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View Full Version : Wot's the playability? Freelancer



squareking
03-11-2011, 05:45 PM
I've only fairly recently stumbled into space sims via Freespace 2 and X3, but I'm looking for one that pushes all the right buttons. X3 is so close to activating the pleasure nodes, but it's too fiddly for my tastes. Dark Horizon, Black Prophecy, et al look fantastic but don't appear to offer enough meat to sink one's teeth. I've noticed Freelancer is accepted as the end-all-be-all in this area and I'm curious what makes it so. I've watched a handful of minutes of an LP, which equated to wonky cutscenes and awesomely bad voice acting, but not much by way of surviving in space (likely won't get there without watching an hour or so, I'd imagine).

Anyone have stories? I like stories.

mrpier
03-11-2011, 05:58 PM
Freelancer was a good enough game I suppose, but as a space sim I prefer Freespace 2 by a good margin.

Giaddon
03-11-2011, 06:00 PM
Freelancer is... what? Freelancer is not really about "surviving in space." You basically have your story, and you can go on side missions (or stop to trade a bit, to get money to buy better things) but it's not Oblivion in space or anything. X3 is definitely the be all end all of that kind of thing.

But you should Play I-War 2 (http://www.gog.com/en/gamecard/independence_war_2)!

Also, check out this thread (http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/forums/showthread.php?697-Space-Trading-Exploration-Games&highlight=space-sim).

squareking
03-11-2011, 06:02 PM
Freelancer is... what? Freelancer is not really about "surviving in space." You basically have your story, and you can go on side missions (or stop to trade a bit, to get money to buy better things) but it's not Oblivion in space or anything. X3 is definitely the be all end all of that kind of thing.


I could be confusing what I've heard about Freelancer with something else, then. Very real possibility.

Gergin
03-11-2011, 06:15 PM
Freelancer is alright game but it has some problems. The one thing the game does do very well is exploration. There's a huge universe out there and you can explore all kinds of interesting locations. Find secret pirate bases deep in some ice field or a wormhole surrounded by a radioactive cloud that takes you half way across the universe. There's wrecks to find that have unique and powerful weapons. The main issue I have with the game is once you get the "best" ship in the game fitted with the "best" weapons, there's nothing to do with it. There's no station building, no empires, you can't infleunce the game world in any way with your uber ship which makes the end game meaningless. The journey is fun but once you're at the end, you're done with the game.

My advice is, if you're looking for space action shooty goodness, grab Freespace 2 and the Freespace Open Source Project. It's generally regarded as the best space shooter ever made and I will completely endorse that claim.

If you're looking for something with a bit more depth to it than Freelancer, grab Independence War 2.

vinraith
03-11-2011, 11:08 PM
I found Freelancer impossibly, absurdly difficult and I've never been able to figure out why. Most people don't seem to have this problem, and I've never had trouble with other space shooters of this stripe. I spent a great deal of time trying to figure out what I was doing wrong, but ultimately I could never make it much past the "American" Sector of the game.

DigitalSignalX
03-11-2011, 11:23 PM
Anyone have stories? I like stories.

For a long time I've been an armchair Eve Online enthusiast so to speak, having never played more than an hour or so of the game. The various community forums, screenshot/video sites and blogs are full of interesting stories revolving around various combat events, politics, subterfuge and endless drama. I've often said that Eve is probably more fun to read about then actually play.

vinraith
03-11-2011, 11:28 PM
I've often said that Eve is probably more fun to read about then actually play.

I'm entirely certain that's true. Most the game play seems to be pure drudgery, but the stories that game generates are spectacular.

airtekh
03-11-2011, 11:39 PM
I really love Freelancer, it has a special place in my gaming memories. I keep meaning to come back to it and try a few mods out but I always get distracted (also I'd have to fish around in my attic to find the disc).

Part of the reason I like it is the atmosphere. It feels like I'm in space. The ambient non-combat music is spot-on and really helps set the scene (I'm re-listening to it on youtube now!). As Gergin says, the exploration is one of the main draws (for me anyway) and the combat, while a bit too frequent and repetitive, is simple enough to get to grips with. Part of the reason I bought it way back when was that I didn't need a joystick to play it: the mouse and keyboard based controls are excellent. I really liked the story in the game too.

