Testing the waters here, so please bear with me
One of the few games that I regularly come back to is Freedom Fighters by IO Interactive. Just two weeks ago, I started playing it a bit, only to find myself hooked again and progressing through it in a breeze until Governor’s Island (it is not really hard).
In retrospect, I was never really into IO Interactive’s offerings (Hitman et al), but this definitely struck a chord with me.
Thinking about it, the strong points I see are summarized in “Impressions” (if you know that all and want to get to the meat of my talking points, please skip to TL;DR)
It’s a tactical TPS, where you guide your squad with three simple commands: follow, attack, defend.
Looking at most of the gameplay vids, it seems people just ignored giving commands, went in head-on with their squad (they fight on their own when being attacked) and were done with it (absolutely feasible, since again: it is not that hard). And maybe it is an oversight of the game’s design that it doesn’t “punish” you more in that approach.
But since positioning comes so natural, I for one make as much use of that (simple, but imo very accessible) command system as possible: positioning them in cover, spreading out squad on both sides of streets, leaving them to defend high-ground with good vision, sending them to attack while providing cover, etc. After some practice it becomes very fluid switching through your squad, distributing commands and resetting it all.
The AI isn’t flawless, but absolutely up to the tasks (taking cover behind obstacles, operating stationary machine guns, reacting to unexpected enemies, etc.). Things just seem to work out as intended.
And this is imo the very satisfying aspect of the gameplay (simple and accessible, yet effective tactical maneuvers), where tactical TPS of that time (for me) failed with overly complex and clunky command structures/menus (yeah, SOCOM, I’m looking at you!), that gets me hooked every time!
No special squad, no seals, just:
The Soviets have dropped The Bomb on the West and start a surprise attack on New York, while plumbing brothers Mario & Luigi, err, Chris & Troy are out for a job. Troy is arrested, Chris escapes through burning streets (the actual action intro) and joins a resistance group as the character you control, taking on missions to free prisoners, capture buildings of strategic value, recruiting men AND women to the squad and so forth (who cares about the brother?). I like that premise
Most missions are at night, which helps with the scenario of abandoned streets during a curfew (and the character count, of course) and a very dark, cold and “all hope is abandoned” atmosphere.
The story’s progress is covered in propaganda broadcasts from the ubiquous, Soviet TV channel (until it’s taken out). The style of the broadcasts reminds me of TV segments in movies like Robocop or Starship Troopers. It’s all between tongue-in-cheek and straight-up hilarious.
Let me be brief and clear:
It’s one of Jesper Kyd’s finest imo!
Mixing recordings reminiscent of Soviet (Army) choirs, in-your-face orchestral arrangements, synths and swirly beats just screams: shit is going down!
Entering a mission with the following track kindly starting in the background, building up to great fanfare, will make you pumped to do anything that is necessary to reach goal:
Am I alone in thinking this is one of the best (as my favorite) in the PS2/Xbox/GC era?
Has demand for those kind of games (tactical TPS, at best simple and accessible in its mechanics, story not based on military, swat, whatever) just vanished (for you)?
Why was there never a sequel? Or why isn’t one in the making?
It built a solid foundation that could have been refined and expanded upon in terms of accessible, tight gameplay and storyline.
Please, anyone: bring this back to the future.
Just imagine what could be possible with current tech, online and game design experience compared to 15 years ago…