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October 15, 2003
Freedom Fighters - Review
Release Date Distributor Developer Players Rating Difficulty
19/9/2003EA GamesIO Interactive1-4M15+Medium
Save Size Sound Format Vibration 60Hz Mode 50Hz Border Widescreen
400KBStereoYesNoNoneNo

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Taking cover behind concrete.
Freedom Fighters is one of those rare games that you have high expectations for, but when the game arrives it not only meets those expectations, but exceeds them on almost every level. This is a magnificent follow up to IO Interactive's impressive Hitman 2: Silent Assassin which was released late last year. But rather then a single fighter the main drawcard to this game is the ability to control a squad of fighters to help you through the missions.

Freedom Fighters is set in a world where the Soviet Union has won the Cold War, and a fierce conflict is unfolding in the streets of America. Taking on the role of Christopher Stone, players evolve from an average New Yorker into a fearless patriot who recruits and leads an army of freedom fighters in the streets of New York City. Freedom Fighters combines the depth of a squad-based game with the intensity of an action-packed war game that unfolds in the streets, subways, and buildings of the city. The game begins with you in an apartment fixing some plumbing when the Russians invade New York. Rather then being a spectator Christopher starts up the resistance to reclaim the city.

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Nice clothing.
Essentially a squad based game you begin by only being able to control a single fighter, Chris. As you earn more respect during the game more "freedom fighters" will join you on the missions. With a maximum of 12 fighters you essentially become the commander in the field and can order soldiers to attack an enemy position, help defend you, or defend a designated area. This is done through a simple press of the circle, triangle or square button. One thing which I really appreciate with this title is that your fellow squad members aren't just there for looks, but play an integral role in taking out enemy positions. In fact, without their help you're unlikely to progress very far at all.

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The difficult TV station level.
The AI in Freedom Fighters from the opposing forces is also impressive. Shoot at enemies and miss and they'll take cover as best as possible and look for where the shots came from, hit them and they'll fire back in your direction. If the enemies take cover behind some cars or barrels these can be shot to create explosions an kill or injure the enemy soldiers. The enemies also move around in squads and call for backup. Also impressive in Freedom Fighters is the multiple paths you can take to reach the mission objectives. Many buildings can be entered (and this is conveniently shown on the map) from which you can use a sniper rifle to take out some enemies, lob a few grenades or survey the enemy positions ahead. Sometimes these buildings will be filled with enemies, sometimes with wounded friends who can be healed and possibly join your squad.

IO Interactive have also been kind enough to include a 4-player split screen mode. Unfortunately this mode doesn't quite have the same excitement or enjoyment levels as the single player game. Perhaps some more variety in the maps and gameplay here could have been worthwhile however it's still a nice inclusion and I would rather it be there then not.

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Choppers will mow you down.
There are few problems with this game. The biggest gripe is probably the occasional stupidity of the enemies. While they are generally intelligent they will often go back to their normal patrolling positions despite being hit by a sniper bullet only a few minutes earlier. Your squad also struggles to follow orders particular when instructing them to advance up or down stairs or over walls etc. The other niggle is the changing of items using the R3 button. It's a little cumbersome in the heat of battle, especially when you go for the medikit but select the molotov cocktail and burn yourself to death instead. Finally, this game is shouting out for online gameplay as a squad based game with such stunning level design. Let's hope a sequel makes an appearance sooner rather then later with online gameplay.

One of the real strengths of Freedom Fighters is the stunning graphics. Without a doubt the texturing is among the most impressive yet seen on the Playstation 2. From the warm summer months to the snow filled Winter every level is created in immaculate detail with many objects to take cover behind, rooms to discover, wounded people to rescue and items to blow up. The level design, as previously mentioned is terrific and while you have to reach a set objective usually offers multiple, often hidden, paths to explore. Animation is solid enough and the range of soldiers never becomes tiresome. Most importantly the frame rate remains rock solid even during intense battles.

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Shoot the exploding barrels.
The sound in Freedom Fighters is also impressive. The gunshots and explosions are realistic, and sometimes frightening especially when you're not expecting them. The voices are also impressive enough to receive a passing grade, although they are almost bordering on cheesy. There is one aspect of this title that will blow you away - the sound. With heavy Russian influences this game is a treat to listen to. It arouses a sense of the Russian motherland and communist party.

It's fair to say that Freedom Fighters has really blown me away as a title. Sure there are minor niggles with the gameplay, and occasionally the team AI is a little amiss, however as an action title this game succeeds on almost every level and overcomes these shortcomings. This is one action title that I can't fail to recommend.

Review By: David Warner

GRAPHICSSuperbly detailed levels with gorgeous interiors and exteriors.
93%
SOUNDThe music is stunning and effects and voices don't disappoint either.
88%
GAMEPLAYThis game will have you engrossed for hours, or days, on end.
92%
VALUEAround 15 hours gameplay for the average gamer. Worth a replay.
80%
OVERALLFreedom Fighters is a very impressive title and, as predicted, is one of those magical moments that surprises with quality and gameplay. If you like action titles then you'll love this game. I only hope that the developers start work on a sequel sooner rather then later. Fantastic.
91%

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