Danny252
03-11-2011, 11:42 PM
For a long time I've been an armchair Eve Online enthusiast so to speak, having never played more than an hour or so of the game. The various community forums, screenshot/video sites and blogs are full of interesting stories revolving around various combat events, politics, subterfuge and endless drama. I've often said that Eve is probably more fun to read about then actually play.

It really can be that way, yes. I always played it for the people, rather than the actual game.

(Hence why I skulk around on my alliance's forums with 2 inactive accounts...)

Drake Sigar
03-11-2011, 11:47 PM
I found Freelancer impossibly, absurdly difficult and I've never been able to figure out why. Most people don't seem to have this problem, and I've never had trouble with other space shooters of this stripe. I spent a great deal of time trying to figure out what I was doing wrong, but ultimately I could never make it much past the "American" Sector of the game.
Mission 3, right? Since you can pick up where you left off with the story missions at any time, it's usually wise to take a few more jobs on the side to outfit your ship, especially with nanobots and shield batteries which are basically the instant health potions of space.

arathain
03-11-2011, 11:53 PM
I didn't play all that much Freelancer- it didn't click with me, and never felt very physical- but do remember the point at which I lost interest was a fairly hefty difficulty spike. I felt like, even though I was with several other ships, all the enemies were targeting me.

vinraith
03-11-2011, 11:53 PM
Mission 3, right? Since you can pick up where you left off with the story missions at any time, it's usually wise to take a few more jobs on the side to outfit your ship, especially with nanobots and shield batteries which are basically the instant health potions of space.

It's been awhile and I honestly don't remember. I was definitely taking a fair volume of side jobs, though, and buying defenses. I distinctly remember the last couple of missions in the American Sector requiring at least a dozen replays, until I finally squeaked by them, only to find that stepping foot in "British" space was basically instant death.

Drake Sigar
04-11-2011, 12:03 AM
Hmm, I don't know what to say! Perhaps you were using a cargo ship instead of a fighter? The cargo ship's extra shields and weapons are no compensation at all for the loss of maneuverability, it's almost impossible to fly combat missions with them.

I got through the entire game without using missile launchers, mines, or even countermeasures. That's not bravado on my part, but rather a reflection on Freelancer's overall difficulty.

vinraith
04-11-2011, 12:19 AM
I don't recall every having the money to purchase a new ship, so I think I was always flying whatever it was you start in.

Drake Sigar
04-11-2011, 01:00 AM
I think purchasing a new ship is more important than upgrading weapons. It's best to just buy a couple of average guns and transfer them to the next fighter.

Ship > nano & shield batteries > weapons.

On an unrelated note - Jennifer Hale.

vinraith
04-11-2011, 01:09 AM
I think purchasing a new ship is more important than upgrading weapons. It's best to just buy a couple of average guns and transfer them to the next fighter.

Ship > nano & shield batteries > weapons.

On an unrelated note - Jennifer Hale.

Maybe that was it. Again, it's been long enough I can't remember, but I was obviously doing something very wrong if the game isn't supposed to be particularly difficult. Hmm, an excuse to break out a free roaming space game, that's not a bad thing at all. Thanks Drake!

Any graphics mods I should know about?

Wooly Wugga Wugga
04-11-2011, 06:18 AM
Freelancer is... what? Freelancer is not really about "surviving in space." You basically have your story, and you can go on side missions (or stop to trade a bit, to get money to buy better things) but it's not Oblivion in space or anything. X3 is definitely the be all end all of that kind of thing.

But you should Play I-War 2 (http://www.gog.com/en/gamecard/independence_war_2)!

Also, check out this thread (http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/forums/showthread.php?697-Space-Trading-Exploration-Games&highlight=space-sim).


I've got a different opinion about I-War 2. I found the learning curve to be a vertical cliff (Starting the player off outside a station which nerfs your ship and having you go against a vastly superior force was just stupid.) and I got rdiculously frustrated with the game before getting the opportunity to get into it.

If you can pick up the second Wing Commander Privateer (The one with Clive Owen) you're going to have an awesome time.

