10 January 2006 | depris
Excellent game that comes just short of being revolutionary
This is one of the Chris Roberts titles, he's the same designer behind the Privateer/Wing Commander Series. Not only is Chris Roberts quite the visionary but he's also one of the few people that still makes offerings into the non-linear Space RPG genre.
Freelancer is the sequel to Starlancer, both of which were sequels (in spirit) to the Privateer/Wing Commander series. The game starts off with an intriguing story that just pulls you in. From the beginning you're free to do missions, explore (which the game rewards via hidden bases, planets, jump holes, mining, and abandoned ships etc.) and you can land on almost every ship/base/outpost/planet/etc. in the game. When you land somewhere you're free to purchase ships, many different kinds of commodities for trading, take on jobs, talk in the bar, read the news, buy equipment etc.
Thats just a brief summary of all the good things this game has to offer. Now onto the bad. The story, while excellent, begins to go downhill about half way through. It feels rushed and the ending was a bit cliché. The first half is definitely the most intriguing. Some features weren't completed as designed and you can tell that the team was probably pressured to ship despite the loose ends. Namely the reputation system, the minor character cut scenes and dialogue, and non storyline jobs. The minor character cut scenes (talking to people in the bar) gets very repetitive, I would have liked to see a feature that lets you skip those and get right to the text of what they have to say. The reputation system works in relation to the story however it's importance after that dwindles..part of it ties into your ability to take on missions after you complete the story. The missions you're able to take are all exactly the same. They are basically combat missions with the names changed. I would have liked to have seen exploration, shipping, spying/espionage, investigative, scientific, and other types of diverse missions. It would have added much more to the re-playability of this already re-playable game. Because you're limited on the types of jobs you can take, you tend not to care about your reputation hence the fun kind of ends. It would have also been cool if you could buy you're own base or something along those lines which would have added to re-playability.
Despite it's shortcomings, which become obvious during game play, this title is still very much excellent and if you're into space at all you'll enjoy this one. It's definitely immersive. Hopefully Chris Roberts won't give up, because only he has the vision to combine next generation features with Hollywood quality storytelling and cinematics.