In 2003 Freedom Fighters came out on every available console at the time, but I played the PS2 version and remains in my collection today. The story begins with the invasion of New York City by the USSR and drops our hero, Chris Stone, into the thick of an attack that leaves him no option but to join up with the resistance. It begins rather simple but the story develops into a much deeper and twisted tale filled with murder, war and an epic battle for the people’s freedom.
You’re tasked with completing missions that are set out on a map, each section has its own number of missions to complete and usually somehow tie in with each other. The first missions has you attacking a police station but you are stopped to help some officers who are pinned down by Russian snipers (stepping outside is an instakill). A cop gives you C4 explosives and instructs you to blow up the snipers nest from behind; this has you back track to your entry point and jump location to the other mission map. Once you have planted the explosives and killed the snipers you can head back to the cops and continue on with your attack on the police station. It was a fantastic way to make the world seam more dynamic and made you feel like you were affecting the environment and other freedom fighters as you played.
You can take control of these units during battle very simply and you can have a quite few of them under your control at one time. This gives you the advantage of group attacks for quick kills and also decoys to take the heat off you when you are getting hammered and possible sickled by the Soviets. Each mission you complete and how you approach them affects the amount of charisma you gain which in turn gives you more followers, providing you with a sense of leadership and accomplishment.
There is a level of progression in Freedom Fighters that is lacking in today's market; as you push on in your war against the Red Army you gain allies and status, building up your forces by your acts and losing friends in the wake of these choices. You gain a real understanding of what Chris stands for as a Freedom Fighter while you invest yourself in the struggle that will ultimately break his people free, regardless of the costs.
Sadly, a Freedom Fighters sequel was planned but never came to fruition. I hope that one day IO-Interactive will pick the franchise up again and give us a next gen Freedom Fighters game; the fan base is out there and waiting, so keep your fingers crossed – I know I will be.
- Will Flynn