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Freespace 2

by Interplay
Windows NT / 98 / 2000 / Me / 95
Everyone
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews) 91 / 100


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Product Details

  • Shipping: This item is also available for shipping to select countries outside the U.S.
  • ASIN: B00002EPYV
  • Media: Video Game
  • Release Date: October 5, 1999
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #27,648 in Video Games (See Top 100 in Video Games)
  • Discontinued by manufacturer: Yes

Product Description

Amazon.com

The drama of the award-winning space-combat simulation of '98 continues in Freespace 2, featuring massive juggernaut warships, jaw-dropping visual effects, and white-knuckle dogfight action. Explore a vast, enigmatic nebula and battle a mysterious adversary to determine the fate of humanity. The year is 2367. Thirty-two years have passed since the Great War. The only jump node to Sol collapsed long ago, isolating Earth from the Galactic Terran-Vasudan Alliance (GTVA), a new government uniting old enemies. As the Terrans and Vasudans struggle to rebuild their civilizations, civil war erupts in the Polaris system. A rogue Terran admiral declares war against the Vasudans, and his rebellion threatens the stability of the Alliance. Without warning, the Shivans return, and the GTVA launches a crusade to eliminate their Great War nemesis. Once again, the Alliance must crush the Shivan onslaught or face annihilation.

Review

Since the early 1990s, Totally Games' X-Wing series and Origin Systems' Wing Commander series have maintained a stranglehold on the space-sim genre. Until last year, the space sims released by other companies were derivative of those two series yet generally had less impressive graphics, substandard gameplay, and dull plots. But some worthy challengers finally appeared in 1998 when Particle Systems unveiled Independence War and Volition released Descent: Freespace.

Of those two contenders, Independence War was more original, as it featured a complex physics-modeling system and put you in charge of a large capital ship. Descent: Freespace was more of a traditional space sim, as it effectively cannibalized the best elements of the genre's classics in addition to providing an outstanding interface and several other refreshing innovations. But while Particle Systems' follow-up game, Independence War Deluxe, was a mild disappointment, Volition's FreeSpace 2 is an outstanding sequel that significantly improves upon its enjoyable predecessor. Even if Totally Games had not effectively abandoned its X-Wing franchise earlier this year, and Origin had not decided to focus solely on multiplayer games, there's no doubt there's a new king in town. FreeSpace 2 is one of the best space sims ever made and is a solid candidate for game of the year.

FreeSpace 2 picks up 32 years after the events of the original game. In Descent: Freespace, a 14-year war between Terrans and Vasudans was rudely interrupted by the appearance of an ominous and technologically superior race, dubbed the Shivans. To avoid extinction, the Terrans and Vasudans were forced to set aside their differences and forge a desperate alliance. Even though Descent: Freespace concentrated most of its plot developments into the first third of the game, the story ended effectively, granting the isolated remnants of the Terran and Vasudan civilizations a Pyrrhic victory. The plot of FreeSpace 2 ties deeply into the events of the original game, but new players can quickly learn what they missed through the game's comprehensive and interesting database. The Terrans and Vasudans remain allied and have rebuilt their societies, but their harmony is disrupted when a rogue group of Terrans secedes from the alliance because of its apparent distrust of the Vasudans. When the Shivans burst back into alliance space, the Terrans and Vasudans are suddenly faced with war on two fronts. But the alliance has had a generation to prepare for the reappearance of the Shivans and has spent that time developing formidable weaponry. Has the alliance now surpassed the mysterious Shivans? What are the real motivations of the xenophobic, secessionist Terrans? Will the alliance discover a way to reestablish contact with Earth, which was lost after the events of the original game? The complex plot of FreeSpace 2 is often surprising and consistently captivating.

As in the original, the story unfolds in FreeSpace 2 through a combination of mission and command briefings, sporadic cutscenes, and, most effectively, through events depicted within actual missions. Gameplay in FreeSpace 2 will be very familiar to Freespace veterans, but there are several significant improvements. You'll still pilot fighters and bombers, but the capital ships in the game have been made considerably more dangerous. The cruisers and destroyers weren't exactly puny in the first game, but they're positively gigantic in FreeSpace 2, and unlike in many space sims, the capital ships are as deadly as their ominous size suggests. Almost all the capital ships in the game are now equipped with powerful beam weapons similar to those that were on the Shivan dreadnought, the Lucifer, in the original game. The main beam weapons are primarily used in battles between capital ships, but most of the larger ships are also stocked with smaller, anti-fighter beam weapons. Capital ships have been decked out in flak cannons as well, which let them make quick work of bombers and fighters foolish enough to wander in range. They are also still equipped with laser turrets and missile silos as in the original game, collectively making capital ships flying fortresses you'll learn to fear.

