I will always remember Christmas of 2002. That is when I got a Nintendo Gamecube. It came packaged James Bond 007: Nightfire and two controllers. In my opinion, the Gamecube was way ahead of its time in a lot of ways. I had a lot of fun playing Nightfire and The Legend of Zelda: The Windwaker over the next year. In 2003, I got a game for Christmas that I knew nothing about. That game was Freedom Fighters.
Developed by IO Interactive and published by EA, Freedom fighters was a third-person shooter action/strategy game. The shooter element of the gameplay is straight forward. However, there is a strategy element to the game where you recruit fighters and direct them to defend areas or attack enemies. The way you use these fighters can change make the difference between beating a level or not.
The plot follows an alternate history where the Soviet Union won WWII and positioned themselves to launch a full invasion of the United States in the modern day. You play as a plumber named Chris Stone who lives and works in New York. The Russians invade and you help to fight them as you rise up to become the “Freedom Phantom” who leads the resistance.
I’ll always remember sitting on the floor in front of the tv as I watched Chris deliver his awesome speech from the tv station. This outlines perfectly how advanced the voice acting and cinematics were for the time.
This is a game that is criminally underrated and should be talked about way more. The shooting gameplay is simple, but satisfying. The mechanics of recruiting a squad and commanding them is a really unique aspect of the game that is a lot of fun. You have to build charisma to be able to recruit npcs to fight for you. You build charisma by accomplishing feats that help the resistance.
Its satisfying to take back New York from the Soviets in the campaign. There are varying difficulties you can play on and they are all appropriate jumps in difficuly. The multiplayer is really unique as well. Rather than just a simple team deathmatch style game, you have to take bases and hold a central flag for longer than the other players. It is a really fun game mode that would be awesome in the current online gaming environment. Of course back then, it was local multiplayer. You may be able to make the argument that that made it more fun.
This was back when cheat codes in games were common. You could buy books that had all the cheats of games from that year. The cheats in this game were really fun to toy with after you had already poured hours into beating the main game.
The soundtrack to this game adds so much to the atmosphere. The music was composed by Jesper Kyd. Mixing communist style choral arrangements with industrial sounds, you get the perfect soundtrack to beat the foreign invaders out of your city.
Overall, this is a game that was really fun when it came out. And it is still really fun today. There was a PC re-release of the game last year. But if any game deserves a full ground-up remake, it is this game. The gameplay would translate really well to todays industry. And there is a lot of potential for added game modes.
If you have never played Freedom Fighters, you need to pick it up!