Freedom Force vs The Third Reich Review

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Graphics: 8.5
Sound : 8.0
Gameplay : 8.5
Multiplayer : 7.5
Overall : 8.1
Review by Alex D.
For many children, Saturdays were holy, not only due to the fact that school was out for a full, but short two days, but because of the plethora of cartoons that played that morning. Superheroes and villains plagued the television screens across the world as kids sat mesmerized by the images being displayed. This was the atmosphere aimed to be recreated by Irrational Games in their hit “Freedom Force” which hit store shelves roughly three years ago. In the second installment, “Freedom Force vs. The Third Reich”, players reprise their roles as members of the Freedom Force as they combat once again against perilous dangers to help secure the safety for citizens of the world.

Taking place approximately a year after the events of the first installment, all is quiet on the front lines as Freedom Force slowly starts to drift apart, secure in the knowledge of the peace present in their beloved “Patriot City”…or so they believed. A mysterious new villain named “Red Oktober” emerges from the shadows and aids in springing out the vile “Nuclear Winter” and “Time Master” from their cells, where they were imprisoned in the first game. With the recent turn of events, our group of heroes slowly begins to reunite as they band together in an effort to track down the clique of evildoers. The second installment features all new characters; both good and bad along with all the favorites players came to attach themselves to in the first game. The title opens up with a short overview of the events of the first installment and leaves players off in a brief tutorial explaining the intricacies of Freedom Force. Seasoned veterans will feel right at home. While “Freedom Force vs. The Third Reich” does not innovate on anything new, it does continue with the winning formula present in the original. The control scheme and interface are identical and as simple as the original, players will utilize the keyboard to navigate and the mouse to control the camera. The inspiration from comic books and cartoons is noticeable immediately and heavily present throughout the entirety of the single-player campaign, which is one of the strongest features of the game. Getting through the story will keep gamers occupied and guessing for a considerable amount of time. Freedom Force vs. The Third Reich has a few unexpected plot twists that will keep gamers immersed in the captivating yet silly story. Thanks to the very open-ended combat system and the variety of difficulty levels, the replay value of the single-player mode is quite solid and always entertaining. Story mode aside, the second installment in the Freedom Force series features a “Rumble Room” mode where players can go head-to-head against computer-controlled opponents in a plentitude of different environments or gamers can take their favorite character online. Multiplayer features a wealth of different game types, ranging from typical Deathmatch to Team Deathmatch and featuring a new Story based mode. While these are just a few of the types of match types present, the all-new story-based games set themselves apart. This new mode allows users to create custom scenarios, choose the heroes and villains on each team, as well as the game mode and map. Players can write descriptions and attach comic book cover art to their game rooms for all to view and read. Another neat aspect is the option to create your own superhero and import him into single and multiplayer matches. Freedom Force’s original create-a-hero was impressive but its successor improves on the engine’s winning aspects. The amount of customization and special powers that players can grace their heroes with is overwhelming. During single-player mode, players will control up to four players at a time so the action can get intense. For the most part, each character has a base of short and long-range attacks; some can fly while others make up their lack of airborne talents by being able to pick up heavy objects and toss them at enemies. Micro managing your heroes plays an important part as well; setting them up to tactfully ambush your enemies is the key to victory as many situations have players outnumbered and will have them taking damage rapidly. Throwing objects that hang around in the world also helps defeat enemies and adds a nice yet destructive touch at your fingertips. In addition, the environments are all fully destructible! Don’t feel like sniping an enemy on a rooftop? No problem, pick up and automobile, launch it through the building, and watch as the structure and foe crumble to their doom. The unpredictable open-ended approaches like these make Freedom Force vs. The Third Reich quite engrossing.

Visually, the second installment’s graphics are identical to the original Freedom Force released almost three years ago. While they are not anywhere near some of the putrid crap we have seen released over the years, there is a lot of room for improvement. The game’s environments are not too shabby: varying from urban cities to underground lairs, which is a given, what comic book / cartoon game is complete without underground hideouts? Some areas of the game look like they could use some retouching but in general, things hold up. The characters look predominantly outstanding for the exception of a few, some of the superheroes look low-poly and have definitely seen better days, maybe in 2002. The diverse locales your pawns will visit are all destructible as well but tearing down too many skyscrapers and buildings and leaving destruction in your footsteps will deteriorate your reputation and your score at the end of each level, but sometimes these things cannot be helped, especially with the implementation of a physics engine. The recycled graphical engine truly shines at giving the game its goofy, cartoon atmosphere. The artwork and general amount of detail placed into creating the comic book-like atmosphere is something that is definitely worth mention. Each level has its own comic book cover representing a graphical resume and really aids in making Freedom Force vs. The Third Reich feel like an interactive Saturday morning cartoon. The game’s cutscenes are all rendered by the in-game engine or storyboard-style frame-by-frames, both are extremely pleasing to view and nourish the awesome atmosphere that is Freedom Force.

The original Freedom Force’s audio played an incredible part in what helped make the game such a hit, the second installment bears no exception. The vocal talents of the first title return to reprise the roles of their characters along side the addition of some new and equally talented members. Some of the dialogue is just downright hilarious. The one-liners and the banter exchanged between the actors will definitely have some players cracking up. The game’s soundtrack is never intrusive or bothersome and always cues in and out at the right moments. Some of the tracks may even have players humming along, that is how catchy and delightful they are! The bulk of the sound effects present in the game are directly recycled from the original title but still sound dead on, crisp, and blend in perfectly with the happenings on-screen. Freedom Force vs. The Third Reich’s lip-synching has also remained unmodified and horrible. During close-ups and animated cutscenes, the mouths of the characters randomly open and close while the voice recordings blare along, which is quite disappointing considering this was an irritating issue also scolded in the original title. With the easily ignorable synching issue aside, Freedom Force cannot be ragged on in its audio department; everything is solid and the sound aspect only improves and assists in making this title a hit!

In conclusion, the latest installment in the series by Irrational Games is everything and more that helped propel its predecessor to such success. Improving on the already winning formula that was Freedom Force, the second game helps elaborate on the story and allows players to better acquaint themselves with the characters from the first. Every aspect of the game is a hit and blends together to create a worthy successor to Freedom Force. This title is something everyone should try, whether it is for the zany story or the crazy comic book feel, players will definitely be content with the game and can positively look forward to another title in the series.