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IO Interactive’s epic squad-based shooter is one of the most criminally overlooked games of the last generation. Really, you should be feeling Okami levels of shame if you didn’t buy it. Nearly everyone who plays it remembers the game fondly, yet there’s rarely been talk of a sequel.
During a recent Kane and Lynch 2 event, Mads Prahm, one of the lead designers on Freedom Fighters, hinted to our very own Dave Houghton that he considered the title to be a current franchise. So with that tiny spark of hope that there could yet be a sequel to the charming 2003 shooter, we tell you, and hopefully anyone reading at EA (it published the first game), why the world needs a sequel.
Freedom Fighters opens on an absolute dozy of a setpiece. As Chris Stone and his brother merrily drive around Manhattan in their van, the Big Apple is suddenly invaded by Russian forces. Cue a ten minute desperate chase to get to cover, as Chris darts through crowds of terrified New Yorkers. Buildings collapse, smoke clogs the streets, people are captured in apartment blocks and imprisoned. Considering this was all running on PS2, we can only imagine how incredible a scene of equivalent scale running on PS3 or 360 would be.
While lead character Chris isn’t exactly the most personable star, the game itself is brimming with character. Every battle for a new block carries real weight when you realise you’re fighting heavily armed and well-trained Russian forces with a bunch of office workers and plumbers. The whole alternate timeline of a Soviet-controlled America also gives the game an imposing, thought-provoking narrative weight that few games ever aspire to.
Freedom Fighters’ take on a war-ravaged New York is nothing short of stunning. Buildings riddled with propaganda, most of the city buried under mountains of snow and streets filled with impromptu camps; it all gives a real sense of playing in a war zone. Seeing the Empire State Building in a raging storm with Soviet posters adorning every other structure in sight remains one of the most iconic images we’ve seen in a shooter.
Now imagine IO taking this skill for crafty moody environments and transplanting it to an equally iconic city with current gen tech. A sequel set in London or Tokyo could be incredible. And the developer has enough experience of creating memorable landmark strewn levels thanks to its work on the globetrotting Hitman series.
When we say cinematic, we don’t mean rambling twenty minute cutscenes or lengthy monologues. No, we mean when you frame the camera in just the right way, while your hoist a flag in a raging snowstorm to a bit of rousing Jesper Kyd. And talking of which…
Above: Cinematic, non? Admittedly we might have 'shopped in a different background with a hastily pasted in Tokyo Tower to spice it up
I’ve written about it precisely 14, 093 times and linked to the piece below 14, 097 times, but Jesper Kyd’s soundtrack is a thing of eardrum-weeping beauty. A new setting would surely inspire the composer to record another sweeping score that would be remembered for years.
Frankly, that shit won't stand.
June 24, 2010
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