Reviewed By: Phil Rownd a.k.a. Boyward
VOLUNTEER GUEST REVIEWER
GAME TECH INFO
Computer Platform: Xbox, PC, Gamecube, PS2
Produced by: IO Interactive / EA Games
Price Range: $41-50
Learning curve time: 1-30 min.
Age level: Teen to Adult
ESRB Rating: T (Teen)
What if the Soviet Union had dropped a nuclear bomb on Berlin to
end World War 2, and gained sole control over the rebuilding of the European
continent? And what if their Communist power eventually extended into
every corner of the globe with the exception of North America? Chris, a
Manhattan plumber, refuses to believe that his country could fall to a Soviet
invasion. But on a clear summer morning, Soviet soldiers kidnap Chris'
brother, an attack helicopter chainguns a client's apartment, and Chris trades
his plumber's wrench for a captured Soviet pistol. The Battle for Liberty
Island has begun.
Christian Rating: 3 of 5
(some objectionable elements)
Gameplay: 5 of 5
Violence: 2 of 5
Adult Content: 4 of 5
In a refreshing twist on the action genre, you don't start out as the cliched
"chosen one". You're a plumber, and nobody wants to fight with you. But by
accomplishing certain tasks Chris gains “charisma points” which enable him
to recruit up to 12 freedom fighters for his team. Rather than pausing
gameplay to command your squad, as in Brute Force, IO Interactive has
made it simple for you to give orders on the fly. Your freedom fighters are
intelligent, effective, and as you gain their trust they will do whatever you tell
them to do. Enemy AI also shows some intelligence: hiding when under fire,
scaling walls to get at you when they sense an advantage. Impressive,
especially on the higher difficulty levels.
The Soviets are using Manhattan's various locales (Post Office, Fire
Station, etc.) to back their invasion. Your mission is to raise the American
flag over these strongholds. When the New Yorkers see their flag flying over
a Soviet base their patriotism will increase and they will join the resistance.
Secondary objectives are equally important to your success. For
example, the Movie Theater has been converted into a media center for
Soviet propaganda. You need to stop the Communist lies, but there's a
pesky attack helicopter patrolling the area. Intelligence reports indicate the
Soviets are using the Manhattan Docks to refuel their helicopters. Go to the
Docks, blow up the chopper's fuel supply and the Movie Theater is looking at
clear skies. What you do in one area affects your situation across town and
requires a certain amount of strategy from you as you decide what you need
to do first: cut the power, eliminate troop helicopters, free captured allies, etc.
The destruction to Manhattan and the chaos in the streets makes the
environments come alive, as if you truly have been dropped into war-torn New
York City. It's eerily reminiscent of footage taken on the streets of NY during
the September 11 terrorist attacks, only this time the threat has permeated
every corner of the city. Fire escapes collapse under your weight, buildings
topple and crush cars, smoke fills the air, and crashed helicopters smolder in
their craters. Most of the destruction is scripted, but much of it is caused by
you as you detonate C4 over bridges, gas stations, and helicopter landing
pads. The game spans three seasons: summer, fall, and winter, and the
environments change appropriately. All of the nicely-modeled characters
bundle up when it gets cold outside. Chris himself has 5 outfits throughout
the game, ranging from his plumber's uniform, to a ski-mask for sniping, to
layers of heavy winter clothing. The characters animate well, although late
r in the game when you're commanding 8-12 freedom fighters they tend to
get climb out of trenches single file, which looks a little ridiculous. Early in
the game there's some problem with seams not lining up, but other than that,
IO's attention to detail and atmosphere is fantastic.
Freedom Fighters has all of the normal war-game sounds: gunfire,
explosions, etc. Yet it carves for itself a certain uniqueness by fleshing out
the premise that you're a New Yorker fighting Soviets in Manhattan. All of
the Americans have the New York accent. The Soviets shout in Russian.
And all of this happens to a powerful Russian-themed soundtrack sung by
the Hungarian Radio Choir. Authentic and excellent.
For a twelve-hour game, Freedom Fighters is oddly satisfying. There are
four difficulties: the easier ones let you run-and-gun, while the harder ones
force you to think and use your troops effectively. So you could say that
Freedom Fighters is two games in one, but that's pushing it. Finishing the
game on any given difficulty unlocks all missions for that difficulty level.
That's it. For the console versions there is a multiplayer mode that seems
like an afterthought.
You can snipe Soviet soldiers in the head, smack them upside the head
with your plumber's wrench, and blow up their trucks and tanks. The fact
that this is “a time to kill” (Ecclesiastes 3:3) puts the violence in perspective,
however. There is absolutely no blood whatsoever, nor is there any gore,
even when you hit a Soviet with a rocket.
One use of the d-word. Four uses of the four letter c-word.
The most glaring instance comes in a comment from Chris's brother, who
excitedly confesses that he'd like to: “check out the plumbing on that
Isabella chick.” A female newscaster wears a somewhat revealing top. So
does Isabella at the beginning of the game, but that's understandable since
she's fighting in the summer heat. By autumn she's bundled up.
Freedom Fighters teaches us that you don't really appreciate the
freedoms you have until they're taken away from you. Players can help
wounded civilians and rebels by sacrificing their own med kits.
Freedom Fighters drops us into a believable story, throws a couple of
pretty intense plot twists at us halfway through, and gives us a great-playing
and satisfying squad-based action game. To the same degree that Brute
Force was a letdown, Freedom Fighters is a nice surprise. It's a very, very
nice surprise for cautious gamers who don't want their action served with
generous portions of blood and guts.
Year of Release—2003
[ Send Yours ]
—Amazing game. At the beginning there are minor cuss words if I remember right. But the amazing graphics make up for that. An awesome story and an amazing experience. But (be warned) at the very beginning there is a line of lust. My Ratings:
[3 / 5]
—N/A, age 13
Positive—When I first played the game I was so amazed how cool it was. its still a awesome game but after you beat it gets a little boring. Its a great muitiplayer game with your friends. There is no blood gore and just a tad bit of language. The good thing about the game is it shows what people will do for there country when the U.S.S.R. attacks America. The game is rather long, and when you think it is the last level it is'int. Overall the game is great with a lot of patriotism. My Ratings: [5 / 5]
—Ricky, age 14
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