Arguably the best game of all time, on what is arguably the best console of all time, Freedom Fighters came out in arguably the best year of all time; 2003. While some might argue in favour of all of these statements; I’m not going to, but Freedom Fighters certainly was a really good game that has since been shrouded in the clouds of time. Ok, maybe it is one of best game of all time and the Playstation 2 might be one of the best consoles ever, but I’m not sure what 2003 has going for it, other than it was “European Disability Year”, but that doesn’t sound fun.
Lets start with Freedom Fighters’ standout story, full of twist and turns, friendships and betrayals, truths and lies, general good story things. Set an alternative present day New York, well 2003 specifically, otherwise you would have been playing it on the PS3 and celebrating the fact that George Bush isn’t in power. In a world in which the Soviet Union has done a lot better for itself compared to our reality, those Russians have invaded their way through a whole load of countries since World War II (one of my favourite wars) and have there communist eye on the good ol’ U.S of A.
This is all fine but in real life the Russians haven’t been a threat for a while now, why do games always pick on them? They’ve already lost! I want to see a game that puts you up against the Chinese army and we’ll see what that does for current international relations.
The story begins as the Red Army launches a surprise attack on New York City, our protagonist and his brother are on their way to their next plumbing job; the woman who requested this work is later captured and the main brother must try to free her… Woah wait! Brothers, plumbers, rescuing a lady and they are in a video game… hang on a second, that sounds like mari-… oh no, they don’t go on a brightly coloured mushroom-induced drug binge of an adventure.
Our main man Chris Stone must fight his way to freedom with the help of an underground resistance movement. Chris must free America by shooting lots of Russians, freeing his friends and performing act of, what can only be described as, terrorism throughout New York City.
The game had a very high standard of gameplay, otherwise it wouldn’t make this column. FF (yep, that’s what we are calling it from now on, not to be confused with; Freedom Force, Final Fantasy, Final Fight, Fatal Frame, Fortress Forever, Foo Fighters, Fleet Foxes, Fear Factor, Franz Ferdinand, Fan Fiction, Flavour Flav, Fantastic Four or Family Fortunes) lets you control your character from a third person perceptive. I might be getting old, but a third-person game, that doesn’t rely on the developers crutch known as regenerating health, is a winning formula for me. I can’t understand why brainless shoot-fests dominate todays market.
One of the most impressive mechanics on offer is the ability to command and manage your comrades (perhaps that’s not the right term, something more American would be better; buddies?). Controlling your buddies is easy, with a few simple commands you can use them as an effective killing unit. The AI works so well that it is possible to take a backseat when the firefights start, not even firing a bullet, ah the freedom fighters life for me.
So if FF (not to be confused with FireFox or File Formats) was so great, where is the sequel? What could’ve happened to stop the developers at IO Interactive, creators of the Hitman series, cashing in on the first games success? Maybe they made a better game? Just what happened?… Kane and Lynch Happened.
That’s right, instead of going for what would have been an easy sequel, the games developers thought it would be a better idea to try a new IP with Kane and Lynch: Dead Men. The game was dull, repetitive with general negatives that outweighed the positives. To add insult to injury Kane and Lynch got a sequel and an upcoming film! Freedom Fighters still has neither; there definitely is no god. The developers have stated that a follow up is on their ‘to-do list’, but much like my to-do list there hasn’t been any evidence that anything will happen anytime soon.