15 January 2005 | Savant
Solid performance from this title...
While there certainly are aspects that can be improved on in Freelancer, that can be said about any game.
First off, it should be noted, Freelancer does not support a joystick even though you are flying a spaceship. All movements are supported through keyboard and mouse. While this can take a little getting used to, you are free to remap your controls to suit your style. I feel the use of mouse controls allows for greater accuracy, although some people may disagree. The game does give you the choice of flying via 3rd person view or 1st person view. I find 1st person view to be more enjoyable, and you'll find that the sounds from the ship are more distinct in this view.
One of the mistakes I think some people make is trying to 'rush' through the story in the game. I believe that the faster you try and rush the story, the less satisfying it will be. This game is designed to be peeled open like the layers of an onion. It's meant to be explored and enjoyed. Think of it like a cross between a flight simulator and a combat flight simulator. The extent of combat you face can often be dictated by your choices. Take time to explore.
Although there is no 'skill' setting, you can impact the difficulty by the choices you make. Some lasers fire at a fast speed, but do low damage, good for a player that isn't that good a shot since they can fire more often without running out of energy. Alternately, you can choose a low speed/high damage laser, but if you miss too many shots you'll find your batteries drained before your enemy has been killed.
You can also choose to play as an 'enemy of the state' by befriending outlaws and attacking law enforcement. Since the major routes are primarily controlled by legitimate agencies, a life of crime will mean more fights with the law and a greater need to find 'back routes' between locations.
Missiles are also an option in your load-outs, but this too will impact the game's pace. If you choose to use missiles, the game will progress slower because you will be spending money to restock them after a fight. If you want a 'faster' story progression, choose a load-out that sticks to energy weapons.
Overall I found the graphics to be stunning, and considering that this game was released in 2003, CPUs and video cards will render beautifully even at higher settings.
They certainly didn't skimp on voice talent, as there are many well known actors that do voice work in the game. Here's a short list of some you may recognize:
Christopher Lee - Lord of the Rings (Saruman) | John Rhys-Davies Lord of the Rings (Gimli) | George Takei - Star Trek (Sulu) | Kenneth Mars - Malcolm in the Middle (Otto Mannkusser) | Xander Berkeley - '24' (George Mason) | Maurice LaMarche - Futurama (Morbo/Lt. Kif/Kroker) | Tony Jay - Reboot (Megabyte) | Charles Shaughnessy - The Nanny (Maxwell Sheffield) | Michael T. Weiss - The Pretender (Jarod)
There are plenty of other voice talent actors that you may recognize from other popular games as well.
One aspect of the game that lends itself to flexibility is that the story will 'wait' for as long as you want it to. Want to do more exploring? Just avoid triggering the next part of the story. There is no time limit when the game tells you that you need to meet a character, so take your time.
Is there a downside? Sure. I found that some aspects of the game can become repetitious, especially the choices of 'job' missions. However, the jobs are not really meant to be the 'meat' of the game, they are mainly a method to make you money. I would have liked to see more done to include escort missions and such, but I can imagine this would have required more coding.
In the end it's certainly good value for the money if you like a game that you can take your time to explore.