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FreeSpace 2

Score: 90%
ESRB: Teen
Publisher: Interplay
Developer: Volition
Media: CD/2
Players: 1 - 8
Genre: Action/ Online

Graphics & Sound:

My God. FreeSpace 2 is, without a doubt, the most gorgeous space sim game I have ever played, and perhaps one of the most gorgeous games out there. The ship models are fantastically realistic, some of them miles and miles long, the smaller ones having tons of detail as well. The nebulae are gorgeous and realistic. Your weapons look great. The beam weapons look great. This is graphic gorgeousness at its best. Fly towards the sun and you experience whiteout. I canít express the beauty of this game in mere words -- it really must be seen for yourself.

The sound effects complement this graphical beauty well -- not over the top, just the right sounds for the right effects. The explosions are good sounding (albeit entirely unrealistic for space, but arenít they always?), the weapons sound great. The voice-acting in this game is superb as well, neither over-the-top or understated.

The in-game menus are the same things youíve seen since Wing Commander, but theyíre pretty as well, and get the job done. This game is just gorgeous. Of course, do great graphics mean great gameplay?


Gameplay:

In FreeSpace 2ís case, the answer is a resounding, ďHell yeah!Ē The original FreeSpace was a tight space sim that took all the good bits from the other games out there and melded it to make a damned fine game. FreeSpace 2 improves on that formula even more, and in the end, it comes out with something that is just so damned fun you wonít want to put it down. Youíre fighting the Shivans again, along with a splinter group of the Terran Alliance, and the twisty and turny plot takes you into new realms of gameplay goodness. Fly inside nebulae, where your shipís systems can be shut down because of the electromagnetic clouds. Watch capitol ships get blown to smithereens by large beam weapons taken right out of anime space battles. Command multitudes of wingmen to do your bidding, and watch them do it -effectively- (well, generally). Yeah. This is what space combat is all about. And if youíre stuck on a mission, after five attempts it lets you pass it up. Volition took the genre to the core of its being -- gameplay, gameplay, gameplay. The missions are easy at times, and damned hard at others, but you want to just keep playing, keep playing, to find out everything that you can.

There are lots of new ships that werenít in the first game, but the old standbys make their appearances too. Youíll be drawn into the story, and when you blow up the umpteenth fighter that just sub-spaced its way in, youíll feel like you accomplished something. This is what space combat is all about, folks. Fun unhindered by poor controls and poor graphics. And FreeSpace 2 has got it all.


Difficulty:

Some missions are terribly easy. Some missions are terribly hard. What do you expect? FreeSpace 2 is a space combat sim. You know the drill. Expect to be frustrated as hell, especially if youíre a perfectionist that refuses to use the skip-level feature. But thatís part of the fun, neh?

Game Mechanics:

My only qualm with FreeSpace 2, and itís a rather large one, unfortunately, is that for it to run with any sense of decency, youíve got to put a good gigabyte of datum on your hard drive. Yeah. A gig. The in-game battle briefing movies, if not put on the hard drive, slowed my system down to a crawl. So prepare to just clean everything else you have on the computer off for this game. Itís worth it, believe me, but itís still a rather annoying thing to have to do.

Iím weird. I play these sorts of games with mouse and keyboard instead of the normally-requisite control joysticks and such. And let me tell you, the controls are amazingly tight. Sure, I have to sling my mouse around a bit, but thatís just a consequence of the controls I use. This gameís controls are tight. The HUD is so infinitely configurable that you could spend hours setting it up -- but the best part is that Volition already has, and within half a second, you can determine every vital bit of information you could possibly need from the on-screen display. If thereís one thing that can be said about FreeSpace 2, itís that it oozes tight execution.

Great graphics. Great gameplay. Great mechanics. What more can you ask for? Get this game now. You wonít regret it. Volition has really outdone themselves with FreeSpace 2, and if youíre even remotely interested in multi-disc space epics, this game must be yours. Sure, it sucks hard drive space like Bill Gatesí software sucks RAM, but itís worth every meg. And then some.


-Sunfall to-Ennien, GameVortex Communications
AKA Phil Bordelon

Minimum System Requirements:



Pentium 200, Windows 95/98/NT, 32 MB RAM, 400MB HD space, 8X CD-ROM, DirectSound-capable card, 3D Accelerator
 

Test System:



Windows 98 running on a K6-III 450 w/ 256MB RAM, 6x24 DVD-ROM drive, SoundBlaster Live!, Creative Labs Riva TNT2 Ultra w/32MB RAM

Windows Half-Life 2 Windows FreeSpace 2: Sci-Fim Sim of the Year Edition

 
Game Vortex :: PSIllustrated