Back to the future - Freedom Fighters


#1

Testing the waters here, so please bear with me :wink:
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)

Impressions

Gameplay/Mechanics
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!

Setting
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 :wink:
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.

Soundtrack
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:

TL;DR
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…


#2

Yes! I also find myself going back to this every year or so! As someone with only a gamecube at the time this was maybe my first exposure to havoc physics and it blew my mind. It was also one of the first times I remember a game ending a cliffhanger sequel that we never saw resolved. I replayed this game dozens of times while I was in high school. Launching Russians into the sky never got old. And that final mission was just rad. I do hate the plot twist that occurs just over halfway through - I always thought that was forced feeling.

Now I gotta go dig my copy up again… Might be a good warm up before Wolfenstein II!


#3

Oh man, I haven’t played this game in ages! Absolutely loved it on PC back in the day, not least for the incredible soundtrack (which was my first exposure to the work of Jesper Kyd and the first time I realized that game music composers were actually important).

If anyone is jonesing for some tactical TPS (albeit not new), the remaster of Rogue Trooper just got released. It’s pretty cool :slight_smile:


#4

Didn’t know and never played it.
24.99€, hmmm, tempting :wink:
thanks for the heads-up.


#5

yeah, but one could see that coming.
Still, like the humor of the broadcast and the storyline was made for a sequel :disappointed_relieved:


#6

This game brings back memories, but I never actually played it (outside of perhaps a demo), though I wish I had. I can still see its case in stores, as I considered buying it more than once.


#7

Oh I know. I loved the characters so much - they really stood out for that era. It really felt like a modern take on Red Dawn. I’d love to have an HD remake. Or just a working PC port available digitally.


#8

How is Rogue Trooper? It looks like something Heinlein could’ve written. Is it worth the $24.00?

I’m looking for a decent story…


#9

Currently working on a review of this game, never played it originally so don’t really have any nostalgia for it.

It’s fine. Story is rubbish and the cover system doesn’t work but it’s an alright old school third person shooter.


#10

So… Wait for $10?


#11

Wonderful game that I have very fond memories of.

Looking back I’m sure some of the intensely patriotic stuff would chafe now but one thing that does stand out upon reflection is the main character being overtly working class. Not really something that is ever elaborated upon if I remember correctly but at the time I thought it was pretty cool to just be an average ass plumber. (who turns out to not be so average I guess but still)


#12

Forgive me for interjecting but as a fan of the source material I thought it would be worth mentioning, Rogue Trooper is based on the 2000AD comic book (same stable as Judge Dredd etc) Some of the writing is a bit ropey but it had some gorgeous art work and was very much not Heinlein. In fact plenty of it is on the nose anti-war, while also being about a blue-skinned murder machine fucking up space nazis. Essentially it was a continuation of the themes of a lot of 70’s British war comics but in a sci-fi setting, so lots of violence but certainly no glory of war or military fetishism. (Doesn’t mean some of the tech ain’t cool though.)

That aside, around the original release I thought the game was a fantastic adaptation of the world but it might seem a bit bog standard TPS now. Fun though, and while it doesn’t have the tactical side of Freedom Fighters the shooting always felt similar. Anyway apologies for rambling on. It isn’t often I get to talk about Rogue Trooper!

Also sorry for double post,


#13

But is it worth $24 by modern standards without nostalgia?

Sorry for the slight derail, but looking for a TPS with decent story.


#14

was just thinking about this game the other day and the things I’d like to see if there was a modern entry. it seems natural to have a scenario more like what far Cry 5 is attempting (and probably going to fail at) in a modern context. the whole Russians thing would probably be popular again to be honest but I’m SOOO TIRED of that whole thing.

in a lot of ways I kind of imagine it in the form of something like Mafia 3 or Wolfenstein TNO in terms of theming. maybe The New Colossus will scratch some of that itch.

one thing I really loved was how your base stood in for the menus and was this safe space you could count on, until you were found out and had that reliability violated. thats something that it also has in common with the last Wolfenstein game.

i revisted it recently, playing the ps2 version for the first time and was very surprised at how bad the control scheme was. L3 to zoom in your aim? and you have to HOLD IT? I wish the PC version had an update because modern hardware runs it at like 1000fps and the game moves in fast forward because of it. frame locking doesn’t work at all either.


#15

If you don’t have nostalgia for it, then wait for a sale would be my recommendation :slight_smile:

This scares me so much…


#16

I’ve seen some gameplay footage and it looks pretty decent (especially for it’s time). My one reservation I suppose is how overly and uncritically jingoistic is it? Those sort of “rah rah america” games really aren’t up my ally.


#17

E: crap I forgot we were talking about Freedom Fighters not Rogue Trooper, sorry :sweat_smile:

Freedom Fighters was kind of jingoistic, yeah. I guess it was a product of its time in that way.


#18

Product of it’s time? Heh, I’m not too sure about that :stuck_out_tongue:


#19

In terms of mass entertainment products? It did come out in 2003 after all.


#20

Sorry, I should have be more clear. I mean to say that it’s still a pervasive trend to this day.
points to the entire modern military shooter genre