news\ Sep 27, 2011 at 3:58 pm

Freedom Force (PC) Retrospective

Freedom Force (PC) Retrospective
By Dakota Grabowski

Irrational Games took advantage of a new setting

Deep within all of us, there’s a hero lurking. To help gamers find the hero within, Irrational Games developed Freedom Force for the PC in 2002 and hasn’t look back since.

What were its cultural impact and/or importance?

After the stellar release of System Shock 2 (in collaboration with Looking Glass Studios), Irrational Games went forth and followed it up with Freedom Force. Two vastly different games, the most important facet of Freedom Force ended up being that Irrational Games could deliver another quality intellectual property.

Much more of a statement for Irrational Games than it was for its genre, Freedom Force was a role-playing game with light humor, entertaining action, memorable characters, and involving storyline. Playing through Freedom Force, it’s clearly evident that the development team had fun creating the universe that bleeds high presentation values and charming characters.

The sequel provided a handful of new characters

What areas of gaming did it advance?

While the gameplay wasn’t necessarily new or unique, it did one thing that not many other developers were attempting at the time – it delivered a non-fantasy or sci-fi setting for a top-down role-playing game that ventured into the comic book realm.

Irrational Games believed in their product and it showed when they self-published the sequel, Freedom Force vs. the Third Reich. They knew they had a product that was different than anything else that was offered in the genre and ran with it. But the fact remains, the title was more important for Irrational Games as a young and upcoming developer than it was to advancing the genre.

The sequel is graphically better

Does it stand the test of time?

Upon playing through Freedom Force, eight years later, there are no ifs, ands, or buts about it – it hasn’t aged that well when it comes to the technical graphics. The characters lack detail, the environments aren’t riddled with complex intricacies, and the camera still mars the gameplay in times of intense action.

On the other end of the spectrum, the voice acting is fascinating and the art style is eye-appealing. Having a cast that included the fearless scrapper, Minuteman and the energy-absorbing tank, Manbot, Freedom Force had its own superhero variations of DC Comics’ Wonder Woman (Eve) and Robin (Liberty Lad), along with Marvel Comics’ variations of Scarlet Witch (Alche-Miss), Quicksilver (Bullet) and The Human Torch (El Diablo).

Compared to today’s standards, the gameplay is well above average. Along with that, a community remains behind the series, begging for a third iteration. So it wasn’t all for naught – especially for a team that went on to create BioShock.

March 13 – Need for Speed III: Hot Pursuit - PlayStation 1 / PC
March 6 – Warcraft III - PC
February 27 – Earthworm Jim - Super Nintendo / Sega Genesis
February 20 – Gitaroo Man - PlayStation 2
February 13 – Kingdom Hearts - PlayStation 2
February 6 – Mario Kart: Double Dash - GameCube
January 30 – Deus Ex - PC
January 23 – Final Fantasy VII - PlayStation 1 / PC
January 16 – Advance Wars - Gameboy Advanced
January 9 – Giants: Citizen Kabuto - PlayStation 2 / PC

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