Game Review

Mania Grade: A-

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  • Platforms: PS2, Xbox, PC, GameCube
  • ESRB: Teen
  • Genre: Action
  • Players: 1-2
  • Online: No
  • Developer: IO Interactive
  • Publisher: Electronic Arts
  • Suggested Retail: $49.99
  • Graphics: B+
  • Sound: A-
  • Gameplay: B+
  • Replay: C
  • Fun Factor: A-
  • Reviewer's Wild Card: A


Liberate a Soviet-annexed America in EA's new third-person actioner

By James Stevenson     October 22, 2003

FREEDOM FIGHTERS entertains a plotline that follows something similar to an alternate reality universe from an episode of STAR TREK. Russia drops troops into New York City as part of an invasion of the United States. The government is taken completely off guard and the United States falls. You are a plumber whose brother is taken hostage. You join the resistance in order to free him and are eventually caught up in something bigger than yourself.

A third-person action game, FREEDOM FIGHTERS gives you several locations and multiple objectives to accomplish. You move around the city by accessing the sewers through manholes. For instance, the first mission requires you to go to one area, but to clear out the Sniper Tower, you have to go to the other area, and then make your way back.

While the gameplay is pretty tight, it's the addition of charisma and squad mates that sets the game apart. As you heal random people in the street or complete a mission, you gain charisma. As you level up you are able to command more freedom fighters.

Controlling them

A little mayhem in this screenshot from FREEDOM FIGHTERS.

is as simple as tapping a button, or holding it to assign everyone to that order. Having twelve fighters under your command is extremely hectic, and it's very difficult to keep track of your team while dodging bullets of your own and trying to kill Soviets. Fortunately, the teammate AI superbly done, and they really contribute to your team to the point that it's actually worthwhile to use health packs on them. Of course, this means enemy AI will be quite good as well, and a couple times I felt like I had been caught with my pants down because I thought I could get away with something the AI is quite good.

The first thing that the game does really well is creating the atmosphere and environment of a recently "liberated from the oppression of democracy" United States. The Soviet news broadcasts are great and the running scroll of up-to-the-minute news briefs is awesome. For me the atmosphere was on of the best parts of playing the game.

As far as replay goes there IS a two-player mode. It's a capture-the-flag variant that is OK, but isn't anything to brag about. I doubt you'll play it more than once.

The games graphics look fairly good, the character models are absolutely top-notch. There are some stellar lighting effects as well, but there is a lot of little nasty glitches in the game. You can compare the combat to HITMAN 2, and likewise you can compare the graphical glitches.

The music is excellent as is the sound effects. There's not much you can say besides that the sound effects are excellent, the voice-acting more the sufficient and the soundtrack is out-of-this-world. Great sounding game.

FREEDOM FIGHTERS is one of the most unexpected hit titles to come from EA. I had heard about the game, but hadn't really given it much attention, receiving a copy and getting playtime was more than enough to change my mind. It's worth picking up.


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