We took a trip to EA to take a look at the latest build of Freedom Force.
Look! In the sky! It's a bird! It's a plane! Is it Superman? Not quite, but Irrational Games--the development team behind System Shock 2--hopes that its latest game, Freedom Force, inspires the same kind of excitement in the minds of comic book fans. Just about everything in Freedom Force, from the origin stories of the characters to the special abilities of the heroes and villains, has a distinct Jack Kirby feel that should appeal to fans of classic comics and those who find humor in over-the-top dialogue and art. Freedom Force's gameplay is particularly noteworthy. Whereas previous comic book games have used the basic action-platforming formula, Freedom Force uses a strategy system in which you select your character's next move depending on the situation. It's a somewhat unique approach that should bring some much-needed depth to the comic-book-inspired genre and restore the integrity of comic book games.
When you begin playing Freedom Force, you'll be treated to an origin story featuring one of the game's lead characters, Minuteman. While sitting in the park one day, an old scientist named Frank Stiles overhears two people speaking, one of whom has a Russian accent. Frank starts to realize that one of the two is a fellow scientist named O'Conner. O'Conner is one of the scientists the working on the Manhattan Project, and he had accused Frank of giving vital secrets to the Russians. The backstabbing scientist ends up shooting Frank in the chest, leaving him to crawl to a nearby statue of a revolutionary war minuteman that appears to be glowing. As the two escape, Frank gains mysterious powers from the statue that transform him into Minuteman.
Your first mission as Minuteman is basically a tutorial, and your main objective to capture O'Conner before he manages to get away. Much like in strategy games and RPGs, you can move characters onscreen by simply clicking on them and then clicking on the appropriate area of the level. Since Minuteman is a superhero, there aren't really any objects that can block his path--not even tall buildings--so you can pretty much maneuver him into any area. The fact that these characters can go anywhere becomes useful in later levels, where you need to take a stealthier approach to taking out enemies as opposed to running at them head on--though, there are plenty of occasions that call for brute force as a primary strategy. In this first mission, you'll also learn how to manipulate the camera, which can be zoomed in to magnify details on character models and environments or zoomed out to survey the area and get an idea of where enemies are located.
When it comes time to actually attack a thug or villain, Freedom Force presents a number of different offensive and defensive options that have various benefits and drawbacks, and deciding how to attack your opponents constitutes a large portion of the game's strategy element.
- Release Date: Jul 12, 2002 (EU)
- Release Date: Dec 21, 2002 (US)