But best of all, the capital ships in FreeSpace 2 aren't relegated to being exotic targets for your bombing runs. Too often in space sims there's very little contact between opposing capital ships. However, in almost every FreeSpace 2 mission capital ships will end up clashing with each other, adding an epic feel to the overall conflict and the individual battles. It's highly entertaining just to sit back and watch these titans pound away at each other, ripping through each other with their tremendous beam weapons. FreeSpace 2 is the first space sim to depict epic capital-ship battles in a manner that both plausibly reflects their importance and demonstrates their raw power in an entertaining fashion.

It would be even less plausible if the Shivans, a race that has effectively stalked through galaxies for thousands of years, redesigned its forces every few years. Accordingly, almost all the Shivan ships encountered in the original game return in FreeSpace 2. But there's no shortage of new Shivan ships either, and their existence is easily justified on the basis that the Terrans and Vasudans only encountered a small portion of the Shivan forces in the original game. Ship design is just another example of how Volition has carefully crafted a believable and constantly engaging gameworld.

Another notable addition is the nebula in which you initially encounter the Shivans. The nebula is beautifully depicted and envelops the entire screen, limiting your line of sight and making navigation difficult. Certain areas of the nebula are subject to entertaining but harmless energy flashes, and other areas are prone to EMP pulses that completely disrupt your HUD. The graphics in Descent: Freespace garnered plenty of well-deserved accolades even though they were limited to 640x480 resolution and were consistently quite dark, but FreeSpace 2's graphics are fantastic. A new high-resolution 1024x768 option has been added, and 32-bit color depth is supported if you have a capable video card. The game requires 3D acceleration, but it's used to good effect to depict the nebula, beam weapons, flak bursts, and the most impressive explosions yet seen in a space sim.

Mission design is varied and almost uniformly excellent throughout the game. Objectives change in response to scripted events, and there's plenty of wingmen chatter to further develop the plot and give context to mission events. There are very few missions in the game that are as simple as the "kill all the enemies you encounter" type commonly encountered in space sims. There's almost always a twist or two in each mission, but the missions are beatable and almost never feel puzzle-like as they do in some other games with heavily scripted missions, such as Independence War. FreeSpace 2's campaign is linear, but rather than having to play each mission until you succeed, you can skip the ones you've failed five times or more, which should appease gamers who are easily frustrated.

The game's interface is virtually unchanged from Descent: Freespace, but if there was ever an appropriate use for the cliché "if it ain't broke, don't fix it," it's to describe Freespace's outstanding interface. Valuable information that is rarely displayed in space sims, such as the status of craft being escorted, is accessible at a glance. The HUD lets you instantly identify craft that are targeting your ship, the heading of missiles homing in on your ship, and your current target's relative orientation to your ship. The interface used by the Freespace games was clearly designed by experienced space-sim players, and as a result, it's just about perfect. As in the original game, the interface is also completely customizable, and you can even useyour own pilot picture for multiplayer opponents to grow to detest. And force-feedback joystick support gives afterburner thrusts a tangible feel and physically rebukes you for colliding with other craft.

While Descent: Freespace promised a plethora of multiplayer features, its multiplayer aspects didn't work well, at least not in the game's initial release. Online lag was a real problem, and Volition was exceedingly optimistic in contemplating 12-player conflicts. But lag is now handled much more effectively, making multiplayer battles a lot more fun, especially if you're fortunate enough to have a high-speed Internet connection. You can find plenty of games to join on the free Parallax Online servers, which also maintain comprehensive pilot statistics records. (Volition actually threw a couple of the pilots who had racked up the most impressive records with Descent: Freespace into one FreeSpace 2 campaign mission.) Even more interesting is the addition of Squad War, another free multiplayer service that lets squads of pilots conquer other squads' territories, ultimately giving you the opportunity to dynamically change the gameworld in a way that massively multiplayer games have yet to permit. Finally, in addition to a lengthy campaign and the multiplayer options, FreeSpace 2 is also packaged with the latest edition of Volition's mission editor, which lets you craft and trade your own missions and campaigns. Very few games offer as much inherent value as FreeSpace 2.

