Some of you may remember that a few years ago, I reviewed Freedom Force, one of my favorite games, for my birthday. Well guess what? There’s a sequel! (singing) Happy birthday to me, here’s Freedom Force vs the Third Reich for the PC.
As some of you may remember, Freedom Force was heavily inspired by the silver age of comic books. So, what was the logical direction for Irrational Games (now both the developers and producers here) to go in to make this game even better? The golden age of comics! The plan was basically to have Minute Man bust open some Nazi skulls just like his obvious inspirations of Superman and Captain America to have a better tale. So does this game succeed in its goal? Weeeeelllll… Let me explain the plot first.
The game starts off some time after the events of the last game. With Time Master disabled and no immediate threat, most of the members of Freedom Force have disbanded. But suddenly, they learn that one of their old foes, Nuclear Winter, has taken advantage of the Time Master powers from his inert body to steal some missiles during the Cuba missile crisis in order to start a nuclear war. His plan is that he would not only survive this, but be powered by it and be able to take over the world (“OF COURSE!”). Not much of a spoiler here, but the good guys win; Nuclear Winter is taken into custody and Time Master’s body is returned. Or so our heroes think. Once they leave, we see they have been deceived by a new villain; Blitzkrieg. While on their way back to the Freedom Fortress, he uses Time Master’s powers to change the events of history. Once they get back, they see that they now live in a world where the Axis Powers won the second world war. Mentor informs the Freedom Force that they must travel back in time and correct the time stream.
The story is… alright. But see, part of what I liked most about the original Freedom Force is that it was rather episodic; sure there was an overarching plot, but you could just play individual levels and enjoy them on their own. Here, most of the game is concentrated on just the one story and villain. It’s well done, but it’s just not what I liked about Freedom Force. Simply put, it tries to be too serious when the first game concentrated on the fun parts of the super hero genre and it lacks personality because of this.
The game play is pretty much the same as the previous game, but tweaked here and there. For those of you who missed my review of the first game, Freedom Force is a real-time RPG; all actions happen in real time, but each character has individual stats that will affect the battle and they will level up if they gain enough experience. Attacks will use part of your Energy X meter, and when you’re too low, it can stun you. You’re given missions to accomplish on each level and you’ll receive prestige points depending on how well you did (these go towards recruiting more heroes). For more in-depth details and critiques, you’ll have to listen to the review of the first game, but I think I just about covered it there.
So, what’s changed? Well, some of the new super powers are really different; now you get moves where you can change people into potted plants, possess baddies and other pretty cool abilities. Also, the Energy X meters have been sectioned off into 3, which allows you to see more precisely how much of it an attack will use. Some of the attributes have also been balanced out, so now anyone with a “flesh” base (which is 90% of the characters you’re given) won’t be super weak against poison. Other than that and maybe a few other small things, I can’t think of too much they changed; I guess if it’s not broken, why fix it?Freedom Force vs the Third Reich had the big disadvantage of following up a game with very minimal plot in it; how do continue on that without just repeating yourselves? The things to like about this game are what returns and what’s been improved. The things that fall flat though are what’s been added, namely the new villains, heroes and setting: it’s just a bit too serious and plays it very straight, like it’s just not having as much fun anymore. Still, this is a great game and I think it can be found new very easily. I recommend playing Freedom Force beforehand, and if you like it, playing this one, but like I said, they’re both great. I give Freedom Force vs the Third Reich for the PC 9 levels out of 10.