As for Freelancer I thought it was a really fun, balanced game but the lack of joystick support was disappointing.

csuzw
04-11-2011, 10:46 AM
There is definitely a widescreen mod for Freelancer knocking about somewhere that is very useful these days.

The difficulty can be nasty because the enemy definitely swarms you and ignores allies mostly. There is a mostly non-cheat way that you can make things little easier though: Find wrecks. They're scattered around the place, usually in very dangerous areas, but if you can scavenge them you'll usually get very powerful weapons or very valuable cargo that you can sell to buy very powerful weapons or ships. You can definitely reach at least 1 very early on. I'd advise finding an online guide for location though as they're not easy to find by random wandering.

Vexing Vision
04-11-2011, 12:43 PM
Everyone in this thread should play Terminus.

Newtonian physics influenced by the weight and load of your ship, a full real time 24 hour storyline with branching storypoints that depend almost entirely on your performance during the missions.

It's brilliant.

Veracity
04-11-2011, 10:04 PM
Is that (Terminus) the one about a Mars rebellion, or something? I remember thinking that was the least bad of a few I tried out but never followed up that suffered mostly from not being Independence War.

Freelancer's horrid, but quite a lot of people like it, so I'll just leave it be. The X-Wing/TIE Fighter series is probably the closest to Freespace if you want the WW2 in space with no ground and no stalling thing. That or Wing Commander - Privateer's definitely worth a look if you like Elite knock-offs.

Durkonkell
07-11-2011, 06:15 PM
I loved Freelancer. The mouse-and-keyboard based combat and shiphandling worked well for me - I don't have a joystick - and the universe was massive, handcrafted and astonishingly detailed.

If there is one thing that I thought Freelancer really excelled at, it is the exploration and system design. Every single star system was unique in layout and there was a ton of stuff to find and explore. Take the New York system for example. You start here in the main game, and the demo is set here.

Ah, the demo! One system out of about 50 in the full game. I spent hours in that one system. There's so much there! The badlands, ominous, atmospheric and filled with pirates. That mysterious minefield patrolled by the Liberty Navy. A battleship that you can land on! You could buy a really good heavy starfighter there. The planets with their unique surface areas and the spaceport bars! You meet people there and take missions or get information. I remember the voice work!

Player: Ey whadcha got?
NPC: Hello! I work for the.

NPC: LIBERTY NAVY!

NPC: We may not run this place, but we do have a sizable stake in its operation. Card?
Player: (silently hands over card)
NPC: Everything seems to be in order.
NPC: I don't have anything for you now. Come back later.
Player: ...

Actually, now I think about it it's probably best not to bring up the voice acting in the bars. You can disable those interactions in the menu. The voice work in the actual story part of the game is actually quite good if I remember correctly - Jennifer Hale's in there as one of the lead characters.

Anyway, I could be here for a while reminiscing about Freelancer. The different and interesting individual star systems is what really sets it apart from the X series and bloody Dark Star One with its copy and paste systems bollocks. If you like the idea of exploring a hand crafted environment and getting excited each time you get the access codes to go to a new place, you'll probably enjoy Freelancer. I should just have typed that, really...

squareking
07-11-2011, 06:28 PM
I spent some quality time with Freelancer this past weekend and it's pretty much right on target. Exploration is fantastic (though getting around is a bit slow) and the different systems are wonderful. I decided to use the Discovery mod (http://www.moddb.com/mods/discovery-freelancer) and jump in multiplayer so I can do the stuff without the story, which might not be the best idea for a FL noob. But it's enjoyable for sure.

However! I put an equal amount of quality time into X3:TC. It's just stupidly glorious. I really want to go back to Freelancer, to explore and learn how its world works and attempt to kick every available variation of ass out there. But, now that I've really spent a little time learning how X3 works, I think it could be a little more rewarding.

Hensler
07-11-2011, 07:33 PM
I always thought of Freelancer as being Diablo in space. It's even got red and blue health and mana potions. Great game that I've played a ton of, but definitely not a space-sim.

