#406 Freespace 2

Posted: 8th September 2021 by Jeroen in Games
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996th played so far

Genre: Shoot ‘Em Up
Platform: PC
Year of Release: 1999
Developer: Volition
Publisher: Interplay Entertainment

I covered Descent a little while ago as an odd blast from the past. That game got a couple of sequels until we got Descent: Freespace, which started to take place in an open space rather than constrained bases and meteors. That series seem to have gotten the subsequent sequels, dropping the Descent name, and one of those games is what we are covering today.

Our Thoughts

It feels like I’ve ended up with all the in-space dog fighting games at the end this time – I’ve got one of the kings of the genre still coming up as my final shooter in a few months time. At least Freespace 2 appears to have more of a story than Star Wars: X-Wing vs Tie Fighter. It’s a pretty standard space war, but there is a lot more to it. Just as Supreme Commander had its story develop during its missions, Freespace 2 integrates its story into the mission. One example I quite liked is how a large ship shows up as part of an asteroid during one mission, but it warps away before you can destroy. It comes back later, where you are forced to fail an objective to take it out to reinforce your questions about your superiors.

That’s a neat idea and added to that is that the game is a lot easier to get into compared to earlier games. The interface is more readable and feels easier to control. Perhaps it’s almost too easy, as it feels like the training between missions gets really drawn out. Every time you get a new craft, you get dropped into an explanation that takes a while, and it feels the need to keep repeating the same lesson on targeting each time with very slight, mostly unimportant variations. I wish we didn’t quite have that – a quicker explanation would have meant there was more to actually enjoy here.

Final Thoughts

I’ll have to admit that this game moving this far away from the original setting of Descent is a downside in my book, as we have so many games like this on the list. Freespace 2 is on the more playable side of this, and feels like a good predecessor of later games that take the formula further, such as X3: Reunion. If it wasn’t for the tutorials that got too boring, I would have left it.