games plot focuses, on sacrifice, honor, and the greater good. Parents will like the evolution of Trent's character. His second line in the game is "Make sure he lives, he owes me some money," and later accepts a mission with, "OK, but I didn't sign up for this." Later in the game, when asked if he has finally joined a side Trent replies, "It's the only cause worth fighting for." There are some strong family bonds between Trent and Tobias (who apprenticed Trent before the game takes place). A Rhinelander named Von Clausen also feels awful about being a traitor to his country, but realizes he must do it to prevent a war. Juni, the heroine, also doesn't show any skin throughout the entire game (another big surprise in today's game market).

All in all, this is a great game. The excellent plot and gameplay are only slightly marred by some odd quirks, the lack of mission varieties, and the minor profanity. I honestly don't think they hurt this game enough to keep it from being a great game. Definitely download the demo and give this one a try, it is certainly worth your time.

Year of Release—2002

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this Christian Spotlight review are those of the reviewer (both ratings and recommendations), and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Films for Christ or the Christian Answers Network.

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