Review by Ex Astris Scientia
"A great game still worth picking up."
OK, i bought this game for £10 last year in a package deal with the original Freespace, this unfortunately has been withdrawn from production, meaning unless you know someone who has this game, and is willing to sell, Downloading may be your only option.
This game sold incredibly badly, around the figure of 40,000 copies, due mainly to lacklustre marketing, it is strange that so little time was spent on marketing, when so much was spent perfecting this game. Which leads me nicely into our first item.
Sound - 10:
This is one of the highlights of the game, the attention to detail given here is simply amazing, the voice acting is damn near flawless, and perfectly suited to the scene. It never seems over the top, or underacted, and it enhances the immersion factor of the Freespace Universe tenfold. Robert Logia (Of Independence Day fame) as Admiral Petrarch, of the GTD Aquitaine was for me, one of the best acted parts in ANY game, despite the fact you never actually seem him in the game, he fits the part perfectly. The sound effects are all solid, and sound exactly as you would expect them to. The music is not great, its listenable, but not as spectacular as the other aspects of the sound. I personally prefer to listen to a few well chosen MP's with the game, and the great thing is that the game plays well to any good music, pop, rock, but best is Orchestral movements. The fact that the music isnt so great i dont feel degrades the overall aural experience, since it is so easy, and effective to just play your favorite MP3s with the game.
Graphics - 9
The game is now over 3 years old, and once you load up a mission, and fly alongside the massive capital ships, you would think it wasnt 3 weeks old. The attention to detail prevailant throughout the entire package is just as apparent here, unlike most games producers, Volition seem to have paid far more attention to getting great results from less than stellar, the game can run fine on the recommended specs, which is a slimline P166 with 16MB of RAM. This means that this game is a must for anyone looking for a game to bolster their collection on a slower PC. This might not mean much now, in the days of 3.06Ghz Pentium 4's and AMD Bartons, but back in the day this was some achievement.
The capital ships look great, and are all rendered with some degree of realism, the smaller fighters look great too, generally however their lower number of decals make them look a little on the bland side, but nonetheless very nice, and certainly better than anything else from 1999, or 2000-01 for that matter.
Gameplay - 10+:
I give this aspect of the game a 10+ because i just dont think that 10 does it justice, the gameplay of this title is responsible for the wasting of my young life for the last 3 years, and proberbly for a little while to come.
The feeling of zipping among these utterly HUGE ships, performing anything from dogfights, bombing runs, surgical strikes, or simply trying to stay alive, is simply indescribeable!
The gameplay is structured much like any other game of its genre, the mission is preceded by a Briefing, and Loadout/Ship Selection, after the mission there is a Debriefing, with structured (as in dependant on your actions during the mission) comments on your performance.
To say this, makes the game sound rather average, this is far from the case, even the oft boring briefing menu is made into something spectacular, missions are explained step by step, using very effective, and concise diagrams, and very good voice acting.
The game itself is enhanced in realism massively through the use of a joystick, though i completed the game 4 times before ever using my Sidewinder on it, and i find the game to be far more difficult with the joystick.
Longevity/Replay Value - 8:
The main campaigne is roughly 40 missions long, now this sounds like a lot, but once you get into this game, you will have completed it in, on average about 2 days, maybe 3 if you are really poor at this genre, However, this is not to say that the game has no longevity, the game comes with the FRED 2 Editor, an updated version of the original FRED from the original Freespace, meaning you can make your own mission, and also, using other software packages (Not all of them free) in theory you could create an entire sequel to the game in FRED2, as it supports the use of 3rd Party cut-scenes or so i am told, meaning those Maya elites out there have your chance to shine!
And for those of you not experienced, you will find FRED to be a very user friendly program.
There are masses of mods and campaigns made by both single users, and small organisations, some with new ships, locations, weapons etc.
Multiplayer is very limited however, and as i can see it, no one plays it anymore.
- The games ships, specifically the Terran fighters are very realistic, in that you can definately imagine current terrestrial fighter technology evolving in style of the ships of Freespace.
- The capital ships of the Terrans seem to have had some influences from certain movies, specifically, the Faustus, it bares striking resemblance to the ''Verloc'' from Aliens, and others also have some other games.
- The game has some difficulties running on modern equipnment, it works fine on my old GeForce 2, but it doesnt like the newer GeForce 4 Ti cards, at least in my experience, it works fine on my friends GF4 MX though.
- The game cutscenes are very good, and well acted and produced, however they are too short, and too few and far between.
Overall (NOT an average) 10:
This game is simply breathtaking, and should be bought by anyone who has even THOUGHT about getting into gaming, and for fans of the genre, if you havent bought this game yet then....then....this is for your own good *Slaps You*...NOW GO BUY IT!!!
Though actually buying it might be easier said than done, since it isnt produced anymore, so it may be that burning is your only option, but if possible, get an official copy, with the original freespace included.
Final word: BUY!!!!!
Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 02/13/03, Updated 02/13/03
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