So you’re out a million credits, waiting for a friend who’s in medical, and you have no idea what’s going on. Not a bad way to start the game off. What’s worse is that you have no money, no ship, and nothing to bargain with. After wandering around a bit trying to figure out where to go, you’ll stumble into the bar where things finally get started. After talking with Juni you’ll finally have a ship, a bit of cash, and an idea of how to get your story started.
First off, you’ll quickly realize how each planet works. To put it simply, each planet consists of a bar(for missions), an equipment shop(for ship parts), a commodities dealer(for buying/selling goods), and a launch pad(for leaving the system).
You’ll be able to buy new ships or upgrade your current ship throughout the game. Each ship has a certain number and type of gun ports for your weapons, along with different shield capacities and cargo space. Light fighters usually have a maximum of 4 gun ports with less cargo space, but have increased maneuverability. Heavy fighters sacrifice this maneuverability to carry up to 6 guns with usually a turret mounted gun and slightly increased cargo space. Lastly freighters carry 2 front mounted gun ports with multiple turrets spaced across the hull. Freighters normally are slow moving and not very maneuverable, but have large amounts of cargo space to, guess what, carry cargo with.
To play this game, you don’t necessarily have to be a good guy. You’ll notice that you have faction meters with every single group that you’ve ever encountered. Bad faction obviously means that group would rather see you dead than roaming around in their space. It’s up to you as to which side you’d like to be aligned with, but regardless of alignment, you can still go on with the storyline(your alignment will automatically change when on a storyline based mission).
By today’s standards, the graphics are not phenomenal. But in my opinion, the lower polygon count and use of extremely bright colors made me enjoy the pretty pictures well enough. The fact that the guns move to fit where your cursor is pointing, the colors of the weapons fire changes according to what gun is being fired, and the vast amount of space you can see without your processor lagging made the environment fun to fly around in.
The in flight interface(as shown by the picture below) gives you an idea of how easy this game is to get used to. You can basically just use the mouse to access anything you want to do instead of having extraordinarily eccentric key bindings. For covering long distances, there is a ‘go to’ command which basically makes you go at a decent speed so you don’t have to miss too much action. All in all, the interface can be learned in about 5 minutes, and you can go on with your life so that you may shoot more bad guys.
The multiplayer isn’t anything out of the ordinary. Basically stick your single player game into the world with a couple other people flying around. While it may be fun to team up with your friend to go blast apart a large force of corsairs, I really had more fun playing this game single player style.
Would I recommend this game? Simply, yes. Is it difficult enough for an advanced gamer? The overall game isn’t terribly difficult, but there are parts in it that even advanced players will have trouble getting through, and I’m not even talking about after the storyline finishes. If you’re wondering what I mean by that, then realize that after you beat the game, there is plenty left to do in the game. After all, you’ve got a lowly level 6 ship, and the game goes all the way up to level 10 ships. You might want to fly around a bit afterwards. The replay ability of this game is high too. I replayed the game recently and tried to focus on playing more light fighters because I enjoyed their maneuverability more than the larger heavy fighters. If you’re looking for a not brand new, but still fun game with a minimum of 20 hours of game play(not including after the storyline) then Freelancer should definitely be in your shopping cart.