All my complaints with the game are relatively minor. Wingmen and enemy AI have improved since Descent: Freespace, but they're still occasionally disappointing, as ships tend to collide with each other too frequently and then seem to become unable to accomplish their objectives. Capital-ship explosions aren't just eye candy and can be deadly to nearby fighters and bombers, but wingmen and enemies seem incapable of effectively dodging such effects. There's also no 800x600 resolution option, which will disappoint Voodoo2 owners in particular. If you don't have a powerful system and a capable video card, you'll have to play at 640x480 resolution, but even that resolution boasts graphics more impressive than those in Wing Commander: Prophecy or Descent: Freespace. The music and sound effects in FreeSpace 2 are both excellent, and 3D sound is well supported, although the game shipped with a bug in the A3D support. Fortunately, DirectSound can be chosen as a viable alternative. FreeSpace 2 is an outstanding game. It retains the outstanding customizability and interface of the original game and presents a more involving story and the best graphics seen in the genre to date. FreeSpace 2 also retains all the gameplay features that worked well in the original game and adds formidable new weapons, 32-bit color effects, and improved mission design. The inclusion of a variety of multiplayer options and a mission editor should also ensure that the game has plenty of longevity. Descent: Freespace was a solid game with the potential to be even greater, and that potential has been fully realized with FreeSpace 2. FreeSpace 2 is a true classic of the genre and one of the best games to be released this year.--Desslock

--Copyright ©1998 GameSpot Inc. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of GameSpot is prohibited. -- GameSpot Review


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best Space Sims I have seen! January 25, 2000
Looking for a game that combines the best of all space simulators in one package? Then try Freespace 2! Freespace 2 is an AWESOME, fast-paced space simulator that is "very simular" to a wild combination of Descent, Star Wars, Star Trek, and the best space movies that you can think of. The game's story plot is very cleaverly designed and is enjoyable. The missions are beautifully designed and well planned. The manufactures of this game have obviously put hours of careful thought into making this game of the best of the year. I wouldn't be surprised if this game doesn't continue to win big in the next year also. The game play is very smooth for Pentium III computers; excellent for those that are slower. I have a Pentium II 433 and the game play is still awesome! One thing that makes this game a winner is that it comes with a variety of very nice features that most space simulator packages don't come with. Some of these features are FREE multiplayer game-matching service, in-game chat rooms with multiple public / private channels, automatic statistics tracking, smooth game play, well designed missions, beautiful movie inserts, voice read mission debriefings, the actual game play is like being inside of a live movie (a little addicting, I must admit), mission builder, campaign builder, the ability to modify your missions by selecting your star fighter, equipment, weapons, etc. Another neat feature is that this game comes with a lot of movie clips and communication that occurs in the play time. It also comes with about 40 missions that are aways fun to replay. Missions can come out differently, which is always a welcomed feature. One extra feature (which I have already used is that the game is upgradeable. Read more ›
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Buy this game! December 10, 1999
By A Customer
This game is by far the best space sim out there. The graphics are incredible, but make sure you have a good 3D card (my 12MB VooDoo2 gets a little jerky at times). The storyline is captivating and well thought out. Anyone playing this game will not be disappointed.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
By now some you have already heard of or read reviews of FreeSpace 2, the sequel to the excellent Descent: FreeSpace-The Great War which was published by Interplay back in 1998. There aren't enough adjectives to describe this magnus opus but here are a few: breath-taking, immersive, nonpareil, magnificent, astounding, absolutely brilliant. First things first: FreeSpace 2 requires a Pentium 200MHz with a 3D accelerator card that supports either Glide, OpenGL, or Direct3D. I recommend at least a Pentium II 266MHz or higher and about 1 gig of hard drive space. The game's high resolution artwork supports 1024x768 in 32-bit color and the standard 640x480; 800x600 need not apply.
The game picks up 32 years after the original. The Terrans and Vasudans (the original enemies from the first game)have formed an alliance called the GTVC but a group of renegade Terrans called the New Terran Front have begun to shake things up. It gets worse: the nigh all-powerful Shivans make a return from the last game as well and add more fuel to this cosmic conflagration. As a GTVC pilot you will get to fly new Terran and Vasudan vessels as well as engage in epic dogfights against new Shivan craft. Locales now include nebulae which interfere with your ship's instruments but also your enemies' too.
This game has to be played to be really appreciated. On the hardware side of things EAX and A3D audio support are present and accounted for as well as force feedback. And to make things even merrier Interplay has recently released the game. It's called FreeSpace 2: Sci-Fi Sim of the Year Edition and it has 20 additional levels, which brings the total number to 50. There's also high resolution wallpaper and a few other goodies not found on the original CD
If you have even the faintest interest in computer games, or enjoy playing hardcore sci-fi sim combat games, then get FreeSpace 2. It will totally rock your world.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best Space Sim to Date December 23, 1999
Let's see, why would you want Freespace 2?

