PC/Mac/Linux
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System Requirements
OS: Windows 98/Me/2000/XP CPU: Pentium 600Mhz RAM: 128MB HDD: 900MB VIDEO: 16MB 3D accelerated, Direct X 8.1 compatible SOUND: 16 bit Direct X 8.1 Compatible Age: Teen

Freelancer places you in the role of Edison Trent. It is several hundred years in the future. A time when nations have fled earth and populated other planets in a different solar system. But something strange is going on. As you play the single-player campaign, you will unveil the mystery and intrigue of the story, witness gorgeous views of space, and place yourself in the middle of some spectacular battles.

Game play

The game\'s primary focus is the missions you sign up for. In these missions, you will be flying your spaceship into battle. This space-simulation has been greatly streamlined from the typical space-sim. It has been so simplified there is almost an arcade feel. If you are an experienced space-simmer, at first, you may find this part of the game lacking in depth, but you will soon become so engrossed in the battle, you will forget about what\'s missing. Rather than using a joystick, you fly your ship with the mouse and W/S keys. It\'s very straightforward and simple. The simplicity of mouse flight makes this game very accessible to those who may have shied away from space-simulations in the past. Your goals will be to destroy spaceships, battleships, and space stations. Sometimes you may need to tractor beam in a criminal as well. The missions are extremely fun, challenging, and get you some money so you can buy better ship parts. You make your money by taking on missions and selling commodities. As you make money, your character level increases. New levels mean you have access to better parts, better ships, and more intense missions. In some cases, you are unable to buy parts until you get on friendlier terms with a particular faction. These factions range from good to bad, and everywhere in between. In addition, if you don\'t want to focus on fighting, you can decide to be on your own as a commodity trader. You can hop around the universe trying to find commodities (gold, water, food, etc.), and sell them for credits. In fact, the game includes special freighter ships you can purchase that are specific for collecting commodities. Since you will still interact with other factions, you will have to deal with battles, even as a trader. In multi-player, you can join up with a friend and fly as a team, making those inter-system battles a little easier to deal with. The single player storyline is absolutely superb. The whole thing from the storyline, to the cut scenes, to the variety of missions?there was never a dull moment. There are some very large battles that take place, and you get to be right in the middle of all the action. My only complaint is the story is too short. You will complete the main storyline in well under 20 hours. You can extend the game time by reading all the news reports that come in, reading your logbook, and reading about all the commodities, ships, and weapons. I highly recommend at least reading the news stories and logbook because they follow the storyline.

Graphics

From the space stations, to the ships, and especially the view in space, the graphics in the game are stunning. I\'ll admit, there is nothing bleeding edge, but Digital Anvil gave an absolutely beautiful portrayal of your environment. And it looks great on older cards too. You can run the game 1024x768x16 on a GeForce 2MX with no slow downs. Digital Anvil has done a great job to make each area have its own look. One place may appear as black with lots of stars. Another system will be sky blue with small puffs of clouds. And yet another will be a rustic orange with fog so thick, you can barely make out what\'s in front of you. Within the systems, there are areas with asteroid fields, ice fields, metal scrap fields, and gas clouds all adding to the visuals. The cutscenes have to be some of the best I have ever seen. The characters have good facial expressions (eyebrows move, lips, cheeks, etc.). But what make them really special are the cinematic techniques they have used. There are fancy and unique camera moves and angles, unlike any I\'ve seen before in a game. The scenes truly have a cinematic feel.

Sound

The sounds up in space are well done. The in-space chatter (messages from other characters) is nice and adds to a feeling you are part of a live world. The mixture between the explosions, the weapons firing, and the voice chatter are handled very well. The music adds to the game, and there is lots of it. A little over 100 different music files! Each system seems to have its own set of music. Many planets have their own set of music. There is music for battles, space, planets/spacestations?the music never stops. And when the fighting gets fierce, the battle music really helps set the pace. The voice acting is all very well done and convincing. Overall, I was very pleased with the acting.

Interface

Digital Anvil did a nice job with making everything very accessible. Everything is easily accessible with your left hand on the keyboard and right hand using the mouse. It\'s very easy to get used to.

Christian Perspective

As a space-sim, you will get to blow up spaceships. The cut scenes include shootings and killing people. There are many uses of the \'D\' word and \'H\' word, and a use of \'S.O.B\', not abbreviated. There are also small sexual innuendos in one cut scene. One regarding Trent (the main character) arriving on the planet with two women. In addition, there is bribery involved at times. Someone may offer to change your stance with particular factions...for a price. The use of alcohol and cigarettes is also depicted. There is also a cut scene with a character who has telepathic ability and fortune telling. He mumbles on about being able to read Trent\'s mind and he knows what his future holds. Trent essentially ignores the guy and doesn\'t believe in it. On the flip-side, the game shows the importance of sacrifice. There is also a strong sense to persevere and stand your ground. The main character, Trent, does not partake in any of the cigarette smoking, and I believe only takes one sip of beer.

Stability

The game does have several stability issues. Of course not everyone has ALL the problems, but here are some I have run across. Keep in mind, I am not the only one with these problems. If I turn on anti-aliasing, my screen gets pixilated and jumbled upon exiting the game. Many times, when a sound is just about to play, there is a split second freeze in the game. Minor, but annoying. One I did not experience, but has been a HUGE issue is a problem where people are not getting any sound. There is a published solution to this. There is also a stability issue with the servers. I believe there is a memory leak and most servers need a reboot each day. But Digital Anvil is working on a server patch already. We\'ll have to wait and see what happens.

Conclusion

OK. So there\'s some good action, a great single-player story/campaign, some sweet graphics, but what happens after the single-player campaign? Although the game has an open-ended feel, this comes with limitations. The limitations are in the types of missions. Most of the random missions you will take deal with going out to a sector in space, shooting down the enemy, and landing on a space station or planet to accept your next mission. In some cases, you may also need to shoot down a weapons platform or a space station, but in general, they are very similar. I would have liked to see many more types of missions. Things like escorting ships and co-ops where you destroy large battleships. Even so, the missions are a lot of fun. And as you increase in level and take on more difficult missions, the enemy ships become trickier and smarter. Plus, with the asteroids flying around, smoke clouds, and just the beauty of space, there is enough eye candy to keep you wanting more. The game longevity is really up to you. Will you be interested in finding new places and continue to level up your character? For me, it was a definite YES. But others may feel after the single-player campaign, \'What\'s left?\' I have made an effort to go beyond the single-player story and create my own extended story. I am finding some of the coolest looking space stations and planet docks. Yes, the missions tend to be similar, but there is enough variety in the scenery and enemy AI to make each mission as enjoyable as the last. I\'ve logged well over 40 hours in the game, and I probably haven\'t even discovered half of what\'s out there. You can also join a multi-player server and team up with a group and take on missions or buddy up on trade routes. I\'d also like to note there are new mods coming out which include new ships (a T.I.E. Fighter included!!!!), new planets, modifications to weapons, ships, and more. If you have shied away from space-sims in the past, I strongly suggest you give Freelancer a try. The demo is a great place to start. It is a good example of what you will expect in the full game.

Final Ratings

Graphics A- Game play A- Sound B+ Interface A Stability B- Offensive Content B-

Overall 84% B

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Christ Centered Gamer looks at video games from two view points. We analyze games on a secular level which will break down a game based on its graphics, sound, stability and overall gaming experience. If you’re concerned about the family friendliness of a game, we have a separate moral score which looks at violence, language, sexual content, occult references and other ethical issues.

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