With Homefront The Revolution on the way, I thought I would revisit a similar type game, and one which I consider one of my favourite games I have ever played. IO Interactive’s Freedom Fighters. Releasing in 2003, it put you in charge of running a resistance force against the Soviet Union who have occupied New York City.
Freedom Fighters is a third person shooter which also used squad mechanics, although gameplay mechanics have come a long way since the game’s release. By building up charisma and completing missions, you could increase the size of your squad and bring more fighters into combat with you. What made the game special for me though, was the way the missions affected one another.
For example, attacking the Soviet’s ammo dump in one mission, will mean the opposition forces would be less equipped in another area when you go to attack that. Take out the Soviet helicopters at the helipads, and you’ll find less choppers grieving you on another mission. You had a choice of three to four missions in any given area, and set could be tackled in any order you wanted. It was fantastic for its time.
You played as a guy called Chris Stone, who was just a plumber alongside his brother in New York. The Soviet’s began occupying the city and while you escaped to the safety with another civilian, your brother was captured. Along with a ragtag bunch of resistance fighters, you work your way through the city using the sewer system to rescue your brother and other freedom fighters. You soon become the notorious ‘Freedom Phantom’, recognised by the Soviet’s propaganda TV broadcasts, and of course you attack that tv station at some point in the game.
Freedom Fighters is the video game equivalent of Red Dawn, either of the films, and despite being a fantastic third person shooter and a brilliant premise, it didn’t sell well enough. Instead of an overdue sequel, IO Interactive went on to develop Kane & Lynch as well as its sequel. In 2011, IO Interactive’s Twitter account tweeted that Freedom Fighters 2 is “definitely something a lot of us are interested in doing”.
Freedom Fighters released for Xbox, PlayStation 2, Gamecube and PC, and to this day is a bit of a cult classic. Just writing about it now makes me want to find a copy and dive in again, and the soundtrack by Jesper Kyd (Assassin’s Creed, Borderlands 2, State of Decay to name a few) added to the experience.