Should I Buy? – Freedom Force!


OK, it’s time to give this underrated gem a full review. Irrational Studios of Bioshock fame weren’t always making games that question ethics, religion, politics and the nature of gaming. They used to make superhero games. Freedom Force was made back in the far-gone days of 2002. It pits you in control of a diverse group of superheroes in a tongue-in-cheek adventure through a colourful and fun 60’s America.

Are you a bad enough dude to save the world?

The plot itself has interdimensional conquerors planning to give a bunch of evil humans superpowers rather than invade it, until Lord Dominion’s advisor Mentor steals the magical Energy X and it’s accidentally rained down over the world, giving random people incredible powers.

The characters are all affectionate parodies of general archetypes and specific heroes. The hot-headed latino becomes the pyromantic El Diablo and the patriotic old man becomes the fit young Minuteman for example. Their different powers mean that each can serve a different role in the team.

And who you want to focus on will be very important, as the experience points you need to level your heroes up and buy them new abilities is only available in limited quantities, and heroes left out of a mission only gain half as much.

Despite the choice you have, some of the characters feel underpowered or overshadowed. You’ll probably pick out a core team early on where you only rotate out one or two members depending on your need. Still, the battles are fun enough that you probably won’t mind much.

The missions take the form of ‘real-time tactical role-playing game’ as Wikipedia calls it. That’s fairly accurate, you lead the four heroes using an interface similar to an RTS, leading them through large maps and fighting enemies with their various powers. You can also manipulate the environment by throwing cars or boulders, using traffic lights as clubs etc.

This all works well enough, and there’s a wide range of difficulty settings to satisfy any challenge you want. Freedom Force does rely a little too much on Patriot City for levels, but it does feature some rather imaginative opponents and environments. Through the game you’ll fight a Soviet supervillains, a Greek God, dinosaurs, aliens and more.

The voice acting for every character is deliberately over the top as is the script. As humourous as this is, some of the actors really don’t do good jobs and you’ll get sick of the same four or five in battle lines. Still, the script itself pulls off the humour really well. The silliness of it all does mean a lot of the supposed drama is lost, meaning you’re not going to be making any emotional attachments here.

Outside of the twenty-something story missions, there’s also a create-a-hero feature (that actually lets you recruit your hero in the campaign), a robust modding community and a multiplayer feature. Though I’ve never used the multiplayer, so I don’t know how it plays or even if the servers are still populated.

For all its flaws, this game is good silly fun. In a world where every game seems to be gritty grey brown, artsy or aimed at children, don’t you want to throw acid bombs at a T-Rex? Even if just for five minutes? You could at least try the demo, available on its Steam page.

Price: (Steam) £2.99
Freedom Pack with Freedom Force vs the Third Reich – £4.99

Price?

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1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: Should I Buy? – Freedom Force vs the Third Reich « buythatgame

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