- Incredible gameplay
- Huge capital ships that are miles long
- Amazing graphics and sound
- 70 ships and 20 weapons
- An engaging plot
- Cooperative multiplayer SquadWar

I could use a lot of other adjectives to describe the wonder that is Freespace 2, but I leave that exercize up to you.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic! January 3, 2000
Look, there's nothing I can say that can do this game justice. Saying that the graphics are groundbreaking, the sound is excellent, and that it has an honest-to-<insert deity> plot that would actually make a fairly decent SF novel just doesn't capture the magnitude of this game.
Go to the Interplay website and download the playable demo. Afterwards, pick your jaw up off of the floor so that you can buy the full version.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
Where to start...well, I know I won't make a catch all neanderthal statement to the effect that this is the best game ever, (that is until the NEXT best game ever comes along), because it isn't. Freespace accomplishes many things by providing a solid story line to back up very impressive game play. Where Freespace might lack is in two small areas-lack of creativity for naming of vessels within the GTVN and the fact that no military structure would allow or stand for the sniveling and back talk that gets carried over in the com-traffic between fighters and capital ships. But these are minor quibbles to what lies in store for the player. Freespace 2 offers an expansive campaign with several missions that lead you from a civil war led by Admiral Aken Bosch (voice of Ronny Cox from Robocop & Total Recall), and his Neo-Terran Front faction to a resurgence of activity care of the Shivans, whom Bosch has somehow brokered a deal with. Where the missions shine is the player is never lacking anything to do, and the game borrows from both the Wing Commander and Star Wars games in mission design. However, unlike the other space combat sims, Freespace 2 never suffers from the worry of having to be all over the map in order to accomplish a mission. The flight model is much improved over the original game, though I think the GTVN fighters could be a little faster, even without the afterburners. Flight dynamics are second to none, the ships responsive, especially with a good joystick. Fighter choice, weapons and missiles are in good supply, and each have their different effects, though I would have preferred a little more discretion in outfitting my fighter in early missions. Read more ›
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars ... since I played the first Freespace and I'm not disappointed!
I've wanted this game since I played the first Freespace and I'm not disappointed!
Published 6 months ago by Ronin
2.0 out of 5 stars Great Game
This is a classic game for sure and I would recommend playing it. Giving one star because of the price. Why pay these ridiculous prices when you can just buy it on gog. Read more
Published 13 months ago by M. Murphy
5.0 out of 5 stars Next best thing to having a hangar of Space Fighters
Great action, with ability to make all kinds of adjustments to resolution, detail, etc. so that you can optimize for your hardware to get full enjoyment from the increasingly... Read more
Published on August 11, 2011 by Tommer
5.0 out of 5 stars FANTASTIC
This is a very well made game. Gameplay, music, story, and sounds. Barely any bugs at all. The makers of this game reallymade a good job on it. Read more
Published on December 7, 2010 by pvt. ramirez
5.0 out of 5 stars This game may be old but....
These games were the best space combat sims ever and that is why I am posting this because I still play these games in windows 7 yes that is right. Read more
Published on September 22, 2010 by D. A. WILLIAMS
5.0 out of 5 stars $5.99 at GOG.com
It's a great game; perhaps the best in the now-defunct space sim genre, but don't be ripped of by these used sellers. GOG. Read more
Published on April 16, 2009 by Chuck
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the Best
I still have this computer game to this day. This is honestly one of the best computer games I have ever played. I really loved the introduction of beam weapons in the game. Read more
Published on October 15, 2008 by B. Vick
5.0 out of 5 stars So good I wish they would make another one
I love this game and have played it through a number of times over the years. Not only were the graphics really good for its time, the game play was intense, the story well... Read more
Published on December 23, 2007 by Zarock
4.0 out of 5 stars Great game, I just wish I had gotten it sooner
This game is definately the best space flight game out there. It has great graphics and controls, along with an interesting storyline. Read more
Published on February 24, 2006
5.0 out of 5 stars A little complicated, but a really great game.
God I have never liked a space shooter as much as Freespace 2. The joystick is excellent when controlling your craft. Read more
Published on August 20, 2005 by Brad Barber
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