Freedom Fighters is a game made up more of nuance than direct in-your-face mechanics. Taking place in an alternate history timeline where Russia dropped the nuke that ended World War II and proceeded to dominate the world, you end up in a post soviet invasion New York. You take control of a plumber turned revolutionary trying to free key locations from Soviet control. The story is a very basic Red Dawn-esque plot and it really doesn’t evolve much beyond “The Soviet Union has invaded America and you have to fight back” but that’s ok because the plot isn’t the focus of the story as much as your actions in the game that create their own little stories within each level.

Freedom Fighters taking cover

As I said the mechanics are pretty barebones. You move around and shoot. You can zoom with the right mouse button and there’s a handful of different weapons. You also earn charisma points for completing objectives that will level you up and allow you to have more freedom fighters in your squad whom you can command to follow you, attack an area or defend an area. However, the level design is what makes Freedom Fighters such a compelling game. You start off by accessing a map from the rebel base which you can use to move between a few areas, each with optional objectives and a key area to capture which completes the level. Completing the optional objectives will affect the enemy forces in different ways. If you destroy a bridge they won’t be able to funnel as many troops into a given area. Destroy a comms tower and they won’t be as organized. The levels take place in the streets of New York and are actually quite large, requiring a map to navigate more often than not. There are also a multitude of ways to reach your objective. For instance, if you have the resources to do it you can get together a group of soldiers and charge a Soviet checkpoint and brute force your way through it, or you can climb up a nearby building and kill the Soviet snipers and use their weapons to take out the checkpoint from afar, or you can just sneak through another building to bypass it entirely. The game recreates the idea of being a freedom fighter fighting against a better supplied and trained opponent flawlessly.

Freedom Fighters sniper and explosion

The game does lack weapon variety though. I found myself using the assualt rifle for about 85 percent of the game because it has a good sized ammo pool, is good up close as well as at range and can deal more than enough damage to take out any enemy. Because there is no better version of the assault rifle or anything like it, there really is no reason to use other weapons except in specific circumstances.

Freedom Fighters Statue of Liberty's head

The graphics are nothing special for the time but they get the job done. Textures can be muddy but everything looks like what it needs to look like and the different enemy types are instantly visually distinguishable from each other. The graphics do sell the idea of a Soviet New York quite well though. From the dilapidated buildings to the roadblocks and even the propaganda posters that line the streets. The sound design is serviceable as well. Weapons all have a decent punch to them but because of the lack of weapon variety that I mentioned earlier you will be hearing the same sounds repeated over and over ad naseum. The soundtrack fits the tone of the game perfectly, filling the streets of New York with epic Russian instrumentation and arrangements.

 

Freedom Fighters
Overall, Freedom Fighters is a game with some rough edges but the way they represent fighting as a revolutionary and the way the gameplay creates its own mini-narratives within the level is worth seeing.
6Overall Score
Reader Rating: (2 Votes)
2.1

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  • Paul Siner

    oh man, this was one of my favourite games of all time on the original xbox, really hoping someone revives this franchise in the future, great review.