Aron Schatz
March 11, 2003
I have been waiting for Freelancer since I heard about it. It has the possibility of being the best game ever, but it falls short. Read the review to find out why.
Tags Games

Page 1: Intro, Background, Story, Gameplay


What do you think of when a game has been in development for for several years? You say to yourself, this is going to be one great game. Freelancer has been in development for about sevens year, and in fact, just came out on March 4th for the USA. I have been waiting for this game since I heard about it. Freelancer is made by Digital Anvil, but produced by Microsoft

You may have heard of an old Mac game called Escape Velocity, made by <a href="">Ambrosia Software</a>. That was the best freelancing open ended universe game I have ever played. Can Freelancer beat this old 2D game? You're going to want to read the entire article (Yes, I know it is long).


<center>FL Trent</center>

This section may contain some mild spoilers, but, it is background. You are Edison Trent (voiced by Ian Ziering of 90210). You just went to make a name for yourself when you made the deal of your lifetime. You are about to sell some commodity for a million credits, that could set you for life. While you stay to finalize your deal on Freeport 7, it gets attacked and destroyed. You narrowly make it out alive, but you have lost everything. Now you must regain your money and repay the people that destroyed that station.

<B>Open Ended</B>:

This keyword, "Open Ended", is just a term to mean that the game never ends, there is no end all be all goal... Or so I thought. Your ongoing goal is to amass more and more wealth and get the biggest and baddest ship with the best weapons so you become the ultimate killing machine. The Single Player story lasts for 15-20 hours, but I beat it in 12 hours.


The single playing campaign is a real treat, it feels like a movie and your part of it. The story will lead you along, and it acts as a tutorial of sorts to make sure you find your way around the universe. I highly suggest playing it before multiplayer as you will learn some nice skills. The only problem is that it is too short. It takes you to around level 18 and there are a total of 38 levels (more on that later). Again, the story should take you about 15-20 hours, but I beat it in 12. I could have gone faster, but I was playing around.


There are three locations that you will be able to land/dock at. You have normal planets that you land on, and stations and battleships that you can dock at. If you like to land yourself, you'll be disappointed. It lands itself just by pushing the dock button. The majority (or all) of the events happen out in space, you'll just get your jobs from terra firma.

<B>Flight Control</B>:

<center>FL Flight</center>

This is one of the mouse controversial aspects of Freelancer. In the development phase, they scrapped the idea of a joystick, essentially going away from the space combat type simulator, and instead going with a keyboard and mouse scheme. I guess they thought that the FPS crowd would jump right into this game with no problem. Let me just say, it works EXTREMELY well, though, I would have like some more fine tuning to the control scheme, or allow joysticks. You get to flight modes, normal flight and turret mode. Turret mode is essentially useless in my opinion, you can't turn, just look around your ship and shoot (provided there is a turret that can see the direction). You'll spend most of the time pointing and shooting, which is essentially the entire game.


<center>FL Far Planet FL Close Planet</center>

Your ship is controlled by something called a NeuroNet, but in reality, you'll be controlling it. The NeuroNet controls your waypoints and mapping though. One this that I really can't stand about this game is that every single ship has the EXACT SAME SPEED! That's right, every ship, included the bulky freighters go as fast as a light fighter. I guess this is done with balancing in mind, but it is a major minus for this game, very sad. The cruise engines are also way to slow. Your top normal speed is 80 m/s, on afterburners you can go 200 m/s, and on cruise, you go at 300 m/s. I think they should be at least double the afterburner speed.

<center>FL Trade Lane FL Docking Ring</center>

You won't be using your cruise engines for the entire game though, trade lanes will keep you in the traffic pattern and at least it is fast. It goes over 1000 m/s, and a good thing also. The distance between points of interest are far. The bad thing about trade lanes is you need to 'dock' with them, you can't just fly into them (ever seen Cowboy Bebop?). This takes a good 5-10 seconds to do, and you can't do anything while doing it. Meanwhile, you could be getting shot at, or destroyed. The jumpgates work the same way, as do docking rings and docking at stations.


Medium Image View Large