phobos's Freedom Fighters (PC) review

Nobody Ever said Fighting Russians was Easy

It's the not to distant future, and the Warsaw Pact has outlasted NATO. Europe slowly fell, with Britain resisting the longest. Just when America thinks that it is safe, BAM, Russians.

It's up to Christopher Stone, The Freedom Phantom, to lead his people against the iron grip of Russia. Stone and his followers fight tooth and nail to retake one building at a time, before triumphantly raising an American flag over each Russian stronghold. Each victory feels significant and each step a mile.

Accompanying this hard fight is a score that sounds like auditory steel. It starts low and grows into something huge and powerful that's all around you. Few development companies know how to sum up an entire games atmosphere into a score like IO Interactive.

In between missions, you return to the rebel base. The base acts as a hub, where you can choose one of a few, usually three, missions to do at any given time. Areas cannot usually be beaten from beginning to end in one strait shot. Often, Christopher Stone must accomplish something in one area that will allow him to push further in another area. You may have to find a supply of C4 first, then use that to destroy a helipad and stop helicopter patrols, before assaulting a stronghold where unit reinforcements come from.

Inside each mission, there are also multiple ways to complete each goal. Learn your surroundings and you can work up and around your enemies and lay down an attack on them before they ever know what's coming. Or, fight them head on. Or, group your soldiers to pump out suppressive fire while you sneak around to flank. It's all up to you. What's impressive is the games ability to keep this from feeling like a choice between two paths. It presents you with a small, contained world that you must scout before making decisions as to where to go and what to do.

American hero Christopher Stone doesn't have to do this alone. As your fame grows, so does your following. A couple rebels for support quickly grows into a whole gaggle of soldiers.

Your main job as The Freedom Phantom is to direct and support your soldiers. There are three simple commands to do this -- attack, defend, & regroup. All three work in very basic ways, but attack and defend can be used to specifically place your troops when used when aiming. Your soldiers are no slouch, they find and use cover effectively. Winning a battle is more dependent on your placement of troops, than your actual skill with a gun.

Aiming comes in two types. Standard aiming and a pulled up, zoomed-in mode. The zoomed in mode is more accurate, but not precise. Each weapon shoots in the area of where your aiming. Freedom Fighters is a perfect example of a game that places a limited control scheme on the player in order to create an experience. This inaccuracy forces you to use your troops in unique and create ways, where an extremely accurate fire would negate the needs for them. Additionally, it reinforces the idea that your simply "some guy" without training who decided to stand up for what he thought was right, and not a one man killing machine.

Weapon count is small, but extremely balanced. You have a choice between using one of two types of weapon for most of the game. A shotgun and a machine gun. In addition to this, you can carry molotov cock tales, grenades, and a spare pistol.

In the end, Freedom Fighters isn't good because of anything it does specifically, but how everything comes together to create a rich, real world. And it's wonderful at this. Working with your group to recapture America one street, and one building at a time is damn satisfying. Freedom Fighters is well worth anyone's time and is highly recommended.


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