Peter Radiator Full Pig
07-11-2011, 07:53 PM
No space game descussion can be complete without mention of Escape Velocity! Great games. 2d, so I can play them on my shit laptop. Multiple story lines (though never too well written, enjoyable), fun combat and the ability to make worlds pay tribute to you.
It does have its flaws, I wish the systems were more interesting, but there are invariably something to fight in, visit a planet, or move to the next system.
Played 40 hours of X2. Couldnt imagine a worse game, unless it hooked electrodes up to your body and shocked you frequently. Never want to hear the words "Boron trading dolphin" spoken aloud again.

Smashbox
07-11-2011, 07:56 PM
No space game descussion can be complete without mention of Escape Velocity! Great games. 2d, so I can play them on my shit laptop. Multiple story lines (though never too well written, enjoyable), fun combat and the ability to make worlds pay tribute to you.
It does have its flaws, I wish the systems were more interesting, but there are invariably something to fight in, visit a planet, or move to the next system.

Mr. Radiator Full Pig is right. Escape Velocity is a Great! series.

redspielened
07-11-2011, 11:04 PM
I always find it amusing how people praise Freespace 2 but are so anti-Freelancer. The thing is, if you weren't born in a certain time then you'd have a hard time understanding and appreciating certain games. Just like you'd have numberless people banding on about how great Planescape or some god forgotten rpg is/was, much has to do with when they played it and what they played before (because let's be honest, the gameplay of PS:T is at best mediocre by current standards, subjective and all that aside). Similarly, you'll have people hating on Freelancer about how it's so and so, not "really" a space sim or whatever else. It's hard to go play Freelancer now and be able to appreciate what it felt like to play it so many years ago. Freelancer had a great atmosphere, it had a lot of freedom for you to go about and make your own fortune, the voice acting and sounds were great, graphically it's beautiful, all the little connections with cultures from reality gave it a certain edge that felt just right, the narrative wasn't bad at all and it really left me with that lingering sense of impending doom right from the start, it had a very conspiracyesq feeling that I could only recently feel again when seeing Rubicon, up until the very end during the last mission when I actually felt that the world was gonna be possessed by pure evil. Not to say anything about the various mods which made the game all the better. But there was always something you could discover, somewhere to go and explore, the combat system was arcadeish - which for me was all the better; but it was fun! Most of all though, the interactions and the world had a sort of authenticity about it which was what made it so good for me. X2 had this in a way too, but it was a more.. to use a literary analogy, Freelancer had the feeling of Romanticism, while X2 was going more towards the Naturalist tradition.

As all games though, once you grow up, the spell of gaming fades in power and it will take other things to lure you in. For 2011, if you're over 16, Freelancer is more miss than hit, but nothing's to stop you from getting a taste and deciding for yourself; often it is better to read less about games and play them, lest you become contaminated by the opinions of others and spoil your experience.
Though, take what I say with a grain of salt, what makes a gaming experience memorable (positively) is based on certain factors which are tied to you only and no matter how well you'd talk about or describe it, it won't be the same case for anyone else. So when someone says a game is good, bad, whatever, don't think about it too much, it has little relevance and some people only talk so the earth won't forget them. :)

Drake Sigar
07-11-2011, 11:13 PM
Ah, the demo! One system out of about 50 in the full game. I spent hours in that one system. There's so much there! The badlands, ominous, atmospheric and filled with pirates. That mysterious minefield patrolled by the Liberty Navy. A battleship that you can land on! You could buy a really good heavy starfighter there. The planets with their unique surface areas and the spaceport bars! You meet people there and take missions or get information. I remember the voice work!

Player: Ey whadcha got?
NPC: Hello! I work for the.

NPC: LIBERTY NAVY!

NPC: We may not run this place, but we do have a sizable stake in its operation. Card?
Player: (silently hands over card)
NPC: Everything seems to be in order.
NPC: I don't have anything for you now. Come back later.
Player: .....
Thank god for the job board.

jquinn914
08-11-2011, 02:32 AM
So.... As far as X3 goes.. are there any cons to Terran Conflict? and is Gold worth picking up?

squareking
09-11-2011, 12:53 AM
So.... As far as X3 goes.. are there any cons to Terran Conflict? and is Gold worth picking up?

It is glacially paced and requires commitment, but TC's interface is actually quite intuitive and the universe is flexible. It's a German trading game at heart, it seems, so take that into consideration as well. It's also gorgeous.

Personally, I'd just grab TC. It seems to be the best evolution of the series.